arbitrary stuff that comes to mind: whenever I feel like thinking aloud

Sunday, January 17, 2010

In praise of Ambiguity and the Tender Trap

may i feel said he
(i'll squeal said she
just once said he)
it's fun said she

I love ambiguity.
I think that's what attracted me to Business Analysis in the first instance.
I love it most when it's deliberate.
So many contradictions are only understood when the ambiguity is laid plain, the trap is revealed, the victim impaled. Sweeter still when the victim is caught in his own hubris, the end of the play, as it were.

Poetry and ambiguity go together.
Which brings me to e.e. cummings and his delicious little poem on the seducer and the seduced.

Oh my! This is a wonderfully ambiguous poem.
A married man seduces.
There is a warning, but he misses it: thinking this, he does not hear her say that.
Expecting passion, he surrenders his power: he forgets that the angel carries a flaming sword.

He pursues, she gives way.
He goes deeper, she draws him in.
She raises one last barrier, he breaks it down.
He enters, she unfolds:

(cccome?said he
ummm said she)
you're divine!said he
(you are Mine said she)

The trap has slammed shut: the hunter is caught, too late.
He will discover his fate, but not tonight.

"i'll squeal said she" and there was the threat, wrapped in ambiguity.
There are two kinds of squeals, you see: the kind giggly girls do, and the kind that the Mafia does not like.

(you are Mine said she) in all of the poem, "Mine" is the only word that is capitalised. He is Hers: he is no longer the wife's. She has only to squeal, and all will be revealed, everything laid bare. She is ready for the scandal. He is not. And when his wife finds out, there will only be one pair of arms waiting for him.

And all of this bound by that single, ambiguous, delicious "squeal".

You can find the whole poem here.
It may not be one of his most well-known, but oh, it should be!
Perfect for bachelorette parties :-)

The image is from Rodin's sculpture "The Kiss"


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