Original poem reprinted online here: "The Mortgaging of Self Is Done" by Aimée Sands
Originally read: August 17, 2013
More information about the Poet: Aimée Sands
Automatically, the poem sets up a metaphor of the self as a mortgage through negation. But also the poem sets up any discussion about a house as a parallel metaphor for the self. This is why I find the couplets particularly effective to highlight the similarities and the separation.
"And the floors dreaming in wide, / drowned light. The drifting and bobbling," Note the heavy emphasis on verbs here. Here the action is more personified: dream, drift, bobbling -- but also note how the verbs are set in stasis through the personification. What's moving. Nothing, it's action inaction.
"nodding you off in another direction, / broken sideways, sideways / broken" The inverse lines reinforces the dream-like surreal syntax, but furthermore in the context to the poem, the repetition of broken doesn't change, but adds, with broken sideways shows how action is done, sideways broken shows the location, the after effect of the breaking.
"Farther. Father. And the staff / of good intentions that sprouts leaves," Note that the play on repetition is with Farther. Father. Visual homonyms in which both could have meaning, but it's the "good intentions" that they represent that is developed, "feathers, the formal calm that surprises, / gauze outflung and laid." Once again more the actions hide the core of "formal calm" -- as the poem is structured as such, a formal calm -- as everything seems to go away, the structure keeps the thoughts in tact, until the last four lines:
The miner that comes with a light, knees,
questions, gunpowder. The stifling,
the unbinding. Moral, normal, matted,
matched. The pelt of suffering.
Note the shift in character towards the miner brings, "light, knees, questions, gunpowder." And through these items and the minder there is "the stifling, the unbinding."
The play continues as though unable to pinpoint the actions anymore, and unable to pinpoint meaning, "Moral, normal, mattted, matched" and that is "the pelt of suffering." Not the inability the pinpoint, but to compromise and hedge bets, to mortgage, the self into meaning something.