I am currently analysing a poem, and I have come across two sentences that are obviously grammatically incorrect, but I can't figure out how to describe what is wrong with them.
"Beside him, the greyheaded man has let one arm slide awkwardly over his shoulder, is talking and pointing at whatever it is."
"Where mountains are clouds, lightning, but no rain."
They're from the poem "Utah" by Anne Stevenson.
Like I said, they're obviously syntactically incorrect, but I'm rubbish at describing grammar! If anyone could point me in the right direction I would be very grateful!
It is for an assignment, yes, but by no means mandatory. Also, I'm not expecting a straight out "sentence a is wrong because there is no x", but I have never been taught to describe grammar, so I find myself floundering a bit.
In regards to intuitions, yes, I do have some, but my failures lie in how to describe them! I would say that both sentences are questions of ellipsis, but that is not really syntactical but rather cohesion.
For sentence 1 the problem clearly lies with the add-on clause "[...]is talking and pointing [...]". I would say that perhaps there are two verb phrases attached to a single noun phrase without the proper conjunction?
For sentence 2, I would say much the same. A missing conjunction, or verb phrase (?), but again, that depends on how you read the sentence.
Also, thank you for the welcome! I'm not quite sure how I should explain the context? I am personally looking at the ambiguity in the poem, and in relation to that I am discussing the ambiguity that the syntax produces. I also just realised that perhaps this is too "grammar-oriented" to fit onto this forum, so my apologies if so!
EDIT 2: In response to StoneyB - thank you for your input, it was enlightening! I was just wondering what your take on alternative 'corrections' were, so e.g. "the greyheaded man [who] has let one arm slide awkwardly over his shoulder, is talking and pointing at whatever it is" or "In the distance, where mountains are [are] clouds, lightning, but no rain".