Original poem reprinted online here: "Tas in March" by Edwin Brock
Originally read: August 15, 2013
More information about the Poet: Edwin Brock
So the first stanza states what the poem will talk about. However, note that the first stanza is a sestet versus the rest of the poem written in tercets. What the first sestet does is set up the conflict -- the introduction of the speaker and the introduction of the actual "subject."
"White on dark water, so stark / I leave my binoculars behind / and watch with bare red eyes." Here the speaker is introduced, but the focus here is on his vision. Without the binoculars, there isn't necessarily a focus onto a specific thing, but there's an expansive outlier to this image, "two swans, taut with sexuality, / stretching their necks / alternately side by side." The interpretation is already there at the beginning -- sexuality and note how close and intimate the image is together. But since the interpretation is already stated by the speaker, what is there to read? How the interpretation twists.
"They are early: colour is /still to come to bone-dry rushes / and trees bank black strangling" pay attention to the description in each line. "Early" describes the time frame in which there's a sense of something pre-mature, then "bone-dry" describes colour, but note that the feeling is more tactile like the strangling in the next line.
"their green. It is a hard wedding : / sharp brambles and ivy-covered / stumps hunch and hug" and at this point, the obvious connotations of a relationship is purposefully embedded into the scene. And with each reference, the question is why. Why a hard wedding? Why do stumps hug? Note again the speaker in which has gone away from the poem and is interpreting the scenes. He isn't character, he is the reader.
"sleet pokes the surface from / a blank neutrality, to come back / spitting with all its mouths" note how hard the anthropomorphism plays into here. The sleet is the one to break away: from the love and sexuality, from the metaphor, from sense -- spitting.
"Roused, the spread wings / beat their own storm towards / the north, wind against wind." Past me noted a "migration away"-- however note the migration away together. The scene may change, but the swans are able to leave together. And who is left behind? The one who interprets alone.
"Somewhere in all this a small / heat is held, like the hope / of a cold man drowning." Past me wrote "'hope'" is central: saved or left to die -- focus is resolution" But note the usage of a simile here to compare the man awaiting "a small heat [is] held" Contact. warmth. Something to wait for, or die for? Kind of extreme. The poem isn't about the scene rather the mindset of the speaker which doesn't change -- a constant sporadic -- as what he observes passes by.