Saturday, May 10, 2008

CLose Reading of "Of the Light" by Josh Ashbery

Lines 6-11:
Yes, day may just be breaking. The importance isn't there
but in the beautiful flights of the trees
accepting their own flaccid destiny,
or the tightrope of seasons.
We get scared when we look at them up close
but the king doesn't mind. He has the tides to worry about,

I have read this poem over about 15 times now, trying to make some true sense of the few lines that are there and to be honest there is not a clear answer to what the speaker is discussing here. I have theories, but i dont really know. I chose to do a close reading of these lines because they are the most absurd and i thought that maybe if i look at them alone, it will make more sense of the poem as a whole...

To start I'll share what i think is happening: The day is just breaking, but that is not important, what is important is what is happening around the day, how each day is different and the trees respond differently to each change in weather, like the seasons. The speaker uses the word flaccid to describe the tree's destiny, then tightrope to describe seasons. These words create tension, for they are opposites and the tree's destiny goes along with the seasons. What this says about light i do not know? Then the speaker comments how "we get scared when we look at them up close." i think "we" is just people in general, and "them" refers to the tension created by the tree and seasons. The King i believe is a god-like figure to men who doesn't mind the changes for he is the one who does the changing.

Overall, i have been trying to connect this whole poem back to light, and from these lines i conclude that the poem uses light as a analogy for life. People want to trap life and stay young as long as possible. Therefore they need the days to never end, to trap light and keep it. These lines are explanations of this analogy. If anyone has a different opinion, i would LOVE to know, because i am really kinda lost with this one...

1 comment:

jaccoma said...

From what i had read from the selection of lines i feel it is somewhat hard to tell. I agree but i would like to see the whole poem. When i searched online for it i came across this blog entry as the # 1 search for this poem. Weird. Sent a link or post the whole poem maybe?