Your poem, “Uselessness,” ends with a pregnant animal and the speaker,
“too close to the ground/to be truly noted or fall.” Is it more useful
to be noted, or to fall?
Neither is preferable. That was the aim of the poem, to parallel the speaker with a relatively 'useless animal –
scavenger and pest that still has a job to do: give birth. The speaker
thus would have some small purpose, though what that is the poem
doesn't need to say. At the time I wrote the poem I was moving around
quite a bit in the western US, mostly working as a carpenter or
remodeling houses. I certainly didn't feel worthy of note, but it was
an honest life. It kept me from falling too far. I saw this particular
raccoon in Utah and I hope she's well.
The syntax of your poem leaves open the
possibility that the “mother swollen/soon to birth” could either be the
starving raccoon or the blue koi. Is the distinction between predator
and prey important in this poem?
I tried to let the lines act as
punctuation for the poem which is a very loose sonnet, a form I've been
writing in almost exclusively now for years. I am not sure I'd call a
raccoon a predator, though. I don't consider the koi prey either. There
is just a strange security being at the bottom of any 'chain' (food,
hierarchy, etc.) in that you can't really topple down much lower and
you're hopefully under the radar of any authorities (predators,
debtors, etc.). Then again, you can always be a little lower, like the
koi. Or at least that was the thought I had in mind when I wrote this
particular poem. Sometimes you eat the raccoon (I don't recommend it)
and sometimes the raccoon eats you, I guess.