Sequence (2)

Rather than building a sequence through space, some poems move through time by telling a story. What will happen next, the reader wonders, and keeps going, to find out. A good example is “The Fat Lady’s Dance” by Lorna Crozier. The fat lady, who can’t get out of bed alone, wakes to find herself abandoned by her husband:
          When she hears the door close, she snivels,
          she starts to cry as she always does.

How will she manage, the reader worries. Crozier details exactly how the fat lady finds a solution. From deep under her skin, with a “memory of movement”, it progresses from brain, to mouth, to belly, to feet. Her crying stops, she heaves herself off the bed, and with a massive effort, forces her way through the door. At last, she breaks free:

          crashes through the living room
          onto the steps and rolls down the street.

Such an orderly narrative, step by step, is clarity itself.