Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Analysis of "Dancer" by Patricia Spears Jones

Poem Found Here:  "Dancer" by Patricia Spears Jones



"Memory" is the main thing in this poem.  Note that the word is used three times in the poem -- once per each stanza.  And, even though this poem starts out focusing on the dancer, the poem feels as though it wants to test the idea of memory and meaning.

Well, the play happens with this line, "Between fantasy and the memory of a man's carved / Torso". With these lines note how the idea of "fantasy" has been kept in the general -- some concept that is grounded in its allusiveness.   Rather the focus is on memory -- what does memory mean.  The literal of the memory in the first stanza is, "man's carved torso" but what it represents is," stroking and celebrations."  Something sexual, something intimate, something festive -- this all fro m a single black feather.

This type of sentiment bleeds over to the next stanza, "Today the sun's brightness is like that lover's kiss / Wonderful in the present and greater in memory."  Note that the physical description plays as a metaphor set up in the beginning stanza, but also note the judgement call here -- "wonderful in the present and greater in memory."  Memory is "greater."  Greater is what way though?  Funnily, as a fantasy that can be expanded upon with the last stanza.

"A memory that brings me back." -- Memory serving as a nostalgic device as the poem transitions from a day image to a night image "Stars dazzle in some other part of this world / Where the sun has set."  That passionate sun is gone and what is left is, "the moon illuminates / Swans diving into voluminous waters."  I think the assumption for me is that the swans are black -- a culmination of feathers going under or the swans are black in the scene, shadows in the night, and are even more hidden, more somewhat repressed, diving into the water.

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