The Heaven of Animals
I noticed how in the first stanza James Dickey alternates between “If” and “It.” I think this gives this stanza a certain rhythm. Also, the rhythm of the line, “Anyway, beyond their knowing.” It seems that the words “anyway” and “knowing” sound nicely in the same line. These words give the poem a nice tone.
In the 4th stanza, Dickey rhymes with the words, “place, it is, blood, hunt and done. This also contributes to the rhythm and flow of the poem. Dickey uses the word “walk” more than once in this poem. He uses the word “walk” once in the 6th stanza, and twice in the last stanza. I think the last stanza has such a nice rhythm, especially in the following lines: “They fall, they are torn” and “They rise, they walk again.”
The Poisoned Man
In this poem. I like the way it starts off with a man getting bit by the rattlesnake, “When the rattlesnake bit.” When Dickey talks about dreaming about the “country” and the “river” I imagine this person unconscious after getting bit by a rattlesnake. It seems that there’s a lot of blood going on in this poem, “Blood shed for the sake…,” “And , as it took hold of my blood,” “…my heart’s blood could flow,” and “I say my struck bloodstream assume.”
The line, “My foot tied up in my shirt” gives the reader a mental picture of how the narrator is feeling at this time. It looks like the narrator is struggling here. This poem places the reader in a depressive mood, for example in the lines, “…wild grass was dead without flame,” “And brought my wife eastward and weeping” and “With the promise of harvest for no one.” The family were experiencing hard times. Dickey rhymes in the 10th stanza, “Of the substance and course of the river” and “While the different colors of fever.”
At Daren Bridge
In this poem, Dickey surprises the reader at the beginning because he starts talking about the sea and ends the stanza with convicts building the sea. Just by Dickey mentioning convicts takes away the nice image that we have about the sea. It’s in interesting twist here. The line, “Standing deep in their ankle chains” gives the reader a clear picture of the convicts. Dickey likes to use rhyme in his poems. He rhymes in this poem also, for example in, “I thought I saw the still sun/Strike the side of a hammer in flight,” he has two lines on each stanza.
At first, I felt kind of annoyed by the spaces between words, but after reflecting on the poem, the spaces seemed like they somehow fit throughout the poem. Being “adultery” as the main subject and addressed throughout the poem, the spaces felt just right. The spaces meaning there’s something in between the two lovers (a wife or a husband), a relationship that shouldn’t be, but that’s the magic of it all, “Guilt is magical,” “We have done it again we are still living/Sit up and smile.” Shame on them!