Posted by George on May 3, 2019

Initial Analysis of “School Prayer” by Diane Ackerman

My first impressions of this poem were that It seems very interesting, but who is it about?  It makes me feel calm, yet, at the same time, heavy. A line that especially evokes the first feeling for me is, “on Earth my home, and in the mansions of the stars.”  The other feeling – of heavy – arises when I read the line, “I will honor all life—wherever and in whatever form it may dwell.” Perhaps because I don’t know how life could be honored but at the same time the thought of starts looking like mansions calms me.

What I know about the situation – what’s happening in the poem – is that the poet talks about life and life on earth. What I know about the speaker is that they are the kind of person who is very prayerful.  This is suggested by the line “In the name of the sun and it’s mirrors”.   The speaker seems to be speaking to the globe, and perhaps to a god. I say this because It sounds like some from a bible as well the Pledge of Allegiance.  The poem springs from a particular culture specifically, The Pledge of Allegiance. The poem revolves around several themes, including hope and the purpose of life. If this poem were a question, the answer would be “to honor nature for what it is”.  

If it were an answer, the question would be “How should I accept nature?” The title suggests school children and a pledge.

The poem’s form is blank verse. This form is a vehicle for the content of the poem. If the poem were a ballad, it would not guide me toward an understanding of the poem’s meaning. Even though the poem doesn’t rhyme, but it does have a beat in which it maintains throughout the poem having a sort of calm tone.