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Incidents When Clients Pick Food Items in Refrigerator/pantry

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Incidents When Clients Pick Food Items in Refrigerator/pantry

Incidents when clients pick food items in Refrigerator/Pantry

Client: DS

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sat "one eye is weeping." He must escape to keep his sanity; yet he must return to keep going. He wants to push "[t]oward heaven" to the limits of earthly possibility, but to go too far is to be lost. The upward motion requires a complement, a swing in the other direction to maintain a livable balance.

And that is why the birch tree is the perfect vehicle. As a tree, it is rooted in the ground; in climbing it, one has not completely severed ties to the earth. Moreover, as the final leap back down takes skill, experience, and courage, it is not a mere retreat but a new trajectory. Thus, one's path up and down the birch is one that is "good both going and coming back." The "Truth" of the ice storm does not interfere for long; for the poet looks at bent trees and imagines another truth: nothing less than a recipe for how to live well.

A poem as richly textured as "Birches" yields no shortage of interpretations. The poem is whole and lovely at the literal level, but it invites the reader to look below the surface and build his or her own understanding. The important thing for the interpreter is to attune her reading to the elements of the poem that may suggest other meanings. One such crucial element is the aforementioned swinging motion between opposites. Notice the contrast between Truth and what the speaker prefers to imagine happened to the birch trees. But also note that Truth, as the speaker relates it, is highly figurative and imaginative: Ice storms are described in terms of the "inner dome of heaven," and bent trees as girls drying their hair in the sun. This sort of truth calls into question whether the speaker believes there is, in fact, a capital-T Truth.

The language of the poem—the vocabulary and rhythms—is very conversational

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