Thursday, January 2, 2014

Review of "Ephemeral Stream" by Elizabeth Willis

"Ephemeral Stream" by Elizabeth Willis, the Shapiro-Silverberg professor of literature and creative writing at Wesleyan University, was offered by Poets.org's Poem-A-Day on January 2, 2014.  A link to the poem, including the poet's notes, may be found here:

http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/23821?utm_source=PAD%3A+Ephemeral+Stream+by+Elizabeth+Willis&utm_campaign=poemaday_010214&utm_medium=email

In her notes, the poet defines an "ephemeral stream" as "a stream that flows intermittently or seasonally."  The poem is presented in three uneven stanzas of fairly regular free verse.

The first stanza introduces the idea of the ephemeral stream in its literal sense.  The definition is enhanced by metaphors.

The second stanza introduces "you" into the mix.  It is not clear who "you" represents.  It could be the reader.  It could be an on-again-off-again lover of the speaker/poet.  It could represent God.  However, I favor the on-again-off-again lover interpretation.

The inconstant lover idea is, perhaps, perpetuated and supported in the final stanza which tells of dreams and a desire to "start again."  This idea is further supported by the final two sentences of the poem, which appear to be a direct invitation to the "you" to come back.


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