Friday, 21 February 2014

Analysis- Away Above A Harborful

Away Above a Harborful 
Megan Koch 

Away above a harborful
of caulkless houses 
among the charley noble chimneypots
of a rooftop rigged with clotheslines 
a woman pastes up sails
upon the wind
hanging out her morning sheets
with wooden pins
O lovely mammal
her nearly naked breasts 
throw taut shadows
when she stretches up 
to hang at last the last of her
so white washed sins 
but it is wetly amorous
and winds itself about her 
clinging to her skin
So caught with arms 
she tosses back her head
in voiceless laughter 
and in choiceless gesture then
shakes out gold hair

while in the reachless seascape spaces

between the blown white shrouds 

stand out the bright steamers

to kingdom come 

“Away Above a Harborful” is a poem by famous poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti. In this poem Ferlinghetti is reflecting upon his love for this woman. The main theme of this poem is love, you can tell that he truly loves this woman because he explains her every move in detail.  
                  In the first couple of lines Ferlinghetti starts it off with him waking up and looking around enjoying the view. Felinghetti explains that he can see the house tops of houses down below and how he can see the harbour from his window, from the sounds of this, it seems like he lives on a hilltop. Then he sees who is either his girlfriend or wife hanging up her sheets. He then goes on talking about how she’s hanging up her morning sheets. When he writes “a woman pastes up sails”, he’s comparing the morning sheets to the sails of the ships in the water. It’s almost as if you’re there and you’re watching this woman.
From the line “to hang at last the last of her” what he means is this woman is hanging the last of her sheets and as the wind blows, the sheets are sticking to her since they are still wet. In the last couple of lines, from when Ferlinghetti writes “she tosses back her head”, he’s describing the way she’s laughing as she’s hanging up her sheets. Perhaps, he said something funny since she was laughing. Then Ferlinghetti goes on about how the sheets look like streamers opening to this woman’s kingdom. Perhaps he’s comparing this woman to a princess.
The metaphors in this poem are “a woman pastes up sails upon the wind”, and “stand out the bright streamers to kingdom come”. In the first metaphor, Ferlinghetti is comparing the sheets to the sails of boats. In the second metaphor, he is comparing the sheets to streamers, he’s describing the streamers to be opening up to the woman’s kingdom. 
Lastly, the mood and tones in this poem are in love and happiness. The woman is completely happy, perhaps she’s happy because of the fact that she has Ferlinghetti in her life. However, he comes across as completely in love with this woman. This is because the way he watches every one of her moves and describes the way she moves, in detail. The tone is also in love, this is again because of the fact that he’s describing her every move, it seems like he’s completely head over heels for this woman.


  1. There are no 'streamers' in this poem, for chrissakes, they're STEAMERS, i.e. ships in the harbor.

  2. There are no 'streamers' in this poem, for chrissakes, they're STEAMERS, i.e. ships in the harbor.