It, nor the scary 2-part movie/mini-series based on it. (Heh, "it." Get it?!) This is not even about It, the 1927 film starring Clara Bow, the original "It girl," though understanding the importance of the word "it" in that helps to understand the "it" in this (and helps establish the free use rationale for this poster of that film!) ("It" as opposed to "that," as in That Girl, for instance, an ABC sitcom about another "It girl," played by Marlo Thomas.) (Wait. What?!)
Anyhoo, yesterday I posted a link to the new issue of Eclectica and my poem "Blackberry Moon" in it. Over on Facebook, a friend asked if the "it" in a line of the poem referred to the moon or the garden hose. And that is the subject of today's blog!*
As you can see if you scroll down this Poetry Contents page, the sentence containing the line is highlighted as an excerpt from that poem. In the excerpt, the "it" seems, grammatically, and from the only evidence provided there, to refer to the moon itself, the blackberry moon, black as a snake:
When I went to look for the blackberry
moon, it lay uncoiled there, a hard
But in the poem itself, these lines are preceded by others that provide more evidence and another interpretation of the "it."
I'd dragged the garden hose here and there
all the unknown day.
So, in the narrative logic of the poem, the "it" could refer to the uncoiled garden hose, left in the yard "all the unknown day," as the speaker didn't know rain would creep in overnight (which is how the poem begins, if we continue to go backwards, as I often do--born that way). The more precise and correct grammar of the sentence is suspended (like the word "blackberry," hanging off the end of a line and over the "moon" it modifies and over a stanza break...though not in the centered excerpt on the Poetry contents page, which loses the gap and compresses the grammar to the precisely correct kind...for a moment. This is why form is inextricable from content in poetry, and why poetry drives some people a little crazy! If they weren't already born that way.) Two things can happen simultaneously in the poem then: the "it" can be the moon or the hose. And then, oddly enough, the moon, as well as the hose, can be a snake.
poem.) (The new trash cans are huge, but not as big as the basket of sky.)
I think a close reader of poetry can hold the garden hose in his/her mind and the hidden moon in her/his mind long enough to see and imagine both a "snake" in the grass and a coiled and uncoiled moon in the sky, and to wonder whether some things are "meant to be kept hidden" or not, and why, and not just trash cans, and so on. I think if we look at and listen to the world attentively enough, it comes alive with possibility and full of wonder, whether the moon is visible or not. And when this happens, even the ordinary acts of watering a garden, taking out the garbage, and wishing on a star are extraordinary and full of beauty and joy. But, hey, that's just me. Wait. What?! Oh, surely it's you, too.
And, by the way, some snakes are egg eaters. Take a look at the blackberry moon on this giant egg, part of the fabulous Faberge Big Egg Hunt in London!
*Darn it! (Heh, "it." Get it?!) I should have called this "The Moon or the Garden Hose." But then we wouldn't have Clara Bow or Marlo Thomas to look at, although Cleopatra probably would have gotten herself in here, thanks to Shakespeare's asp. (Heh. Shakespeare saved her asp.) Cleopatra was definitely the "It girl" of her time--the one with phenomenal magnetism! What is "it"? It's hard to define, but it absolutely attracts.
If you are still here, thank you. It means you are coiled in my origami brain. Heaven help us.