The Sunday poem on Poetry Daily was “I Pass the Arctic Circle” by Olav H. Hauge. I was very enamored of this little gem almost on first reading. In it, Hauge makes a very nice metaphor between landscape and lifescape. He also juxtaposes two timeframes on the piece by using an interjection that indicates the future within a sentence that uses the past tense. The interjection however, in addition to muddling the flow of time at the end of the piece, also refers us back to the object or goal referenced by “what we go toward,” both tying the metaphor together more closely, and keeping our eye on the eventual (but only implied) end, death.

There are two things that I would like to take away from this piece with regard to poetic technique. The first is the way that he mitigates the reference to the end of life, by enclosing it within an interjection, a side-note, while keeping the poem centered firmly in the past, where he is just entering the “arctic circle.” The second is the way that the confusion of tense focuses my attention on that ending, and draws attention to the metaphor, while suitably matching the theme of the poem–He is trying to stay in the past, even though he knows that “one of these days” the end is coming.

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