The Valley

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4 thoughts on “The Valley

  1. Wow, this is genuinely unsettling, which just shows the breadth of what can be achieved emotionally in poetry. I’m not sure what it is, but I don’t essentially need to – when you think about it a lot of successful horror films have that same dynamic, the horror is in not knowing. I only know this reminds me of a lot of things you hear about, I’m thinking of one particular thing from a while back that it might, to me, resemble, but I’m not saying because we know as poets that quite often, if not always, the letter of reality only comes into it so far until reader and writer are on an emotional plain without concrete events, and there’s always space for different readings. I sort of read in the poem a potential psychoanalytical angle of the man and boy being potentially interchangeable, that may not be how you see it so if I’m going way off track then please say, but I *think* Lacan has this idea of the name of the father saying “Non” to impulses – the boy, as the opposite of the “No” of the father, having the impulse to maybe or maybe not behave in opposition, but Lacan discounted it later as irrelevant, and look that up and read about it yourself because I may have got the wrong end of the stick on that, if there is a stick, and I only have a passing idea of the theory, and it’s quite confusing, but you may decide for yourself how relevant if at all that angle is on this poem. It also has that grand tradition of the dark fairytale, like the original Brothers Grimm’s which where no picnic before they were co-opted and sanitised by others!

  2. This is loosely based on a story told round these parts of a boy who flipped and killed his whole family. But there’s no official word of it anywhere, just people pointing to the house and saying it in hushed tones. It’s in one of the most suburban, middle class areas so I think no one likes to say it too loud… And all I could think was ‘but all the lawns around here are so neatly trimmed’. The chaos behind the Sunday mow is fascinating and possibly always gruesome?

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