Sunday, November 13, 2005

That Will to Divest

Action creates
a taste
for itself.
Meaning: Once
you've swept
the shelves of spoons
and plates
you kept,
for guests,
it gets harder
not to also
simplify the larder,
not to dismiss
rooms, not to
divest yourself
of all the chairs
but one, not
to test what
singleness can bear,
once you've begun.
-Kay Ryan

This poem was somewhat difficult for me to interpret, but I thought of it as a poem about turning to solitude. The first line of the poem, "Action creates a taste for itself," made me think of cleaning. When you start cleaning a house, room, or car, you want the whole thing to be clean and do as good of a job as you can. Similarily in this poem, the speaker begins with taking out the dishware that he uses for guests and goes on throwing out everything unneccesary from there. The speaker throws out chairs, excavates rooms, and tries to take out anything that is used for guests.
This poem raises an interesting concept of what is necessary in life. Do you need to have enough extra dishes, chairs, and spare bedrooms for extra guests? Or do you only need what is necessary for yourself. The poem reminds me of a "going into the woods" poem in which the speaker does not want anything but solitude. In the hopes of that, he removes all that would enable guests to come over.


Blogger Esther said...

I enjoy how this poem is created in its line breaks. It contains line breaks that allow you to view the poem in a different way. The poem as a whole is rather confusing. It seems to be talking about life itself and how any action one takes can affect their own lives and the lives of others.

2:57 PM  

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