Monday, September 1, 2014

Analysis of "Little Muchness" by Mary Ann Samyn

Original poem reprinted online here: "Little Muchness" by Mary Ann Samyn
More information about the Poet:  Mary Ann Samyn



Even after rereading this poem, I feel like I want to tie the couplets together and make them all connect, and in some instances there's some connection between stanzas in the beginning of the poem, but when the poem goes to an end there seems to be a disconnect.  I think this might also be a ghazal (image based first line, theoretical second line -- but no name in the last stanza).

"Some shouting and the tree came down branch by branch / my not so fast  a little late"  Past me noted the allusion to the lullaby with the first line.  Or at least that's my thought process when I read "tree came down branch by branch."  The line, though, could just be someone chopping down a tree with little or no allusion implanted with the first line and the weight should go on the brief second line which utilizes the speaker stating "not so fast" a little late. Is it against cutting down the tree?  Or something else.

The connection here continues with the next stanza, "Now the wood burns and as usual I think my house is on fire."  Here the connection leads to the dramatic -- the "wood" with very light metaphorical implication leads to the idea of burning -- this sort of apocalyptic image and ends with the deadpan, "Thus June ends."  I think here the speaker goes to two extremes in order to establish a deadpan speaker who can observe without being emotional, externally and personally.

"What is with the world, I asked, and laid my cheek against the mantle. / I'm certainly not the first."  The ambitiousness of the second line makes the first line pop because there is a sense of insight to the sentiment (or lack of).  When the speaker questions and lays her cheek on the mantel the speaker is, more or less, lost in thought and so when the speaker acknowledges not being the first to think this, the speaker inserts herself in a more historical tenor: who is the last?  where does she stand?  Well, technically, the speaker is currently "laid."

"The sunset shrugs--see ya--and goes over the next-to-last mountain. / This is what not settling looks like."  Note that there's a definite focus on position and apathy from the setting and a sense of irony from the speaker.  The anthropomorphizing of the sunset adds to the sense of apathy (as well as the curt leaving) as well as the specific description of the penultimate mountain indicates a reoccurrence.  "This is what not settling looks like" has a sense of irony because the apathy now has meaning behind it, but not reason.  Yes, being on the move and not settling might not go hand and hand with the tone, but it's the movement outside with the lack of movement inside that comes apparent.  Both the setting and the speaker don't have strong emotional ties which, in the case of this poem, requires a sense of settling (arguably).

"I suppose a brave man might take this opportunity to get braver,"  And with this situation a "brave" man would get "braver" -- this is internal, some kind of bravado that doesn't do anything but means something.

Meanwhile, from the same sense of apathetic nothing, "I'm done, so I'll wait in the kitchen."  Note the usage of action from the speaker.  And, yes, I can say this has gender implications, but I don't think that's the entirety of the point of this poem.  Rather, I feel the sense of apathy lingers in the background and causes the extremes (like the wood then house on fire):  bravado without action or action without bravado.

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