Vermonted

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You might have had ten miles clear road ahead,
A sunny break of fields along the way
And breathed the scent of daffodils instead—
There’s nothing like a crisp New England day—
But life gives nothing isn’t marred or flawed.
No, certain as a ten inch snow in June
And all the passing lanes gone by, by God
You’ll not be anywhere on time or soon.
The S.O.B. is only hell-bent sure
For just so long as takes to cut you off
Then drives as if he took a Sunday tour
And now’s your luck to watch his tail pipe cough,
····You’d swear, with malice of the kind that’s flaunted.
····You haven’t lived until you’ve been Vermonted.
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Vermonted
February 25 2014 :  by me, Patrick Gillespie

11 responses

    • Thank you, Jornales! I wrote this yesterday while stuck behind another car. The term “Vermonted” isn’t one I coined, but maybe this will give it a little bump. I think it stems from “leaf-peeping” season, when tourists come up to gawk at the leaves and drive at a golf-cart pace, hence “Vermonted”. But tourists hardly have the market cornered on this sort of driving.

  1. Nice work, Patrick. I admire the way you’re able to modulate your tone in the middle through the enjambments on “God” and “sure.”

    One possibility, if you’ll indulge me: It occurred to me that the odd-numbered lines alone might make a strong short poem in couplets. I hate wrecking a sonnet, but the even lines (to my mind) don’t propel the poem quite as well as do the odd. Please forgive my alterations in the following:

    You might have had ten miles clear road ahead,
    And breathed the scent of daffodils instead,
    But life gives nothing isn’t marred or flawed,
    And all the passing lanes gone by, by God
    The S.O.B. is only hell-bent sure
    To drive like he was on a Sunday tour.
    You’d swear, with malice better hid than flaunted,
    You haven’t lived until you’ve been Vermonted.

    ****

    Take my suggestions for what their worth: one writer’s opinions.

    Thanks for sharing this!

    Steven Withrow

    • It’s an interesting thought, but the revision has its inevitable shortcomings (that could probably be ironed out). Out of curiosity, I tried the same with Frost’s famous sonnet and discovered it works quite well. :-)

      She is as in a field a silken tent,
      Dried of the dew when all its ropes relent
      And its supporting central cedar pole
      That signifies the sureness of the soul
      Is strictly held by none and loosely bound
      To every thing on earth the compass round —
      In the capriciousness of summer air
      Is of the slightlest bondage made aware.

      In his case, I would say the even numbered lines are the weakest.

  2. I’ve read a lot of sonnets lately that don’t seem very happy being sonnets, but this one couldn’t possibly be anything else. It doesn’t just make use of form: it is its form. And it’s genuinely funny! ‘Vermonted’ is now part of my personal lexicon (although I’ll be glad if I don’t have too many chances to use it).

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