The poem we read this time was “Delight in Disorder” by Robert Herrick. Although this poem has some wonderful imagery, one thing that stood out to me first was the interesting structure of the poem.
The poem begins with some wonderful imagery and then in the last two lines says:
Do more bewitch me, than when art
Is too precise in every part.
To me, this poem really well illustrates a strange type of form that we have been encountering often in poetry lately that has been tripping us up a bit. What Herrick does here is use the entirety of the beginning of the poem, to be the subject of a sentence. So basically, the whole poem is one sentence, with the topic being the beginning, and then the last two lines concluding it.
So, the fancy imagery bewitches the author, more than art because sometimes art is too perfect. That’s the meaning of the poem in a really brief way.
This is sort of interesting, because an asymmetrical and disorderly style became very popular in art in the twentieth century, especially in the abstract expressionist movement.
The author earlier in the poem describes each different thing in a couplet, generally first beginning with the thing and than what disorderly attribute of it he admires and why. For example, when it comes to the dress, he feels that it’s “sweet Disorder” brings about a “wantonness,” and in the careless shoe string he sees a “wild civility.”
I feel that, in addition to being an avant garde approach to art, this poem can also be a metaphor for life. In life, no matter what the time period, there are people who don’t quite fit societies mold. Although nowadays we are taught from an early ago to embrace diversity and take pride in our differences, this was not the case for most of human history. Often subject to public shaming or even physic abuse, people with any sort of a difference or even a different approach would be basically ostracized and tormented their entire life.
I think in this poem about the beauty in things that other people would see as disorderly or wrong, Herrick is giving a metaphor for how it is important to see the beauty in things that other people see as ugly, to find the imperfections that bring us perfection; because only in our imperfections and differences can we reach our true individual potential, our own original perfection. I think the implied meaning to this poem is extremely important and changes the entire way it is perceived, from a nice cute poem about aesthetically pleasing things, to a commentary on society and a reassurance to everyone.
Thank you for not giving us another poem about death.