Black reapers with the sound of steel on stones
Are sharpening scythes. I see them place the hones
In their hip-pockets as a thing that’s done,
And start their silent swinging, one by one.
Black horses drive a mower through the weeds,
And there, a field rat, startled, squealing bleeds,
His belly close to ground. I see the blade,
Blood-stained, continue cutting weeds and shade.
TPCASTT for annotation
T-title: The meaning of the title without reference to the poem.
Reaper = grim reaper
P-paraphrase: Put the poem, line by line, in your own words. DO NOT READ INTO THE POEM. Only read on surface level.
- sharpening scythes = sharpening blades
- hone = knife
- black horses drive a mower = moving through grass mowing
- rat, startled, squealing bleeds = rat was cut
- see the blade, blood stained, continue cutting = keep using blood stained blade and finish working
C-connotation: looking for deeper meaning.
Feeling attached to words
Look at attitude of speaker/poet
Black reapers = grim, ominous
Alliteration – sound steel stones sharpening scythes silent swinging also shows onomatopoeia
Silent swinging = sneaking
a thing that’s done = finality, business as usual
Black reapers and Black horses = repetition
field rat startled squealing bleeds = abrupt eeee sound in the silence of the silent swinging
alliteration = belly, blood, blood stained
continued cutting weeds = cycle of life, work goes on in the midst of the death
- Diction and symbolism
- Metaphors and similes
- Rhyme scheme
- End rhymes and internal rhymes
- End stop
A-attitude: Looking for the author’s tone. How is the writer speaking?
resigned and distant from the work
attentive/reflective to the surroundings
S-shifts: Looking for shifts in tone, action, and rhythm. Don’t just write the number. Discuss how the shift(s) affects the poem.
Poem shifts at the death of the rat
T-title: reevaluate the title as it pertains to the poem
Reaper = gatherers Reaper = grim reaper
T-theme: What does the poem mean? What is it saying? How does it relate to life?
Cycle of life
Disconnect from nature
Reapers are acting as machines like the mowers
Machine kills nature