Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Remains

Poem of the Day:
"Street Dog" by Amrita Pritam
Poetry, September 2007

Pritam's poem has been translated into English; I think this, in part, accounts for the hauntingly simple tone her language takes. She writes of a breakup, and the move that ensues: "When we were saying our farewells/and our house was up for sale" (lines 5-6). With a dose of sarcasm she personifies the now artifacts of this life, writing how a vine that hangs over the door was "confiding something to us/—or grumbling to the faucet" (lines 12-13).

Pritam's piece seems to be a straightforward slice of nostalgia, told in a very narrative tone. I maintained such impressions even when she came to the subject of the poem, the "street dog" and how he, "catching the scent/wandered into a bare room/and the door slammed shut behind him" (lines 18-20). At first, I thought little of this canine.

But Pritam leads us to the end and the "dog's carcass" (line 26), found three days later, as the speaker shows the house to its new owners. She writes how she did not hear the dog bark, but only knew he lay there from the foul odor that reached her before opening the door. Her relationship has ended; a carcass for a carcass.

Walking home tonight, after attending a concert in Central Square, I heard a lonely man playing Spanish guitar. By nature Spanish guitar is of a nostalgic romance, light and yearning and wistful.

As the soft manipulations of the instrument reached me, I was reminded of the dog's carcass, how he quietly succumbed to death and how some relationships go softly, without a bark -- a foul odor is all: "and even now, all of a sudden, I smell that odor" (line 29).

A Poem A Day Audrey


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home