Original poem reprinted online here: "The Comet" by Emma Törzs
Originally read: April 1, 2013
More information about the Poet: Emma Törzs
The beginning of the poem has the classic case of being too personal and cute. The adjective/noun combinations of "deep lonely," "beautiful freeze," and "staring eyes" have the tendency of leading the reader to the single direction of sentiment. Well, where else would this lead to? But this in itself is the trap of the poem -- how much of the sentiment intertwines with the allusion or vice versa.
Of course the image of the comet does set up more of a symbolic reading for me -- the stars, the moon, the great beyond -- this is where my mind unfortunately goes and the eventual turn here is to the personal -- to either life or death. And the poem doesn't disappoint on this level.
First, how the poem deals with life, "Say I am the aftertaste / of all my parents' grief, a childhood spent in the downwind / of chicken blood, recurring dreams of being left behind--" and here, at least for me, I thought the poem might be too sentimental that there's too much victimizing of the speaker. Yet, I kept going where a part of me should've went to the next poem. There's something wrong here. Maybe I liked how the speaker used taste imagery which is rarely used. Also with this play on the surreal.
I guess the point I'm trying to make is that there's a fine line for me on where I'd keep on going with the sentiment of the poem. Here the images are surreal, yet serious enough for me to continue. If the poem went too surreal or too serious, then I probably shrug off the poem. Well, this line is a little bit overboard, "my mother kneeling by the VCR to watch a video of her lost daughter--". Overly Dramatic? Yes.
But then there's a turn to this crucial line, "When my son began to die, I did not record his voice," this is a very powerful yet heavy line. But look at the approach the poem makes -- it sticks with the idea of voice. To contrast the speakers childhood, the speaker didn't have a voice, and the speaker doesn't want to record the voice of the son that's dying. The distance through similarities is here (yes, there's the line, "faith to think we'd meet again." which is a bit cliche). But then the poem gets weird with the speaker consuming the flesh of the dying child.
I think this is where I was interested in the poem and how these lines remind of "Saturn Devouring his Son":
I don't know if the poem is making this allusion or it's me misinterpreting the poem, but this is the experience of the poem that I had (and which I'll go off of). And I feel the greater tragedy in this event is not the distance, but how the use of the allusion shows the lack of emotion -- the lack of love as an emotion, but rather effects of loss in multiple levels (loss of connection, loss of closeness, loss of identity) which is amplified through the italics line:
you'll be the fire of the sun, and I will circle you until you draw me close,
until our nearness breaks me into pieces and you burn me whole.
These lines are a bit surreal -- just a tad, but in a sense the last grasp of sanity of the speaker who wants those connections, that closeness is shown here. It's kind of like a reason line which skirts on relying on the sentiment to make this poem or blurring the sentiment to not make this a poem about sentiment, but the distance created through trying to find that emotion. If this makes sense.
Okay, so maybe. The last part of the poem doesn't play with any emotions but rather punctuates the distance between the speaker and the subject, "Say the speeding rock of my body is as bright / as any resurrection, and I have time to shake before I hit the earth." The trick here is the "any resurrection" part in this line. Note how this poem isn't spiritual and I don't think this poem is looking to the rational as well. An emotional conveyance of distance that needs to be awaken before impact? Perhaps.
But I do have to write that this poem works for me because it is a prose poem. That there's play of the pace of the poem, but also, if this poem had intentional broken up lines, then the poem would've dove into the sentiment -- because the lines would overemphasize the emotion rather than the emotion be like a slippery road to go to and get away from.