Original poem reprinted online here: "A Road in the Sky" by Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers
Originally read: March 23, 2013
More information about the Poet: Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers
I lagged to write an analysis here. I do have notes on the page, but I feel I'm missing something -- something that google cannot find. I searched "A Road in the Sky," I searched "Ithaca, NY" and I was trying to find a connection, or something that can tell me more about the other in this poem the "we."
I harp a lot on ambiguous pronouns and how an unknown "I" or "other" (we, us) can make or break a poem. But I'm getting ahead of myself. The poem is structured somewhat like a narrative with a sense of exposition, a sense of character development, a climax -- but an end?
The poem is structured in couplets with individual lines. So there's a sense of forced emphasis on the parts with one line.
But first the exposition. There's a description of "A Road to in the Sky" with the first line, "It wouldn't be held / this notion." The description does go back to the title but also goes to "this notion" -- both are pretty ambiguous concepts to go into the poem (which is probably the core of the poem). The description then turns to one of nature "spring park," "spilled vines," "cloud and gaze" "lush and snow" and I find this description generic but confusing in the sense that I don't know if this is referring to "A Road in the Sky" or "the notion." But the ambiance is pretty clear -- the type of nature that brings thought.
And a sense of togetherness, perhaps. Then comes the singular line with "But we were warm." And here is why I was so hesitant about analyzing this poem until I understood who the "we" represents. There's so much weight on the other that I'm not sure if the "we" concerns an actual person.
Well, duh, right? "We" usually refers to a person and there's human modifiers in the poem that state so. But those are modifiers, and concepts can be personified. So I guess I'll try to explain my confusion.
After the line, the description once again goes back to nature, "still on / our back, where winter grass questioned / the margins of skin" I do like how the nature becomes more personified, but why question the skin? Is this a romantic line (in many senses) and to what.
"I am the screen, she said, on which / you throw your passion." So there's the indicator of gender, and a tone of desire. I wonder because the further I go into the poem, the more I feel that everything around is a projection -- something self-aware, "as if I'd rendered her." And even though I didn't quote the whole line, the break here emphasizes the point of a sense of projection.
The next lines loses the imagistic senses and become more, well, more conceptual, "reflection : narcissus" "let my hand / be the bearing / towards -- visible, or not--whatever cyan" "a blinking jet / traced an axis above us." And the rhetoric goes upward, but I don't know why. I don't feel that there was a clear transition for me to follow. Even past me had to grasp on straws like, "reminiscent of Paridiso -- Dante, other women Beatrice.
Half of the poem is more imagistic towards nature, the other half has rhetoric that leads to an upward bound -- both come together with the idea of "the pilot's / daughter: cut the veil" The poem, for me is veiled on actualizing something, and more of a play of images and rhetoric.
I would be fine with that. I would look at this poem for the best rhetoric or images, and I wouldn't feel I'm missing out. But then that passion, the rendition of the other comes back at the end lines, "This was the map: my willing / mouth parted, tasting wild / yonder, her hair's bitter oat." And then there is the conceptual but I'm sensing there's more to the other and I don't know how to take it. I hoped time would help me see the poem in a different less allusive light (past me wrote this about the last lines, "The description of the hair as 'bitter oat' brings a down to earth element. Also Persephone"
I was grasping then as I am now, but I know I chose this poem because I wanted to know more about the concrete things -- I have found nothing on my end.