These poems represent an act of reclamation or capture; an attempt to retrieve someone whose loss has been experienced through illness and finally death. Taking as an epigraph a line from Richard Wilbur “… a thing is most itself when likened” Kapos discovers various viewpoints from which to try to see the thing “being most itself”. In every case metaphor is the guiding principle in these poems, which address how a figure is brought back to life through a process whose essence is poetic. The Likeness is a sustained elegy, an unfolding study in psychology and visual observation, and an example of the animating power of metaphor to reshape loss into presence.
THE ICE HOUSE
on lines by Edward Thomas
Temperature has a terrible way
with water, taking your breath hostage
locking a quick flood in a jar.
The pond behind the ice house is frozen
as if cast in a spell. Out early
you cannot see your own feet
for the opaque white mist that hangs
suspended over the ice.
‘But not so long as you live
Can I love you at all.’
Touch on this subject
very lightly in case you fall through.
Step lightly. Step as lightly as hands
running over a face
rotating past the same numbers
without striking the time.
Look down as you walk across:
the ice exhibits its transparent past.
Surviving one spring after another
trapping stems, blades, buds –
a loss is held marooned inside a loss. A replica world makes a sound
like a groan or applause under your feet.