Monday, February 10, 2014

Analysis of "Mud" by Alice Teeter

Original poem reprinted online here: "Mud" by Alice Teeter
Originally read: July 30, 2013
More information about the Poet: Alice Teeter


"No punctuation" is the firs thing I wrote at the top.  It's not that punctuation is needed to make a poem, but it's how the poem works with the lack of punctuation.  And here, instead of a period, or a pause, there's a space between which goes nicely with the topic of "Female creator -- materials *mud *clay."

The first stanza is more expository in approach.  There's no dramatic action, only the action of building someone up, "She builds a man from the mud    As far as the horizon / in all directions there is only clay     "  Note the difference between clay and mud, something malleable (mud) versus something already hardened (clay)  "cracked as if a note / deep under the earth had sounded leaving large plates / of mud separated by clefts of a deeper red"  and here the lines separate appearances of each -- clay having more of purposefully cracked pieces of clay and the "deeper red" pieces of mud:

     She has taken her hands and dug deep 
     where it is still wet an fluid     She shapes the man 
     curls his muscles   the softest mud on his torso 
     the hardest applied to his feet and hands

Past me noted that the "softest" mud on the torso is like a cover, but not protection.  It's the area where the "she" wants to mold; meanwhile, the hardest mud is on the feet and hands -- transportation and tools based on movement and momentum.

After such focused creation the creator is tired, "covered in mud herself" note here is when the correlation between creator and creation comes into effect.  In the beginning, it's more of one in control of the other, but now, "she looks just like him    She finishes his head / with hard clay    stops    steps back to rest    gazes / at his features    admires his beauty    Sighs"  the spaces, to me, add the quality of pondering not only from the creator but also the speaker.  The features are not described, rather the intention of beauty.  Also note that the head is made out of "hard clay" which is defined earlier as something cracked, but of note which hides the "mud" underneath.

The momentum comes to fruition with the action of, "Quickly she takes her thumbs and scoops the mud / away from his eyes"  and here the creation is able to see for the first time, but the perspective is still on the creator and how the eyes are, "The whites / bright against the wet oxblood of his face"  Visual.  Then the interpretation, "He stares at her     focused and alert / His eyes cut fear into her heart"  and past me noted two things with the last line, "recognition" and "cognition"

Recognition -- the creation of mud sees the creator in mud.  They are similar, and note there isn't a stratification here or any sort of implied communication expressed from the creation.  The eyes are focused and alert.

Cognitive -- Here it gets a bit tricky.  The cognition is not on the creation, but on the creator.  What has she done?  Given something liker her the ability to recognize her as a creator.  There's a sense of lost power there.  But what is lost is not understood.

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