Monday, 5 November 2012


Painfully famous, of course:

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white
It was on the radio last night, and listening to it I found myself thinking: depends is clever, though. Our first instinct is to read it as an abstraction, a way of saying that the barrow, chickens and water are important and so on.  But, you know: no ideas but in things. As a thing rather than an idea 'dependence' means something dangling or hanging down.  And nothing in this poem does that; instead everything stands upon the ground (or in the case of the rainwater, stands upon the wheelbarrow which stands upon the ground). What thing, then is hanging down in this poem?  Rain sometimes looks as though it is depending from the sky, although in fact it is in free fall.  The motion from above to below, the rain falling, and just after.

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