A body standing in the wind : : the repetition of lines

The sentence moves toward an end. 

 

The poem’s repetition of lines resists 

the ending, won’t stop, does not know a wall, 

measures its courage by the wall, uses 

the wall for comfort, whispers through 

the wall, digs under, doesn’t repair the wall,

repeats walls, decorates, speaks to, dances 

through, prays, weeps, loves, climbs out of bed, stands up

having dreamt beyond the body weight of sleep

into its well where there was fresh water.

When the line is a regular length—a syllable count, a meter, a number of strong beats—we feel the going past as readers/listeners. We see and hear the shape of time’s endings and our crossings.

In the poems below death is the wall. The use of regular form with a visible wall is an image of what the poem is doing:

Dylan Thomas’s “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night”

Emily Dickson’s “Because I could not stop for death,” “I heard a fly buzz when died,” 

“I felt a funeral in my brain”

When the line length changes without pattern we see only infinite crossings like a fractal and a wall enters content rather than form, and meaning is generated in the sequencing of stanza form.

See Wallace Stevens’ “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”

See Adrienne Rich’s “Twenty-One Love Poems”

See Joy Harjo’s “She Had Some Horses”

In the vertical line of the poem perhaps we see a body standing in the wind and as Robert Frost wrote “something there is that doesn't love a wall.”

Perhaps we see what H.D. described living next to the wreckage of fallen walls in London during the war : “The Walls Do Not Fall.” What is a wall?

Practice

Write about an ending. Write at least 10 lines. What is your form saying? Where is the wall? Where is a body standing in the wind?

Brigid Yuknavitch