If and When Dreams Come True
You'll find yourself in still water,
Full moon silhouetting the sky.
The long train of desire, having gone,
Pulled out from this quiet pool of shadow,
Will have left you at peace with your hands,
A few flowers moving in the breeze.
There will be music in the wind,
A future found in some alcove of blossoming trees;
Each highway will have driven itself away,
And so you will be left, finally, alone:
Abandoned, even, by any word you've ever cared
The moon will shine as it always has;
A cool seep will rise from the lake.
Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.
And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
"Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.
And he was rich - yes, richer than a king -
And admirably schooled in every grace;
In fine we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.
So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.
- Edwin Arlington Robinson -
We Wear the Mask
We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,-
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.
We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream other-wise,
We wear the mask!
--Paul Laurence Dunbar
Lady, lady, should you meet
One whose ways are all discreet,
One who murmurs that his wife
Is the lodestar of his life,
One who keeps assuring you
That he never was untrue,
Never loved another one . . .
Lady, lady, better run!
The Great Gatsby Paired Poems Activity
Answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper for each poem. Answer the questions separately for each poem.
1. What is the dramatic situation of the poem? (What is taking place literally?)
2. Who is the speaker in the poem? (Or, at least, what do we know about him/her?)
3. To whom is he or she speaking? Who is the audience of the poem? Is it a specific person or to the general reader?
4. What is a possible theme of the poem? Write one line from the poem that you think tells the theme the poem. Then write a theme of your own.
5. What kinds of patterns are there in the poem? For example, does the poem rhyme? Does it have a particular rhythm or beat? Does it have a visual pattern when you look at it?
6. How does the poet use language? Is it elevated or fancier language? Is it more vernacular, colloquial, or casual? Does the poet use a particular dialect or accent?
7. What do you think is the most important line of the poem? Why do you think so?
8. What prominent images does the poet use to make his or her point?
9. What is the tone (mood) of the poem at the beginning, at the end, and overall? Give words to support your response.
10. How does this poem relate to The Great Gatsby? Consider the characters (especially Gatsby) and the overall themes of The Great Gatsby. Which themes does the poem illuminate?