Mary Oliver’s poem “Singapore” is a beautiful poem about the city of Singapore. In the poem, Oliver describes the city as a place of great beauty and wonder. She writes about the city’s many different cultures and how they come together to create a unique and vibrant place. The poem is a celebration of the city and its people.
Mary Oliver’s poem “Singapore” was published in the House of Light in 1990. Her work, written in Ars Poetica style, focuses on the writing process. Her poem includes two components by which she explains what a poem should include and how you can find beauty within it. She explains how to see beauty in typical objects and duties by stating that a poem should contain these things.
First, a poem should have music in it. Oliver states, “it should never be silent for long / unless it is thinking.” (lines 5-6). In other words, a poem should always have some sort of sound whether it be from the words themselves or from the way they flow together. This music can be found in many places such as the sound of birds chirping, leaves rustling, or even people talking. It is up to the poem to find this music and use it to create a beautiful poem.
Second, a poem should have images that are “clear and well-chosen.” (line 9). The images in a poem should be able to provide a clear picture of what is going on in the poem. They should also be descriptive and chosen carefully so that they add to the poem rather than take away from it.
Third, a poem should have “feelings, instincts, / hunches, guesses” (lines 11-12). In other words, a poem should contain emotion. This can be anything from happiness to sadness to anger to love. Without emotion, a poem would be nothing more than a bunch of words on a page.
Fourth, a poem should have “a few surprises” (line 13). These surprises can be anything from a sudden change in topic to a unexpected rhyme scheme. They are what keep the poem interesting and fresh.
Throughout the poem, Mary Oliver employs not only these two elements of form but also imagery, metaphor, and symbolism while maintaining the main message of equality. While writing “Singapore”, Mary Oliver employed the Ars Poetica style throughout the entire poem. The Ars Poetica structure is when an author writes a poem that explains what elements or ideas a poem should include over the course of its entirety.
This poem is written in first person point of view, as the speaker is Mary Oliver herself. The poem is also a sonnet, which contains 14 lines. Even though the poem itself is a sonnet, it does not rhyme which makes it an Italian or Petrarchan sonnet.
Ars Poetica means “the art of poetry” in Latin, and this poem serves as Mary Oliver’s own manifesto on what she believes a poem should be. In the first stanza, Mary Oliver states that a poem should be “a momentary stay against confusion”. A poem should act as a break from the mundane chaos of the world and provide clarity and understanding. It should be “a place to enter” where the reader can go to escape the “noise and pressures” of daily life. A poem, according to Mary Oliver, should be a refuge.
In the second stanza, Mary Oliver talks about the importance of language in a poem. She says that a poem should be made up of “the best words in their best order”. The poem should be carefully crafted and each word should be chosen for its ability to create meaning and feeling. In addition, the poem should be “a serious thing”. It should not be frivolous or made-up, but rather it should explore real emotions and truths.
The second form is a poem’s subject. This kind of poem has birds in it, as seen by Mary Oliver when she states, “A poem should have birds in it at all times.” Kingfishers, for example, with their brash eyes and garish wings may be found. Rivers are pleasant; and of course there are trees. A waterfall or any other type of water fall would suffice instead. In a poem, a person wants to stand in a happy location.
Singapore is a poem that does just that, it contains all of the key elements that Mary Oliver talks about. The poem is about the beauty of Singapore and how it makes the person feel. It makes the reader feel happy and content because of all of the wonderful sights that are described within it.
These lovely locations also represent reality since you are less inclined to pass judgment on others who are trying to make a living when you can appreciate beauty in a job. While keeping the poem’s structure, Marry added more about a lady custodian cleaning ashtrays in the restroom. In her account of this woman, Marry employs the literary device of imagery. “A darkness was torn from my eyes as I approached Singapore at night.”
I saw a woman cleaning the brass ashtrays. She was old, maybe sixty.” The poem goes on to describe how this women is not just scrubbing ashtrays, but “wiping away the waste of the world” (Oliver 16-17). This poem speaks to how each person has an important role to play in society, no matter how small it may seem. Everyone is connected and everyone’s actions affect those around them.
This poem is particularly relevant today as we face a global pandemic. It is easy to feel disconnected from one another and like our individual actions don’t matter. But Mary Oliver’s poem reminds us that we are all in this together and that we all have a role to play. So let’s all do our part to “wipe away the waste of the world” and get through this pandemic together.