Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Lacking in Aftermath

Poem of the Day:
Sylvia Plath's "Aftermath"
The Colossus and Other Poems


Compelled by calamity's magnet
They loiter and stare as if the house
Burnt-out were theirs, or as if they thought
Some scandal might any minute ooze
From a smoke-chocked closet into light;
No deaths, no prodigious injuries
Glut these hunters after an old meat,
Blood-spoor of the austere tragedies.

Mother Medea in a green smock
Moves humbly as any housewife through
Her ruined apartments, taking stock
Of charred shoes, the sodden upholstery:
Cheated of the pyre and the rack,
The crowd sucks her last tear and turns away.

An aftermath is "something that results or follows from an event, esp. one of a disastrous or unfortunate nature" ( My day was devoid of an aftermath. I spent much of it lost on the T, traveling back and forth on a bus and thereby creating an event-free zone in the whole of my day.

I traveled to Somerville for an interview and planned to make my way downtown to complete a job application; this was not to be. I boarded the bus heading in the wrong direction and found myself in a "[B]urnt-out" section of East Cambridge. While Plath's poem acknowledges the, though perhaps elementary, thought that an event, in this case a tragedy, sets in motion an aftermath I had no event of which to speak besides a mind-numbing set of bus transfers that only left me wishing that my CharlieCard came with a map.

Nonetheless, Plath's sonnet kept me going throughout the day. Despite the wretched subject, the vibrantly monstrous imagery ("Some scandal might any minute ooze/From a smoke-chocked closet") served as my daily dose of event and in my mind I carried on the natural process of cause and effect. Although my day was noiseless Plath's poems never are.

A Poem A Day Audrey


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