Thursday, January 2, 2014

Analysis of "They Have a Point" by Jennifer Boyden

Original poem reprinted online here: "They Have a Point" by Jennifer Boyden
Originally read: July 1, 2013
More information about the Poet: Jennifer Boyden


The poem plays with perspective.  On on hand there's the definition of "mystery" being played around with, and on the other, the definition of "body" is being played with.

"When the gods gave us all the holes / leading into our darkness, they planned / on our needing a mystery."  With this first sentence, there's the divine is in control and creates, "holes" in the body -- reason, to create mystery for those who have bodies.  Past me noted, "our darkness -- Pandora."  I guess what I was trying to think of is why.  The tone of the sentence is like a folktale, and so the outsider perspective is rather prominent here.

Just like the gods, "It amuses them / that what is inside the body / is more body.  The same body, but different."  The language here is simple, just like the perspective.  What's in the hole of a body, more body.  The same but different line is meh for me.  I understand that the line sets up a transition to the second stanza, but the "body is more body" line is an interesting play on tone, repetition and language  that the same but different line is pretty hollow in comparison.

"They first said the bodies should be mostly moss inside / But they kept coming back to the mystery."  I think what gets me here is the plural of "bodies."  Why focus on multiple when the individual?  I can see the singular shift to create a sense of change -- micro to macro, but I've been invested in the focus of the "holes in the body" and feel that the idea could be explored since the rhetoric, mostly, drove the poem.   Anyway, the "moss inside" is the new factor that kept the "gods" and "people" amused.

The god's standpoint is explored once again with, "Though they like that moss would have kept everyone / soft and green, they decided it was best to fill each thing with itself," so the rhetoric goes back to the beginning -- holes created, body is more body.  The added context of moss indicates that what's inside may not be "soft and  green" -- both or one of the choices.

The last sentence brings in an analogy to the body, "Look at stones, they said. / Look at water which is like a throat of water."  There could be an implication that inside is more body and well hard and liquid.  Past me pointed out, "individuality as puns?" 

I can see why I chose this poem -- trying to figure out the techniques used in the poem, but after rereading this poem a couple of times, I'm not too sure I'm drawn in for another look.  The rhetoric doesn't draw me in, nor do the images.  The diction is simple. The poem seems complacent in being.

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