Tonight at noon is a poem that contradicts itself from the title right up to the ending using much of general knowledge and just meandering the reality around, to create absurdity in the poem. Henri has used paradox throughout the whole poem swapping everything he mentions around. He starts using this practice since the title, ‘Tonight at Noon’ as it is impossible because noon can’t ever be at night as it is during midday. The words ‘tonight at noon’ can be seen at least once per stanza, which shows repetition throughout the poetry. The repetition of the title is effective as Henri keeps on showing that he is constantly contradicting himself.
This poem actually has no set arrangement to it, and it seems to run like a river, all soft and smooth. There is no real structure for it except for the fact that it continues on from each other. The idiom used in this poem is effortless to comprehend. There is not complex diction used in this poem, which shows that it has been targeted to a wider assembly of audience, most probable to be from the middle class. The ideas used are very simple and easy to attach yourself to which reaches Henri’s goal so that a wider audience has an thoughtful understanding of his poetry.
In the last stanza, there is an uncomfortable image being presented when he talks about graveyards with the dead burying people alive. There is also an image of sadness shown on his second last line of the poem, when he says ‘you will tell me you love me’. This line is considered as a line with sadness hidden behind it as he is trying to make someone tell him that they love him, as if he is lacking love so he actually has to ask for love himself as no one is essentially enthusiastic to give him their love out of their own free will.
Children who are unhappy with their own families are sent to live in homes, and not children from happy families as Henri states in the first stanza. The impossibility of this fact makes this line humorous as everyone knows that this will never happen in real life. Elephants can’t tell jokes, whereas humans always tell jokes about elephants. This line is comical as it shows how extreme Henri’s thoughts are. How can America declare peace on Russia if they never even started a war?
This is another example of Henry’s comical thoughts. The first daffodils come in spring, and not autumn when the leaves actually fall off trees, downwards. Pigs flying are another of his mad thoughts as you can only find that in fantasy stories. There is no black house for equal rights demonstrations. And white Americans will not even bother about those demonstrations. Here, Henri is just swapping two words around, for low class humour for anyone who doesn’t know about a certain white house in America.
It is normal to see girls in bikinis bathing under the sun, as they get a tan, but what is the point of moon bathing except if you are planning on stargazing due to the fact that you cant ever possibly get a tan from tanning without sunlight or some sort of UV rays. Art galleries are frequented by an older audience, so if they are closed to people over the age of twenty one, how can these galleries have any source of income at all, considering barely anyone under the age of twenty one actually goes into one of those shows. The purpose of the top twenty is not for poetry, but for ‘hip’ music, for example pop, rock, and r’n’b.
The fact that Henri mentions having poetry in the top twenty is as if he is comparing contemporary poetry to twenty first century music which isn’t really comparable as their differences are so widespread. Back alleys are small narrow roads which are dark, and provide teenage lovers a private space to ‘fool around’, normally have no sunlight passing through it whatsoever. To conclude, this poem is very comical and serves as a way to get people to laugh, and I find that Henri has attained this very successfully as this poem can make anyone laugh at anytime due to his constant contradicting facts throughout the whole poem.