Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sidekicks by Ronald Koertge

They were never handsome and often came
with a hormone imbalance manifested by corpulence,
a yodel of a voice or ears big as kidneys.

But each was brave. More than once a sidekick
has thrown himself in front of our hero in order
to receive the bullet or blow meant for that
perfect face and body.

Thankfully, heroes never die in movies and leave
the sidekick alone. He would not stand for it.
Gabby or Pat, Pancho or Andy remind us of a part
of ourselves,

the dependent part that can never grow up,
the part that is painfully eager to please,
always wants a hug and never gets enough.

Who could sit in a darkened theatre, listen
to the organ music and watch the best
of ourselves lowered into the ground while
the rest stood up there, tears pouring off
that enormous nose.

In this poem, Ronald Koertge explains the life of the sidekick, the one that stands on the sidelines while the 'hero' receives all of the glory. I chose this poem because it shows an interesting new perspective on someone that is usually overlooked and in essence presents the sidekick to be a hero. It seems to be something that a great deal of people would be able to relate to, as it many people live their lives outside of the spotlight. In my opinion, "Sidekicks" is a very thought-provoking and, at times, sad poem, as it shows the struggles of the person that is commonly overlooked. I find the second stanza to be the most controversial, as it shows the sidekick to be the true hero, as he constanly puts aside his fear and risks his life to save the 'hero's' life. Also, the third stanza makes the poem more personal by saying that everyone is, at times, a sidekick.
While the beginning of the poem clearly describes the trials and heroic nature of the sidekicks that we know so well, the end is slightly more ambiguous and left open to interpretation. I believe that the author is comparing everyone to the sidekick that he described, in the sense that they are very dependent on the 'hero.' It is possible that the last stanza could mean that the sidekick in each of us focuses on his or her weaknesses, rather than strengths. The "tears pouring off that enormous nose" could symbolize the pain that the sidekick feels as a result.
In order to achieve the effect of this poem, Koertge uses a style of free verse, as there is no pattern in rhyming or meter. In my opinion, this makes it more personable and easier to relate to one's own life. Also, in the last stanza of the poem the author uses a great deal of imagery to give the reader a clear picture in order to easily relate to the scene. When he says "watch the best / of ourselves lowered into the ground..." he personifies "the best of ourselves" sinking in order to evoke the emotion of sadness and futility.
After reading and examining the poem "Sidekicks" by Ronald Koertge, I now fully realize what the author's intentions were and how he achieved a certain effect. Although I simply thought the poem's intention was to compare the sidekick to the 'hero,' but I later realized that the sidekick that the author discusses is really just a character trait that can exist in everyone. Because of the writing style and meaning of this poem, I would definitely recommend it to others and would enjoy reading more poetry by Koertge.

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