I found I really enjoyed the poetry of John Haines. In our last Blog Entry 1 assignment on landscapes, you asked how the various authors frame our role in nature. John Haines’ poetry makes me feel like human life and the landscape are intertwined. Through his words, I feel the enormity of our world, the passage of time, and the insignificance of one life in relation to the universe.
He brings the landscape to life by giving it human characteristics, e.g., in Ice Child: “Or only the priests of that god, self-elected—voice of the volcano that speaks once in a hundred years”, or by the imagery of life interacting with the landscape. One of my favorite examples of this comes from his poem Wolves “They are death’s snowbound sailors; they know only a continual drifting between moonlit islands, their tongues licking the stars.”
John Haines excels at using imagery to invoke emotions. Overall, although some of his work was mystical, especially when speaking of the wilds, his words induce a feeling of smallness and, sometimes, hopelessness. The poem “In The House of Wax” is replete with this imagery; “far-sighted into yesterday”, “each lighted stage with its play of the lost and the violent –“, and, “how easily a puff of smoke, a square of burnt cloth, a shocked cry, can change the world, and leave it neither worse nor better.