Saturday, June 7, 2014

Analysis of "Djinn" by Rae Armantrout

Original poem reprinted online here:  "Djinn" by Rae Armantrout
Originally read: October 28, 2013
More information about the Poet: Rae Armantrout

I'm still not sure what Djinn means to this poem except being ethereal.  And a poem starting with the word "ethereal" or anything that has to do with transparency does show it's hand towards an unveiling.  Here, Djinn is so rooted as a character that I didn't think about the make-up of the character until the end...just how the character relates.

     Haunted, they say, believing
     the soft, shifty
     dunes are made up
     of false promises.

The set up is not the false promises -- but who "they" are.  From this point on there is something missing, but states a heavy impact. In this case the idea of 'Haunted" is tied with the descriptors of "soft, shifty dunes" and all together this is more or less a symbol of false promises, but from what perspective?  False promises only have impact based on who is saying it in this case.

     Many believe
     whatever happens
     is the other half
     of a conversation.

Cause and effect?  Here is a play with the previous stanza.  Note the repetition of believe in which is a progression from the last stanza which also pushes this current stanza.  Thought upon thought and then "happens" is the other half to the conversation.  So does that mean the first stanza is "happens?"

     Many whisper
     white lies
     to the dead.

     "The boys are doing really well."

So here's the devastating part.  My mind goes into quatrains even though this poem has more (or less) a free verse element.  So with this "quatrain" there's an emotional sentiment pull here.  There might be a connection that the dead here refers to the "boys."  And once again, who is the one saying this -- and what is the tone and inflection.

     "The boys are doing really well."

     Some think
     nothing is so
     until it has been witnessed.

In order to keep my quatrain theory alive, I have to take a leap.  I feel the line "The boys are doing really well" also has some importance here in which the quote plays with the idea of "witness."  Is the quote an example of  witnessing an event? Or is it the effect of "the other half of the conversation?"

     They believe
     the bits are iffy;

     the forces that bind them,

Here is a little more pointed idea of "they."  And, to be honest, I focused on the idea of "absolute" when everything stated so far hasn't been completed pointed down.  Who do I think "they" are?  I only have what's stated in the poem -- what they believe, and what they say.

Now the forces that bind "them" is directly correlated with "iffy" -- so the force could be knowing improbability occures -- that nothing is absolute -- and that is an absolute.

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