Objects in Hourglass may appear…

One of the hazards of poetry is the lines and images catch people differently. Sometimes, what you may walk away from a poem carrying is not what the poet packaged. This is not a case of bait and switch.

poetry analysisInterpretations are funny things. It is the reason why omens are not considered science and no comprehension tests exist for poetry. Your perspective has a lot to do with how you interpret the poem.

The last time we looked at a poem and specifically opened the floor for perspective was Empty. Hourglass is very open to interpretation. Would you like a poet’s eye view? Snuggle into a rocker. The cuppas are warm.

For those of you who missed the announcement about me being Vulcan, line four was the clue:

Somewhere in the science book,
which fed the fire,
was a page which swore the two were mutually exclusive.

pierced ear

They really are not that pointed. Promise.

The science book is the metaphor for the physical laws of the world, logic and reason. Regardless of poetic claims love makes the world go ’round, in fact it is the mere result of the conservation of angular momentum based on the asymmetry of hydrogen, helium and space dust during gravitational accretion as influenced by the tidal friction of the moon. It is these simple immutable concepts which represent the fire (light); hence, the absence of reason would be darkness.

9 Yet, here I am in the twilight with a lukewarm feeling
10 of what I can hardly describe as aloneness.

The negative was clear: “can hardly describe”. It means not alone. The speaker is very clear with a descriptive account of loneliness to illustrate the difference.

11 Loneliness and I were lovers once upon a nightmare.

The intimate description of how the chill of loneliness can demonstrate self-worth is in contrast to the twilight.

16 Each pinpointed one part of me
17 which was above the sunken self I believed myself to be.

The speaker laments the loss of loneliness to help identify self-worth: I long for his coldness, here in the near light, the not cold.

The lack of light and cold is an expanse of unpredictable vagueness which lacks the definition to be an concept of its own, instead borrowing its descriptors from those concepts which are known by similarity or contrast, respectively.

Everything is alien (21). No concept is familiar, either as reminiscent of a disproved past (24) or the possible logical progression to a future conclusion (25).

Shifting sand (26-27) shows the constancy of the flow of time, despite others’ views of it moving in a different direction. Being wedged in the hourglass brings the warmth of knowing at least time still exists as a familiar concept (28-29). The lack of warmth in the absence of reason does not equate to the chill of loneliness which brings discovery.

30 Perhaps, I have found my worth here in the end.
31 I was never meant to be
32 a beacon of happiness or to shine light into the world.
33 Instead, I was meant to be the proof time heals nothing.

Lacking light from the flame, the self-discovery is merely a hypothesis. Were time capable of changing the situation, the hourglass would not be fixed. It would not have be a trap to stop forward motion, which is only forward (healing) based on perspective. People who face in opposite directions proclaim forward differently (34-37).

39 Too bad no one will ever hear me explain it
40 or understand the words as I sing them out.

This is not supposition. If time as a construct is no longer viable, sound would never reach the eardrum of a listener. Its frequency, pitch and volume all are dependent on time to be transmitted from one person to another. If time is standing still (wedged), the sound would never be carried to the listeners at hand (10, 36, 38). Likewise, if time is moving the opposite direction (37-38), the sound could only project into the past where it could not be heard at all.

The closing of the poem is the proof of the hypothesis. Harmony (44) represents the marriage of disproving time’s healing properties (41) and that such discovery would have fulfilled the lifelong goal of the speaker (42). The irony the proof comes at the end of time (swan song, 41) where it cannot be shared as a light into the world (32) is indeed poignant.

Red Signature

PS If you got something totally different out of the poem and it meant something to you, made you think or made you think of someone, your interpretation is just as good. Live long and prosper.

Does time heal anything? Is the irony at the end of the poem also cruel? Did your inner geek radar go off?

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  1. Interesting your breakdown of the poem. I think I saw something a little different, but I am glad to know what you were think.
    Valentine Logar recently posted..Your Azz is ShowingMy Profile

    • Which is why the title of this post is important. I have often wondered if when I write a poem and feel I have said my peace and others read it and get something entirely different, have I miscommunicated?

      • I think this is the same for a lot of poetry, we the writers have a theme firmly fixed in our minds and then once it has been read there are a number of different comments and thoughts based on what the reader envisaged.

        That doesn’t take anything away from the original meaning, it just shows that it evokes alternative ways of thinking and that is really interesting.

        I have enjoyed reading this one but decided to write my thoughts here as this idea crops up rather a lot around writing communities.

        Have a lovely day today Red 🙂

        Andro xxxx

  2. Some poetry I can take apart and get, more often I do not. 🙁 Thank you for the breakdown. I didn’t see most of it coming.
    Tess recently posted..Beijing, Day 5, Part: Olympic ParkMy Profile

  3. Great analyses. You’d be a great teacher for 11th grade Am Lit and 12th grade Br Lit as well as college.


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