Improbable Epiphany: reconfiguring the End in a poem by Charles Wright


Charles Wright Bye-and-Bye:
Selected Late Poems (2011)

In reading a poem we don a mask that reconfigures one’s sense of reality. We participate in our own forsaking. Which is a tall order. Wright reconfigures our immediate sense of our personal end at first in deeply unsatisfactory ways.

But how otherwise? The poem keeps going along in its maladroit way. The first sentence sort of cruises into a ditch of nonsense. Yet along the way he’s reconfigured this penultimate moment, teetering on embarrassed silence. Well, it’s a difficult topic!

Next he returns to the opening metaphor for another verse (it’s like a country song). This time there’s a kind of epiphany. The sentence limps along, coming to rest in a place full comfort and beauty. We’ve come to see our special moment shorn of sentiment, shorn of ego. The mimesis is perfect for there is no ego at this moment.