Sardonic Moodulation In Elizabeth Jennings's 'Inept Persephone'

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The sardonic modulation in the speaker’s voice indicates that this poem can be read as a gently ironic poem about Jennings’s own poetic procedures, about the indecision depicted in many poems between meekness and commitment. The persona she creates is a feasible source for the unusual utterances she makes about the inept Persephone irresolutely moving between the two worlds, waiting for the precise “moment” when the symbol will combine form and meaning. She “would certainly hibernate if she could.” She would withdraw into the symbol, into the world of extreme aestheticism, but she knows that in order to write poetry, she must remain committed to the world of experience, the subject matter of her poetry. The inept Persephone could be considered as an avatar of the poet who knows that if the mind…show more content…
It is obvious at this point in the poem that Jennings is not writing a purely descriptive poem about nature nor she is identifying herself as a part of nature or seeing nature as unclearly beneficent. As the title suggests, she is writing a song of praise for the swifts, describing and evaluating the various ways in which poets have used the image of birds to reflect their changing moods and insights. Poets have sought to refresh their depressed spirits by contemplating the melodious perfection of the birds: “Melancholies are carried away in the stride/of the tamed clouds and spring has opened wide/Its windows, these birds assisting”

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