Friday, June 13, 2014

Analysis of "October nor'easter" by Marge Piercy

Original poem reprinted online here:  "October nor'easter" by Marge Piercy
Originally read: October 31, 2013
More information about the Poet: Marge Piercy


After rereading this poem, I'm not too sure why I picked it.  There's techniques in here which make this poem a little too over the top for me, but maybe that's why I picked this poem.  I want to explore why this poem didn't work out for me.

The first stanza has hard language like "rip" and "scimitars" and "flung."  The beginning describes nature as something hardened, "Leaves rip from the trees / still green as rain scuds"  which then centers back tot he speaker, "as granite pebbles flung / in my face."

The immediate follow-up has to deal with the speaker, "Sometimes my days are torn / from the calendar."  So at this point, I'm thinking, is this comparison worthwhile -- the violent nature as time passes by.  These aspect seems so polar to me so when the simile comes, "like leaves too fresh / still to fall littering / sodden on the bricks"  the references to how leaves are violent then new becomes so jarring that I'm not sure why the poem is doing this.  Is this polarization earned through diction or scenario?  To me, it's just there.

The third stanza ups the ante "But I have had them -- torrents of days" and past me "Days?"  And the stanza goes self analytical with, "Who / am I to complain they / shorten."  But...you are complaining. And then the speaker then admits to using the days "hard, wore them out / and down, grabbed /at what chance offered."  Yes they are short but used well.  The philosophy behind the lines stand, but the images and verb to convey them are overly dramatic to me.

Then the last stanza goes surreal to the point of the absurd to me:

   If I stand stripped
   and bare, my bones
   still shine like opals
   where love rubbed sweetly,
   hard, against them.

I don't think this epiphany is earned, this is flaunted out as an image to end the poem and that's it.  With the overdramatic language presented previously, I can't take these lines seriously enough to envision the "love rubbed sweetly" to create "bones / still shine like opals" -- not only in the image way but also in flow sense, unless the flow is to be as absurd and overdramatic as possible.

But this poem strikes me as a sincere lament about losing days, losing time -- the execution of the poem though, just not for me I guess.

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