Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Shadow Boxing




A silhouette less defined stretches 
prowls more panther 
beneath tall grass
primed to pull at all that is wild.

   All you compress 
   to hold together,
the clean surface wiped clear of suspicion
betrays nothing of the conflicts
which lie back there in the shade
as you lift the gun to your smile
to wipe your face off the world.


*

A darker number of a poem. My interest in the human shadow never ends. I'm no Jungian analyst but something in that metaphor of the shadow pulls me in and encourages me to shed light through writing on the darkest of human spaces. 'The furies are at home in the mirror.' R. S. Thomas.  http://www.samh.org.uk Don't be crazy alone forever. ;)  photo byjasonlumsden

2 comments:

Jim Murdoch said...

This is different. Different-good, I think. I find myself looking for a ‘than’ in the second line; there seems to be something missing: more panther than what? I’m reminded here of Ted Hughes’s poem ‘The Jaguar’ actually. I think the simple answer would be to replace ‘more’ with ‘like a’. Like all the percussive p’s in lines two and three though. Using ‘like a’ would also reflect into line three: ‘like a’ / ‘at all’.

The next sentence is a bit long and I wasn’t sure it worked at first:

All you compress to hold together the clean surface wiped clear of suspicion betrays nothing of the conflicts which lie back there in the shade as you lift the gun to your smile to wipe your face off the world.

It felt like a list—the things you compress, the clean surface wiped clear—but that was me misreading it and the line breaks as you have them help break the sentence into logical units but I’m still not sure about it because if you remove what is in effect a parenthetical aside you get:

All you compress … betrays nothing of the conflicts which lie back there in the shade as you lift the gun to your smile to wipe your face off the world.

I’m not sure punctuation is the solution but you might want to consider an indent like this:

     All you compress
           to hold together
            the clean surface wiped clear of suspicion
     betrays nothing of the conflicts
     which lie back there in the shade
     as you lift the gun to your smile
      to wipe your face off the world.

I like the idea here although I might’ve wanted to do more with the caged panther imagery in the second sentence.

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