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Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape

Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape


by John Ashbery

Stanza VI Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 31-32

But Olive was already out of earshot. Now the apartment
Succumbed to a strange new hush.

  • We already know how quickly Olive can enter a room, so it's no surprise that she leaves before the Sea Hag can even finish her sentence. The apartment becomes quiet.

Lines 32-34

"Actually it's quite pleasant
Here," thought the Sea Hag. "If this is all we need fear from spinach
Then I don't mind so much. Perhaps we could invite Alice the Goon over" – she scratched

  • Now that the apartment is quiet again, the Sea Hag remembers how nice and "pleasant" it can be. She feels like she's on vacation again. She's not too worried about the negative consequences of Popeye's spinach. These consequences include the thunder and darkness from outside. She can live without the sunshine and "mossy foliage."
  • The apartment is so pleasant, in fact, that she considers inviting her friend Alice the Goon over. The short story (and, believe us, there's a long story) on Alice the Goon is that she's one of the Sea Hag's henchmen, or henchwomen as the case may be.

Lines 35-36

One dug pensively – "but Wimpy is such a country
Bumpkin, always burping like that." Minute at first, the thunder

  • This apartment seems to have a lice problem or something: everyone keeps scratching themselves. While the Sea Hag thinks about whether to invite Alice the Goon, she scratches one of her "dugs," a very unattractive word for breast that means, literally, "udder." (Shiver.)
  • Turns out the Sea Hag can't invite Alice the Goon because she is worried that Wimpy will make a fool of himself. Whereas she, the Sea Hag, is a sophisticated city dweller, Wimpy is nothing but a bumpkin and keeps burping all the time. Maybe it's from all those hamburgers.
  • The stanza ends with another broken-off sentence. The thunder, which started off softly...

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