Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Analysis of "The Archaic Torso of Apollo" by Carol Light

Poem Found Here: "The Archaic Torso of Apollo" by Carol Light


This poem is "freely after Rilke" -- Rilke's Archaic Torso of Apollo.  While Rilke's poem has more of an existential  -- this poem has a tongue and cheek feel starting with the first line, "This guy's lost his head but, Jesus," through the tone.  From the lost head the speaker focuses on that luscious body:

     what radiance gleams beneath the pectorals,
     and, as the eye follows the contours
     south towards genesis, well,
     one could go blind smiling.

The lines feel tongue in cheek in what past me called, "physical reverence."  Who doesn't like a some good pectorals and contours?  However, the poem turns a bit with the innuendo of "genesis" for the male part.  Yes, the humor is in innuendo, but there's something too tactful about the word choice.  And the poem goes somewhat into it after the stanza break.

On a side note, this poem isn't a sonnet like Rilke's, but emulates the sonnet form -- at least with the sestet at the end, "Sure, the surface is stone, chipped / here and there, but who wouldn't be taken / by those shoulders, and underneath.  As the poem goes on with the physical appearance and the acceptance of "chips on the shoulder" the poem turns a bit with the word, "underneath."  What is underneath this physical perfection with slight faults?

"can't you see the blazer? A star / goes nova inside you.  You can't hide / anymore. You must get a life."  The poem ends a bit tongue in cheek about getting a life, but the poem is about how the realization occurs.  Note that the perfection on the outside is enticing, but how can it compare to a star going supernova.  Such contained combustion shouldn't be.  I'm not so sure about the blazer line though.

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