Dead Lines


This poem could come in the dreaded category of abstract. Do reading poems that make little sense frighten you? Well go ahead  and of course I’ll explain.


                  Buddha Rocks Project hosted by Evelyn

The end does not justify

The biscuit crumbs and late nights when saucers

Or  eyes (can not tell) pull meanings out of twenty six,

Just that many, permutations, combinations, bones are pulled out of the earth

And put together by jigsaw people who know the blade and the jaw, the foot and the fall,

Cities rise from under the earth, how many graves, can you count?


This poem is about working on a deadline when suddenly….. One thing all readers of poems must be prepared for is to read the entire poem through even if not a single word registers. Usually the poet knows what he or she is trying to say, and  readers make those poems live and breathe as it is their imaginations that play the stage. I often like to read poems that I find rather tedious for the simple reason that once you get at even a part of its meaning, you feel warm inside.

Have you ever tried it?

© neelthemuse,2011

20 thoughts on “Dead Lines Leave a comment

  1. “One thing all readers of poems must be prepared for is to read the entire poem through even if not a single word registers” –

    there’s a power and a ryhthm in this poem not visible unless i do the above

    and yes, i didn’t “get” it completely first read through, but boy, did i feel a groundswell!

    tried to pull “the” line when that happened for me, and couldn’t, too cohesive! but of many line portions i liked, esp liked the sequence, “Cities rise from under the earth, how many graves”

    also really like your added commentary, pre and post-poem 😉


  2. ps, neel, you should consider adding wp’s other social media buttons, esp reddit, digg, and stumbleupon – i’ve posted a link to this post on some of these, but easier for folk to share if their buttons are already on your post

    but just an idea of course 😉 i’ve only recently made those particular social media buttons visible on mine; thanks!

  3. Wow Adan I have so much to learn! Thank you ever so much for giving me that info….will have to revamp the website soon:) Once again, your encouragement means much!!!!!

  4. I’ll need to return to this to develop my reaction – but I like the sound of the words: “pulled out of the earth/ by jigsaw people who know the blade and the jaw, the foot and the fall…” – and that bit makes perfect sense to me.

    I fully agree about reading the poem through even if you’re puzzled by it. That would be my advice to someone who can’t understand one of my poems – don’t get hung up on the meaning, then, read it, listen to it, and maybe some meaning will seep through. That said, some of my poems I thought were impossibly obscure get published and people like them without asking me what the hell they’re about!

  5. know how you feel 😉 sometimes i think i’m sliding down a sticky superslide that everyone else has already been down before it got sticky!

    in wp, if you go into your settings (on your left sidebar of things you can do on your site if it’s like mine) then to sharing, there you can make visible all kinds of social media sharing buttons

    for a long time, i didn’t want to show many cause i simply didn’t use them, wasn’t familiar with them, so didn’t think it was worth it – wrong 😉

    best wishes!

  6. I like how you’ve shown us our place in line here. Some day those who dig up bones will become the bones themselves, and on and on. It’s the way of things.

  7. The reason I mentioned obscurity was because of how much I love Eliot’s Wasteland….if it wasn’t for my professor, I would never have loved modernist poetry. I know it is called high brow and there is even an argument that modernist poetry killed the interest that people had in poetry. If you do understand Eliot though, it opens your mind. Thank you for your thought provoking response Simon….

  8. I So agree–and I’m finding that readers often see my poems completely differently from how I meant/wrote them–but it’s fascinating! Unless it’s singularly crucial to me, I don’t “correct” their interpretation–because if I’ve given them a gift, they should be able to use/enjoy it how they will, no? Thank you, thank you for your work here–I do benefit immensely. God bless you!

  9. The “26” was the clue for me: having wrestled with those same pesky 26 many a night, I was able to enjoy this poem on first reading. That with which one has wrestled can never be put back into the cage marked “abstract”.

  10. Glad you took a cue from the clue granbee. You are absolutely right about how the abstract disappears with understanding…thank you for sharing your thoughts on this!

Leave a Reply