Powhatan's Daughter

> The Harbor Dawn

Takes place in New York.

(numbers refer to lines of the poem)

sidebar: Is it American history, or your personal history? Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. (Lewis agrees with this reading, though he gives a more appropriate citation, in literary history, of Emerson. See Lewis p. 294.)

4: surplices : loose, white, wide-sleeved ecclesiastical vestments.

8: stevedore : a worker who loads and unloads cargo ships. Not sure how common worktime drunkenness was in this profession, but it wouldn't surprise me.

12: darkling : in or happening in darkness; dark, dim, obscure.

20: pallid : pale.

21: bless├Ęd : the mark over the "e" is a grave accent, a type of diacritical mark. It indicates that the word is pronounced with two syllables, as "bless-ed."

21: sirens : A nice pun on the singing of Greek sirens and the commonplace of literal sirens in 1920s New York (which one would think weren't literally that pleasant to listen to, but no matter).

25: myriad snowy hands : probably snowflakes.

32: goes blond : the sun rises. Pocahontas would not have been blond, if this matters.

33: Cyclopean : in my copy of the poem, someone has written that the "towers are so large that they look like Cyclops." But I am looking for a one-eye connection.

37: a star : not sure if there is an actual bright star visible at dawn in the West; I am not much for astronomy. But it wouldn't be Venus, the Morning Star (actually a planet, as we now know, of course), which appears in the East.

39: goes to sleep : sets (or is rendered invisible by the increasing brightness of the sun).

sidebar: the / flesh our feet / have moved / upon : Pocahontas's body fuses with the USA, on which we have walked.

This page has been edited 5 times. The last modification was made by - MisterMartin MisterMartin on Mar 10, 2008 7:55 am