Original poem reprinted online here: "Elk Skeleton" by Amy Fleury
Originally read: April 16, 2013
More information about the Poet: Amy Fleury
When I reread this poem, I didn't know if the pieces fit together. And I think this is one of the strengths of the poem. The three stanzas have a slightly different approach to each and different subject matter which make the leaps a little far off, but connecting.
For example, the first stanza opens with the alliteration of D "Down the draw at dusk seven mule deer" and some B "browse the blanched grasses." There's very hard sounds here as though the speaker is forcing the reader or the speaker herself to stop and look at these deer and look at them eat -- majestically. I write majestically because I feel the sentiment is forces within the two lines, and then the philosophical third line of "Not all has been winter-killed this early April" which brings a certain seriousness, and passage of time to the poem, and the line after referring to the deer as "sisters" and "shadows" brings an overarching metaphor -- this is more of a Deep Image style of poem judging by technique where the images are more representational of Jungian philosophies.
Yet, stanza two focuses more on the speaker, "my breath disrupts moth-dust on the sill." Then the speaker focuses on outside things like, "The branches of fog-haunted furs appear / to have been assembled from brackish ash" these images have are in the vein of Deep Image, but there's something off for me here. the last line in the stanza, "from this forest's decay" does punctuate the style, but I don't know -- is it the inclusion of the "I" in stanza 2 or the switch away from the deer. I think I should quote the last two lines of stanza 2, "Lichen brocades the stones hove / from this forest's decay" I think "brocades" throws me off. The juxtaposition of death and design from the observer stand point sends me another direction where I think something doesn't fit right.
The last stanza, focuses on the "elk skeleton" and the alliteration returns with, "stranded, sunlit ship in the scree" which reads like a metaphor, akin to "The Quaker Graveyard in Nantucket" by Robert Lowell, but the line isn't an allusion to the poem, just similar. The overly symbolic comes again with the line "Gone the ruminant heart, the once pink / and capacious lungs". And then the fade away to "a moth opens its delicate hinge." "Moth" could be a pun for "mouth" (or I mistaken it due to the context of the skeleton." But the techniques are similar to the first stanza, where the second stanza stands out not only on content, but on technique, and direction. A little bit off, but connects.