Bluebird-Poemby Charles Bukowski
Poetryis seen by many people as an expressionless subject that is sometimesdry, dull or both. However, reading Bluebird by Charles Bukowskimakes you question this uninformed stand. His Bluebird piece waspublished in the year 1992. It is part of Bukowski`s collection ofpoems that is featured on the album "The Last Night of the EarthPoems". Almost in all of his poems, Bukowski embraces reality,which is an aesthetic value in poetry and Bluebird is no exception.
Bluebirdis a poem anchored on themessuch as depression,alienation,escapism,andsolitude.Bluebird in the poem is an alternate personality that the author usesdeceptively to unearth concealed depths in the life of the speaker(Bukowski 18). The point that the speaker wants to illustrate thispoem is that people have doubled. One that is we let out for all tosee and the other one that we struggle so much to have it hidden tothe rest of the world. The speaker is afraid to let the blue bird outbecause they feel that he is a threat to what they have struggled tobuild. "You want to jeopardize my book sales in Europe?"The themes of escapismand denialarerevealed through the speaker`s indulgence in smoking, alcoholism, andprostitution. All these are techniques that escapists utilize torefrain themselves from facing reality.
"Thereis a bluebird in my heart that even though wants to get out I won`tlet it. I have whiskey poured on him and have him inhale cigarettesmoke so that the bartenders, whores, and grocery clerks never knowsthat he exists in there" (Bukowski 18).
Thetheme of alliterationcomes out through the speaker`s effort to keep the bluebird fromescaping. Whatever the bluebird is, the speaker should let out andhave his burden shared with those who care to. But the speaker isadamant about letting anyone know of the bluebird`s existence. Heremains alienated through loneliness and depression. His being istrapped in fear and consolation that his strength is more than thatof the Bluebird, and he will somehow manage to keep the bluebirdrestrained, "but I am too tough for him" (Bukowski 18). Thelines “but I am too tough for him” is an alliteration with words“too” and “tough” containing consonant sounds almostidentical. In the end, we learn that what the speaker is afraid tolet out is his emotions.
Theterm ‘bluebird` in the poem is a metaphorin itself, and is sued to imply the persona`s emotions. The speakeris keen to express his feelings, but the fear of how the society willperceive him makes him adamant too. The speaker also uses strength asa metaphor to mean denial. For example, it is indeed a mask that thespeaker has put on to “conceal his emotions,” not the actualpower. The adoption of this stylistic device makes the author`spurpose of portraying emotion successfully to the audience. Theaudience imagines a bird confined in a cage on the verge of dying andletting the bird out implies letting emotions out which can make anindividual weep.
Symbolismused in the paper includes Alcoholism,prostitution,and smoking,used to represent depression.In the real society, people who engage in these activities are adepressed individual who is escaping reality in life. The speakerdeceptively uses the technique to portray the depression that he isin without directly having to refer to the word. “There is abluebird in my heart showing the desire to get out, but I won`t lethim. Instead, I pour on his whiskey and make him inhale the cigarettesmoke. The whores won`t know that he exists" (Bukowski 19).Alcohol is used here to suppress the bluebird or rather the emotions.The speaker portrays the personal struggle that he is embroiled in.
Thereis a paradoxin what the author wants to achieve by taking alcohol and smokingcigarette. It is known, at least from the perspective of the societythat taking too much alcohol makes a person open up and may revealtheir feelings even without knowing. The fact that the author wantsto suppress his feelings and emotions through addiction tendenciesbrings on sight a whole new level of paradox to his work.
Hyperboleisadopted by the author also as a stylistic device. In poetry,hyperbole as a figure of speech is used to portray ideas in a ratherabsurd way, and the Bluebird author is no stranger to this. The linein the poem "there`s a bluebird in my heart" is a hyperbole(Bukowski 19). Of course, it is not used to imply that there is anactual bird in the heart of the persona. This may be impossible, butthe bird in bluebird encompasses a bigger meaning. In the poem, ithas taken the meaning of emotions. Only feelings can exist in theheart and depict tendencies of wanting to get out.
Thetoneadoptedby Bukowski is melancholic.This strategy helps the persona in the poem to establish an emotionalconnection with the audience. The personal struggle the persona facesis meant to tug the readers to the situation at hand. The approach ofthe author is quite useful as it pushes the reader to examinecritically what is happening to the persona and how they will resolvethat in the end.
Inconclusion, the poem exposes one crucial fact about the nature ofhumans: we are doubling faced and vulnerable. Bluebird is just aboutthe person that everyone wants to show to the world while at the sametime concealing the other part that we never want the world to knowabout us. The poem exposes the judgmental nature of the society andthe way it expects everyone to conform and become a larger part ofthe world that is without emotion. The author is, in essence, honestto the society and by writing about what he feels I believe he haslet his bluebird out.
Bukowski,Charles. TheLast Night of the Earth Poems, 1992.Print.