28 December 2013

On Reading: Stag's Leap, part two

The second section, "Winter," opens with a poem I keep rereading "Not Going to Him". I'm trying to pinpoint what I find so compelling about this one. Yes, there are some lines I love, "…I am a stunned knower/ of not." and "…on his neck, the scar, doll-saucer of tarnish,/ set in time's throat…" but it's more than just strong images, great word choices.

She builds a momentum that starts just under half-way through the poem and ends fourteen lines later with one long sentence snowballing a conjuring of her (ex) husband through memories of physical details. Her line breaks are interesting and help with the snowball effect. For example, when she breaks a phrase ending the line "and then" reading:
…and up to the nape and then
dive again, as the swells fly
at speed--...

My impulse would have been to end the line at "the nape" and begin the next line with "and then" but I see how this particular enjambment helps build momentum. Clever.

The poem ends with:
…He is alive, he breathes
and moves! My body may never learn
not to yearn for that one, or this could be
a first farewell to him, a life-do-us-part.

I appreciate the sentiment of the division between the body and the mind, the realization that this is the beginning of her knowledge, her acceptance that this is the end, even though part of her will never stop longing.

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