There are certain types of poems that I enjoy. Particularly those that use a minimal language (Colloquial English), such as the poems by William C. Williams or E.E. Cummings. I like that they leave the reader with an image-afterburn in their mind. The reason that they are able to embed such an image is that–like dialect– the words that were used are often staples of the time period.
In the poem Carnation Milk, the poem makes me think of the small 6 oz. cans of condensed/powdered milk with the cow on the cover. The language used is so simple, yet one needs to be aware of “Carnation Milk.” I feel that the poet assumes the reader to know this (an allusion!). This poem was written around the time when the industrial revolution started taking place., when the industry began to streamline everything.
Carnation Milk is the best in the land;
No tits to pull, no hay to pitch.
These lines make me see a person just relaxing with a can of Carnation Milk, realizing that they are no longer to go after a cow; the writer no longer has to go to a cow to milk it, or feed a cow to fatten it. This convenience is a reflection of the time period… so in a way, this makes me think that the poem is a form of dialect of the time period. This is a reflection of the state of the world when the poem was written. Since an allusion is made to carnation milk, it makes dating this poem a bit easier. Since the type of milk was not previously available, we are able to partition the human time-scale into a more reasonable time-frame.
You just punch a hole in the son of a bitch.
The language used is so simple and accessible to the common-folk, it makes me think that the milk was priced at a level which anyone can afford it.