Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Analysis of "Ace" by Cally Conan-Davis

Original poem reprinted online here:  "Ace" by Cally Conan-Davis
Originally read: November 7, 2013
More information about the Poet: Cally Conan-Davis



So the poem starts with an expletive, "Bloody hell, the worlds turned / upside down".  The poem plays with the idea of hell, but also what it means to be "upside down."

For example, "The flame tree has become / geranium"  This is not the literal upside down, but the switch of power and expectation.  The flame tree, for me, referenced the burning bush, but looking it up now, the flaming tree is an actual tree.



So there's a play with scope and size, but also of allusions as well.  Or I might be looking at the poem too intently.  In any case the couplets here continue to play with "upside down."

"my coral bed has grown / into a tree"  from sea to land, "the humming bird you hammered / to the wall"  from the freedom of flight to being tied down in which "through tin, could any moment / turn and flee."  note this stanza ends with a period, so everything before it is more so a definition of "upside down."

Meanwhile, these lines feel more like after effects: Colors to shape, "The yellow sky has gone / all roundabout" and, again, land to sea, "and clover threes where / seaweed used to be"

So there's a sense of the upside down going downside up and vice versa -- nothing is truly stagnant, but the observations grow wider:

     and blood blossoms with fire
     the powers below grow higher --
     if things turn right-way-up
     will the falling fire stop?

Now here's the trick for me in this poem.  Since there's no standing on what "below" signifies, what does "below" mean.  There could be a meaning of "hell," but if we're still in the upside down landscape, wouldn't that be "heaven" -- in either case something is "falling" and not "rising"  -- a descent is going on.  Also, the biblical reference is not mentioned, but there's heavy implications that the poem could allude to bible.

     The wave is in the hill
     the nest abandons me
     and all the reddened earth is still

     igniting

However, what is in the middle is always earth, right?  No matter what side is flipped there's got to be something in the middle.  I think key to this poem is how the speaker interacts with the shifts, "the nest abandons me"  and here this shows a sense of loss -- close and personal.  Whatever nest represents could be anything (family, home, personal stuff), but the overview setting, the reddened earth, is still igniting.

And here's the other half of it.  What does igniting meant to this poem?  Violence?  Cleansing?  Both?  Lighting up?  obscuring?  How about these two as well?

The images are powerful, but the direction isn't there from the speaker, rather the implications have to be taken to account.  This poem could easily be a war poem, or a environmentalist poem.  A poem about relationships, or a poem about the divine.  This poem may be too broad.  

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