Wendy Videlock, “Bane”

Bane (from Poetry)
Wendy Videlock

Full of strength and laced
with fragility:

the thoroughbred,
the hummingbird,
and all things
with agility.


Who is speaking? What else is or isn’t cursed with agility?

It feels like a moving object is sewn in the first two lines. “Laced with fragility” doesn’t just accentuate strength, it binds it and holds it together.

This is all very strange. Fragility may be a product of motion, the object using and experiencing its own strength. The thoroughbred speaks to that possibility. A slight problem with the leg might cause a total collapse.

The hummingbird doesn’t move horizontally as much as vertically, holding itself in position to get its good. Not quite as noble as a horse, but it seems much more stable. Yet it too is fragile. It is small and slight, vulnerable to anything larger. It may move with less power than the horse, but it moves much more.

The hummingbird is its fragility and thus its own strength. The horse seems, for a brief moment, to use its strength to completely overwhelm any sense of fragility.

Where is our speaker? “All things” are “cursed with agility.” Neither the horse or the hummingbird solves anything. She seems to be still, wondering. Her mind is agile and therefore fragile. This is not an investigation she particularly desires; it’s the feeling we have when we get back to work after a breakup. We were strong before because we were vulnerable. After, we want to reassert ourselves and find that we’re not sure what exactly needs to be asserted. It would be nice to have strength without fragility, though.

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