Saturday, January 22, 2022


Artistic Structure Relieves Us of Grief

There is a poet new to me, as most of them are.  Nicholas Pierce.  Having watched his mother's decline and death up close, he writes, now, about leaning on poetic structure not only to relieve his work of an unrelenting keening quality, but also (my metaphor) as a hand-hold with which he can lift himself out of the deep end of the pool of angst, if only briefly.  And who wants to wallow in another's grief?

He deals with a bee infestation on the porch of a house that has been "lent" to him.  Like a chemotherapy drug, the poison he uses kills, but not with perfect discrimination.  The dead ones leave a mess; the survivors plot their revenge.  He says this with adherence to and reverence for the demands of form, of structure.

When my own mother died (it was November of the bicentennial year), we had in the suburbs an infestation of squirrels like none other that I have experienced before or since.  On the way to the funeral home, they ran in waves across the road as if signaled out of the trenches by a superior officer.  It was impossible to entirely avoid running over them if any time were to be made at more than a running pace.  When we did run over them, judging only by the tires' bump and the light popping sound, it might have been acorns that we were leaving crushed in our path.

A synchronicity out of the collective unconscious, Jung surely would have said.  Life is a game of whack-a-mole, but ... Transcend! Transcend!

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