Monday, April 28, 2014

Poetry Analysis: Xenophanes by Ralph Waldo Emerson

by M. J. Joachim
Updated 11/13/15

By fate, not option, frugal Nature gave
One scent to hyson and to wall-flower
One sound to pine-groves and to waterfalls,
One aspect to the desert and the lake.
It was her stern necessity:all things
Are of one pattern made; bird, beast, and

Song, picture, form, space thought, and character
Deceive us, seeming to be many things,
And are but one. Beheld far off, they part
As God and devil; bring them to the mind,
They dull its edge with their monotony.
To know one element, explore another,
And in the second, appears the first.

The species panorama of a year
But multiplies the image of a day, -
A belt of mirrors round a taper’s flame;
And universal Nature, through her vast
And crowded whole, an infinite parquet,
Repeats one note.


A kaleidoscope, or so it would appear, Ralph Waldo Emerson expresses the unique wholeness of life, divided by its elements. Take the kaleidoscope apart and we are left with intriguing, distinctly different colors which, when joined together create a symphony in harmony with each other.

So it is with the elements of Nature, who uses each element out of necessity, to create many things that make up her entire being.

It is interesting how Emerson brings for the the spiritual reality of it all - tending to God and the devil as masterminds of the inescapable plot to “dull its edge with their monotony.”

All things combined make one. Each individual aspect provides partial, yet valuable insight into the entire whole of all that is.

Thank you so much for visiting and commenting on Writing Tips today.

M. J.

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