Diana Manister wrote:
> It makes sense to me that "we" here is both intra- and
> inter-, within emotional conflict and interpersonal.
> Settling on any single meaning is reductive.
And then went down to the ship
Set keel to breakers
Forth on the godly sea
(quoted from memory)
What you lay down as a somewhat arbitrary & universal law covers (with
some quaolificatio) all three of these lines as a unit: It is both
Odysseus setting forth in the Odysey; it is the poet declaring that his
poem is related in some way to the Odyssy; it invokes the sea as chaos,
though godly, something which in itsle wil (perhaps) develop multiple
meanings in retrospect as the pom continues), voyage as intllectual
voyage after knowledge (of woaht?), and so forth.
But there are 16 words here; 8 pairs of words; 5 triplets plus a
rmainder; t w sets of 8 w ords each, any one of which arbitrary
groupings may have a meaning in itself which is a necessary part of the
meaning of the whole, and some at least of those sets of words may
demand single meanign or it won't contibute to the multiple meanings of
the whole. "Ship" has no multiple meanings, though "went down to the
shp" does. And so forth. In many instances (there are a hell of a lot of
poems out there) it may be units of 10 or20 lines for which finding
multiple meanings would crea te only jumbles, obscuring all meaning,
multiple or all, in the whole. And this is particularly apt to be the
case when the word appears in a metaphor or simile. I imagine "like a
patient etherized upon a table" has been written about a good deal. I
would also suppose that explication of its (possible) multiple meanngs
would depend on taking both "like" and "patient" quite straight:
multiple meanings assigned to "patient" (prior to any expansion the poem
gives it in retrospect, would produce only muddle. And when Donne says
"Busy old sun" I think we had better equate "sun" with that thing in the
sky, not any of the other million things it may mean and has menat in
various other texts. It needs to be dully literal to be fit for the
games the speaker wants to play with it.
These universal rules that you keep throwing at us out of the blue
really don't help a lot.