Poetry: Point

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By contributor Elaine Lay. Elaine is a new Canadian, born and raised mostly in the Philippines. She graduated Dalhousie University a year ago with a B.A. in English, minor in Classics, and is now taking Creative Writing at VIU. The poem was originally titled The Truth and was inspired by Audiomachine’s soundtrack of the same name, as well as a vague mishmash of classical music impressions, perhaps most notably Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture. It all started when Emily Dickinson’s poem Tell All the Truth started having a dialogue with audiomachine’s The Truth in her head.

Point

Tell all.
But tell it slant, she said
Success in circuit, in circuit. . . *
There is no circuitry here.
Nor edgewise fringe sneakery,
(Unless it’s the palm warm on the back
Rubbing slow, sad circles
A balm independent of the telling)
There is only:
Declarative statements served raw
Punctuated with periods. No commas.
This. And this. And this too.
Pressed deep without twist or flourish.
Once. Twice. And again it beats on the door
The signal for a forced march
Straight to some inevitable telos
Prodding the reluctant to plod
Relentless as the mule-driver’s whip the hortator’s mallet the conductor’s baton
Striking in the air some invisible message
With all emphasis.
But then so!ly, and then so!ly here now
Something rises on the horizon, all rosy-fingered
Formless still and dewy with the shine of new things
And the falling light of it
Morphs the regular march of the bullet points
Into skipping stones that ripple and ripple
On murky water, reflective as looking glass
A straight path of blossoming concentric circles
That lead. . .
Oh, yes.
I see.

*From Emily Dickinson’s Tell All the Truth


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