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The poetry of swallowtail consists of 3 stanzas and 26 lines. The first stanza consists of 8 lines, the second stanza consists of 5 lines, and the third stanza consists of 13 lines. The most often repeated words are swallowtail, emperor, army, osprey and shadow. This poetry is an unrhymed poetry due to there’s no rule to limit the line for each stanzas
The Emperor thought of his heart as a water wheel flooding the rice fields of all creation and bloodied the water for a better harvest.
His warriors hoped for a life with wings. His swallowtails wrote the same line to him -the secret of life is a resurrected worm-. He told them eventually time would run backwards in their hands, now empty where a crossbow went. A theory works if it answers the exceptions. The writing of swallowtails in the air, from here to where the time changes at Mexico Beach is like writing all the armies of the afterlife is which is waiting underground in China.
We are attuned to shadows. They strafe the shore. An osprey spins above the tress. But when a large one stops suddenly all the laws have been broken above the house. A theory that a moment is a warehouse where armies are stacked to the ceiling, then one falls is the last exception. The osprey’s underside is streaked like a zebra swallowtail. It misses the fish that dove out of the reach of shadows as the lovers jumped into theirs from the Bay Bridge to Fort Walton.
If any should meet hovering over a milkweed or reflection, they might say I didn’t know you in another life, the kind of thing I often said in Fort Walton or the Orient and it didn’t plum blossoms freeze in the Emperor’s courtyard.
This poetry is talking about the emperor who has the power. The emperor has the warriors which helps him in making his surrounding is better. As the warriors, they lived under the emperor’s control, so they are bound by the power of the king. He writes the line of himself that the secret of life is like the resurrected worm. The emperor also tells to his warriors that the time will run backwards in their hands, and also they will decide where the goal goes. This poetry also tells about China and Mexico where the butterfly can be found. In this poet, the author wants to emphasize the butterfly, China myth such as emperor and underground army or terra-cotta, and the condition of Mexico beach. In addition, the author mentions about the theory that can be worked if that theory can solve the problem.
Firstly, I will analyze from the tittle, the tittle of this poem is swallowtails. According to Merriam Webster, swallowtails means any of various usually large brightly marked butterflies (family Papilionidae, especially genus Papilio) with each hind wing typically having an elongated process. Swallowtails has meaning as papilio. Swallowtail is scientifically known as Papilio palinurus. Papilio means “butterfly” and palinurus refers to the captain in Virgil’s Aeneid. This Latin name implies that the emerald swallowtail is a navigator of sorts. Virgil’s Aeneid is the story that relates to the sack of Tray that brought the Trojan war to stop nearly decade under siege by the Greeks. In biology, the majority of Papilionade lived in tropical area and the member of Papilionade lived in every continent except Antartica. Swallowtails does metamorphosis which is replaced from the caterpillar to the butterfly. It is same like the role of the leadership, if the late emperor has passed away or he has finished the wheel of government, then he will be replaced by his heirs. This is the wheel government runs.
The first stanza of line 1 and 2 in this poem is: The emperor thought of his heart as a water wheel flooding the rice fields of all creation, and it uses simile as a figurative language. In line 1, it emphasizes the great feeling of the emperor is up and down. In this line, the author wants to emphasize the “emperor” that has an endless power like water wheel floods to the rice fields. He can act like the power provider for the society. His power is a supreme that makes him can do anything without under-controlling from other people. Then the water here represents the power that will cover up the society in an area, in order the society can survive because the emperor will provide the supplies for the rice field. The water should be equal to the whole the field in order they can grow up equally, it is same like what the emperor should be able to treat them equally. The field represents the society that needs the controlling from the emperor. These are what the emperor should be done to get the best result of the governmental. The use of word “bloodied” in line 3 implies the way he is leading the nation. It seems like the emperor could decide his own rules by his willingness, forcefulness, and so on. So, the emperor can use a lot of ways to make his nation be better without considering people, and he only think to get the profit while he is becoming a leader to run the wheel of the government. In line 4, the author writes that the warriors hoped for a life with wings. Wings here represents the freedom. So, the warriors are hoping the freedom to the emperor. In the end of the period, the warriors feel the unfairness of the wheel governmental. In line 5 and 6, the author writes that his swallowtail (his power) tells the reality of life (in line 6): “the secret of life is resurrected worm”. This line uses metaphor as figurative language. The resurrected worm here represents the butterfly’s philosophy of life, called metamorphosis. The word “worm” can be meant as the caterpillar. In addition, for being the perfect butterfly, it starts from the egg, larva, pupa, and then adult butterfly. In egg stage, a butterfly starts life as a very small, round, oval or cylindrical egg, means that the first stage of the life is very basic and small. In second stage, it becomes the larva (caterpillar), in this stage, caterpillar will start his/her work and eat the leaf so they can grow quickly. It is same as the life, the moment when we struggle for life, and this is the beginning of life. In pupa’s stage of life, the caterpillar is done growing and they have reached their full length or weight. Inside the pupa, the caterpillar is rapidly changing, it means that the struggling of life is changing become more difficult. The last stage is an adult butterfly, it is when the caterpillar has done all of his/her changing inside pupa, they will have wings, which represents the beginning of life, by using the wings, the butterfly will fly anywhere highly to search source of nectar. The life of butterfly is like a cycle that will go back again to the beginning (line 6). This is what the emperor means that the secret of life is begun when the worm is resurrected. In line 6, the writer also emphasizes the crossbow, means the goal. It means that in reaching the goal of life, we sometimes will face the failure in some aspects, like economic aspect, social aspect, and so on. It is not forever that the goal belongs to the successful and they will feel pleasant to the life, because life is like the wheel which whirls to its axis, there will be a condition when we are high and when we are down.
The second stanza is beginning with the theory that the author wants to emphasize the theory of life really works if it really answers how the real life is. The figurative language that is used is simile: From here to where the time changes at Mexico beach is like writing all the armies of the afterlife is waiting underground in China. In line 10 to 13 the author tells about in creating the big power needs much time, it is not easy as we have seen. In line 11, the author uses “Mexico beach”, it means that the Mexico beach was damaged by hurricane in 2018, so it needs long time to recovery the city, even the government needs 6 six month is not an enough time. Every part in Mexico beach looks so messy till the time changes, it is still look messy without recovering. Then in line 12 to 13, it tells about the armies were in underground in China, it named terracota. Terracota is the sculptures which are the men in warrior attire standing in rows and they are look like army ready for battle. According to artsy article, each sculpture is clearly differentiated. Their facial hair is unique (some sport top knots or mustaches), as are the positions of their arms (raised; at their sides; hands folded) and even their headgear. It means that it is exactly needs much time to write and identify one by one of the sculpture of terracotta itself. They were made with different face, expression, description and also the horses too. If we want to try write and identify the terracotta, we need much time, power and skill. It is same like when the emperor wants to create the perfect power. If the power is perfect, it can be applied in everywhere and every time we are. It relates to the word “air” here represents the big area which receives the equal air, in order they get the same treatment So, if we relate from the line 10 to 13 is that the time that the emperor will use to create the fair and equal swallowtail (power) are so difficult and it needs much time. It is not easy as upside down the hand.
In stanza 3, the authors emphasizes the “shadows” here means that something invisible, such as characteristic, lessons, ideals. So, in line 14, 15, the authors wants to tell that the people will be attuned themselves to the characteristic of the rule that the emperor has implemented, the people will be attuned to the emperor’s ideals. The rule of the emperor is the highest rule that should be obeyed by the people itself. No one can deny the rule. The rule will control the whole nation in the palace. In addition, if the biggest rule will be implemented by the emperor in his governmental, the current law might be broken because of his power as supreme. People is the one who will feel the big differences when the replacement of the emperor, for example the heirs of the current emperor is stricter, more discipline, and so on. So, the people should be able to adapt with that kind of governmental system. In line 18, the authors tells about the theory that a moment is a warehouse where armies are stacked. As we all have known, warehouse is the place to put goods, tools, and so on. Here, in this poet the author emphasizes the warehouse is the place to where the armies are kept and they will be safe until one of them is death or broken. In line 20, the author mentions the osprey’s underside is like a zebra swallowtail, means that the design and the colors are black and white. This line use figurative language simile. The zebra swallowtail represents the soul and the faith. Another in interpretation in the Ancient Greeks also considered butterflies as the souls of those who had passed away. In word “Bay bridge” is the bridge that has been begun in San Francisco. Bay bridge is only the bridge which does not have something interesting. In the history of the bridge tells about the earthquake tragedy that has happened and it has killed one person. So, we can relate the representative of butterfly as a soul of dead with the Bay Bridge. Then the author uses “Fort Walton” to the destination of the lover. Fort Walton itself is the most beautiful place in Okaloosa. According to Britannica, the history background of Fort Walton is the place where power of leader is influenced the people. The leader which is in the high position has the freedom to do anything even something bad and cruel to the people, it relates to the swallowtails which represents the power of emperor. So, the rule still misses of the prey due to the long and dark show that has blocked his way to catch the prey as the lover did, they jumped from the Bay Bridge to Fort Walton. They are separated because of the distance between two places. In line 23, the lover’s sure that they will meet in another life. If they meet in another life, one of them remembers that they have met in another life. In the next line tells that even the emperor’s power still has shortcoming. There will be a time or condition that can limit the power itself. In the last line, it tells about the plum blossom did not freeze in the emperor’s courtyard, means that, when the plants are freezing, the butterfly will not come because there’s no nectar at all. There is possibility that the butterfly does not show off around is kind of emperor’s power declines. So, there will be a condition when the supreme power decreases and make the people get the old problem again.
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