Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Possibility by James Fenton

Everything about Fenton's poem seemed downhearted and hopeless. Everything he described, everything that should have been good, was somehow sapped of its' beauty and worth to Fenton. I felt sorry for him: how would it feel to go through life unable to appreciate the beauty surrounding you, even in the tiniest things or instances? How depressing would it be to know that something should look beautiful or make you happy, but to never have the ability to feel good about it? Everything would be meaningless: if nothing could make you happy, if there was no "possibility of good," what would motivate you to keep going every single day?

"And solitude was beautiful when I was sure that I was strong. I thought it was a medium in which to grow, but I was wrong." Fenton seems to think that, at a time when he was stronger, solitude was a good thing that would help him to "grow" and become a better person. However, it appears that the solitude merely sucked the goodness out of everything he saw. That the way he saw the world was tainted, that when he should see something beautiful, he saw only the bad in it.

"The jays are swearing in the wood. The lizard moves with ugly speed. The flower closes like a fist. The possibility recedes." In the last stanza, Fenton describes things that used to be good but have turned bad in his eyes, thus ruining any chance for him to regain any "possibility of good." And I have to say, I kind of disliked this extreme, disheartening tone. I was also pretty disappointed with the unfinished end to Fenton's idea: he says that because of his solitude, "the possibility recedes," and then he kind of leaves us hanging there. It left me with a hopeless and empty feeling, like whatever had happened to Fenton in his solitude to cause this depressing state would never be remedied, which seems rather contrary to what i thought the title initially suggested. In retrospect, I just wish that Fenton could have kept this all to himself so that I wouldn't have to try and analyze his depressing and futile thought processes, or at least that he would not have tried to mislead me with a hopeful sounding title.

1 comment:

  1. Well, you're right, of course! But...I think he's just too sad to see the possibility that I think he knows he should see. Maybe? Or am I just being hopeful? ;)