Resurrection of Nature and Modernity in Merwin's `Drunk in the Furnace'
Department of English
Merwin comes forward to rescue human and humanity with his barrier breaking voice that has been hurled against the harsh walls of reality. He dives into the wreck of himself and the world and creates a new dimension where the resurrection of a modern era appears with a new tone of Nature and harmony. The revivification is based on the new visions in the old songs, formation of the abandoned, antiestablishment, the marginalized prophet who has some new prophecy, a new interpretation for nature and the theme of recycle. The major symbols are the `Furnace' and the `Drunk' who circulates the idea of resurrection throughout the whole poem. The new song of new era is expressed through the music of metallic materials, which is the way of the prophet to teach real essence of life. Also a subtle denigration is there for the institutional Christianity. Aggressively, self-consciously, defiantly, the poem reasserts themes in a new key chosen for its excruciating dissonance. "The Drunk in the Furnace" establishes a complex vantage point from which Merwin can survey the wreckage of human cycle. The poem is, like its central figure, both defiant and circumspect: it secretes stories, none of which are allowed to emerge. But in the context of the entire cycle, especially in the light of its reconstructed development, it is lucid enough.
Inspiration is a major phenomenon in this poem where the song is the source of it. The metallic song produced and composed by the drunk shows the vision of modernity. Here the drunk works as a singer of the song though the real singers are metals and materials of that furnace. The musical tune is not just a song rather it is the philosophy. The song is old so the philosophy is old as well. But this philosophy can give birth of the new era. The old lyrics of the song, the old music can be a new way of modernity. The modern man denies the old philosophy. The idea of leaving the old is a process to accept the new and being up to date. But Merwin shows the inspiration that can influence and strengthen the modern era. People disregard the deserted ideas but these ideas are the source of modernity because the new song takes all its elements from the old songs. So deserted ideas give a new vision for modernity and thus make the proper modification of the modern man. The old philosophy is necessary for the reinvention of modernity. Inspiration is necessary to face the modern era and only the new vision of the old song can give this inspiration for resurrection of perfect modern thoughts. The song gives awakening call for the modern people when the furnace is spreading its music all over.
When the furnace wakes, though, all afternoon
Their witless offspring flock like piped rats to its siren