Thursday, January 14, 2016

Poem of the Day: “Destruction” by James Frederick William Rowe, Frequent Contributor and Poet of the Week

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Destruction” by James Frederick William Rowe, Frequent Contributor and this week’s Poet of the Week.  A biography of the poet may be found in our “About Our Editor & Frequent Contributors” section.

James Frederick William Rowe

Destruction, destruction
All to destruction
Thus do I see in the globe
This orb, this world
Crafted of the fragile glass
Of my hopes and dreams and joys
Which chart a future I thought certain
And now might never be

There are faces of those unborn
Of lives which shall not be lived
My own amongst them - chief amongst them
In the glass of the sphere
Now held aloft with ruinous intent
Within my own hands
I shall be the author of the end
It can be only thus, it can be only thus

I await the silence
That will compel me to fling it down
To dash it with sudden, true finality
Upon the smooth, pitiless rocks
And so shatter all which I've built
And all which I should be
Shattered as my heart shall be
If the silence is not broken first

Tell me the ending

Poet’s Notes:  This poem is odd. I found it in my notes folder, and at first I did not recall why or how I wrote it. As I pondered its origin, I realized I recognized elements of its genesis, but I cannot afford the reader an actual account of the creative process. So instead, I'll share an interpretation.

We all are authors of worlds, worlds built through our aspirations and intentions that shape and construct the future. This is a God-like power, one which is expressed here in the realization of such potentiality as an actual object: a globe of glass which, in its fragility, reflects the infinite mutability of the future and the ability we have to change our plans so radically as to ruin a future which would've otherwise come to pass. The speaker here is faced with a choice, hanging upon an answer of an unknown person, force, or whomever the poem is addressed to: should I be done with it, should I now rid myself of this future I crafted?

There is a certain desperation that brings to mind a genius at a turning point, or perhaps a madman who has pushed things too far. The speaking character may be a Faustian or Frankenstein-esque figure, who having pursued some forbidden knowledge, now realizes his error yet hesitates in the destruction, or else he could be simply a man with his hopes ruined by circumstance and awaiting the answer that could save him from the destruction about to be wrought. Irrespective of what the man is, though, he deals with the matter as if he can destroy it all, and indeed I would say he could, just as we all can, when we make certain monumental decisions.

To be an author is equally to write as to erase. That which has the power to create has also the power to destroy. Being mindful of that, we recognize the frightful power of our will. It is not in reason alone that we are like God. 

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