Original poem reprinted online here: "It's Here In The" by Russell Atkins
Originally read: July 23, 2013
More information about the Poet: Russell Atkins
This poem plays with expectation. The title itself, written as a fragment, should bleed into the body. But the phrase "Here in the" is repeated in he first line. It's not the repetition that adds to the poem, rather what is missing -- "It's". When discussing the title, "it" is important, the subject. However, going into the poem, the discovery is more important." A simple, but complex shift.
The first line of the poem focuses on the discovery, "wreck on the East Bound" and then the it "A photograph bound to bring on cardiac asthenia." Note the play of the pun "bound" here. Yes, this harkens to the construction of the poem, but also there's a sense of play with the repetition and the lnaguage. A lulling into thinking this poem will go in this direction.
"There is a blur that mists the pages:" is the line which can turn the poem. Here the speaker is going to clarify the "blur." "On one sides' a gloom of dreadful harsh, / Then breaks flash lights up sheer. / There is much huge about. I suppose". General. Gloom and dreadful are the mists that blur these lines as well. The image following, the lights, are quantified by the gloom, but nothing too specific.
Not until the adjusted aligned part, "those no 's are people / between that suffer of -- / (what have we more? for Christ sake!" Note how intense and precise these lines are, not through description, but of tone and language. Past me noted that the " 's " represents people, but by not showing who posses what -- it's the possession that matters. The unknown form that wavers between suffering, and experiencing. Experience, though, is not clearly stated, but instead turn into dialogue. The question followed by the exclamation mark -- a little dramatic -- but I think the break in style saves the line.
And the following lines, "Something of a full stop of it / crash of blood and the still shock", since they description is so vivid, the play is gone and the blur reveals the accident "blood" and people "still shock"
Zoom further, "of stark sticks and an immense swift gloss / And two dead no 's lie aghast still" Note the usage of alliteration here feels like that this line is meant to be remembered, versus earlier techniques that focus on setting the tone of play. And the direct "two dead" is in the same line with the ambiguous, " 's " in which goes back to the previous line about possession -- or more of responsibility.
"One cast a a crazed eye and the other's / closed dull / the heaps twist up." The extreme focus on the dysmorphic form actually tells the form of the poem at the end, "hardening the unhard, unhardening the hardened." The paradox through language, and image would come off as too much play if it wasn't for the un-bluring of the scene. for me, it's 50/50. I still see the play on the language, but not that much impact on the scene.
Yes, two dead, and they are described dead. The hardening/unhardened effect plays with the audience's perception of both technique and scene. I guess, for me, the technique fascinates me more than the content.