This is an analysis of the poem "The Same Moon Above Us", by Pittsburgh native and current New Jersey resident Gerald Stern.

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Same Moon Above Us Analysis

In Gerald Stern's "The Same Moon Above Us", the unfortunate plight of a homeless man living in NYC is compared to the despair of Ovid, one of Rome's most prolific poets during the decades immediately preceding and following the death of Christ. In 9 A.D., Augustus Caesar sent him into exile for unknown reasons to live in a primitive town called Tomis on the Black Sea. For seven years, Ovid wrote poems of lamentation and importunate letters to the authoritarian emperor asking for forgiveness, hoping that he could return to Rome and bring an end to his emotionally taxing deracination. Unfortunately for Ovid, his letters went unanswered and he suffered in loneliness and despair until his death in 17 A.D.

Although Ovid may well have gone to his grave feeling helpless and hopeless, an abject failure adulterated by some clandestine peccadillo, his suffering, according to Stern, has been a godsend to many, inspiring them with his poetry, which touches them with its brilliant insight and euphonic rhythms, and with his suffering, which lives vicariously through him as his elegies, acting as a didactic tool to help others to find joy in their own pain.

"He was the first, and since he wrote in innocence both the remorse and pity are almost forgivable. It is hard to think of Coleridge without an Ovid first or Pound alive in the cage without him. I myself feel almost happy that he came before me, that my own wailing found such a model in his books of sorrow"(61-65). Stern, a poet himself, uses Ovid's deracination as a paradigm to generate emotion to write his poetry. Ovid and Pound must have found an example in Ovid's books of sorrow as well, according to Stern, because one must be able...