Posted by: Tom Triumph | September 17, 2012

180. Is Love, then, so Simple: Irene Rutherford Mcleod

Ah, love.

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate actually hitting poem 180 than a poem about love.

No, really, I can’t.  First, I never thought I’d get to 180 and then, as I approached it, I figured I’d have some swanky, clever idea that would celebrate it.

Nothing.  I had an idea of finding something that I could use for my upcoming hero’s journey lessons, but….

In all honesty, you’re probably reading this out of order.  I mean, chances are that I’ll have a 181 and keep going, so you, gentle reader, will see 180 long after I’ve posted it and posted more.  180 will mean little to you, other than if you notice that the title matches the name of the blog.

So I had typed in “simple british poem” to the search engine.  It brought up a lot of women’s poetry collections; I’m not sure if that’s an insult or not.  It did, though, bring me to Ms. Mcleod.

You see, I wanted simple because my students are struggling.  It’s week three, and their ability to even begin to analyze a poem is horrendous.  It isn’t that they can’t, but that they won’t take the leap.  I have a very simple process of analysis:

  1. Underline three lines in the poem you like, understand or think are important.
  2. Analyze each line individually.  As if it were it’s own thing.
  3. In all, what are these lines trying to say to the reader.  One thought.  Those lines only.
  4. Write that down.

That gets them nearly the whole way there.  We read Donne’s “Death Be Not Proud”–extremely difficult.  Yet, my weakest students were able to find three lines they understood and find some of Donne’s meaning about Death.  And, most important, they did it independently.

But students need to take the leap.  I had students act out, refuse, feign illness and just shrug.  Three lines.  They wouldn’t even give me three lines.  A student cannot learn unless they are willing.  It is an act of choice.

So I’m giving them something more basic.  And, Ms. Mcleod gets her due.

Happy 180!

Is Love, then, so Simple
Irene Rutherford Mcleod

IS love, then, so simple my dear?
The opening of a door,
And seeing all things clear?
I did not know before.

I had thought it unrest and desire
Soaring only to fall,
Annihilation and fire:
It is not so at all.

I feel no desperate will,
But I think I understand
Many things, as I sit quite still,
With Eternity in my hand.

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