The author wishes to revise
The late summer’s riotous plot—
The gourd, the liquored grapes, and flies
Besotted where the apples rot.
There’s hesitance at first and yet
There always comes the killing frost;
And then not one forgiving stet
To spare so little as the moth.
It ought to be enough to live
And let the season have its say,
Accepting what the short days give
And what the long months take away;
And yet there’s something in me burled,
Counter to the grain, knowing
Whatever expurgates the world
Might well choose me the next one going.
Change will come but I’ll always prefer
The crass defiance of the crow
Plopped on a spit of long-dead fir—
A quarrelsome smudge condemning the snow.
by me, Patrick Gillespie | November 4th 2015

6 responses

  1. I’ve read most of your poems and this is the best I’ve seen. All of your poems are as good as any I see published anywhere and have the potential to be very good poems except for an occasional misfire with the impressionism in line or stanza here and there. (But I’m one to lecture about that, right!) This one, however, is well-nigh organic and worked for me as good as Keats. It also seems totally you, without even a hint of second-hand impressionism (say, from Frost). The last line might could use some tweaking—“Whose quarrelsome smudge contemns the snow”—but maybe not. Speaking as someone whose winter poems all sound as if they were written at a cemetery, I’m pleased to find this poem pleasantly contagious. Read it five times already!


    • Think this is the best? I’d say Skeletons is better, but who am I to argue with a reader? :-) And “contemns”? Do you live in the 17th century? I can’t go about using obsolete words like that; I’m not an AE Stallings. But I’d call it a success if you’ve read it five times. That’s a poem with a hook in it.


  2. Nice stuff, I am not a fan of most contemporary poetry but this one is terrific. What a way to address the issues Winter confronts us with each year. I have to look up the word ‘stet’ as I don’t know it yet.


    • Well, most contemporary poems are simply little paragraphs chopped up to look like a poem. Can’t say I care for contemporary poetry either, but I’m always eager to read (or be made aware of) new poets. I keep hoping they’ll free themselves from this “inherited form” called free verse — has had a death grip on writers for over a century now.


  3. Well I may be a prisoner of free form but it doesn’t prevent me from appreciating traditional forms. I am not an advocate for one or the other. I do agree that traditional poetry is indeed more demanding,however I simply see it as a method used to organize the message the writer wishes to deliver in a familiar way. Coincidentally that is also what defines “free-form” :)
    I haven’t explored traditional form yet (I am self-taught, like you, but haven’t been exposed to much of the “classics” yet)
    Nevertheless, I really enjoyed “Stet”! Its rhythm and the imagery it begot. (did I conjugate that properly?). I also, had to research the definition of the term, so thank you for that, too! :)


    • Thanks Peace. Glad you visited and glad you enjoyed the poem. If you ever decide to try traditional poetry, somehow I think Dickinson is a wonderful model for poets steeped in free verse. Don’t ask me to explain that. I like your description of yourself (at your blog) and your personal philosophies. Humility has always been a constant struggle, but I take comfort in knowing I’m better at it than anyone else. :)


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