The Quality of Mercy

The Quality of Mercy
by claudia grinnell
hours late,
bring the usual
gifts: rocks,
cleverly hiding
the anemic sun
and thistles.
A candle
twitches, smoke
rises. Don’t tell me
the same wounded
are still asking
for the same
glass of water.

0 thoughts on “The Quality of Mercy

  1. This is one of those ‘economy-of-words’ type poems written in abstract fragments you sorta just have to go with and not try to make absolute sense of.
    What does it mean to the reader (you)? What impressions/feelings do the words and statements leave with you?
    At first i read the poem’s first line as a continuation from the title–The Quality of Mercy arrive hours late, bring the usual gifts… But verbs would have ‘s’ on them if that were the case, right? Instead, we read a series of note-card like phrases/ideas in a list of gifts: rocks,thistles, a candle, and a glass of water. Or perhaps the candle and glass of water are not gifts but are interjected to create mood. The final sentence: “Don’t tell me the same wounded are still asking for the same glass of water.” is the most complete thought expressed in whole of poem and really makes me go back and think of title, ‘The Quality of Mercy’. Does the ‘me’ mentioned in last line have any mercy for ‘the wounded’–doesn’t sound like it. These are only a few observations on my part that may or may not coincide with other’s interpretations. But i’m thinking the whole point of the poem is to put the reader in the situation where they have to ‘read into’ it–or drop it into their own wishing well and discover their own meaning. i could be wrong. Or perhaps we should discover our own feeling from it. hmm. Meaning vs. Feeling–or is it a combination of both? –Very good source of rumination. thx.

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