The Memory of a Poem

Class: The Writer’s Craft (EWC4U1)
Date: May 2008
The Assignment: Do a presentation and make a handout about a poem you have been assigned to analyze.
WARNING: This is all completely made up since I couldn’t find any information about the real poem.

  1. Out of the air I draw the memory of a bird.
  2. Out of the earth I draw the memory of a tree.
  3. From the memory of the bird
  4. and the memory of the tree
  5. I make the memory of a poem
  6. that weighs lighter than air
  7. and floats away without wind.

Michael Bullock


  • The poet, Michael Bullock, was also a comic book creator and writer. This other work had a great influence on the meaning of “The Memory of a Poem”.


  • Diction is very important in this piece.
    • The word “draw” is used twice. This connects to Bullock’s background as a comic book writer, because comic books are drawn.
    • The words “air” and “earth” are both elements. Elements are commonly controlled by superheroes.
  • Repetition is also used quite often.
    • The first two lines are nearly identical; this is an allusion to “it’s a bird, it’s a plane… it’s Superman!”. In “Memory”, it is instead “it’s a bird, it’s a tree… it’s a poem!”
    • “Lighter than air” is also reminiscent of “faster than a speeding bullet”.


  • The entire poem is an extended metaphor, comparing writing a poem to creating a superhero.
    • The first two lines refer to the ingredients that go into making a superhero: the power to control air and earth, the speed and grace of a bird, and the strength and sturdiness of a tree.
    • The bird and the tree may also be symbolic. The first two lines create a strong image of a bird in the air and tree in the earth, which may represent the superhero flying through the air and a skyscraper or the city below. A tree thrives when there is life (birds) inside it, just as a city thrives when there is a superhero there to preserve goodness.
    • Lines 3–5 bring the ingredients together to create the product: the superhero, the poem.
    • Line 6, “lighter than air”, refers to the superhero ability of flying.
    • The final line is very powerful. The superhero is now complete and it “floats away without wind” (7). The creation has a mind of its own now that the poet/creator has given it life.