Sunday, May 21, 2006

Poem of the Week 5/21/2006: Ariel


Stasis in darkness.
Then the substanceless blue
Pour of tor and distances.

God's lioness,
How one we grow,
Pivot of heels and knees! ---The furrow

Splits and passes, sister to
The brown arc
Of the neck I cannot catch,

Berries cast dark
Hooks ---

Black sweet blood mouthfuls,
Something else

Hauls me through air ---
Thighs, hair;
Flakes from my heels.

Godiva, I unpeel ---
Dead hands, dead stringencies.

And now I
Foam to wheat, a glitter of seas.
The child's cry

Melts in the wall.
And I
Am the arrow,

The dew that flies,
Suicidal, at one with the drive
Into the red

Eye, the cauldron of morning.

*God's lioness (Hebrew); the name of a horse Plath often rode; also, the airy spirit in Shakespeare's Tempest.

Sylvia Plath

Since I am in Paris (!!!), this will be short, though there's nothing I would like to do more than write about poetry now. My traveling buddy Alice has a computer, so I might go sit at a cafe, type, and post sometime after june 11. But anyway, that's just a thought. Plus the keyboards are different, which makes typing difficult.

I would have liked to pick a grand poem about travel or art, but this poem has been on my mind of late. There is something magical in its use of scattered, rich imagery. Ariel was Plath's horse, my Norton tells me, as well as the good sprite in The Tempest. This poem uses elements of both to describe the coming of dawn. It opens without movement or light (i.e. energy), but quickly adds the "blue / pour of tor and distance." The openness of the "ohr" sound in "pour" and "tor" makes the last line smooth and expansive, opening us to the dawn, and to renewal.

The second stanza gives us the narrator's interaction with her steed - perhaps Ariel is this steed, "God's lioness." There is certainly percieved fusion with another being in the line "how one we grow," and delicacy within this. The line "pivot of heels and knees" suggests grace and quick motion. Indeed, the furrow of this field "splits and passes," indicating their speed. I hesitate to take the field literally, thinking that the traveling may be an allegory of a journey with another being.

The rider cannot catch this being, though, and so something happens, the poem darkens, and the pair seemingly split. The fourth stanza, "Nigger-eye / Berries cast dark / Hooks-" jabs both us and the narrator out of the percieved unity in the second stanza.


That's all you're getting for now, because I am going out to dinner soon. In true blog style, I want to let you know that I am thinking of you as I am away, and enjoying myself to no end (louvre today, saint chapelle tomorrow...)

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