Grass On The Riverbank Never Dies: An Interpretation Of 'Wild Grass On The Riverbank'

Grass On The Riverbank Never Dies: An Interpretation Of 'Wild Grass On The Riverbank'

People have the ability to learn from their experiences and further grow themselves as unique individuals just as plants can overcome obstacles of their own.

"Wild Grass on the Riverbank" by Hiromi Ito is a poem that highlights the experiences of a young girl who travels to a new place called the Wastelands to visit her father. Her differences from the natives in the area are apparent, and she is marginalized for not being like everyone else. In spite of the problems she faces, she keeps going, pursuing the course. She concludes that people like herself can bloom into someone new and begin a fresh start despite past hardships. Ito successfully uses repetition, comparisons to nature, personification and a burdened, yet enlightened tone to effectively prove how obstacles can be overcome in light of troublesome circumstances. Here is my interpretation of the poem.

Firstly, by implementing the repetition of phrases and sentences throughout the poem, Ito gives the poem's lines more effect. The repetition helps to emphasize the connection that Ito creates between man and nature. By frequently claiming, “The ground was covered, blooms spread across the earth” (line 92) three times, Ito makes the reader reread that particular line and better engrave the image into his or her mind. The blooms spreading over the face of the earth and expanding their reach are a sign of new life that was not always abundant there. This can be attributed to the speaker and the situation that she and the other immigrants are in. For the many people travelling to the Wastelands, they have the opportunity to start anew. The very lines written in the poem are repetitive, continuous and abundant because they are a reflection of the blooms covering the earth, meaning the syntax used also furthers the meaning of the stanza. Ito also used repetition as a means of accentuating hope within dark times, demonstrated by the way the author repeated phrases and lines that were primarily optimistic in tone, in contrast to some of the other unhappier lines.

By the end of the poem, the speaker comes to the realization that life will carry on no matter the difficulties she and people like her may face, as “living is more commonplace than dying for plants” (Ito 94) because they have the capacity to grow through rain or sunshine; good times and bad times. The endurance of the speaker in trying times is established through the adaptability of the plants that represent man. The metaphorical relationship between plants and people continues to be reinforced as the poem goes on. The speaker compares herself and others to plant life with the intent of having nature represent strength and rebirth, thus attributing that same characteristic to man. Because Ito is consistently making this contrast in various stanzas, it becomes clear that there is an underlying theme of enlightenment due to the way the author stresses how, like the plants, humans are able to undergo change or persecution and still overcome the issues that they once had to deal with.

This idea is further established and proven by the speaker’s use of positive diction in the final stanza. In addition, the speaker manages to persevere through the “...piles of dried up corpses...” (line 90) found in new places as she immigrates to the wastelands where people like her are expected to give up their culture. She is also pressured to conform to the norms of the new place she travels to. This can be seen when she first reaches the Wastelands and is expected to be silent and leave behind her old language which is a major part of who she is. This emphasizes that she is different and unwelcomed because there, such differences are not to be embraced. Instead, people such as herself are told to “...shut their mouth...” (Ito 90) and return to where it is they came from. This adds to the list of burdens the speaker experiences, which influence her ultimate understanding of the idea that she can continue to surpass such obstacles and prosper just as nature continues to bloom and grow continuously. These events help her to reach this conclusion, rather than tearing her down. By maintaining this theme, the poem takes on a more positive deeper meaning, despite the unfortunate instances on the surface that the speaker faces.

Because of the continuous comparisons being drawn between greenery and people, plants are personified within the poem. They are given the ability to speak and think in order to portray the words and action of the other immigrants that the speaker is amongst. She is able to “...[hear] the different types of grass on the riverbank whisper...” (line 89) as they speak of the trials and misfortunes they have gone through after the fires. The grass is personified as the earth itself speaking up about the situation which works to show how different aspects of nature can be closely attributed to humans and the society they live in as well. The grass discuss with each other like people would in order to convey their resemblance.

The speaker finds hope in the fact that after such difficulties she is still “wearing the open flowers and withered flowers upon [her] body” and “continued to grow stems” (Ito 96). Her withering flowers are meant to depict past hardships or scars, resulting in a battered soul. But in spite of such, she still proceeds to grow stronger each day. This is the burden she overcame and what helps to demonstrate the optimism weaved throughout the lines of the poem. By including diction such as “flowers” and “grow,” the poem takes on a sanguine tone that has the purpose of creating a more high-spirited situation in contrast to the bad experiences of the speaker. One of Ito’s main purposes with the poem is to convey the ways in which struggles are something that do not last forever because like the grass on a riverbank after a fire, people can start over, turn a new leaf and grow with a fresh start and a new beginning.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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10 Songs That Are Just As Romantic As Ed Sheeran’s 'Perfect'

These ten love songs are just perfect as "Perfect".

Ed Sheeran is known for delivering the most soulful and endearing love songs of this generation and his latest song "Perfect" is no different. The music video currently has five million likes on YouTube and it's the perfect song for lovers, but there are so many other songs that are just as lovely and meaningful as "Perfect". Here are ten of them.

1. Beautiful - Huntar

Much like Ed Sheeran's song "Perfect", "Beautiful" by Huntar is about convincing someone of their beauty despite them not believing it. The song is about overlooking the clouds and the rain and focusing on the inner beauty and perfection that one possesses. It's about looking past the bad days and focusing only on the good. Huntar's voice is both gentle and rough, which really helps to get the message across, and while "Perfect" has a lovely guitar strumming along, "Beautiful" is accompanied with a gentle piano playing in the background.

2. Wild Love - James Bay

James Bay became famous after debuting his hit single "Let It Go", a song about ending a relationship and just letting go of everything they once had. All the other songs I've ever heard from him have been sad ones. This is the first happy love song I've heard from Bay and it's absolutely beautiful. After a two year hiatus and chopping off his lovely locks, James Bay is back with "Wild Love", which starts off with an Indian instrumental that I just can't stop listening to and has this awesome guitar solo in the middle. James Bay is a total bae in this music video where he literally just stares into your eyes and sings about giving you some wild love.

3. And If My Heart Should Somehow Stop - James Vincent McMorrow

I first heard this song in the pilot episode of "Teen Wolf" and I was completely enthralled by it. James Vince McMorrow's soothing, country voice will make anyone swoon. This is a total crushworthy song about meeting someone and instantly knowing that they're the one for you. It's perfect for slow dancing with your beau or even just falling asleep in their arms.

4. Nada - Prince Royce

They say that love has no language and that it can cross any language barrier. Prince Royce's song "Nada" is the perfect example of that. The whole song is in Spanish, but it sounds so lovely. There's a guitar solo near the end that'll have you and your beau twirling around on the dancefloor.

5. When You Got A Good Thing - Lady Antebellum

Those who say that all country music is about beer and men mistreating women clearly haven't been hearing the right songs. Lady Antebellum is a country band that came out with the hit single "Need You Now" that captured all of our hearts in 2010. A song that doesn't get as much love from that same album is "When You Got A Good Thing".

6. What I Never Knew I Always Wanted - Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood rose to fame after she won the fourth season of American Idol. She always delivers awesome hits and she's usually one of the very few country singers that can sway a person's mind about country music. In the song "What I Never Knew I Always Wanted", Carrie sings about finding someone she knew never she wanted or desired. It's about loving when you least expect it. And the music video will have you in tears as she displays a montage of her along with her husband of eight years and her son.

7. I Dream About You - Simple Plan ft. Juliet Simms

Both Simple Plan and Juliett Sims, the singer of the band Automatic Loveletter, are known for singing songs mainly about the issues surrounding teenage angst and growing up with no one understanding your pain. They were both part of those "emo bands" you all listened to when you were young, and while Automatic Loveletter is no longer together, Juliet Simms still lends her voice to songs once and a while. In "I Dream About You", Simple Plan and Juliet Simms sing about love and how strongly they feel towards it. Despite others thinking they're fools for thinking that way, they can't stop dreaming about each other and believing in their love.

8. When The Right One Comes Along - Striking Matches

Striking Matches is a not too popular or mainstream band with some really awesome songs. They're one of those underground hits that you never know exist until you accidentally stumble upon them. This is the first song I've ever heard from this band back when I was a young high-schooler, but they were a band worth remembering. The duo's music has been described as having found that "that sweet spot at the intersection of country, rock, and blues" and they're often regarded as a "countrified Civil Wars/Black Keys mix". "When The Right One Comes Along" is both a sad and sweet mix, and I swear Sarah Zimmermann just knows all the right notes to hit to have me crooning along with her. And while Justin Davis 's isn't heard too often in this version, his guitar playing will make you want to rock along with the soothing beat.

9. The Hard Stuff - Justin Timberlake

JT brought us all to tears in 2013 with his lovely song and even lovelier music video for "Mirrors" inspired by his grandparents' relationship, and now he's back in 2018 with "The Hard Stuff" from his new album, Man of the Woods. It's a song about wanting the complicated and messy baggage that everyone comes with instead of just having that picture perfect, clear-cut love story. JT sings about wanting both the sunny days and the rainy ones, meaning the good days and the bad. Everyone wants the best times, but JT explains that hard times make you stronger and makes the relationship that much more meaningful. Being the fifteenth song of the sixteen song album, it might get lost and forgotten soon after the release of the other songs, but for now it's my favorite of the album and I think it's as beautiful and passionate as "MIrrors".

10. Crystal Snow - BTS

Being as obsessed with BTS as I am now at this point, I simply can't just make a list of the best songs without including them. BTS is the Korean group that captured all our hearts at the end of last year with their looks and amazing songs and music videos. This is a less known song by BTS and is actually sung in Japanese (yes, the members can speak/sing in more than one language. As they have fans all over the globe, they often release Japanese versions of their Korean hit songs). While there is no visually pleasing music video for this song, "Crystal Snow" has a lovely feel to it that will have you shutting your eyes and imagining your own love-filled scenes. It's the perfect song for snuggling during the winter time and compares a girl to a snowflake. The members sing about trying to catch a glimpse and spend enough time before the snow melts away. They also wish they could be one of the snowflakes so they could float in the air together. You don't need a translation to understand the beauty behind this song.

Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

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UNC First-Years On Their First Franklin Street Rush

A night that screams #GDTBATH.

An adrenaline rush is a vast understatement of what I experienced the night of Feb. 8. I rushed Franklin Street with thousands of my closest friends for the first time–celebrating the victorious accomplishment of beating Carolina’s biggest basketball rival: DOOK.

As a first-year at UNC-CH, I’d only imagined what rushing Franklin felt like until last Thursday. The energy throughout the crowds of fans was palpable as countless fans rejoiced at the same historic intersection of North Columbia and Franklin Street, harmoniously chanting the alma mater and various explicit references to our neighboring university under a sky of fireworks. Representing a prideful moment where everyone in the Carolina community unified as one, the the dash to Franklin is an unimaginable experience and one that I wanted to ask first-years about.

Q: In your words, how would you describe your first Franklin Street rush experience?

“Actually kind of crazy," Disha Ratra said. "I was sick that whole day and almost passed out in the Dean Dome, so running a mile to Franklin was quite a task. I even ended up tripping over a wall and skinning my knee on the way. In the end, it was definitely worth it because my adrenaline was PUMPING. Also, I lost my voice from screaming at the game/on Franklin. It has been three days since the game and I still don’t have my voice back."

“I was watching the game in the Union, and everyone screamed and started rushing out the doors," Hope Conn said. "About halfway to Franklin, I could feel my lungs in my throat, but I didn’t care. Pushing on we flung ourselves into the crowd. We joined in the cheers, I put my friend on my shoulders, and the smile never left my face. Rushing Franklin made me so proud to be a part of something bigger than myself.”

“Unimaginable," Amy Chau said. "Prior to this, I've seen videos and pictures of others rushing Franklin, but you never fully realize how crazy it is ‘til you're in the crowd, headed towards the fire or on someone's shoulder. It was a night for the books.”

“Such a rush," Sarah Mueller said. "I’ve never felt closer to my fellow Tar Heels and I’ve also never felt more love for UNC. I’ve heard many people describe the feeling of rushing Franklin, and there really is nothing quite like it. It’s something you have to experience for yourself.”

Q: How do you think rushing Franklin Street demonstrates the passion for sports and school pride?

“I’ve never felt school pride," Lang Duong said. "I was never a fan of my high school so I didn’t really care whether or not we won a game in football or basketball. I just remember running towards Franklin basically gasping for breath, but I didn’t care because I was so happy to be feeling what I was feeling for this school. Being able to see everyone there all feeling the same thing was truly something I had never felt before.”

“I think rushing shows how devoted we are to our school and how much we love to celebrate a win for our school," Ojesvii Sethi said. "We pride ourselves in several things but basketball is definitely something that brings the student body together.”

“Sounds cheesy, but it gave a sense of school spirit I’ve never felt anywhere else before," Aaruba Ayesha said.

“It shows that we will do anything to show our love for our school and our hatred for the school down the road," Olivia Williams said.

“Honestly, it is very inspirational and shows how close the UNC family is," Sienna Zico said. "We were all bumping around each other, but it didn't matter because everyone just wanted to celebrate. I had never felt so much school pride before.”

Q: What advice would you give to someone who has never rushed Franklin Street before and is planning on attending the next Franklin Street rush?

“Make sure to wear decent shoes, someone lost one and it ended up getting thrown into the fire," Nikki Kelleher said. "Also, don't bring anything you would be upset about losing or is likely to get lost. The amount of Facebook posts in UNC groups about ‘if you found this on Franklin...’ was pretty sad.”

“Try to be on Franklin Street for the game, but if you get tickets, it’s worth the mile run," Hayley Hayes said. "Wear shoes you don't mind getting dirty, leave all valuables at home, hydrate beforehand, and be prepared to fight other Chapel Hill students to reach a fire!”

“Do it," Christopher Cataldo said. "Don’t think about doing it and then say ‘it’s not for me,’ or ‘I’ll do it next time,’ do it now and every time after. You won’t regret it.”

While swamped in homework, projects, exams and other hurdle life throws at us Tar Heels, it's great to hear words of admiration for such a classic Carolina tradition as first-years strive to participate in all Chapel Hill has to offer, such as the basketball craze. Over the roars of triumph among the crowds exists a unified sense of pride for our school that truly never goes away, basketball season or not. The of advice I would give to potential Franklin Street rushers is to run, chant, laugh, join the celebration and soak it all in.

Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia

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