Saturday, April 19, 2008

Solve You! Pt. II

A strange kind of excitement washed over me yesterday when I realized I wasn't entirely alone in thinking about poetry as something to solve! In fact, while perusing the library shelves, I found a book, and I'm not kidding, titled The Complete Poems to Solve. Although May Swenson, the author of the book, doesn't quite take the "Seward" approach to poetry, I certainly drew some parallels. Here's an excerpt from the introduction.

"Each of the poems in this selection, in one way or another, is a Poem to Solve. A characteristic of all poetry, in fact, is that more is hidden in it than in prose.
Solving a poem can be like undoing a mysterious package. The identity or significance of what's inside may be concealed or camouflaged by the dimensions or shape of its 'box.' Sometimes, nested within a first discovery another may be found - which in turn contains still another - and so on. And if then you explore all the notions in the poem, you receive the added pleasure of seeing how they relate to each other in surprising ways, while at the same time combining to create the whole design of the 'box.'"

Don't you just love that analogy?

So here it is, a poem for all of you to solve! It's from a section of the book titled "Some Riddle Poems."


His lair framed beneath the clock,
a red-haired beast hypnotic in the room
glazes our eyes and draws us close
with delicious snarls and flickers of his claws.
We stir our teacups and our wishes feast
on his cruelty.

Throw the Christian chairs to him,
a wild child in us cries.
Or let us be Daniel bared
to that seething maze his mane.
Loops of his fur graze the sill
where the clock's face looks scared.

Comfort-ensnared and languorous
our unused daring, roused, resembles him
fettered on the hearth's stage
behind the iron dogs.
He's the red locks of the sun
brought home to a cage.

Hunched before his flaring shape
we stir our teacups.
We wish he could escape
and loosen in ourselves the terrible.
But only his reflection pounces
on the parquet and the stair.

Can you solve the riddle?


Jeff said...
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Heather said...

Is it Fire?

morgvanny said...
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