After reading the four assigned poems, I noticed all of them had a similar theme of love and people dealing with a difficult time. This theme is common in many works of literature and also in the real world. When I first started serving at Beans and Bread, a meal program located near the Inner Harbor, I saw first hand one of the most difficult things to experience-poverty. Most guests who come to Beans and Bread are materially poor, however they are definitely full of emotion and love for their families and friends.
In John Donne’s A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning and The Flea, he writes about a man and his lover. In A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning, the man is leaving his lover and tells her not to feel sad because their souls are still one and they will be happy when they meet again. His leaving is not breaking their relationship, but only expanding it. In the latter of Donne’s poems, the man asks his lover not to kill the flea. He explains that inside the flea their blood and the flea’s blood is united as one inside the body. If the woman kills the insect, it would be killing a little bit of herself, the man and the flea and other than sucking some of the blood out of the humans, the man asks what other harm it has done to her.
Talking with some of the guests at Beans and Bread really opened my mind and gave me more awareness of the daily problems they face. Some of the guests at Beans and Bread have lost contact with their families and even though they are sad at the moment, they know it will be a joyous occasion when they unite with their families again. The guests know they are always together with their families through their blood and genes, similar to the blood inside of the flea.
Memorandum is not just a note to author Billie Bolton’s ex-boyfriend, it is her venting about the frustrating things he has said or done during their relationship. It seems like Bolton has put up with a lot of his complaints and stories and just wants him to know how she felt. All of the sentences of the poem start with the word “anytime” which emphasizes her angry emotions and her desire never to hear or talk to her ex-boyfriend again.
The poem, Fox Trot Fridays by Rita Dove, is about overcoming grief and worry by dancing and being with the ones you love. Dove suggests that when you are with someone that you care about and love, all the pain subsides. The poem also has a sense of the idea of living and thinking in the present and to enjoy the moment.
Serving at Beans and Bread and interacting and engaging with the guests there really helped me understand other people’s lives and the difficulties they have to go through. One time when I served at Beans and Bread, a mom with three young children came in to have a meal. After she left, I overheard one of the regular volunteers tell someone else that her husband had treated her badly and she had left him. Not surprisingly, she did not want anything to do with her ex-husband and did not like talking about that time in her life. Other guests at Beans and Bread suffer from emotional and mental pain their situation puts them in. When they talk to fellow guests and also to volunteers or even during the short prayer at the beginning of the meal, I can see them forget about their problems for seconds to sometimes a couple of minutes. I truly enjoy engaging in conversations with the guests knowing that when they ask about my studies at Loyola or my family at home, their mind is taken off their personal situations and dilemmas.