Gig Ryan: "Who Praise You"

Who Praise You
Pure and applied
Gig Ryan
By John Tranter on April 2011
The anguish of unrequited love is beautifully caught in this off-beat, angular poem: the double effect of the first person reflected in a mirror like a worshipper, the second person locked in his passivity like an idol, the need to speak and the voiceless silence, the ambiguity of close talk that is never heard or decoded, all this adds up to a solipsism that paints its emotions on the scenery of crowds of people and rooms quickly emptying of hope, a scenery that is alive as the poet is not, finally closed like a door on darkness. The scene feels as contemporary as an encounter with a pop star’s entourage, but it is loosely based on Sappho’s Fragment 31.