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Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Great Regulars: In "Allington Cross", [Helen] Farish finds,
in the deep stillness of high summer, something quiveringly erotic, "poised/and paused" on the very brink of release, but caught for ever in the "luminous/untrammelled now" of the poem. And yet the image of the bell, "rim-up after the stroke", gives way to a faintly comical one--drawn from Soviet Russia--of a composer cycling round and round the square on a bicycle "so as not to miss a note of the broadcast symphony".
[Alan] Ross's most important war poem is probably the epic "JW51B" about the battle of the Barents Sea in December 1942, in which his destroyer was hit and he was trapped below deck fighting fires in rising water awash with the bodies of two gun crews. "Soft Objects" clearly deals with the same experience. Although it reads like direct reportage, however, what emerges from these lines is a queasy numbness, at once sickeningly vivid and utterly unreal.