Suddenly they remembered how it was cheaper in the country.

Wimpy was thoughtfully cutting open a number 2 can of spinach

When the door opened and Swee'pea crept in. "How pleasant!"

But Swee'pea looked morose. A note was pinned to his bib. "Thunder

And tears are unavailing," it read. "Henceforth shall Popeye's apartment

Be but remembered space, toxic or salubrious, whole or scratched."


Summary: This stanza focuses on the Popeye characters being thoughtful and wistful. It is about missing something or having a feeling of loss.

Line 1: "cheaper" monetary, perhaps they miss the country because now they are financially strained. Appears to set up a binary of the city/country. The mention of "apartment" I line 5 reinforces this binary as apartments are located in the city.

Line 2: "thoughtfully" sentimental about the past when in the country. Also a word which evokes an emotional feeling. The following word cut stands in contrast to the thoughtfulness. Again this poem is loaded with the conflicted word choice. The "cutting open" represents a wound in Wimpy's soul.

Line 3: "how pleasant!" ambiguous on who actually makes this statement. who is the agent, grammatically speaking? This idea of pleasant also sets up a binary when placed next to the word "thunder."

Line 4: Also Swee'pea looking morose is significant because of the conflict with the term pleasant. But the poem includes soft expressions with harsh expressions. Stylistically, this conflict is symbolizes the main conflict happening between the characters themselves.

Line5: The tears here are important and continue the theme of emotional loss. But again, it is a bittersweet loss. Somehow there are positives that go with the loss and it could be wrapped up in a return to the country. The not being read is written in a more formal form of language and is itself a contradiction to the cartoon characters. Ashbury seems to attempt a meta-narrative here by including a poem within a poem.

Line 6: The stanza ends with another set of conflicts or opposites in language with toxic/salubrious and whole/scratched. This is consistent with the style of the rest of poems. Clearly we have a conflicted group of characters dealing with a loss, probably that of the country setting. But also dealing with the loss of the city setting as well. In a sense, the characters are spaceless. But there is a slight sense of optimism as well.