Read these 3 poems: “April 30, 2014 by Louise Bernice Halfe,…

Read these 3 poems: “April 30, 2014 by Louise Bernice Halfe, “sturgeon” by Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, and “I saw a perfect tree today” by Lillian Allen. Fill out the TPCASTT graphic organizer for each poem.
The poems:
April 30, 2014 by Louise Bernice Halfe
Weeds are flattened beneath last year’s tire tracks
others lay burden by the winter’s heavy snow.
The crocuses labor through this thick blanket.
I am sun drained from the bleakness
of the weeks before. Now a tick
I’ve carried in my hair runs up my neck,
festers on my chin.
I show it no mercy.
The lake-ice is rotting diamonds
where water seeps hungrily through its cracks.
Beneath the birdfeeders
goldfinches and juncos scratch.
Two mallards strut
crane their necks for the roving dogs and cats.
Sharptailed grouse lay low in the thicket believing
they cannot be seen, their rust-colored wings
match the frost-bitten ground.
This morning we were woken by a knocking
on our skylight, the yellow feathers
of a flicker splayed against the window.
I cradle a striped gopher, it heaves so slightly
against my palm, a leg broken
and one eye bloodied shut.
I lay it against the mountain ash and beg
it not to suffer.
This afternoon I have my hearing
for Truth and Reconciliation.
I must confess my years of sleeping
in those sterile, cold rooms where the hiss
of water heaters were devils
in the dark.
I want to walk these thickets
to that far horizon and not look back.
sturgeon by Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm
i twist and gasp
open and close my mouth
searching for air
whenever a sturgeon is caught in the rainy river
i know
the feel of strange hands touching my body
the struggle
to be free
the longing
to go where i want to go
i feel
the impact of stick or rock on bone
the splash of colour
then the emptiness that is my head
my head like a midnight sky if the stars and moon were captured
by another heaven
i know
even when i am awake again
sitting at the kitchen table
staring at my plate with its bramble design
and rough chipped edges
i know
that is why i do not eat sturgeon
because i know
when a sturgeon is caught in the rainy river
i am a sturgeon
and i dangle on hooks
I saw a perfect tree today by Lillian Allen
I saw a perfect tree today
From my cabin bed on a Via Rail train
Through the North of Ontario
I saw a perfect tree today
It was tall and thin and scraggly and prim
Then I saw another just as perfect
Short and sturdy with branches and brambles
And then another with a rugged fat trunk
Older than the rest, but just as perfect
I saw a dozen trees in a clump sharing the light
So their growth was stunted
But regal they were, plumped and perfect
And then a small twisted tree
with leaves fallen, trunk slanted
all the more perfect
I saw tens and hundreds, and thousands
And hundreds of thousands of trees
Not one single tree exactly like another
And yet they were all perfect, all perfect trees
A man-child from Mississauga heading to bend steel
To make his fortunes in the Alberta oil fields;
“I’ve never seen so many trees in my whole life”
A balding dude 30 years a social worker
Retiring home to Winnipeg, calms;
“Where I come from they cut them all down,
long, long, long before I was born.”
And I am reminded—This land, this land
Where cities have sprouted,
Blooming glistening skyscrapers at night
T’was all covered with trees once
One big forest we were once
All perfect trees.
Please fill this in for each poem if possible:
Title(Before you even think about reading the poetry or trying to analyze it, speculate on what you think the poem might be about based upon the title. Often time authors conceal meaning in the title and give clues in the title. Jot down what you think this poem will be about) :
Paraphrase (Before you begin thinking about meaning or tying to analyze the poem, don’t overlook the literal meaning of the poem. One of the biggest problems that students often make in poetry analysis is jumping to conclusions before understanding what is taking place in the poem. When you paraphrase a poem, write in your own words exactly what happens in the poem. Sometimes it is easier to summarize what happens in the poem. Make sure that you understand the difference between a paraphrase and a summary) :
Connotation ( Although this term usually refers solely to the emotional overtones of word choice, for this approach the term refers to any and all poetic devices, focusing on how such devices contribute to the meaning, the effect, or both of a poem. You may consider imagery, figures of speech (simile, metaphor, personification, symbolism, etc.), diction, point of view, and sound devices (alliteration, onomatopoeia, rhythm, and rhyme). It is not necessary that you identify all the poetic devices within the poem. Pick out words that evoke or connote a feeling) :
Attitude/Tone ( Having examined the poem’s devices and clues closely, you are now ready to explore the multiple attitudes that may be present in the poem. You may refer to the list of words on Tone in the Class Handouts folder at the top of the course) :
Shift(Rarely does a poem begin and end the poetic experience in the same place. As is true of most of us, the poet’s understanding of an experience is a gradual realization, and the poem is a reflection of that understanding or insight. Watch for the following keys to shifts: • key words, (but, yet, however, although) • punctuation (dashes, periods, colons, ellipsis) • stanza divisions • changes in line or stanza length or both • irony • changes in sound that may indicate changes in meaning • changes in diction) :
Title revisited ( Now look at the title again, but this time on an interpretive level. What new insight does the title provide in understanding the poem?) :
Theme( What is the poem saying about the human experience, motivation, or condition? What subject or subjects does the poem address? What do you learn about those subjects? What idea does the poet want you to take away with you concerning these subjects? Remember that the theme of any work of literature is stated in a complete sentence) :

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