9 January 2014

On Reading: Stag's Leap, part four

The most compelling poem in the short section "Spring" is "To Our Miscarried One, Age Thirty Now." Largely, I find this compelling because I am drawn to poems about loss, especially the loss of a child. Part morbid fascination, part research, and part because I've been writing about this subject myself.

What I most appreciate about this poem is the tone--not sentimental, yet full of feeling; visceral without being macabre.

The poem is layered with loss. Obviously, the poet is ruminating on her miscarried son, and, being in a collection about her divorce, she weighs these losses against each other ("That he left me is not much, compared/to your leaving the earth…") but she also considers her own mortality.

The exploration of her own mortality was the most interesting to me, as she is reflecting on her lost son in what appears to be a new way to her:
…And yet
the idea of you has come back to where
I could see you today as a small,impromptu
god of the partial.

She imagines upon her own death, he will be there waiting for her her and asks,
When I leave for good,
would you hold me in your blue mitt
for the departure hence.

She desires to be cradled by this son she never knew, a son (who may not have been a son at all) who she never cradled, but who
…moved house, from uterus
to toilet bowl and jointed stem
and swear out to float the rivers and
bays in painless pieces.

She ends the poem:
I never thought
to see you again, I never thought to seek you.

What I find interesting in this, is she does not write "I never thought I would see you…" but "I never thought to see you" which sounds a little more awkward only because we are used to reading/hearing the former. In the way she has written it, she is clearly enforcing that she is conjuring her son. She will never see him again, but in creating this fantasy of him bringing her to the afterlife, in remembering his loss thirty years earlier, she finds a comfort. She had "never thought to seek" him, but does so now, in the wake of divorce. This seeing, this seeking is not a mourning of potential--of what or who the son would have, could have been--but a sense of perspective and, more importantly, a celebration of the essence of what he is now--a creation of her, of her imagination, of her creativity.

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