3. In the excerpt from the critical essay by Rei Terada, taken from Derek Walcott's Poetry, she writes, "although mimicry is in general a necessary part of life, cultures may choose to mimic in constructive or destructive ways." What does she mean by "mimicry"? cite several examples from the poem that illustrates this. Explain your choices.
Here's my answer:
III. By mimicry, I think Rei Terada means to mimic animal nature in fighting for land and killing. In the poem, the killing of whales is an example of human mimicking the animal nature to kill, but we are more destructive, because we overdo the killing. Also, driving the Native Americans away from their land is also an animal trait, but, again, it is done excessive to the point that they are driven to the point of near extinction.
Old New England
Black clippers, tarred with whales' blood, fold their sails
entering New Bedford, New London, New Haven.
A white church spire whistles into space
like a swordfish, a rocket pierces heaven
as the thawed springs in ice chevrons race
down hillsides and Old Glories
flail the corsses of green farm boys back form 'Nam.
Seasons are measured still by the same
span of the veined leaf and the veined body
whenever the spring wind startles an uproar
of marching oaks with memories of a war
that peeled whole counties from the calendar.
The hillside is still wounded by the spire
of the white meetinghouse, the Indian trail
trickles down it like the brown blood of the whale
in rowanberries bubbling like the spoor
on logs burnt black as Bibles by hellfire.
The war whoop is coiled tight in the white owl,
stone-feathered icon of the Indian soul,
and railway lines are arrowing to the far
mountainwide absence of the Iroquois.
Spring lances wood and wounds, and a spring run
down tilted birch floors with their splintered suns
of beads and mirrors-broken promises
that helped make this Republic what it is.
The crest of our conviction grows as loud
as the spring oaks, rooted and reassured
that God is meek but keeps a whistling sword;
His harpoon is the white lance of the church,
His wandering mind a trail that folded in birch,
his rage the vats that boiled the melted beast
when the black clippers brought (knotting each shroud
round the crosstrees) our sons home from the East.