Tongue in Cheek

Today I read a poem titled "Vision" which employs a classical turn with its last two lines, exposing itself to the reader and creating an ironic moment. The poet's tongue is in her cheek, the poet being Erica Funkhouser, someone I'm not familiar with beyond this particular poem. Her it is in full:

With age
what the youthful eye
would have studied
until identified—
chicory? bluebird? debris?
Today no nomenclature
the composure
of a chalk-blue haze
pausing, even dawdling,
now and then trembling
over what I'm going to call
fresh water.

The final "what I'm going to call" makes the poem. More specifically, it makes the poem ironic and comedic, which are the poem's goals. Beginning at first with minor word play, all of those "ages" make more sense once we come to the penultimate line; the poet wants to pun in this poem, like I wanted to use a lot of "p's."

"Vision" is a poem that deals with a serious subject–becoming old and losing certain abilities–while reducing the threat of that subject through irony. Though I can't take a whole lot of poems like this without getting bored, they are fun, especially at the moment when they "turn," as with "what I'm going to call."

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