Original poem reprinted online here: "Devil's Aspect" by Charlie Clark
Originally read: November 20, 2014
More information about the Poet: Charlie Clark
After rereading this poem, I noted a past remark I wrote, "This poem is evasive through rhetoric." No, not exactly. I think this poem works on how description is used to blur what's there.
Throughout the poem the focus should be on this idea, "the smoke obscuring." Because from this idea the poem expands outward, "Easy to say / the smoke obscuring is the aspect." The speaker is undercutting the self by referring to what is observed as what can be easily stated; meanwhile, the symbol behind the smoke as an "aspect" is just statement with no force.
"Not hard to follow in that in all its moving / it's so consistent." The parallel between "aspect" and "smoke" has such a loose connection that the "it" could refer to both and still not hold a rooted meaning. What does it mean to be consistent? Or even more questionable, "Still his single form" who is the "he"? The devil?
There are a lot more questions than concreteness for me up to this point and even though the following lines are images and concepts that describe this ubiquitous he or smoke or aspect, "Whether dim or glowing. Whether cocksure or wracked " These descriptions are heavily into being contrasts. This could be this or this. Nothing firm, nothing too tangible except the reaction from the "he," "sensing something larger he knows / he can ignore."
The speaker confirms my previous notion with the line, "He can ignore / only so much obvious obscuring, / even in himself." So regardless of how the descriptors work to not really describe, or the nouns that really don't exist -- the he can only ignore such obscurity for so long. The natural reaction then is for concreteness or, "before he calls it evasion / Which is deliberate."
I think this is the core of the poem and what the poem builds up to -- the obscure can be ignored like him but to name the obscure is to name this sense of evasion -- this deliberate evasion which confronted, "Deliberate / like his hand inside the skin of another / who knows but does not feel it." The more evasive the "he" is to himself.
This poem is much like contact or not contact, seeing or not seeing and this -- this sort of limbo is the Devil's aspect.