I had real problems with finding the focal point of this. At one point I even thought it was at "nothing", I'm still not sure it isn't. This poem bothers me, I think I have a handle on it now..
To get to this, I had to go through one of mine. This is an easy example of "Follow the eyes"
and an example of an existential crisis. Here a man looks up between two dead branches to an empty sky, and then looks down a deserted street only fo find statues of Mary facing "green eternities" and looks up again to a fat incomprehensible noun phrase so heavy that it falls on him. A stuttering I surrounded by choking shadows, barely escaping, a shade shorn. Mine was about two people I miss very much that were here at Literotica. Two deaths that shook me.
Angeline's is a bit more complex.This strikes me as an experiment on her part, a new direction for her. And she has been reading Wallance Stevens. Some of it looks like more thought should go into it. I get the feeling that she wrote what felt right, more so than planning it out. With good writers half of what they write is instinct and intuition anyway. And as an experiment, the instincts are not quite as sure. So I'll deal with what is.
The title, things are moving in the poem, so what does it mean? A life that has been stilled? Or (It is) Still Life? Still is one of the most ambidextrous words in the English language. An enigma.
It’s past noontime
A time when shadows lengthen, this could be symbolic of a crisis that she got though..She also gives another time indicator, in that the trees are spare of leaves. This is also tricky, late autumn, winter, or early spring. She mentions robins singing, this would place it most likely in early spring. Spring could be symbolic of rebirth. Crows could be symbolic of death. Or none of these are symbols, they just are?
speak a welter of whistle
warble honk and tweet.
Robins chirp mellifluous,
jays shrill and shriek,
crows jeer, squawking
at the shallow fields.
The first stanza are three named birds with their calls. The primary sense is auditory. Now the second stanza, she does an interesting thing with "echoes" a word repeated three times, a bit of deception. She specifically mentions only birds, but the echoes are not theirs, in shallow fields what is there for an echo to bounce off of? Echos dispossessed and removed. Again the sense is primarily auditory, although largely by association.
There are no human voices
only birds and echoes
on the wind, unclear echoes
dispossessed of breath and skin,
carried in the breeze, echoes
of some remove.
The trees are spare of leaves,
traffic a distant hushing past
The third stanza, a broken stanza, visual begins to take over, auditory is hushed. There appears to be some play in the phrase "distant hushing past" implying something both somber and final.
The two wheels bother me, my first thought was a motorcycle, but the sound would overpower the sound of tires on gravel, a bicycle, the front tires of car (the ones that actually turn), a metaphor "two wheels turning in the lane crack" two lives lived and something happened? Breaking rock like scattered bone, echoes dispossessed of breath and skin. A death? At "as scattered bone" the sound stops. The poem becomes visual.
An apprehension, then near resolution.
though two wheels turning
in the lane crack loud
like breaking rock
and gravel patters jaggedly
as scattered bone.
The birds retreat then stop,
their small heads cocked.
Dust almost settles.
Up to this point for what is seen, the head would be in a level or near level position. Look what happens next. She even forces it, down to the ground.
The stones repose in intermittent
rows unkempt and leaning slightly
down as if impatient with
the ground and this vast
matinee of sky.
And then the eyes rise, with one of those phrases that either mean nothing, or mean too much, that make poetry what it is.
this vast matinee of sky
What she does here is take a cinematic cliche, plays it, transforms it, transcends it into something heavenly.
Even if the matinee of the sky is merely the birds taking off, even if the stones in the last stanza, are merely gravel kicked up by the wheels, I find this poem to be powerfully evocative of a loss. If it is about a death, (stones, bone, dispossessed of breath and skin) it doesn't ask for sympathy, she doesn't use the "I", she allows the reader to assume it. I have trouble reading Paul Celan for the very same reason.