A Breath of Fresh Poetry: AP IV BLOG PROMPT

A Nearly Perfect Morning

Jessica Greenbaum

It was a nearly perfect morning—bucolic, pastoral—
so I found myself cataloguing my past humiliations.
Really, there was no reason for it! I might as well have
looked for an ant hill to lie down on in a meadow
of goldenrod. I can’t explain it but perhaps I thought
that with the rising sun as my witness, with the catbirds
crows, and whizzing hummingbirds my soundtrack
that I could ameliorate them, neutralize their charges
against me by holding them up to the woods now in wait
for the light to balance on their individual leaves, on
the absorbing vastness of my fortune. The concentric rings
of the spider web have the wiry shine of guitar strings
there’s been so little wind it seems the trees have not
yet shook themselves awake, but we are moving around
this light at such a pace that by now the sun is nested
in the crook of two thin branches that could not hold
anything else. I was barely up to the third count
against my integrity when the whole lake turned white
but I decided it was not aghast, just trying to erase.

Poem: A Nearly Perfect Morning

For me, the poem’s title set the background of the poem for me. I could imagine this person sitting down in the morning with a cup of tea while writing this poem. Then, in the poem, she begins describing her nearly perfect morning with two words that give away the setting where she is away from the chaos of the city and in the calm of the countryside. However, it is her thoughts that disrupt her wonderful morning and the rest of the poem surround this breakdown in analysis and analogy of her own thoughts.

I enjoyed this poem because of its relatability. Often times, we get hit with waves of embarrassment by the mere recollection of a memory. In this poem, she describes the moment perfectly where her mind betrays her and ruins the moments of her perfect morning yet at the same time, in my opinion, it strikes her at the perfect time where there’s almost a sense of vulnerability with the perfection of her setting. In some ways, I think the author orchestrated a contrast between how badly she feels towards her “past humiliations” and the nearly “perfect morning.”

At the same time, her feelings interconnect with her surrounding. Her inner musings lead to a reflection in the nature that she sets her morning up with. I think the perfect moment was when she creates her own symbolism with the the acts of nature as a sign telling her to let go with the lake turning white, but it was “not aghast, just trying to erase.” The effects of the imagery in the poem seem to mediate all forms of discomfort regarding the humiliating memories for the reader even when she uses the metaphor: “I might as well have looked for an ant hill to lie down on in a meadow.”  For me at least, I felt like this line added more to the relatability factor in general than wanting me to feel the same uneasiness that she does in that exact moment. Most interestingly, the ending vibe is not one of remorse for only having a nearly perfect morning or the lingering sense of discomfort where she was thrown back to her humiliations but rather a feeling of having cleared a slate just as described with the lake in the poem.


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