‘The Indescribable Thrill of the Half-Volley’

Ok, I am not blogging any more Tim Allen, not after this. 97 poems of two couplets. I had the sense of impressionism to hermetic content, which was a surprise, if slightly mad. There are several humorous moments (“Thieves are operating in this area”; how do you sharply cut a sponge?), though the only criticism I can find is that these poems are perhaps a little too serious, and the humour is rarely imbedded in these tightly woven structures of thought (content). Slower reading doesn’t change much, but it may be worth copying out a poem at random, having already blogged ’89. Invisible mask’

38. Invisible group

Sunday afternoon in sunny long-ago spin
Chuck Berry’s No Particular Place to Go

No one had a car but we imagine the seat-belt
Walking radio weightless – fiddling with transistor

There may be a number of ways to think about how the last line (and it’s usually the last line where this lack of clarity occurs, except for a lack of punctuation anyway) makes the poem, but I suppose I’d read it with a diary drop (I am walking) and inversion (weightless radio), so that ‘weightless’ (its proto-germanic root, wihtiz, is apparently a pun, and it also means essence, being / creature, thing), “not affected by gravity”, is a metonymic figure for ‘holding’. Though the lack of determiners for everything but the imagined car and seat belt might make that look foolish, in a postmodern sort of way.

Unpacking it this way doesn’t change how I feel about the four lines at all. I very much like these poems, and their invisible (every poem is titled with two words, the first ‘Invisible’) structures make them seem quite beautiful, especially alongside their visually pleasing line length, which I was unable to replicate in the above quote.

If you wanted to strive for a more complete reading, I’d suggest working with more of an idea of traditional form; I think these lines usually approach accentual tetrameter and would be gently appealing read aloud. I’d call that sublimely so, but what do I know? I cannot kick a football.