Wednesday 27 March 2013


I used to cycle to work along a towpath, so maybe this has some basis in fact.
I sometimes say of others' collections that the simpler poems help me decide how much effort to put into the harder poems. If the supposedly "simple but strong" poems are just simple, then the other poems might be bluffing, and might not be worth the effort. I think I'd prefer to be judged by "Paradox" or "He understands but he doesn't love", but this poem's ok. Given the information that a swan will only let itself be touched if it's very poorly, then this poem strikes me as a standard development of that idea. Why doesn't the persona want to react at the end? I don't think the poet need have known. My guess is that proximity to mortality has affected his sensitivity to touch. Swans are heavy beasts; a dead sparrow doesn't have the same effect.

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