Saturday, May 31, 2014

Analysis of "Immortal Longings" by Robert Pinsky

Original poem reprinted online here: "Immortal Longings" by Robert Pinsky
Originally read: October 20, 2013
More information about the Poet: Robert Pinsky


This poem feels dream like.  From the title, "Immortal Longings" which brings a divine desire to the poem (which seems out of grasp), I think this poem tries to pin down the emotion.

But there's some heady things to follow in this poem.  Not so much surreal, just conceptual, "Inside the silver body / Slowing as it banks through veils of cloud / We float separately in our seats."  This feels like a description of sitting on a plane, but note how the language here has some pretty high symbolism with "silver body" and "veils of cloud"  and also note that the subjects (we -- me and you) are "floating" as well.

"Like the cells or atoms of one / Creature, needs / And states of a shuddering god."  The simile drives the poem back and forth between the macro (last stanza) and now the micro.  The relationship building between cell -> creature ->shuddering god.   The "shuddering" gerund is important for the simple fact of reaction and naming -- the god is somewhat clearer in context.

"Under him, a thirsty brilliance. / Pulsing or steady, / The fixed lights of the city"  Past me noted "top down look from 'God'" but in actuality it feels like the top down look of a plane.  But note that the focus here is the observation, and the "thirsty brilliance" happening below, "and the flood of carlights coursing /Through the grid."

"Delivery, / Arrival, Departure.  Whim. Entering / and entered.  Touching / And touched:"  The word play that plays with time -- current to the past brings in a sense of movement in the poem in which fluctuates just like the image and what is talking about.  Nothing is set -- rather the poem plays with the implied.  Also note, that the "we" has pretty much disappeared until near the end of this poem.

"down / The lit boulevards, over the bridges / And the river like an arm of night."  Places and destinations -- the simile add more to the grandiose style of the poem, "Book, cigarette.  Bathroom. / Thirst.  Some of us are asleep."  Now what these lines do is separate the speaker to the action outside the "thirsty brilliance."  Why?

"We tilt roaring / Over the glittering / Zodiac of intentions."  Yes, I feel "Zodiac of intentions" is too much.  But the conceptual of "tilt" and "glittering" brings this poem to actual actions.  The last part here feels like a zoom out away from the up close and becomes that "shuddering god."

I have no idea what "Zodiac of intentions" is used for here.

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