Amy King, “I’ve Opted for a Heart This Mid-November Morn”

I know and you know that the world is cold. Not only unfeeling, but lacking clear motive. Not only lacking motive, but subconsciously cruel, looking for opportunities to inflict pain. However, we have been told to embrace difficulties, to take the worst and grow — somehow. This proposition can resonate, convincing, natural, ennobling. How to find ivory’s antecedent among these drifts of snow, restore the clover to its buried frozen form?

I’ve Opted for a Heart This Mid-November Morn (from Big Bridge)
Amy King

How to find ivory’s antecedent among these drifts of snow,
restore the clover to its buried frozen form?
And what about
the girl with loneliness, her lush medium dressed in birds?
Inside the dress embraces a range of mercurial gazes,
an advanced degree in gleaning eyes
from the wrist that turns the curves into contagious angles.
It is hard not to die, and yet here, the singer and sewer, one,
stitch a voice into the actual road. We ambulate each alone,
pressing stuffed figures to our chests, wailing silence
for a warmer bosom feathered, opposite our own.

“Ivory’s antecedent,” what makes purity pure, lies lost in winter. Painful to try and find, it is an emotional and intellectual cruelty. The assumption, the hope: what underlies winter is spring, that pains exist relative to a good, that there is a natural love. A clover’s buried frozen form stands ideal, lovely, even as it threatens that the clover itself is only imagined.

On the one hand, then, there’s a heartfelt search for spring. On the other hand, a searcher has many other feelings, insecurities, thoughts — what about the girl with loneliness, her lush medium dressed in birds? A heartfelt search can be distracted, tangential, imaginative, fragmented. She has the desire to fly, perfectly natural when watching everything else fly away.

She also has the desire to fly away. Finding “ivory’s antecedent” is more than a theoretical challenge, as you could say she’s hoping for hope. Loneliness crushes, especially when she’s working to be sensitive to how beautiful and perishable the world is. That same world objectifies her, keeps her at its chosen distance, uses her for its purposes. Her own imagination, keenly aware of this, relentlessly identifies the “gazes” and “gleaning eyes” in which she’s wrapped: Inside the dress embraces a range of mercurial gazes, an advanced degree in gleaning eyes from the wrist that turns the curves into contagious angles.

Yet the tone of the poem stands hopeful. “I’ve Opted for a Heart” reaches out to us, the readers, the immediate audience. We don’t simply relate to her, we bear witness. It is hard not to die, and yet here, the singer and sewer, one, stitch a voice into the actual road. The singer and sewer of the poem herself stitches our gazes into her voice, crafting a path, an “actual road.” Humans are talking animals, and a fuller understanding lies in the unity of that voice. Her search for “ivory’s antecedent” is the same as her “lush medium dressed in birds.” Not that she feels one thing, but she has worked to better understand how she feels. She can see more easily how appropriative gazes and glances hide all around us, and through her identification, we have become aware. If she didn’t speak, we would not potentially fulfill our nature.

Still, while opting for a heart — wanting to love — entails love, it doesn’t complete us. We ambulate each alone. We’re all children, all birds, pressing stuffed figures to our chests, wailing silence for a warmer bosom feathered, opposite our own. There’s a lot of pain, and awareness of people’s cruelty is certainly not progress. Ivory’s antecedent has been found, though. There is some sort of innocence in the snow this mid-November morning.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.