Q1. Elizabeth Bishop worked as a painter as well as a poet, and her verse, like visual art, is known for its ability to capture significant scenes. Explain how “Filling Station” relies heavily on visual images. Also, a filling station is a very humble and unglamorous subject for a poem. Comment on the poet’s choice of subject. What other artist could you compare to Bishop with regard to choosing mundane subjects?

 

(Filling Station by Elizabeth Bishop)

 

Oh, but it is dirty!

—this little filling station,

oil-soaked, oil-permeated

to a disturbing, over-all

black translucency.

Be careful with that match!

 

Father wears a dirty,

oil-soaked monkey suit

that cuts him under the arms,

and several quick and saucy

and greasy sons assist him

(it’s a family filling station),

all quite thoroughly dirty.

 

Do they live in the station?

It has a cement porch

behind the pumps, and on it

a set of crushed and grease-

impregnated wickerwork;

on the wicker sofa

a dirty dog, quite comfy.

 

Some comic books provide

the only note of color—

of certain color. They lie

upon a big dim doily

draping a taboret

(part of the set), beside

a big hirsute begonia.

 

Why the extraneous plant?

Why the taboret?

Why, oh why, the doily?

(Embroidered in daisy stitch

with marguerites, I think,

and heavy with gray crochet.)

 

Somebody embroidered the doily.

Somebody waters the plant,

or oils it, maybe. Somebody

arranges the rows of cans

so that they softly say:

esso—so—so—so

to high-strung automobiles.

Somebody loves us all.

 

Q2. William Wordsworth’s poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” celebrates nature, but in a way very different from “There Will Come Soft Rains.” Compare and contrast these poems.

 

(I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth)

 

I WANDERED lonely as a cloud          

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,          

When all at once I saw a crowd,          

A host, of golden daffodils;          

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,          

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.           

 

Continuous as the stars that shine          

And twinkle on the milky way,          

They stretched in never-ending line         

Along the margin of a bay:                                            

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,          

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.           

 

The waves beside them danced; but they          

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:          

A poet could not but be gay,          

In such a jocund company:          

I gazed--and gazed--but little thought          

What wealth the show to me had brought:           

 

For oft, when on my couch I lie          

In vacant or in pensive mood,                                         

They flash upon that inward eye          

Which is the bliss of solitude;          

And then my heart with pleasure fills,          

And dances with the daffodils.

 

(There Will Come Soft Rains by Sara Teasdale)

 

 

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,

And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;



And frogs in the pools singing at night,

And wild plum trees in tremulous white;



Robins will wear their feathery fire,

Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;



And not one will know of the war, not one

Will care at last when it is done.



Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,

If mankind perished utterly;



And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn

Would scarcely know that we were gone.

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