Mike Snider's Formal Blog at the Sonnetarium :
poems, mostly metrical, and rants and raves on poets, poetry, and the po-biz
Updated: 6/26/08; 9:23:16 PM.

 

ME & MINE











AIM: poemando


RESOURCES














NON-POETRY BLOGS













POET'S SITES: MOSTLY BLOGS





























































































































Click to see the XML version of this web page.

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

 
 

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

My mother's never seen this little poem by Dana Gioia, but I'm a fool to have never shared it with her:

Unsaid


So much of what we live goes on inside—
The diaries of grief, the tongue-tied aches
Of unacknowledged love are no less real
For having passed unsaid. What we conceal
Is always more than what we dare confide.
Think of the letters that we write our dead.

There's nothing new in the what of the poem, and no surface difficulty at all. It appears to be a plain statement of a too-common situation, and still the last line is like a hammer.

Some of its impact is metrical: the first five lines are completely regular iambic pentameter; after the strong stop at the end of the first line, lines two to four are enjambed, with two strong caesuras, almost hiding the line endings; line five once again stops cold; the last line opens with the only metrical substitution of the poem, a trochaic first foot that quickens the poem's pace before that last stop. The middle lines are metrically tied together in a bundle of small examples of the first line's thesis, while the last line's final example sums and shows the extremity of all that went before.

But it's the rhyme which is really masterful. It appears, at first, to be aXbbaX, with "aches" and "dead" unrhymed — which would be, on it's own, perhaps merely clever. But look closer at the apparently unrhymed lines. Very near the end of each is an a rhyme, the perfect rhyme "tied" in an unaccented position and the near-rhyme "write" accented. "aches" is faintly echoed in "unacknowledged," apparently finished in the unvoiced "s" of "less," and revived by the long "a" of "dare" in the penultimate position the poem has taught us matters to it. And "dead," of course, rhymes with "unsaid" at the strong caesura of line 4, and the poem clicks closed like the trap which it reveals so many of us build for ourselves.

And still it never preaches, never accuses, never enjoins us to anything but awareness.


8:03:12 PM    comment: use html tags for formatting []  trackback []

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

2008 Michael Snider.



Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website.
 




May 2005
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        
Apr   Jun


ARCHIVES

Mar 2008
Feb 2008
Jan 2008
Dec 2007
Nov 2007
Oct 2007
Sep 2007
Aug 2007
Jul 2007
Jun 2007 (empty)
May 2007
Apr 2007
Mar 2007
Feb 2007
Jan 2007 (empty)
Dec 2006 (empty)
Nov 2006 (empty)
Oct 2006
Sep 2006 (empty)
Aug 2006
Jul 2006
Jun 2006
May 2006
Apr 2006
Mar 2006
Feb 2006
Jan 2006
Dec 2005
Nov 2005
Oct 2005
Sep 2005
Aug 2005
Jul 2005
Jun 2005
May 2005
Apr 2005
Mar 2005
Feb 2005
Jan 2005
Dec 2004
Nov 2004
Oct 2004
Sep 2004
Aug 2004
Jul 2004
Jun 2004
May 2004
Apr 2004
Mar 2004
Feb 2004
Jan 2004
Dec 2003
Nov 2003
Oct 2003
Sep 2003
Aug 2003
Jul 2003
Jun 2003
May 2003
Apr 2003
Mar 2003
Feb 2003
Jan 2003
Dec 2002
Nov 2002
Oct 2002
Sep 2002