Karen Solie’s poetry is gritty and written with a directness and a clear eye on human life and failings. Her work full of interesting detail, including descriptions of landscape and people. When reading her poetry there is a sense of calm, of not being hurried, and, yet, at the same time there is an undertow of ‘something’. I am always inspired to write when reading her poetry.
This poem ‘The Road In is Not the Same Road Out’ comes from a collection with the same title. The poem , for me, is about the breakup of a relationship or about getting older when the ‘we’ in the poem is the narrator and the narrators younger self – or it could simply be the story of travel and a roadtrip. This is one of the reasons why I love poetry – there are a myriad of interpretations and each of them right.
More about Solie and other poems can be found on the Poetry International Website
The Road In is Not the Same Road Out by Karen Solie
The perspective is unfamiliar.
We hadn’t looked back going in,
and lingered too long
at the viewpoint. It was a prime-of-life
experience. Many things we know
by their effects: void in the rock
that the river may advance, void
in the river that the fish may advance,
helicopter in the canyon
like a fly in a jar, a mote in the eye,
a wandering cause. It grew dark,
a shift change and a shift
in protocol. To the surface of the road
a trail rose, then a path to the surface
of the trail. The desert
sent its loose rock up to see.
An inaudible catastrophic orchestra
is tuning, we feel it in the air
driven before it, as a pressure
on the brain. In the day
separate rays fall so thickly
from their source we cannot perceive
the gaps between them. But night
is absolute, uniform and self-
derived, the formerly irrelevant
brought to bear, the progress
of its native creatures unimpeded.
We have a plan between us, and then
we have our own. Land of the five
corners, the silent partner, 500 dollars
down, no questions, the rental car
stops at the highway intersection, a filthy
violent storm under the hood. It yields
to traffic from both directions.
It appears it could go either way.