The realistic tone of ‘Save Us From’ seems all too familiar to those who have spent a night driving through an unknown area on the long stretch of interstate. Constantly glancing down at the gas gauge, we’ll guess how much farther it is till the next gas station; the next oasis of life amongst the dark, impersonal night. This poem by Roo Borson highlights our efforts to seek comfort and beauty in the unnatural.
“Save us from night, from bleak open highways without end, and the fluorescent oases of gas stations, from the gunning of immortal engines past midnight,” Realism attempts to present life as it is, with its flaws, with all its strengths and weaknesses, and all of its faults. Although a strong presupposition of realism is one of a negative or harsh nature and longs for ‘what used to be’, this poem presents the reader with an ironic view of reality. It glorifies that which we tend to escape from through writing and literature.
“from orange and brown and all unearthly colours, banish them back to the test tube, save us from them,” This section of the poem starting at line 16 shows the speaker’s frustration with the falsified beauty we force on ourselves. The speaker banishes them back to the test tube in effort to allow the natural to rise. This sort of frustration is evident throughout the poem; like when everyone seems preoccupied with the pseudo and doesn’t take notice to the simple and good things in life. The tone of this poem continually seems frustrated and almost angry at the repetition of our own determination to prioritize the simplicity of life.
“from floor-length drapes which close out the world, from padded bras and rented suits, from any object in which horror is concealed.” These few lines portray the reader seeking redemption from things that society uses to conceal the natural. The floor length drapes block out the sunlight and any curious eyes. They block out the outside that the speaker is seeking to glorify. The padded bras and rented suits paint a picture of a nervous woman hiding her shortcomings and making attempts to conceal what she feels she isn’t or doesn’t possess.
“Save us from waking after nightmares, save us from nightmares, from other worlds, from the mute, immobile contours of dressers and shoes, from another measureless day, save us.” The last lines of the poem continue the pattern of dissatisfaction with the synthetic world we’ve produced. They make the reader wonder what it would be like not to wake from nightmares or how much easier it would be to escape the temporary darkness of a bedroom if it weren’t for silent dressers or shoes in the way.
‘Save Us From’ is a poem that consistently uses a somber and bleak mood to help the reader visualize what the speaker is trying to convey. The poem differs greatly from the often predictable ‘carpe diem’ type poem we so often read. While many realistic works mourn at how quickly time passes, the speaker here refers to time as “endless” and the days “measureless”. It is all the speaker can do to endure one more excruciating day. It seems the speaker would be grateful to have time pass more quickly and put an end to the repetitive cycle of meaningless days. This is a distinctly different perception of living, but the lines don’t do the obvious urgency of the speaker’s tone justice. Do you think its possible to “Save Us From” what we’ve become? Can we turn back? What do you think it would take? The poem asks these questions which arouses a reflective thought in its readers minds.