Original poem reprinted online here: "O Anchor" by Matthew Nienow
Originally read: January 2, 2013
More information about the Poet: Matthew Nienow
So I did something that I usually don't do. I don't bookmark the poems I read for this blog. I read six poetry websites with daily poems, print the poems I like (or dislike extremely), then move on. So when I googled "O Anchor" by Matthew Nienow to link to the original poem I found his website. On his website this is the description of him I found interesting:
Matthew lives in Port
Townsend, WA with his wife, Elie, and their two sons, River and Pike.
When he is not writing, he works on boats and other things made of wood.
This guy knows his boats and waterways. Or at least has a passion for boating, and water.
So I'm going to start off with a little tangent: is writing a job or the hobby? How much of those two aspects of a person's life intertwine? I don't know the answer to these, I'll just leave them here as a placeholder for the future when I come back to this.
So I find another aspect of "you" in a poem. I think I wrote previously, referring to self, referring to audience, or you is a construct of the speaker. I think this poem is referring more to the audience in an anthropomorphized way.
How can I make this conclusion? So I don't know. The use of rhetorical questions (without question marks -- I notice that now) consistently makes me think he's talking more to an audience "what type of bottom / does it drag, for what type of work, for you,"
Also it's how the "you" is used -- the anchor takes on anthropomorphized features but the "for you" at the end of stanza one is separating the anchor and the audience, and from the second stanza down the "you "audience takes on the features of the anchor reverse-anthropomorphism: "your need to stay in roughly the same place" "how well your windlass works" (yes, I linked to the definition because I had to look it up).
So the end the audience and the image come back together with "as much the chain as the chain." Again with the endings I've read the past couple of days -- I feel this is a bit overkill, a good image through repetition, but the tone has been set up by the rhetorical questions.
Also the last line buffers the strength of the line before since the repetition is too close, "where the world exists as much / below you as above." Which I think is an okay epiphany in itself (the last line comments on the epiphany with cynical reassurance? -- but the cynicism is better evoked in earlier lines -- anyway). I just find the line garbled when I read it out loud -- the first time and just very recently. I think it's the "you" in the line. hah.