“I Am Your Own Forever” (Found Poem)

~

Did the world
sleep yesterday?
Thou had stol’n hours,
free and merry.
I found kisses on lips,
wanting to taste
sweet nothing
forever.

You,
whose love eternal,
hadst been born an
answer to prove
life and heaven.
All earth amazed;
for nothing greater
than you.

You liv’st to
make a world honest—
I thank you for
this love.
If there be
knives, poison, or fire,
I’ll endure it with passion
to see you.

You give me a
reason to go on.
I lay with a kind soul.
Our love, o sweet,
as if plucked by fate.
This dream,
me in your hand,
t’was my first gift.

I am sure that
all my fond love
thus heaven.
Your mind perhaps
may change,
but keep my love,
a vow,
ever-burning.

I greet thy love
with thanks,
with acceptance bounteous.
Within these days,
my friend,
come with me.
I am your own
forever.

~

Explanation:

Welcome to my second project! (Sorry that it is late again, that seems to be a recurring theme at this point…) For this project, I wanted to try to do a blackout poem, also known as a found poem. I was in another one of my classes this semester when the style of poetry was mentioned and I was very intrigued. It is where you have an already existing text and manipulate it by taking specific words or phrases from it and highlighting them while blacking out or deleting others in order to make a completely different meaning from the piece of writing. I thought that would be a good unessay for my last project in this class and it was fun putting it together. The first thing that came to my mind about what I could do a found poem for was Othello.

I immediately thought about a number of scenes that I could use, but ultimately settled on Act 3 Scene 3, specifically the last part from lines 378 to 546. This scene is the pivotal one where it starts out with Othello not thinking that there is much going on with Desdemona but by the end of it, is vowing to kill her. All because of Iago’s manipulation. It is an intense and complex scene, but one of the lines that stood out to me the most when first reading it was the final line “I am your own forever”. It’s a declaration from Iago while the two are kneeling on the floor as Othello is giving a “vow”. Even though they are talking about murdering people, it still seems romantically coded and threw me off at first read.

At first, I thought for my found poem it might be fun to change some of Iago and Othello’s dialogue back and forth to insinuate a romantic interest between the two of them during this scene. But after attempting it and failing, I realized trying to keep both of their points of view in the poem was too difficult and would be way too long if I did somehow manage to make it work. So I instead decided to make one long poem from an anonymous perspective about being in love with someone else. As the reader, you can imagine anybody in the place of the person writing the poem and anybody in the place that they are writing the poem about.

Actually putting together the found poem was harder than I initially thought it would be. I was essentially scanning through lines, trying to find things that would match together to be something romantic or sappy. There were several times when I was inspired by a few words and thought of good lines that I was excited about doing, but then I was short one word to have the line make sense. Because I had to make sure that the words I took out were still readable, the lines all had to follow one another in order of reading right-to-left and down as usual. So sometimes I saw a word I could use but it wasn’t in the right place for me to utilize properly. It made it so I had to do a lot of little tinkering and redoing stuff that didn’t fit.

On the other hand, there were some lines that were much easier to put together. If you are just scanning words from the scene without knowing the context, it is crazy how many romantically-associated words I could find and use. “Merry”, “kisses”, “sweet”, “eternal”, “heaven”, “passion”, “reason”, “kind”, “fate”, “dream”, “gift”, “fond”, “vow”, “ever-burning”, and “love”. There were so many “loves” it was kind of ridiculous. There were also a couple of lines that barely had anything deleted from between them but worked well, as if it was already there waiting to be highlighted. And then there was the final line, “I am your own forever”, that needed no tinkering whatsoever in order to sound romantic. 

I think this project answers the question “why does your response to literature matter” in the way that the found poem shows how much you can read between the lines, this case being quite literal. So much of what you get from literature won’t necessarily be upfront. It may be a reach to say that there was romantic or queer coding between Iago and Othello during this scene, but it still matters because readings like that demonstrate the different perspectives and ideas that can coexist in one text. Words on their own each hold individual meanings and associations depending on the person and so with any text you can find something other than the obvious presentation. Also that each person can read the same text and get something different from it. It is so cool to think about how someone else could do a found poem of this exact same scene and come up with something completely unique.

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7 thoughts on ““I Am Your Own Forever” (Found Poem)

  1. I was super excited for your project, and I was not disappointed. This is such a creative idea and it really is amazing how many romantic words were in Othello and Iago’s conversation. I also like that you brought up the question “why does your response to literature matter” because literature is very interpretative and blackout/found poetry is a great example of reading between the lines and getting to analyze literature in any way you want. The poem you created is amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed it, I think I want to try to do some black out poetry now!! Great work!!

  2. This is so cool! It’s such a cool way to go about looking at and understanding the text. I really like where you said “Words on their own each hold individual meanings and associations depending on the person and so with any text you can find something other than the obvious presentation,” in your reflection. Very true and powerful, and reflects so well in your project! Great job!

  3. I love this. I think it illustrates the idea of different readings so perfectly. Found poetry is always lovely to read. I think the poem can actually be heavily read in Iago’s voice to Othello. If we take Iago’s personality into consideration, he could very well simply be manipulating Othello with this love poem, but maybe some of his true feelings are coming through, just as in the original play. Fantastic work, thank you for working my brain up like this.

  4. I really like this project! I think found poems are really creative and allow the artist to create their own original ideas within a connection to another piece. I do think you capture a lot of the themes in Othello really well, including the question of death, love, and acceptance. I absolutely agree that found poems correlate with the importance of studying literature. It captures the themes and ideas of a piece within a new and original light that places emphasis on new ideas and contributes to the conversations surrounding the original piece and developing theories and ideas. Great work!!

  5. I love this project! A found poem is such a great idea and I really love that you included both examples of the poem. One being blacked out and one with all the words together. I especially love how you ended with the haunting line of “I am your own forever” Great job!

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