24 April 2014

Poetry Thursday - Peridot by Mary Reufle

I awoke in an ecstasy.
The sky was the color of a cut lime
that had sat in the refrigerator
in a plastic container
for thirty-two days.
Fact-checkers, check.
I am happy.
Notice I speak in complete sentences.
Something I have not done since birth.
And the sky responds.
by Mary Reufle; from bostonreview.net, which in a review of her "Trances of the Blast" goes on to elucidate the poem:

"A clichéd scene of lyric immediacy, an awakening to ecstasy, gives way to a comic comparison of the sky’s gem-like hue to moldering produce. Jackson cites Michael Warner’s description of lyric as an “image of absolute privacy,” self-contained and inviolate, and it would be hard to imagine a scene more freeze-framed than this one. But the “fact-checkers” throw us off the lyric scent. Self-expression reduced to its simplest emotional form—“I am happy”—becomes a syntactic joke: the injunction “Notice I speak in complete sentences” is immediately followed by a fragment, a dependent clause. Meanwhile, the fact-checkers propel the poem into the realm of public discourse, where they testify to the veracity of the speaker’s recollections about decomposing limes. It is an odd and seemingly trivial conversation, aware of the responses of the readership and the sky alike, with no discernible emotional end."

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