Wednesday, 26 October 2011

On The Balcony

First poem in Motion's The Cinder Path:
The other, smaller, islands we can see
by turning sideways on our balcony --
Ooh, not sure about that. The rhyme here forces 'balcony' into 'balcon-eee', which is too jangly and silly for the purpose.
the bubble-pods and cones, the flecks of green,
the basalt-prongs, the moles, the lumpy chains -
were all volcanoes once, though none so tall
and full of rage for life as ours, which still

displays its flag of supple, wind-stirred smoke
-- that's vivid (I appreciate I'm doing the 'mobled queen in good' thing, here)
as proof that one day soon it will awake

again and wave its twizzle-stick of fire,
-- that, however, isn't very vivid.
demolish words, block roads, consume entire

communities with stinking lava-slews
which seem too prehistoric to be true

but are. Or will be. For today we sit
-- losing its way here ...
and feel what happiness the world permits
There's a sense of slackening in the middle here. The poem works towards a conclusion in which the observers on the titular balcony look across 'roofs and aerials', 'jigsaw squares' 'terraced side streets' to 'bathers sprawling on their stones, of waves/like other bathers turning in their graves' (what?) and finally to a bush fire 'below the mountain' attended by
the clumsy bird

no, bi-plane, with a bucket slung beneath --
which sidles idly in to drench a wreath

of bush-fire in the fields, a fire that we
suppose means nothing to us here, but have to see.
An interesting poem, but a poem that doesn't generate the dread it needs to. Too perfectly free of unease.

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