Ponds, In Love

by C.D. Wright

One was always going when the other was coming back
One was biting a green apple
The deeper the evening the louder the singing
Throwing the core out the window
An oar stirred the dark then quit
A face drenches itself in carlight
A wrist wearing a man’s watch dipped a net
Even as one turned toward an unfinished building
The other wondered what one would have on
Upon returning will the hair be fallen or cropped
If one reaches what is grasped for
Gnats go for the eyes
Will utter disappointment set in
Will it be water or milk or wine tonight
Mostly one listened in the low-intensity glow
Of events one sustains incomprehensible feelings

Notes on the Poem

The images in CD Wright's "Ponds, In Love" are bright ... "A face drenches itself in carlight" and clear ... "One was biting a green apple" and evocative ... "An oar stirred the dark then quit" How does such clarity and simplicity seem to collectively delineate a complicated, puzzling relationship? If someone or something is "in love" here, as the title suggests, why is there no evidence of sympathy or connection? Everyone and everything in the poem is generic, devoid of gender or identifying features (apart from "a man's watch"). The people or living agents are signified as "one" or "the other" and we only see disembodied parts of them - face, wrist, hair. Inanimate objects and conditions seem to operate and exist autonomously: who or what is singing and throwing the apple out the window are not identified, the oar seems to stir the dark without assistance, who has left a building unfinished is not known, whatever state the hair will be in, it will seemingly fall or be cropped on its own. "One was always going when the other was coming back" If "one" and "the other" are "in love", they seem very distant, cool and alienated. Or are they estranged or reserved, trying to somehow reach each other across some divide that, say, would make it difficult for two separate bodies of water to reach each other and merge into one (not "one" and "the other")? That reaching is also apparently not a good idea because "gnats will go for the eyes" or "utter disappointment" is likely. Has Wright taken discrete images with the potential for intimacy and simply thwarted their connection and embodiment into complete people? That "one sustains incomprehensible feelings" rather than simply feeling something is probably the answer.

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