Thursday, August 25, 2005
Here's another one from the current issue of 32 Poems by Boston's own Tom Daley:
In the stairwell of the airport parking garage
a dragonfly lies without rebuke,
inert and dessicated,
papery fossil of an extinguished grace.
Its blue-black head droops,
knobby and askew.
What a darting was here,
what whirled profusion--
mylar wings ribbed with veins
hammering a downdraft,
hinged between water tension
and the weight of the sky.
In the previous post, I mentioned that memory, to a poet, can be just as tangible and present as anything going on in the "real" world at that moment. In this poem, the speaker describes not a memory of the dragonfly, but an imagining of the energy and life that once existed in the now "inert and dessicated" corpse. S/he creates this description out of previous experience with dragonflies--how they move, their speed, their lightness--and pure imagination.
As poets, we spend a great deal of time trying to describe something--a feeling, an object, a thought, a philosophy, etc. We want to properly convey the experience through words. We want to be accurate, but artisitic and original. I think that the imagination can never be overestimated in crafting a poem. If it's a feeling we want to describe, how might that feeling be reflected in nature? How might an object be described if it were an animal? How might the color red smell? Or, as the speaker imagines, how might an already dead dragonfly exist if it were still alive?