(Untitled) by RON ALLEN from What I Say
I read this piece out loud a couple of times, and each time I read it, I got very visceral reactions to the diction used. As I read this, I thought back to how Amiri Baraka talked about the sheer strength and intensity of speech in his essay “Expressive Language.” There are a few lines that distill this type of reaction for me:
“taste my wartorn flesh” (line 7)
in the rage
of peace” (lines 27-30)
Reading out the words “song ripen” creates such a vivid and powerful image in my hand. When I read this, I liken a song (which I see as one of the most effective ways to utilize the inherent power behind speech) to a fruit that is ready to be enjoyed. It reminds me of something that has been nurtured and cared for and is now ready to be revealed to the world and appreciated.
Another portion that I found to be rather ironic and intriguing was the “rage of / peace” phrase. When I think of peace, rage isn’t something that’s automatically associated with it. I think the word “rage” adds to the power of the peace. In my eyes, it represents a powerful form of peace, one that can be likened to “rage” in its sheer strength.
Although I am still somewhat uncertain of the message behind the piece, I feel as though the diction used here (especially when read aloud) is extremely powerful and serves to exemplify the power of speech in poetry. Moreover, it elucidates very particular bodily responses, e.g. the “taste my wartorn flesh” line almost leaves a sour taste in my mouth after I read it.