[ilds] Enigma Machine

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Sun Jul 22 08:05:44 PDT 2007

Yes, absolutely, poetry is the poet's solution/resolution.

When I talk about screwy syntax and imagery, I have a mind the image of someone typing out a poem on someone else's lips.  Absurd and gruesome, should you want to look at "Worn typewriter keys" on "sleeping slips" too closely.  Do you think "typewriter keys" could refer to cipher keys, as the British embassy would have used for encryption of its diplomatic correspondence?  I.e., the British equivalent of the German "Enigma Machine?"  Again, my point -- Durrell's very weird language invites weird analysis.  I see Durrell, writer and poet, as one big Enigma Machine.


-----Original Message-----
>From: Michael Haag <michaelhaag at btinternet.com>
>Sent: Jul 22, 2007 4:17 AM
>To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>Subject: [ilds] The Tree of Idleness
>The last line of The Tree of Idleness reads:
>'Silence of lips and minds which have not spoken.'
>I wonder if that is not a summation of, or statement about, the poem 
>Referring to the stanza beginning with 'No', Durrell (or the persona if 
>you like) says what 'I shall' do.  I shall lie in bed, etc.  I shall 
>recall nights, etc.  I shall tap out, etc.  He places the word 'or' 
>between the second and the third, so that it could read I shall lie in 
>bed, I shall recall nights, or I shall tap out, so that as an 
>alternative to lying in bed, recalling nights, instead I shall tap out. 
>  And what he taps out is a poem 'imploring silence of lips and minds 
>which have not spoken'.  It may not be this poem, but it is a poem, one 
>which is asking lips and minds to be silent -- to give nothing away.  
>Lips of course could be the lips of one person, but minds clearly 
>refers to more than one person.
>By the way, notice that after 'all my debts unpaid' there is no 
>punctuation mark.  This is the case in the collected poems and in the 
>first edition and is intentional.  So this reads 'with all my debts 
>unpaid I shall recall nights of squinting rain' etc.

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