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Collin's poem "On Turning Ten"
Posted by: myrnacoconut (192.168.128.---)
Date: November 26, 2006 02:20PM

I have to do a project where I make a collage of images that have to do with the poem, including whats said and the meaning of it.

Any sugestions on what images to use or analysis on this poem?
Thanks a lot.

On Turning Ten

The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I'm coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light--
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.
You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.
But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.
This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.
It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.
-- Billy Collins


Re: Collin's poem "On Turning Ten"
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: November 26, 2006 02:37PM

I would use comic book or cartoon figures as the primary focus because of the title. Then I would look for photos on the internet of the key phrases, such as this one for "Arabian wizard":

[www.atomicart.com] />

Use google to help you find these photos.



Les


Re: Collin's poem "On Turning Ten"
Posted by: IanB (192.168.128.---)
Date: November 30, 2006 04:33AM

Les' suggestions are a good practical solution for this rather silly project you have been set. Making a collage has almost no relevance to education in poetry, once you get past about grade III.

Out of interest, Myrna, in what form are you, and in what country?

As for analysis, obviously this poem has no rhyme and no regular metre. Some might regard it as just prose broken into lines. On the other hand, it is more dense with images and metaphors than is most prose. I really don't know how your teacher expects you to 'analyse' it.

Personally, I'd start with the comment that the language, the metaphors, and the concerns expressed in the poem are all adult in tone. Almost nothing in the poem rings true as expressing the feelings and thoughts of a ten year old. If one of the functions of good poetry is to delight by illuminating reality and imagination in a surprising and satisfying way, I'd have to label this effort a flop.

Ian




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