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Blessing the Boats - From New Poems (2000), "the times" Summary & Analysis

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From New Poems (2000), "the times" Summary

This poem crafts in imagery a dreadful thing, the murder of a child by another child. Clifton says with courage and honesty that she's "relieved" that they are white, inferring that many times this kind of story is told about black children. She wants to understand but she is tired of understanding. The imagery following demonstrates that such a story is beyond understanding, that the images themselves are detached from any comprehensible meaning.

In the first four lines, everything seems frozen. The squirrel gazes with eyes that don't look away from the poet, although dogs' eyes do, inferring that the dog is feeling empathetically with the humans, showing compassion. In lines 13-18, Clifton designs disjointed images that cannot mean anything, just as a child murdering another child cannot be grasped:

"the...

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This section contains 420 words
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Buy the Blessing the Boats Study Guide
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