20 December 2011
Poetry Timed Writing
"A Barred Owl," by Richard Wilbur and "The History Teacher," by Billy Collins, highlighted the methods in which adults choose to soothe the natural curiosity and fears of children. Each poem, however, showed through various literary devices how the different ways that adults can decide to provide explanations for children. Wilber utilizes rhyme scheme and meter as well as repetition and informal diction in order to convey his more light hearted way of controlling a child's fear while Collins employs satire, humorous diction as well as historical allusion to explain the ironic method of soothing a child's wild imagination.
Richard Wilbur demonstrates the soothing qualities of a parent through his use of iambic pentameter and rhyming couplets. The rhyme scheme creates a song like, folktale effect that appeals to an audience of children. "We tell the wakened child that all she heard... Was an odd question from a forest bird." The meter and rhyme comes across to readers very informal, in a manner that reflects a person's everyday speech patterns. This reminds readers that the narrator of this poem is simply a parent speaking to their child trying to calm their fears after being awakened by a dream that the child took as a nightmare. Wilbur also juxtaposes in each stanza the view of the parent with the view of the child. While the initial stanza is a peaceful sounding description of a parent calming a child's irrational fear of owl's, "We tell the child that all she heard Was an odd question from a forest bird, Asking of us, if rightly listened to, 'Who cooks for you?' and then 'Who cooks for you?'" While the child took the owl's question as a terror, the owl was simply reminding her of the ever presence of her parents, the one's that cook for her. However, the second stanza presents a darker image of the same event, what the child initially saw, "the sound of stealthy flight, Or...