The Arrow at the Heel

By Raymond Holden
MR. HOLDEN is a lyric poet of the traditional kind. He has a fine and firm control of his craftsmanship, and can make the movement of his verse echo his meaning in an effective and musical fashion. He is at his best in such a poem as ‘ Storm over Rockefeller Center,’ where he protests against the vanity represented by
A desperate and upward thrust
Of mad and misdirected lust
To kill the uncomfortable rage
Of living in a lifeless age.
Far Mr. Holden is not able to accept with any joy the conditions of present-day existence; his poetry is largely an expression ot distress and even despair. Perhaps this is inevitable for a lyric poet today; it is not possible to express an honest personal feeling without basing it on a sense of futility and anguish. Hence if we are not to have a poetry that is aimed at death, we must turn outward to the nonpersonal world or more deeply inward to the rediscovery of the spirit which our civilization has choked. It is the latter which Mr. Holden has tried to do. But he is blocked by pessimism, and though his poetry has much excellence, it is not the poetry of a full vision. T.S.