You are on page 1of 2

Andrew Ticzon

When I Was No Bigger Than A Huge Through the Lens of Horace and Longinus
The poem is considered one of Villas comma poems, a style that uses the commas functionally
and poetically, contributing to the medium of the poem. They are used in the sense of prose a pause
after each comma, but it does not exceed the usual time of a pause which the comma gives for prose
(Villa, 1958). This aspect of structure regarding the commas complement the experience of the poem
in a functional and poetical manner in the sense that the poetic experience is heightened by the
emphasis put on each word as a result of the required pause, and becomes an attempt to exhaust the
idea given by the word because of a longer thought process on a specific word.
This aspect of structure which contributes to its elevated composition, to a certain extent
dictates the experience when the poem is read as it also ties up with the content. In the same way
that the reader is in a way forced to think about each word due to the pauses, the content is also
about the persona putting much thought into certain ideas or passions which have conflicted
throughout his life, after which he comes to a conclusion of all these ideas. This can be seen in the
first stanza in which writer uses the noble dictions of metaphor of a not being bigger, than, a, huge,/
Star, to indicate these experiences happened before he reached old age because a huge star usually
refers to the initial starting point of death of the star because it has grown old (i.e. a red giant).
Afterwards, he starts to use high thoughts by saying that, before this time he began to write in
himself (in, my, self, I, began, to, write) and this obviously metaphorical for the personas inner life
or inner self, (in, my, self, and not myself) with emphasis on self,. These ideas that he started to
construct within his self had to do with his Theology, Of, rose, and, Tiger: Based on the word
Theology, meaning the study of God and his ideas Of, rose, and, Tiger with Of being possessive
of the rose which usually connotes within the English tradition love and Tiger which is
audacity or ferocity. With the qualifier Theology, the metaphorical image brings about an
elevation of these ideas to a level of god-like within the persona and thus because of its level of
intensity, it results in a conflict because love and ferocity or better yet, its possible synonym
violence are conflicting ideas. One cannot say one loves if one is violent and vice-versa.
The conflict can be seen throughout the rest of the 2 nd stanza and half of the 3rd. In the 2nd stanza,
the persona claims he burned, with, their, Pure, and, Rage which indicates a sort of disorderly
combustion within the persona. He says Pure, because assuming that rose connotes love, if its
any kind of pure love, it should be pure. The other, Rage, which is extreme anger can only be the
result of violence which comes from hate. Afterwards (connoted by the word then) the persona says
he is Wrath-/ Ful, And, most, Gentle: This is possible because from rage, one can be wrathful
because wrath is an anger that is vehemently incensed and condemnatory, and from Pure, one can
proceed to being most, Gentle because purity brings to mind being uncontaminated, which means
there are no disharmony between elements, and thus no conflict, and if there is no conflict one would
usually say that there is certain kind of peace, and a symptom of this peace is the state of being
gentle. In being Wath/- Ful and most, Gentle: the persona was also most, / Dark, and, yet, most,
Lit. This probably means that he could see and not see because one can see when one is to a certain
extent gentle and at peace, but one cannot see at the same time certain things if one is wrathful,
because he is blinded by an anger of an epic scale. These last two descriptions of the personas
conflicting state seem to be the climax before he finally sees the root and a way out of his conflict.
This is because the persona claims that an Eye grew which gave him a Vision something
wealthy (which seems to be in a certain idea, a wealth of knowledge founded on an idea) (Gold) but
at the same time he saw the conflicting entities (wars). This conflict seems to between him and God
due to the realizing that he finally knew, the, Lord, was, not, my, Creator! This implies that prior to
this he believed that God was his Creator, but then the persona being a creator himself of many
things (as all persons are to a certain extent makers of things) and thus making himself (or as
commonly goes creating oneself) in the process. This latter realization makes him conclude that
since the persona creates himself, he is his own creator and thus ascribes himself the title of the
Ultimate Creator. This realization allowed his old principle to die - the principle that God was the
Creator, and now, he can continue to grow more because the persona realizes he is his own creator,
hence I, began, to, Die, and, I, began, to, Grow,.
Given this interpretation, it does fall under the standards of Horace and Longinus. There is a unity
and harmony within the readers experience, the structure, matter, and form, of the poem and is of
course written within the English tradition (tradition of language), and of course with the use of his
words Rage, Pure, Wrath, Gentle, Dark, Lit all convey emotions along with punctuation

marks attached to words like Creator! that implies a Eureka moment filled with excitement.
Furthermore, the poem is consistent but not in the sense that it repeats the same thing, but it is
consistent in its logical relations: there is a beginning conflict, a climax of the conflict, then a
resolution. The poem also conveys some wisdom, the wisdom of what it means to be human and fall
into error, as is the case with the personas resolution at the end of the poem. The poem to a certain
degree enlightens the reader by giving an insight not just into the persona but the human person and
this insight (intellectual error and frailty) plus experience of understanding it is what makes the poem
rich and beautiful. However, this beauty is brought to the sublime by the poems devices which follow
the criteria of Longinus: high thoughts (insights and experiences of the persona and reader), elevated
composition (that its a comma poem and the structure integrates with the matter), inspired passions,
and noble dictions (the image brought about by the metaphors of the poem).