Susan Scarlata on Ada Limón, yonder

Okay, so this is two lines with a lot of goodness sandwiched between them, but I want to write about both the first and last lines of one stanza in Ada Limón’s poem “During the Impossible Age of Everyone.” Limón writes:

If you walk long enough, your crowded head clears,

This is so true, but it’s also something I need to read and reread to be reminded of—I live somewhere where this should not be such a surprise or challenge, but still I need to see it laid out clearly here as Limón has it. To finish that same stanza she writes “I’m like a fence, or a cow, or that word, yonder.”

With the over-abundance of lists I encounter throughout the online universe it is a true pleasure to have a list that surprises. I like the playful start of this mind (on the head-clearing typo of walk) considering the things she sees that might be similes for herself. She is “like a fence, or a cow,” and we are not told why about either, but that she is openly comparing and contrasting, walking us through the consideration of how and where she “fits,” and then, wonderfully, the list startles with or maybe she is like “that word, yonder.”

Of course, it is the poet in me that’s thrilled with surprise about the word as a part of this physical list, and then I am doubly pleased since the word “yonder” seems integral to the broad considerations of Hick Poetics. As the figure in the poem tries on potential similarities with her physical surroundings, she tries out the country-esque word in her considering also how she might be like that word and might use it in this landscape she is crossing.

["During the Impossible Age of Everyone" first appeared in Catch Up, Issue 3]

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