Need help understanding part of a poem?
This is taken from "A Hermit Thrush" by Amy Clampitt.
"Watching the longest day take cover under a monk’s-cowl overcast, with thunder, rain and wind, then waiting, we drop everything to listen as a hermit thrush distills its fragmentary, hesitant, in the end unbroken music. From what source (beyond us, or the wells within?) such links perceived arrive--
diminished sequences so uninsistingly not even human--there’s hardly a vocabulary left to wonder, uncertain as we are of so much in this existence, this botched, cumbersome, much-mended, not unsatisfactory thing."
I'm having trouble understanding what she means when she writes, "From what source..." and the rest of the sentence after.
- Anonymous2 years agoFavorite Answer
The syntax of the sentence is a bit inverted, so let's start by leaving out some of the relative clauses and rearranging the main phrases of the sentence:
"There's hardly a vocabulary left [that we can use] to wonder from what source such links arise."
That is, "we" (human beings?) apparently once had a language in which we could think about where such "links" came from -- from "beyond" (God/gods?) or "within" us? -- but now we don't. And then the speaker of the poem goes on to give an explanation of why we no longer have the vocabulary or language with which to think about such questions.
- Sir CausticLv 72 years ago
Just ignore everything after "From what source...". That's the best idea.