“Connoisseur of Chaos” is a short poem divided into five boldly numbered stanzas of very loose blank verse—unrhymed lines, each with five stresses. While II, III, and IV are full stanzas of ten to twelve lines, the opening and closing units (I and V) do not work as stanzas so much as brief propositions of only two and three lines.
Stanza I, in fact, is an opening gambit consisting of two ruthlessly opposing propositions, as if this connoisseur (an expert in chaos) is beginning a logical proof: A, any violent order is finally merely disorder; and B, any great disorder is really a kind of order. The mind-tease of A and B can be illustrated endlessly, and the rest of the poem seems, at first, to be an attempt to illustrate the point.
Stanza II contains more propositions, but now readers have several “if x, then y” proposals cast in material of a rather whimsical nature—if flowers are bright in both Connecticut and in South Africa, which obviously they are, the speaker states, then there is an essential unity in the world. Disorder is really orderly if the big picture is considered.
Yet in stanzas III and IV the speaker damns this sense of order as being perhaps too easy, even sentimental. Things fall apart when readers remember how “squamous” (encrusted) human minds become when confronted with all the squirming facts in a world that can never be ordered. Finding illustration or...
(The entire section is 476 words.)