Position By Carol Berge

Position By Carol Berge “Position” was written in 1964 and was one of the few poems that jumped out at me. Position can be inspiration to all of us but I feel as though it is more or less about the long road to find the love of your life. Carol Berge`, the author of “Position” was born in 1928 and was divorced after the birth of her son. Berge’s poetry focuses on self-respect and people seeking love such as in this poem. I believe the past is hard for everyone to deal with; when past experiences are bad experiences we tend to carry along the baggage and try to protect ourselves from making the same mistake. Unfortunately, we close ourselves off, not allowing us to succeed and create a good memory to overturn the bad.

A fear of pain is almost more dangerous than pain itself. The poem uses generally known vocabulary making it easy to read and easy to understand yet it has no stress pattern. She makes use of figurative language by utilizing metaphors, symbols, and consonance. She speaks of a mother who “whipped the spirit out of her son”, symbolizes herself as all women, and displays consonance in the ninth line when she states “wouldn’t..couldn’t..didn’t”. I really enjoyed the way she spoke of a previous girl who didn’t do any of the right things.

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It is easy to prejudge others, to put a face value on someone we don’t even know. When something painful has happened in the past, we learn from it, take value out of the event, and yet we never want it to happen again. When a man is beaten by his mother, his idea of all mothers is tarnished and he is no longer willing to think well of mothers. Berge` talks about “the girl who didn’t, or wouldn’t or couldn’t but didn’t.” Because of past experiences the idea of any girl as a positive and fulfilling partner is no longer valid in a mind that was once opened to the world. Berge` then reverses the situation by asking the question, but “what chance have I got/ unless you consider/ that you stand before me too.” What about all the men that have given bad impressions or all the fathers who have beaten their daughters? Without opening ourselves up to hurt again, we can never open ourselves up to love again. We are so busy trying to judge others that we never realize they are also judging us.

When the past is always haunting us and telling us not to make the same mistake again it is easy to just give up and forget about ever opening ourselves up to love again. I chose this poem because I enjoyed the last segment very much. “What chance have I got/ unless you consider/ that you stand before me too.” I was having a lot of difficulty dealing with the past and never stopped to realize, while I was so quick to pass judgment, I was not only the judge but the defendant as well. I was so stuck on the idea that she did this and that in the past that I didn’t stop to realize that we were both in the same situation. I also enjoyed the presence of lines four through ten, which talk about the past leaving bad images in our minds. Everyone has had something happen in the past where they carry over the memory and it affects them throughout their life, anything from a broken heart to a broken home.

When a heart is broken it is hard to re-open it to anyone, the fear of another pain is just too great. Position really puts things into perspective and can inspire anyone, no matter what situation you get yourself into. It is important to realize that while we may be passing judgment on others, they are also passing judgment on us. Judge each individual as an individual not based on a past experience. Let everything teach a lesson but do not close yourself off to others because of a few bad experiences.


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