Allan’s poem - Dreams, describes the darker side of the American Dream. In this short, two-stanza poem the narrator takes his ’30 pieces of silver’ instead of living the 'dream' he flogs it. For a small commission, he sells land plots for his corporation. As a faceless bureaucrat, he knows that his life’s work is meaningless and will be forgotten – along with the man himself. This poem questions the 'pioneering spirit' and the corporate world of land development and somehow manages to navigate a path between the two.
A very delicate thing indeed,
everything has to be just right
on the first available planet.
This small extract, emphasizes a point which he makes earlier on in the poem. He observes that it is almost as if the rocks themselves have a ‘will’ to avoid colliding in space. After all, it would only take a meteorite strike or some type of planitary collision to knock out all of life on Earth. In this interesting poem, there seems to be a Christ-like metaphor flowing through the text. In the final three stanzas, the author examines the development of the eye and the visual system, intelligence, self assessment and language… To drive the point home (cleverly) the narrator pauses in mid-monologue - in awe of the frolicking lamb as if rapt with a vision of Christ:
Look at the lambs gambol
The pun with gamble is intentional - showing us that life only exists because of incalculable odds that we are oblivious of. I like the line-break between the word ‘gambol’ and ‘now!’ – it emphasizes the fragility of the moment, hinting at the sublime. The explanation mark in this context is not just a frivolous piece of grammar but emphasizes the immediacy of this moment, the breathtaking-is-ness of the instant that transforms a living moment into death or a dead moment into life. The suddenness of the lamb’s resurrection takes the narrator out of his analytical mind and plunges him into the moment.
This poem had a subtle metaphorical narrative about the passage of time and the loss of youth. I liked some of the imagery in this text: ‘hysteric headwork,’ neck ‘feathers hackle,’ ‘starling static,’ ‘the whinge of gulls,’ not to mention a ‘ghost under the waves thin verdigris.’ There was plenty of pretty language in this poem to devour.
‘… the named
who might have been the world
remembered by the bombsite children.