Thursday, November 3, 2016

Mule by Shane McCrae.

Mule by Shane McCrae

These are from a book of poetry called Mule by Shane McCrae. He has a very odd style on the page. Lots of unusual spacing and uses of the slash mid-line when usually a slash denotes the end of the line. I’ve tried to replicate his formatting as closely as I can.

These fragments look weird, but I will say this: if you read them out loud the rhythm and force of them is really well done. The meanings can be a bit opaque though.

(pg 3)
The marriage bird and flies in the sunlight on the snow/ Between the sunlight and the snow
(pg 8)
I had a lover and a lover and a fine
Lover I had a lover and she was mine.

and we didn’t drink
For fear that we would leave ourselves no water.

(pg 12-13)
We felt our bones disin-
tergrating in the sun and freezing back
Together wrong in the night

(pg 19) On traveling on a foreign train with other passengers:
The farther the train traveled
From home the fewer of
Each other’s words/We understood.

(pg 22)
Half of love is hope.

(pg 37)
We want what we had then we didn’t know
We had it then we didn’t know how far
We’d have to go how much we’d lose

And every child can sing and knows the songs
And you will recognize yourself in the singing

Will recognize yourself in the singing you
Will not recognize yourself in the songs

(pg 73) On poetically confusing moths and honeybees:
The moths
made honey of the light to make
Honey they left the light they brought
the honey back/ Or died in the light the light
itself too sweet to leave

I didn’t love or understand this bit until I rewrote it in the margins of the book like this:

The moths
Make honey of the light
(but) to make honey
They leave the light.
They brought the honey back
or (didn’t) and stayed
to die in the light.
The light itself too sweet to leave.

Yes, I rewrite poems in the books they come in. I don’t do this to make them better. Mine is quite worse, but I rewrote it to try to understand what the poem was getting at before it got all fancy as shit about it.


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