Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wife Hits Moose

I couldn’t let the heavy tone of the last poem that I posted sit at the top of my blog for too long. It’s too depressing. So here’s another gem from Thomas Lux to lighten things up a bit.

By Thomas Lux

Sometime around dusk moose lifts
his heavy, primordial jaw, dripping, from pondwater
and, without psychic struggle,
decides the day, for him, is done: time
to go somewhere else. Meanwhile, wife
drives one of those roads that cut straight north,
a highway dividing the forests

not yet fat enough for the paper companies.
This time of year full dark falls
about eight o'clock -- pineforest and blacktop
blend. Moose reaches road, fails
to look both ways, steps
deliberately, ponderously . . . Wife
hits moose, hard,

at slight angle (brakes slammed, car
spinning) and moose rolls over hood, antlers --
as if diamond-tipped -- scratch windshield, car
damaged: rib of moose imprint
on fender, hoof shatters headlight.
Annoyed moose lands on feet and walks away.
Wife is shaken, unhurt, amazed.

-- Does moose believe in a Supreme Intelligence?
Speaker does not know.
-- Does wife believe in a Supreme Intelligence?
Speaker assumes as much: spiritual intimacies
being between the spirit and the human.
Does speaker believe in a Supreme Intelligence?
Yes. Thank You.

Do I really need to say anything at all?

The simple story-telling narrative is funny enough, but when Lux adds the last stanza, he takes this poem to a whole new level. “Does the moose believe in a Supreme Intelligence?” Ha! As far as the story goes, the moose is simply “annoyed” so I doubt he “thinks” about too much at all. And I just love that Lux chose to have his wife hit a moose rather than a deer or a dog or something more “swift”; moose are generally portrayed as slower, less intelligent then other wildlife, so to hit one generally means you’re a bad driver. So he’s saying in a less-than-subtle way that his wife is a bad driver. Does it make me a bad person that I picture my wife every single time that I read this?

1 comment:

Kate said...

This is a message from the Standard Level IB students at an IB Diploma Programme school in Massachusetts. This poem was used on our 2011 paper 1 exam. Here is what we think: Thomas Lux uses style, diction, and progression to convey the theme of destiny as a part of life which is important because it forces the reader to question the "Supreme Intelligence"'s role in the world. Two separate worlds, the world of nature and the world of man meet on the symbolic road, converge and become one event.