“The Bat” by Kasey Jueds (published in Volume 54 Issue 1 of The Beloit Poetry Journal) has a lot going on in it. There are three primary images, the bat, Blake’s angels, and the rain. They are tied together in an orderly fashion, so we have a progression rather than a juxtaposition, and that progression is marked by stanza breaks. If it weren’t for the title, I think it would be just a progression of images, but the title ties the final image back to the first, and allows the poem to suggest a connection between two images that would not work together if overlaid as direct metaphor or juxtaposition. We just can’t make the leap to connect the bat with the rain without the intervening stanzas to lead us through a progression. However, once we have been led there, the connection seems appropriate. Our experience with the bat and our experience with rain are connected, and we reevaluate our connection with the former in the light of the latter.
I like the feeling that we are moving from dark to light, in mood, in imagery, in our perceptions. I like the line: “First sleep, then eyes” standing by itself. Coming after the darkness, it gives us a foretaste of the revelation to come. The poem is eye-opening. I love the way that “rain isn’t rain” although I would have preferred a more formal diction for the last three lines to mirror the weight of the connection being made. Of course the common diction speaks to the commonness of the uncommonness of the feeling, smell, attitude, but still…. I’m not sure I like the word something in line 5. I think that maybe it would work just as well, and yet make it less distant. That would also coincide with the it of the next line. Still, it is an amazingly potent and tightly packed little poem.