Went Fishing, Red Sun

by Hannah

comments by:


Went fishing, red sun.  Blue sky laughed through diamonds.
Considered drinking the water cupped in distracted hands.
The scales on the surface tried to reassure me:  each fish
A dream of ancient dark wetness:  all warriors among serf-plants,
Slave colonies of protozoa.  Large bit of flesh
In leech-grip against forefinger:  telling of a ragged-tooth battle,
Fleshed spine in death-thrall against a former metal hook.
(All is dropped before thought passes the dura-mater.)
The wind-and-reel of the hollow tube-and-plastic:  fact:                       
Caught a silver sliver of a thing with no stretch of tendon.
Point and draw:  the line of my salt-mind to his?  Murder?  Suicide?
Perhaps, like Narcissus:  face pushed to the water:  border-of-the-world:
Challenge, beauty:  death the only alternative to life, swimming in

Accourding to Mike Magee:

From: mmagee@dept.english.upenn.edu (Michael Magee)
To: hannahjs@sas.upenn.edu (Hannah J Sassaman)
Date: Mon, 5 Jul 1999 14:47:03 -0400 (EDT)
Cc: esther@antioch-college.edu, hubverse@dept.english.upenn.edu
Sender: owner-hubverse@dept.english.upenn.edu
Precedence: bulk

Hannah, in this poem, and in the one you sent previously, your ear for
lavishly piled phrases is enticing - I like the density, the music.
There's a few places I get caught up which I thought I'd mention for what
they're worth (and, while I'm at it: though I liked the1st poem generally,
the use of "friend" came off as a bit mannered to me and, in any event, I
wouldn't use quite so many.)  So: while I'm not generally bothered by
pathetic fallacies - which I think can be useful, interesting, funny, etc,
"the blue sky laughed..." seems to too-unconsciously ascribe that action
to the sky without any sense of detail: this is one of those cases when
a modernist skepticism like Pound's can be pretty useful, and one can hear
Pound saying, HOW did the sky laugh? DOES the sky LAUGH? On another front,     
I wonder about the symbolism involved in "ancient dark wetness" and "slave
colonies of protozoa" - is the speaker involving her/himself in a kind of
primitivism here?  If so, to what end and at what cost?  Those would be
things that would concern me if it was my poem.  Once you have "slave
colonies," even as metaphor (or, *especially* as metaphor) you have a
whole political subtext that needs addressin'.  The line

"(All is dropped before thought passes the dura-mater.)"

seems potentially very interesting in this regard.  Can we take it as the
speaker disavowing the metaphor-making which has taken place previously?
I like that possibility and might try to somehow get further into its
fabric.  I'm also struck by the halting use of colons which works very
nicely and might be integrated more specifically in terms of this issue
of politics/metaphor, personal-description/symbolic-responsibility, that
type of thing.  Anyway, hope this makes a smidgeon of sense.  Liked the
poems.      -m.