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The Position

Russell Edson

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Added by: Jough (Editor)
I'm always a bit suspicious of surrealists - they always seem like they're "up to something."

This poem is a curiosity to me - and I find myself asking the famous actor cliché "What is the speaker's 'movitation'?"

I can't quite figure out why this speaker would be curling up INTO the position of a baby in the young couple's home. If he's trying to escape the responsibility of adulthood, what are some of the things he's trying to escape?

None of that is in the poem - maybe it shouldn't be in the poem...

Who is the speaker to the young couple? They obviously know him well enough to let him in. I'm assuming that the female is pregnant, or else there'd be a baby in the crib. I'm not sure what else we may infer FROM this, though.

So while this poem offers me a distraction, that's all it is. For a surrealist who'll really bake your noodle and give you more to work with, CHECK out Vasko Popa (also available on this site). His "Little Box" poems are classic...

-- J.
Jough's comment
Added by: Dean
I see this poem in the context of the rest of Edson's 'family' poems. The three agents are archetypes that Edson twists to his own ends. The 'point' of this poem, if there is a finite expressable point, turns on the image of the old man curled up in the crib being looked down upon by the young couple

Think of the scene in terms of subversions of the expected order

Do old men resemble babies?

Where is the baby?

What are a parent's obligation to thier children?

What are a children's obligation to their parents?

Why would an OLd Man want to return to infancy?

The new parent's aren't reallyy fooled as the old man steadfastl sticks to the charade and 'pretends to sleep.'

It is a quick 'imagistic' pun . . tainted by Edson's dark veiw of the tyranny of the Family . . . or I am only reaching because I am an unabashed Edson fan?

Added by: Katey
I love this poem. It makes me laugh out loud. I don't think there's anything we're supposed to "get" here. It just is what it is. Edson is just playing around with an idea...an image. As if he's asking "what if?" I think it's pretty genius of him to be so fearless.

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