Friday, February 27, 2015

Analysis of "Unusually Warm March Day, Leading to Storms" by Francesca Abbate

Poem found here: "Unusually Warm March Day, Leading to Storms" by Francesca Abbate


The content of this poem is a bit chaotic -- the nice day comes at the end of the storms in a sense.  However, the technique in this poem: the weight of similes, the conceptual conceit, interests me the most.

"Everything is half here"  is such a broad conceptual statement which is then followed by the simile of:

     like the marble head
     of the Roman emperor
     and the lean torso
     of his favorite

The simile, the other half, doesn't really compliment the concept; rather, they appear more at odds.  Not in the sense of one or the other, but rather the "marble head / of the Roman emperor" is taking either more or less space than the, "lean torso / of his favorite."  Nothing too visceral, nothing too extreme, just the question asked -- which half is more important.  

This idea follows through with a catastrophic scene of the funnel cloud which doesn't touch down but does flip "a few cars, a semi--" the casual tone of the speaker doesn't focus on an emotional appeal rather shows so the next couple of lines, "we learn to walk miles / above our bodies," is not so much emotional transcendence, but a grittier fact that needs to be done.

"The pig farms dissolve," has a similar impact to "Everything is half here" because the specificity of what is dissolving and the verb itself "dissolve."  The landscape is gone, but also the feel of the poem -- there isn't anything tangible to hold onto -- visually, emotionally, spiritually described by the next lines -- a simile:

     As in dreams fraught
     with irrevocable gestures,
     the ruined set seems larger

with these lines the slightly realistic landscape is gone and is replaced by "dreams" and "gestures" reminiscent of the stage as the poem states with, "How well / we remember the stage -- like actors gliding about."  To me, the speaker is tying in the catastrophe to the artifice without an emotional appeal.  To me, I get the sense of being there mentally, but not emotionally or physically.  So when even with the most hyperbolic simile, "Not wings or singing, / but a darkness fast as blood."  I feel it doesn't hold much weight unlike the next line of "It ended at our fingertips" -- I see this line regarding more than the blood, but the whole situation -- the whole train of thought from the "we" collective.

"the fence gave way / to the forest. / The world began."  This doesn't make sense to me, as in it's not graspable, but this is what makes the poem to me.  These lines, I think, are expected after the catastrophe stated in the beginning, but what I sense from these lines is not the wonderment, or the expectation, or even the fear for the world beginning -- rather the sense that it has to mentally regardless of how good or bad the world entered.

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