Why Is a Poetic Image Built, or on the Reification of the Poems “The Red Wheelbarrow”

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Why Is a Poetic Image Built, or on the Reification of the Poems “The Red Wheelbarrow”

Why Is a Poetic Image Built, or on the Reification of the Poems “The Red Wheelbarrow”


The structural tension gives every word its space and focus…. “so much depends”, in this poem, on the splitting of the two compound words, “wheelbarrow” and “rainwater”. These dissections slow us down, and help the mind’s eye to register more: the individual wheels as well as the body of the barrow, the water that is more than raindrops.
Important for their spatial emphases are the prepositions. “Upon” and “beside” are two little words that the poem magnifies hugely. Their implications float beyond the phrases that contain them. The abstract “so much” depends upon the objects, but the rainwater also depends physically upon the barrow, and the glazing effect depends upon the rainwater. The idea of the barrow being “beside” the chickens is complex: the barrow is stationary (there is no sign of anyone pushing it) while the chickens are likely to be moving about. If they are not specially posed, their aesthetic effect is sheer lucky chance. The effect is snatched after all from the flux of existence.6F

The poem begins with the claim that something, that is still unknown for us the readers but that promises to be revealed by the end of the poem, “so much depends / upon” or “so much stands/lays on/upon” the objects which as the lines progress change in our mental image from bigger, autonomous objects into smaller, constitutive elements that at the end of the poem are the very elements of an even bigger image-object. Therefore, the “dependant thing” at the beginning of the poem could be recognized as the scene itself which contains all the interdependent elements that give us the scene as it is and which is nothing else but the poem itself. However, even taking it line by line, i.e. image by image, the wheelbarrow is what it is, a specific type of cart exactly because of that one wheel. Furthermore, it is differentiated by its appearance from all other identically manufactured wheelbarrows because its red colour is more apparent, accented by the glow of the rain which is not any kind of rain, but one that is temporally defined as already fallen and transformed into a spatially static object in the form of water which is specified, as a consequence of what was presented before, as rainwater. The white colour is particularized as the colour of the chickens that stand alongside the red wheelbarrow which creates a correspondent contrast wherein the opposites mutually enhance themselves in their difference of white with red and animate with inanimate.

AuthorAleksandra Jurukoska
2018-10-30T11:27:15+00:00 October 21st, 2017|Categories: Literature, Essays, Blesok no. 116|0 Comments