reading revival: a poetry book blog

reading revival is devoted to promoting australian poetry books and related discussion through reading one book - firstly, duty by geraldine mckenzie. i will choose a new book roughly every 3 months

Saturday, June 10, 2006

what do the 'illuminations' p25-29 illuminate? rimbaud? i dont think so, tho i think theres a strong resemblance in tone between rimbaud & mckenzie - but less in the 'illuminations' than in the other poems. the tone here seems milder - the content isnt: 'He saw his sergeant drown in shit' ('III' p26). Later in that stanza: 'The painter didn't make it--...his groom/ holds fast as he dies in brutal crimson'. i suppose theres an ambiguity there in the word groom: groom for his horse/ bridegroom. but how much more is the word bridegroom applicable/available to 2 men in 2006 than it was in 2001 when duty was published. 'III''s conclusion: 'I draw no conclusions--they stand /as those that are themselves, a kind of light.' illuminations of integrity? how much accent is on the word 'themselves'?

'V' p 27 begins: 'Put out the light--the green men come to dance/ their wildness in the chambers of the king' - I'm not sure whose light is being put out in this poem but the end suggests the king: 'we, baseborn, cry good riddance/ and cheer the days the bastard takes in dying'. ('VI' begins 'Tyrants can be gentle ...')

the sequence ends with poem or sonnet 'IX' -- suggesting more 'baseborn' activity, rimbaud amidst revolution:

'That there are connections, that the massed wall
can come down and fine grass issue summons
to delight -- strummed leaf, wind shiver, bird call--
that some obscure and lovely spirit runs
like ink each sparse page illuminating
treasure in the margin, that we can sing --'

illumination(s) - a poetics - and angelic cycle?


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