I find myself this morning thinking about the power of image in poetry. The things which last long after the poem ends, even years later when you cannot remember how it begins but somehow that image is still with you.
The last time I was home, my aunt told me I wrote a horrible poem which by the way, is a horrendous way to begin any conversation. She said that the poem I wrote about being a little girl in my father’s meat market, holding the bucket while he butchered the animals, always was with her. She said, every time she sees a steak, she is horrified.
Though it should be noted here, my Aunt Jan is a little wacked the fact is, opposing images have power. Marie Howe does this beautifully with a poem about her brother, how all his life he is afraid of losing his sight, how he points all the silver ware in the opposite direction, and you can see a little boy doing this, in your mind’s eye, you understand. Then there is this brilliant line “how it find us, the one thing we fear” and you are left with the image of a man in a doctor’s chair, having a needle placed in his eye.
I may not remember my name at 83 but I know I will always remember this line because that’s how powerful internal word is. It has the ability to build us up and place us in another body, to weave in and out of own similarities.
What are your images? What lines in poetry do you carry and what are the steaks you will not buy?