Chief Wor30

Chief Wor30 - Chief Works Merwin's "The Drunk...

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Unformatted text preview: Chief Works Merwin's "The Drunk in the Furnace" (1960) is a meditation on a sleeper in an abandoned smelting furnace in the Pennsylvania hills. The poet balances his narrative within four pentameter quatrains, each begun and ended with half-lines of two or three beats. In the first stanza, the setting of the hat- like "hulking black fossil" alongside a "poisonous creek" points to the locals' ignorance, implying both lack of education and the original Latin meaning of "don't know." By the second stanza, a wisp of smoke awakens the unidentified observers to an intruder capable of "a pale / Resurrection," a playful hint at the viewers' shortsighted Christianity. Drawing on his youth in a Presbyterian rectory, Merwin prolongs the play on fundamentalism in the last two stanzas, noting that the source of the drunk's "spirits" is mysterious. Drunk on alcohol, he last two stanzas, noting that the source of the drunk's "spirits" is mysterious....
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