One meaning given to "worm" was that it was a dragon. So it could in that sense fly in the night, but it could hardly find a bed of crimson joy in that form. It is a mix of physical and metaphysical qualities (life destroyed by a worm's dark love) that can't be fixed as literal.
>>> Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]> 3/4/2008 7:56 PM >>>
1 O Rose, thou art sick!
2 The invisible worm
3 That flies in the night,
4 In the howling storm,
5 Has found out thy bed
6 Of crimson joy:
7 And his dark secret love
8 Does thy life destroy.
Always wondered about the worm in this. Anyone know worms that fly in
howling storms? Seriously?
At 06:51 PM 3/4/2008, Nancy Gish wrote:
>I mentioned the metaphysical poets before (whom Eliot admired and
>emulated) because their metaphors and similes, precisely, do NOT
>necessarily work "literally." In fact, most do not. Does "My love is like
>a red, red rose" mean she's red and has thorns? Are Prufrock's coffee
>spoons literally his life? I do not see the concern with this long exchange.
> >>> Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> 3/4/2008 6:32 PM >>>
>Alex Freer <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Is one required to interpret all similes perfectly literally? Surely the
>allusiveness of Eliot's verse should be allowed in his devices too?
>Whether or not the simile works as an absolute should not colour the
>fact that the simile itself brings forth a flurry of images and (as you
>have nicely illustrated) emotions. Since this is so, I do not believe it
>is as "broken" or ineffectual as some may portray it.
> I appreciate your comments, Alex. Quite perceptive. Thanks. CR
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