I'm reading a poem written by Edwin Thumboo called Words, and I don't know exaclty what the expression kind of air means.

This is the passage I'm talking about:

Words are dangerous, especially

The simple kind you leave behind for others,

For undesirable relatives and assorted purposes.

They are understood simply, edited,

Taken with a kind of air, a careful disregard:

Their plainness complicates.

Thank you all in advance.



closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, Nigel J, lbf, Dan Bron, AmE speaker Apr 26 '18 at 14:14

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  • 3
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's Lit Crit (interpretation of poetry). – FumbleFingers Apr 26 '18 at 12:32
  • @FumbleFingers Why? I'm asking the meaning of the expression, and the only reason why I wrote the passage is because sometimes to understand the meaning you need the context. I'm not asking for interpretation. – Cecilia Pérez Apr 26 '18 at 13:19
  • It's not really an "expression" with any fixed meaning beyond the standard air = impression of a quality or manner given by someone or something. And your cited context actually goes on to redefine / clarify the specific type of air / impression / manner as one of careful disregard, so I don't see what more you can expect here. – FumbleFingers Apr 26 '18 at 13:25
  • @CeciliaPérez I know it’s frustrating, so bear with us. Poetry doesn’t have a single, unambiguous, and objective “meaning”. Part of its purpose — part of its value as an art form — is that its impressionistic, ambitious, suggestive, open to interpretation. In that way, poetry’s objectives are diametrically opposed to legal contracts, which is why the disciplines of literary criticism and law both exist and yet are so wholly distinct, despite each dealing primarily with “English”. So your passage can have a whole host of meanings, and none righter or better than another. – Dan Bron Apr 26 '18 at 13:25
  • ...you might as well ask What does There's a Kind of Hush mean? – FumbleFingers Apr 26 '18 at 13:28

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