21 July 2012

Where the fish for bait were trapped

There is a certain art to the direction of one's thoughts on a particular text.  We try to find something worth saying about Robert Lowell's lines, but perhaps all we can do is muse at the clever juxtaposition of images or verbal functions employed to paint a picture.  On one hand there is a "who will watch the watchmen" irony in the act of trapping fish for bait.  On the other hand there is a pleasant inversion: baited becomes bait.  The restraint necessary to bypass these easy points of interest in hope of something more fruitful reveals itself to be a kind of fortitude.  We stop at a third analysis of the line: that the cycle between bait and baited is sustained by yet another system of exchange parallel to it, but wholly exterior.  The two cycles are shown intersecting at a moment of opposition: one baited to become bait, the other baiting to become baited.  And throughout all of this is a wonderful play of desires.