Gantt Bone- Vernal Observations by Elizabeth Alexander

The forsythia cascades quiver

No breeze blowing any where else?

Gazing, again, ah the blossoms

A goldfinch constructing her nest!

 

This being a four lined poem, and one of the three poems she has published, the selection was hard and this analysis will be even harder. Firstly, I would like to take the chance to say that upon reading this I did not know what the phrase “Vernal Observations” meant and after reading it, still had no clue. Thanks to trusty dictionary.com, I was able to get a better understanding. I knew that the speaker was clearly observing something, who knew what. The definition of vernal is “of, or relating to spring”. Great! Now the poem can be analyzed based off of the title. Alexander is observing the spring time. 

The best way I can think to do this analysis would be line by line. The first line, “The forsythia cascades quiver”, does not mean a whole lot to me. Once again, i do not know what forsythia cascades are. To Google! A forsythia is a type of flower. A cascade of them would be a lot of them. They grow on a bush and are plentiful and blooming during the spring time. They are yellow with long pedals. This is her first observation. 

In her second line “No breeze blowing anywhere else?” she is asking a question. This can be interpreted as if she was expecting more and is appalled that there is no wind. It is spring time, where is the nice warm breeze? By now i was able to put a few pieces together in my mind about what she is seeing. So far we have a lot of yellow flowering bushes not blowing in the wind. This would lead me to infer that she is somewhere wooded on the mountains where these flowers are native. The wind could possibly be buffeted by the mountain, having come from the other side. Being in the woods during spring time, the growth will be in full effect and there would be massive amounts of green in the trees, the leaves. Flowers would be blooming everywhere, from yellow, white, red, blue, to even orange. This image in my mind gives a peaceful effect, which is what I believe to be the main purpose of this poem. 

The third line says “Gazing again, oh, the blossoms”. Once again, it is spring time. The flowers are in full bloom and everything is beautiful. She is in awe of this, as seen in the line marked by the word “oh”. Seeing as though she is in awe, it can also be inferred that she is not accustomed to being in the mountains and seeing this. Either that or she loves it so much that every time she sees this sight she stops in admiration. Another thought that comes to mind about this scene is that it is somewhere reclusive, not affected by any outside cause. It is said that there is beauty in nature and Elizabeth Alexander has found it. 

The fourth and last line says “A goldfinch constructing her nest!” First, take a look at the exclamation point. This signifies some sort of excitement or anger, most likely excitement. It is spring time, the flowers are in full bloom, and the animals are at work! It is truly amazing how nature works, God’s perfect design. I believe she thinks the goldfinch is beautiful as well, based on the excitement found in this last line. The beautiful bird constructing her home in this beautiful bush of flowers. As said earlier, the flowers are yellow as well. This yellow/gold is a contrast to the green foliage surrounding these flowers in the trees and other shrubs, yet this contrasting bird has found the perfect place for a home that will protect it from the eyes of predators. 

This poem has taught me to fully appreciate and analyze nature. Something so little and insignificant can have so much meaning and purpose, just like every person on this earth. 

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