Tuesday, June 08, 2010

What Do You

Poetry geeks, help me out. Here's a verse from Pearl Jam's "Elderly woman behind the counter in a small town":

"I swear I recognize your breath
Memories like fingerprints are slowly raising
Me, you wouldn't recall, for I'm not my former
It's hard when, you're stuck upon the shelf"

The lyric is not "I'm not my former SELF" but the word "shelf" in the fourth line - and the song's theme - makes me mentally supply the word "self" in the third.

So my question is this - is there a name for this technique of not completing the line and letting the reader/listener fill in the blank?


Tabula Rasa said...

good qn. i have no idea about what the technique may be called, but i helpfully suggest that it is in line with gestalt techniques, specifically the perceptual property called "closure".

km said...

TR: So you are saying our mind *wants* to fill that blank?

And did Jim Morrison know his Gestalt techniques: on "L'America", he rhymes the word "luck" with a word beginning with "f" - no, not that one, it's actually "find yourself". I always thought that was a clever upending of listener's expectations.

Falstaff said...

It's a technique called