Lorine Niedecker, "There's a better shine"

There's a better shine
on the pendulum
than is on my hair
and many times
*    *    *    *
I've seen it there.

The pendulum is in the poem's present, as Oppen's stone "1875" is, but the pendulum also leaves a trace, a comparison "on my hair" and glinting through the poem, swinging as "shine"/"times" and "hair"/"there" tick tock with a smooth force. It's also as if the pendulum knocks out a line, four seconds, four "times" out of the "many".

Four glints of history which disrupts the series, series of rhymes, of lines. Niedecker wrote to Cid Corman, in 1965, "I'd say mostly, of course, cadence, measure make song. And a kind of shine (or sombre tone) that is of the same intensity throughout the poem. And the thing moves."

The final pronoun has an ambiguous antecedent, as Peter Middleton points out, and it's this which also swings back through the poem, the mirror-pendulum in which one sees a distortion, a "better" shine. Diacritical stars which are also an intake. The shine is that which "gets in" (as another letter puts it), which "overlays" like a consciousness to be found as tone.

Edmund Hardy

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

  • Twitter
  • Intercapillary Places (Events Series)
  • Publication Series
  • Newsreader Feed