Every poem written has a meani…

December 1, 2018 General Studies

Every poem written has a meaning and a purpose. Oftentimes, poets write a piece of work that many readers analyze and conclude that they can relate to this poem. For me, this feeling of realization occured when I read the poem, “Common Ground.” This poem, written by Judith Ortiz Cofer, explores the themes of growing old, family connections, and self realization. A theme that is explicitly expressed in this poem is family connections and how they sculpt a person’s life and who they are. For example, right from the start Cofer shows her readers that there are similarities between each individual. She does this by titling this poem “Common Ground.” This title states how there is a common bond between all people, but also a deeper bond between family members. The purpose of this poem is to explain these connections. The use of imagery also helps readers grasp this theme. In the second stanza, the speaker says, “These days when I look in the mirror I see my grandmothers stern lips” (Cofer 3). In other words, the speaker is explaining how she sees similarities between her and her grandmother. This section of the poem stood out to me because it reminds me of my Mom. She often says how she is turning into her mother day by day, not in just how she looks but how she acts. Our ‘common ground’ as humans is brought on by our parents by how they raised us. Another theme addressed in this poem are feelings about growing old. Cofer uses the simile, “Like arrows pointing downward to our common ground” (Cofer 18,19). This simile explains how aging and death are inevitable and that this is what each human has in common with each other (Marywilla). These two lines also indicate a negative feeling about growing old. As people start to see that they are aging, often times they become sad. Many feel regret about not living the best life that they could have or they feel lonely and are afraid to die. Another line that addresses this theme is in the first stanza when Cofer writes, “through your pores rises the stuff of your origin” (Cofer 6,7). These lines relate back to the inevitability of aging. Our “origins” are what we are made of; in other words our genetics, which will all eventually be shown. This again shows the common connections between family members. Throughout this poem, Cofer draws conclusions about life as humans. The first stanza shows the readers how our blood is the reason why we are alive, not in the scientific way, but with a deeper meaning. The meaning is that we all created and alive for a reason and that this is what makes us all connected. The narrator has several self realizations in this poem. For example, the first line states, “blood tells the story of your life” (Cofer 1). This line is a realization of how important family is to humans. Our blood connects us to our parents and siblings, and it is so important to treasure this connection and let it tell the story of our life. Cofer clearly expresses these thoughts by using unique diction and personification. For example, when the narrator describes her grandmothers lips as “speaking in parentheses” (Cofer 11), she is using personification to explain how as she ages, she begins to speak more like her grandmother and share the same thoughts feelings as her. Another example of personification is the line “bones speak in the language of death” (Cofer 3,4). In other words, this line is explaining how as humans become older our bones become frail and achy, indicated that we are going to die soon (McDonald). In conclusion, this poem has thoroughly explained how humans are all connected to each other. It is important to understand the analysis of “Common Ground” because it gives readers a true insight on the themes included in this poem. Poetry is especially valuable in our world today because many poets put the feelings that a lot of us cannot express into words.


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