Angela Innes’ eloquently spoken poetry resonates with many as she covers a wide variety of poetic topics. ‘Wildfire’ epitomises the anger behind feeling a lack of reciprocated love in a relationship and the realisation of it after a break-up.
The first stanza establishes the semantic field of artwork. Innes illustrates her insecurities by weaving in the idea of picking “away like nail polish / like acrylic from a canvas”, which continues into the second stanza with the semantic markers of “oils ingrained in an artist’s skin”.
The third stanza really identifies how Innes didn’t feel appreciated in her previous relationship, showing “the wonkiness of how I was hung alongside masterpieces”. She cleverly shows how many people, illustrated as “students, with their / ironically round reading glasses”, would acknowledge how she was treated compared to other women or ‘works of art’, as shown in the extended metaphor of the poem.
One of my favourite lines of this poem, and most probably of all the poems I have read, is found in the fourth stanza: “I used to imagine that falling in love with me / is very much a matter of falling”. I interpret this line as an inevitability of falling in love and the impact it can have on oneself. However, due to the atmosphere of the subsequent lines, “falling in love” with her could also be interpreted as something that you would not want to happen.
The final stanza acknowledges the narrator’s resurgence of confidence and self-esteem. It is a declaration of self-love, loving “all of the raw and real parts of me”, and the eradication of a need of someone to appreciate her. “Like the memories that I will cherish, / but never staying as accurate as we wish them to be” is the final line of the poem, which shows the consequences of a deteriorating relationship on the couple’s memories. The happy parts seem to be distorted by the arguments and the worse memories are subconsciously suppressed.
This was Innes’ first work where a real maturity started appearing in her poetry. She has since uploaded poems on anxiety, falling in love with girls and new beginnings. She is an upcoming poet with undoubtedly lots of work to come.
Words by Will Moore