They held the day to a topsy-turvy
They gathered dust and hurled it around
With a passion; they gritted teeth and swirled
Eyes with them—contempt for the world-watchers.
One called upon the rodent-underground
To safeguard territory; the other hissed
The reptile’s sense of genesis—
There was no retreat now
They bruised each other in a frenzy.
They let out blood and chipped bone.
They grimaced and made the sun blink.
In the darkness they pulverized each other—
Men on a horse came, men from a dream
Spectral but real, overshadowing the pulp.
A hoof stood over, a body leaned across.
Life dragged along where reptile and rodent
Fought—in an ampitheatre, spectators’ loss.
Questions and Answers
What inspired “Two Things Fought”?
I’m not sure; maybe I was reading W. B. Yeats, and Pablo Neruda at the same time, juxtaposing worlds; these two poets fascinate me very much; and Yeats saying that you only begin to live when you’ve conceived life as a tragedy is very much in “Two Things Fought”. Indeed, the idea or concept of the poem came to me intuitively, it kept festering in the imagination, as I tried to find some kind of epiphany through the images I created in order to see how the world truly is—which no other form of writing but poetry can make you come to grips with, I think.
What poetic techniques did you use in “Two Things Fought”?
In “Two Things Fought”, I wanted everything to be short, tight, to encapsulate the inherent contrast in our reality, and the aim in the poem is to establish tension in every word, every image… with everything being metaphorical. Also, I didn’t want simple rhymes, though internal rhymes and rhythms are here; but I wasn’t aiming for metronomic end-rhymes in each line for their own sakes. Here I think I worked hardest in trying to achieve a particular effect. But underlying everything is felt experience mixed with the metaphysical.