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Dara Wier's "Something for You Because You Have Been Gone"

Poetry became my passion after I fell in love with Walter de la Mare's "Silver" in Mrs. Edna Pickett's sophomore English class circa 1962.

Dara Wier

Introduction and Text of "Something for You Because You Have Been Gone"

The speaker in Dara Wier's "Something for You Because You Have Been Gone" usurps drama to concoct a performance meant seemingly to enliven the very human sadness of losing a loved one. Typical of most postmodernist twaddle, this piece's lack of any real human emotion blights the piece.

The poet's choice of the Innovative (or American) sonnet is forgivable; this free-form sonnet works well for free verse mental gymnastics, and even though many poets who employ it manage to show some familiarity with the traditional forms upon which they are innovating, this poet shows no such awareness save the final movement, which almost apes the Elizabethan couplet.

Something for You Because You Have Been Gone

What happens to us when you go away goes something
Like what happens to shoes in a dead man's closet.
Things inert without breath or breeze to stir them.
As if at the striking of a bell or the blow of a whistle
Or a shot from a pistol everything moving comes to a
Standstill. Quite some race this. Impossible to find
A decent seat. We thought about betting the farm
On who or what might make the first move. We
Were never 100% all there before, why would we want
To be that now? It looks like a struggle ensued where
The hair went down. Ah, look at where so many choose
To leave their skins behind. We passed along a few blankets,
An armful of unworn blouses. We passed you from hand
To hand and solemnly swore to unmention your name.

Dara Wier reads her poem (First in the sequence)

Commentary

Dara Wier's American sonnet flails about within a postmodernist rapture of funk, filth, and fury as it attempts to make a new statement about the experience of love and loss.

First Movement: Awkward We

What happens to us when you go away goes something
Like what happens to shoes in a dead man's closet.
Things inert without breath or breeze to stir them.

Addressing the lost loved one using the awkward, editorial we when she clearly means I the speaker proclaims, "What happens to us when you go away goes something / Like what happens to shoes in a dead man's closet." Those left behind when the loved love leaves feel as if they were a pair of shoes belonging to a dead man, who left the shoes behind never to return.

Instead of leaving that image alone to create its magic, the speaker feels to need to explain the use of the image: Things inert without breath or breeze to stir them. The unnecessary explanation violates the first rule of great, or even good, poetry.

If the image itself is not strong enough to convey the feeling, explaining will not help it better to choose another image. Oddly enough, the image of shoes in a dead mans closet is quite a powerful one, and the superfluity of the explanatory line is merely intrusive and annoying.

Second Movement: Going Nowhere

As if at the striking of a bell or the blow of a whistle
Or a shot from a pistol everything moving comes to a
Standstill. Quite some race this. Impossible to find
A decent seat. We thought about betting the farm
On who or what might make the first move. We

The second movement, which features five lines, is loaded with moving parts but goes nowhere. The reader simply becomes aware that everything has come "to a / Standstill" now that the lost loved one has gone.

The sound of a bell, a whistle, a gunshot, all which might be heard at the beginning of some sort of race, has stopped. But this is quite some race, where no one can find a seat. They mulled over the idea of placing a huge wager, "betting the farm / On who or what would move first."

Third Movement: Postmodern Perplexity

Were never 100% all there before, why would we want
To be that now? It looks like a struggle ensued where
The hair went down. Ah, look at where so many choose
To leave their skins behind. We passed along a few blankets,

Apparently, they failed to make the bet because they were never 100% all there before to which the speaker appends the question their relationship to begin with. Their engagement with the lost one seems not to have been especially close after all, or perhaps the speaker is infusing a brief moment of denial because the next lines provoke a war scene of great struggle, perhaps even genocide of Holocaust proportion.

There seems to be a great battle, after which body parts are left strewn about. She infers this struggle from viewing a place where / the hair went down. Down what? Simply on the ground? Down a drain?

No postmodernist piece is complete without an image left hanging in the wind. The speaker reports that they passed out blankets, apparently to the refugees of the war torn nation—a strong metaphorical implication that is left to complete itself in the couplet.

Fourth Movement: An Ornamented Ostrich Egg

An armful of unworn blouses. We passed you from hand
To hand and solemnly swore to unmention your name.

In addition to the blankets, they also handed out unworn blouses. Then the speaker claims that they were merely passing out pieces of the loved one as they solemnly swore to unmention your name.

Yes, denial that the lost one has ever been is always the way to go. After this roller-coaster ride of gratuitous novelty and willful obfuscation screeches to a halt, the reader finds the speakers emotional maturity the level of an ornamented ostrich egg.

© 2018 Linda Sue Grimes

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