Furiously Overcome by Stars

by Guy Kettelhack
Wild Poetry Forum
First Place, April 2019
Judged by Melissa Studdard

Explain this to me, would you, dear? –
how you, who breathe the atmosphere
I breathe, and witness day and night
and up and down and left and right
with sight presumably not unlike what
my eyes take in, experience a glut
of swarming, loud, sensate hyperbole
where only silent absence seems to me
to be, and otherwise imply the “real”
is so inordinate you can’t begin to feel
the groaning board of it. I’m in the dusk
in emptiness while you’re the brusque
besieged eternal target of internal war.
Is it simply I see less, and you see more?
Who is yes and who is no? I am my scars.
You’re furiously overcome by stars.

Oh delight! I love what this poem asks and how it’s built. Between the intriguing title and its repetition in the last line, we’re fed a delicious poetry sandwich. If, for some reason I can’t fathom, the title hadn’t already grabbed the reader’s attention, the first line’s question is a certain draw. Explain what? I have to know. What a complex thing, too, this difference in two people’s perceptions. What is it that makes two people share the same experiences, yet internalize and comprehend them so differently? Further, the formal elements of “Furiously Overcome By Stars”—the framing, the rhyming closing couplet, and the quatrains—work to contain this wildness of language and feeling that seems always about to burst deliriously, and fabulously, from the seams of the poem. --Melissa Studdard