Wednesday, November 14, 2018

"sinkhole" by Alessio Zanelli


to allow a
glimpse of how
the swallow works and
let the unnamed dread grow
too big to conquer a thread of bleak
light hard squeeze of night creeps through
cracks into the secret void where soul appendages
contort and struggle to plug its own bores from which fast 
trickles keep on leaking out and falling to the bottom meanwhile 
running dark to feed the obscurity creating an abyss so deep as to become 
unclimbable by anything incapable of setting fire to itself or giving birth to a star
 --Alessio Zanelli

Poet’s Notes:  Provided that I can enjoy some good inspiration (i.e., it must come spontaneously), every now and then I happen (and like) to write experimental or concrete poetry. This one is both and makes use of the idea of a sinkhole (a natural hole or depression in the ground, also known as “cenote” or “doline”, which can go very deep) as a metaphor for how sometimes our spirit can get so gloomy and make us sink into the darkest blues, if not into pure despair. 

To be honest, when I started writing it I had this clear vision of a sinkhole, both physical and figurative, but I really didn’t know where such an image would take me. I didn’t use any punctuation on purpose--in fact, the poem consists of one long sentence; I didn’t use any capital letters either, not even for the title, for it looked more consistent thus; I found the pyramidal shape appropriate to the idea of an abyss enlarging below Earth’s surface or inside the soul; I added the lone special character of the first line (obtainable by alt+0149), symbolizing the aperture of the sinkhole, only when the text was finished and visually shaped. 

The poem could sound a bit dismal, but it’s not definitely hopeless, despite what the last line says. However difficult it may seem in certain situations, still metaphorically speaking, everybody can light up the darkest despondency by getting rid of its cause (“setting fire to itself”) or starting all over again (“giving birth to a star”). And, sometimes, sinking further down a while is something necessary to be able to climb up all the way back. As Deep Purple puts it in their song “Don’t Make Me Happy”, I’ll take my comfort from this hole I’m sinking in.

Editor's Note:  A recording of Deep Purple performing "Don't Make Me Happy" may be enjoyed here

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