How does a poem mean?
In high school, you may have gotten credit for being able to paraphrase poems, in order to demonstrate that you understand the literal meaning of the content. But if the purpose of a poem is simply to communicate a message, why does the poet go to all the trouble to rhyme, to make classical allusions, to choose vivid images?
Why didn't Emily Dickinson write,
Death really isn't all that scary. In fact, Death is like a classy gentleman who picks you up and takes you on the most important date of your life.Why did she write this, instead?
Because I could not stop for Death -- He kindly stopped for me -- The Carriage held but just Ourselves -- And Immortality.And when Edgar Allen Poe could have written,
Death always wins, so let's revel in the destruction.why did he write:
Out--out are the lights--out all! And over each quivering form The curtain, a funeral pall, Comes down with the rush of a storm, While the angels, all pallid and wan, Uprising, unveiling, affirm That the play is the tragedy, "Man," And its hero, the Conqueror Worm.See: Because I could not stop for Death And: Conqueror Worm