Thursday, December 5, 2013

Analysis of "Wait" by Galway Kinnell

Original poem reprinted online here: "Wait" by Galway Kinnell
Originally read: June 10, 2013
More information about the Poet: Galway Kinnell



I know that this might seem obvious after rereading the poem and interpreting the images, but when I reread the poem to day, it hit me.  The poem is getting over a sense of depression, maybe even suicide.  I keep thinking to myself why I missed that?  I think the answer is on the notes I made on the page.  I'll get to those in a minute.

The first line of the poem is a simple command "Wait" followed by "Distrust everything if you have to."  For past me, I attributed this to Descartes theory of radical doubt.  However, what the line implies is to distrust oneself as well as the world.  So when you can't even trust your own thoughts, "trust the hours."

Time, what does time bring -- something eventual.  "Hair will be come interesting / pain will become interesting."  Furthermore, I misappropriated lines because I commented on this line, "Buds that open out of season will become lovely again." Past me questioned these lines as, "physical will be 'lovely again'"  No, not the right way to read these lines.  The lines are endstopped with a focus on every single concept -- they are separate entities that should pile up rather than merge together.

However, these reasoning lines should merge together:

     [...] that enormous emptiness
     carved out of such tiny beings as we are
     asks to be filled; the need
     for the new love is faithfulness to the old

So the leaving and coming of love is important here.  The speaker focuses on getting over these moments with time.  And, although the lines feel ripped from a self-help book, the lines do what they need to do.

Because the second reiteration of "wait" is at the pass point.  It's as though the subject is ignoring the advice from the first stanza.  I think past me misinterpreted these lines, "You're tired.  But everyone's tired. / But no one is tired enough"  past me thought that this was the speaker, "judging and dictating" the subject to live.  Rather, I read this line as everyone has things to deal with, but there's no point where a person should be "tired" enough.

And then time again, "Music of hair, / Music of pain," where the objects turn more metaphorical, more idealistic -- as though to be enticing and merging. "Music of looms weaving all our loves again"  I thought this line referred to Penelope.  And the last four lines

     Be there to hear it, it will be the only time,
     most of all to hear,
     the flute of your whole existence,
     rehearsed by the sorrows, lay itself into total exhaustion.

I thought these lines referred to Orpheus.  And, perhaps, they do.  But note how the speaker should be tired, but exhaustion has more of a positive connotation -- at least the chance to be heard and recognized -- by love?  by others?  by existence?

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