Thursday, September 11, 2008

Poems of the Day - 11

Two poems again from Poetry Daily, this time by Susan Stewart. I have an immediate prejudice against cat poems, but I can overcome this if they are any good. The first one is a cat poem, but is well written with close attention to sound and the short lines give the impression of hesitant, but deliberate, movement, both physical and intellectual. The poem asks the question as to what we mean when we think of ignorance as bliss, and what we overlook. It’s fairly well done, I think, although I tend to feel suspicious of poems that finish with a key question. In this case, I suppose a few answers are suggested in the body of the poem. It’s a domestic poem, but the issues raised are global. I’m not really convinced that the issues are raised with sufficient complexity here. Her second poem, Three Geese, seems fairly unremarkable. But for the first one, I’d give 3/6.

No Tell Motel gives us another poem by Micki Myers. The Death of Venus: Florence, 1476 concerns Simonetta Vespucci, modelling as Venus for Botticelli. There are a few moving, bittersweet touches in this poem – the cough “shaking her/ like a sapling in the breeze,” (not exactly original though – that kind of image goes right back to Isaiah 42) the pathos of “for now, at least, she’s his,” and Botticelli's request to be buried at her feet, which was indeed honoured. The sadness of the final line is subtly prepared throughout the poem. I wondered if “blonde bombshell” might have been replaced by something more specific: a real 20th/21st century woman who died too young – unless Micki Myers is gambling on readers thinking straightaway of Marilyn Monroe (if so, mind you, her gamble might be a good one). I had doubts over the switch of Point-of-View towards the end, from Botticelli’s inner world to the observation:

She wipes the blood of her hand
on the back of the pink cloth

where he can’t see.

Like most of Micki Myers’s poems so far, I enjoyed the read, without feeling particularly taken aback. 3/6

No comments: