(Poem #1838) A Green Crab's Shell
Not, exactly, green: closer to bronze preserved in kind brine, something retrieved from a Greco-Roman wreck, patinated and oddly muscular. We cannot know what his fantastic legs were like-- though evidence suggests eight complexly folded scuttling works of armament, crowned by the foreclaws' gesture of menace and power. A gull's gobbled the center, leaving this chamber --size of a demitasse-- open to reveal a shocking, Giotto blue. Though it smells of seaweed and ruin, this little traveling case comes with such lavish lining! Imagine breathing surrounded by the brilliant rinse of summer's firmament. What color is the underside of skin? Not so bad, to die, if we could be opened into this-- if the smallest chambers of ourselves, similarly, revealed some sky.
I like Doty's straightforward, almost stream-of-consciousness style - he eschews stylistic tricks in favour of saying what he has to say, but his language is precise and exquisite for all that, and his poems thoughtful and revealing. Today's is a good example - the crab shell is described in beautiful detail, with an engaged subjectivity that reinforces its comparison to a work of art (note, also, the whole life-imitating-art inversion), and the segue into a more personal musing feels perfectly natural. And I love the ending, with its suggestion of an Escherian worlds-within-worlds landscape - indeed, it was that image that made me pick this poem out of a collection of Doty's works to run here. martin [Links] We've run one of Doty's poems before, the exquisite Broadway [Poem #1175]: http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/poems/1175.html Biography: http://www.americanpoems.com/poets/Mark-Doty Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Doty