Saturday, October 18, 2008


This poem appeared in a recent issue of The New Yorker. This poem took me a few times of reading through to grasp the significance of it.

Later on, I looked up the meaning of the poem's title, "Eclogue," and an eclogue is a pastoral poem, usually in the form of a dialogue between shepherds or a short poem descriptive of rural or pastoral life. Read the poem first without this and then read it knowing this afterwards. It can change the meanings of the poem.

So, here is the poem by Spencer Reece:


In Juno Beach, on Pelican Lake,
Joseph Saul ate potato chips off a paper plate
and fed the broken bits to a duck.
He was accompanied by Laurie McGraw,

whom he met at the Alzheimer's Support Group--
she had been a caregiver, he had a diagnosis,
and together their eyes vacantly connected.
Laurie spelled her name with a large dot

or a star atop the "i." A born-again,
with two failed marriages so far,
she sent Joseph pamphlets in the mail
about Jews who could be saved by Christ.

On her day off, she washed her blind dog
with soap. The two discussed the pleasure
of naps. The duck strutted in uniformed plume,
greasy black-green, speckled red plate,

sated, companioned, unbundling with poop,
the duck thrust with the thrust of youth;
interior decorator of the lake, the duck
was flush with floor maps. Joseph oversaw

the duck's scufflings as Laurie made a note
to arrange another semidetached date.

What do you think of the poem? What does it mean?

No comments: