(Poem #1856) Night in Arizona
The moon is a charring ember Dying into the dark; Off in the crouching mountains Coyotes bark. The stars are heavy in heaven, Too great for the sky to hold -- What if they fell and shattered The earth with gold? No lights are over the mesa, The wind is hard and wild, I stand at the darkened window And cry like a child.
(1915) One of my favourite things about Teasdale's work is her ability to blend the external and the internal, to choose, time and again, precisely the right words to both evoke a vivid sensory image and an intense feeling of empathy with the poet's emotional reaction. Today's poem is an excellent example - the deceptively simple and minimalist description of the Arizona night is at once haunting and evocative; the images just the right blend of universality and specificity that every word triggers a flood of associations. The final two lines, far from begin an abrupt intrusion of the first person "I" into an otherwise detached poem, feel completely natural - the narrator has in some sense cast her presence over the poem all along. Like my favourite Teasdale poem, "Morning" [Poem #113], today's poem is ultimately about the resonance between the poet's spirit and the sweep of the world around her. When done right (and few people do it better than Teasdale), this renders a poem both powerful and intensely memorable - not just for the specific lines and phrases, but for a very individual 'feel' which is hard to put into words, but which is indisputably present. martin