Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Walk in Victoria's Secret Eschatology

And the an awful leisure was-
our faith to regulate
-E. Dickinson

This poem begins with that quote and, so, a sad poem it is. The opening lines mock and mimic death with stone imagery

The stone garden she always imagined
cultivating late in life remains buried
in the back lawn. Stones weary her
now with their secrets and their stunned
molecules, with the death they neither
welcome nor avoid trapped inside.

Daniels could have addressed the loss of the loved one directly, could have addressed grief and its impact directly, instead she never directly mentions grief, or loss, never mentions relationships. Instead the poem talks of stones, diminishment, of small meals, of the several hours of each/afternoon struggle passionately with one another, each yearning/to be filled, and if she is lucky,/the day will collapse gently in on itself/rather than quaking open and diminishing to something as compact/and harmless as a stone the size of a bouillon cube.

This is a poem of loss and deprivation that achieves its objective, quite effectively, I think, through images of hardness and smallness, quietness and shrinking, as much from what it doesn't say as what it does.

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