“White Days” by Priscilla Becker

The poem “White Days” by Priscilla Becker in the reader was fascinating to me. This is because while reading it, I found myself drawn to the sounds of the words, specifically the “s” sound. Reading through the first time, I paid so much attention to the sounds of the words that I didn’t even take in their meaning and had no idea what I had read! “S” is a common letter in words, but still how it was repeated so often in the poem really added to the sound of the poetry, I thought. The lines, “suffocate lowers like snowy exhaust”, (6-7) “the walls sequestered” (19), and “smell parsnip and staple” (27-28) show the use of sound in the poem. In each the “s” sounds appear at different parts of the line and in different parts of the individual words. It almost made it a the repetition of the “s” sound a surprise. There was also repetition of other sounds, such as “indisputable, unarguable” (2-3) and “pin heads, shivering paper ridges”(30-31). Really, overall in this poem I was so engrossed with the word choice and sounds that the meaning didn’t even seem important. Did anyone else have an opinion of this poem?

One Reply to ““White Days” by Priscilla Becker”

  1. I completely agree. I love the “s” sound in the poem, as well. I also think the word choice is really intriguing. Particularly, “thick (even though that’s not an “s” sound) and “invisible” (13).
    Honestly, I tend to read and base my judgement of a poem on word choice and individual lines, so I understand your reading of this poem. I don’t always think that skimming the surface of a poem by only paying attention to sound or word choice is doing the poem a complete injustice because poetry is an art form, meant for enjoyment and self-fulfillment. When you are studying a painting, it is not uncommon to only focus on the color scheme, ect, so I don’t see why we can’t do the same with poetry.

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