New Critical Perspectives
‘I have grown inside words/Into a state of unbornness’: Evocations of a Pre-linguistic Space of Meaning in Medbh McGuckian’s Poetry The poem ‘Open Rose’, from Medbh McGuckian’s 1991 collection, Marconi’s Cottage, contains many strategies and elements that are familiar devices in McGuckian’s poetry. For example, each verse constructs its own specific image or meaning that can only be fully understood in relation to the other verses of the poem. The poem then functions as a relative exploration of a particular theme where each element in the poem builds on, connects or contrasts with the other elements in the poem: Open Rose The moon is my second face, her long cycle Still locked away. I feel rain Like a tried-on-dress, I clutch it Like a book to my body. His head is there when I work, It signs my letters with a question mark; His hands reach for me like rationed air. Day by day I let him go Till I become a woman, or even a less, An incompletely furnished house That came from a dif ferent century Where I am a guest at my own childhood. I have grown inside words Into a state of unbornness, An open rose on all sides Has spoken as far as it can. 58 Niamh Hehir ‘Open Rose’ is replete with images and unlikely juxtapositions that create meaning through the tension of a metaphorical misfit. The meaning of the lines ‘like a book to my body’, for instance, is derived in part through...
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