Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Stiff-Necked Race

Fire sirens in the valley.
At a scarlet inflorescence

bees cluster in the beard
of a spittle-bug's froth.

There may be balm in Gilead,
but here plastic bottles buzz

unpleasantly of want and emptiness;
of sunscreen gathering sand.

The skin of your throat has turned to glass
that will shatter if you nod.

You are a stiff necked race
and full of contumely, says God:

I made you hard so you would snap
with a satisfying sound.

In response to this Morning Porch post.


Kathleen said...

Ow, ow, ow.

marly youmans said...

Were you thinking of silica on the sunscreen-damp throat? At first I didn't see that reading and it was more surreal...

This is an interesting use of the "morning porch lines," starting very close and then traveling in a surprising direction. Like the shift in tone at the end, the upraised 11-12 and then shift downward.

Why in "couplets," do you think? I am not sure why and wonder. But maybe that is because it is so clearly leaning toward being a Shakespearean sonnet.

Dale said...

It was in quatrains, at first, but it clumped badly that way. That's the only reason it's in twos. That, and to avoid the gravitational pull of the sonnet, which I didn't think it could stand up to :-)

No, I was picturing real glass. And the images don't really match up well, do they? Not sure this is a keeper.

marly youmans said...

My dying modem took away my comment. Bad modem!

I don't know if you can escape the sonnet. It struck me immediately as a sonnet-like poem, particularly with the colon before the turn. And the couplet at the end is surprising and dramatic like many sonnet closures. Also the first 12 lines are grouped in quatrains, at least mentally.

I did think of glass first. Then I jumped to wet sunscreen and sand as containing silica... Then I had both ideas in my mind and didn't really know which to choose, just held them both as ideas.

Dale said...

Thanks Marly! I'll put it out in the sun to dry, and come back to it, then. Maybe it is a sonnet.