May 30th 2016

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night’s
····descent—the heat heavy in the pine
········boughs
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In the evening a woodpecker flew over the back yard sounding its cries from one bank of trees to the other. It will be back tomorrow morning, tinging at the barn roof.
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206 May 30th 2016 | bottlecap
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13 responses

  1. Wrote this after visiting your blog about an hour ago. No connection with anything you wrote. Maybe I just decided to write a poem because you did.

    Aldridge Anglican, Billionaire (retired)

    A walk
    In the woods
    Commemorates
    Nothing said
    Some pine straw
    In her hair,
    A modest bliss.
    Were they even 12?
    Back at his Buick
    In due course, stumbling
    Or sidestepping used rubbers
    In disgust
    He stows away his cane
    And leaves.

  2. You’re thinking Michael Skakel. But actually in NC other than as a walking aid we would use a cane only to beat Charles Sumner to a pulp. No, Aldridge Anglican is a devout sentimentalist. Glad I didn’t dig the hole any deeper for you by titling it “The Remains of the Day.”

  3. Tweaking the 8th line might clear that up. Substitute “Were we really 12?” and see how that works: Tragically (I could be him) or pathetically (what’s with this rich, dotty pervert)?

    • Yes, that helps. Entitling it “Remains of the Day” would have been pure genius — the kind that one unintentionally backs into (the so-bad-it’s-good variety) — but morbid as a Victorian Hearse. As it is, I’m reminded of Monty Burns, maybe because of this.

  4. Yeah, I woke up this morning, read it, and it survived my 24 hour rule with the line change, except the title for the reason you highlighted (connotation subjectivity).

    I had toyed with other titles:

    Aldridge Anglican, VIII
    Aldridge Anglican, Ph.D.
    Aldridge Anglican, CEO (retired)
    Jubilee

    Jubilee ????

    But now another problem. I just read it to my buddy the engineer on the phone and he thinks it’s “sick”—that I should change 12 to 16. But you are probably literary enough to infer otherwise—that I’m not implying Aldridge Anglican had sex with a 12 year old.

    • //I just read it to my buddy the engineer on the phone and he thinks it’s “sick”—that I should change 12 to 16. But you are probably literary enough to infer otherwise—//

      Um… yeah, but… I read for every possibility; and one of them was worse than your engineer’s reading. Namely, “sick” followed by murder, where he says “nothing” and leaves her body with “pine straw in her hair” (sidestepping the used rubbers of course).

      There’s a play by Richard Sheridan and a character named Mrs. Malaprop who famously misused words (confusing the sound of one with another) so much so that she often produced the opposite of her intended effect. In your case, Cliff, you possess that unique and heartbreaking genius as applied to poetry. You’re truly gifted. I can’t think of how many times I’ve read your poems and thought to myself: Does he even realize—? And then every once in a while you tell me about a reading buddy who confirms my worst interpretations.

      You’re like a lit fuse in a weapon’s bunker. I can’t wait for the release of your collected works. There’s going to be a run on torches and pitchforks.

    • Very interesting. Thanks, I reckon. In fact, I thought the poem quite “sweet” and still do. I would even call it a “sentimental poem.” Never expected it to become such a rorschachian sinkhole for you and my buddy. Maybe some of that relates to environment. For example, in Vermont you and your gal pal would probably return from the woods with maple leaves in your hair, not pine straw, after a little toss and tumble. I would also surmise you watch a lot of horror movies. Anyway, I’m intent to get this poetry together and published, and available for comment, which likes yours I truly welcome, torches and pitchforks notwithstanding.

    • No, there’s lots of pine straw up here. I really don’t like horror movies—at all. My favorite movies are those French movies everybody else can’t stand—the ones where all the characters just sit around and talk to each other, and have French arguments, over Camembert and Red Wine. When the pitchforks come out, is it okay if I pretend I don’t know you? Don’t take it personally. :-)

  5. “When the pitchforks come out, is it okay if I pretend I don’t know you? Don’t take it personally.”

    Anything to accommodate my “normal” friends. In any case, I do my sociopolitical blogging under a pseudonym and post my poems under one too. I dwell amicably among mostly conservative, down-to-earth people, and that’s to protect them (as well as you) from any confusion about my more problematic imaginative reaches—which I prefer to think of as experiments in literary investigation.

  6. Not to agitate the public mind any more than I already have, but I think I’ve arrived at a title that sets this poem up for more “connotation control.” No more distracting forebodings about a homicidal perverts on the loose. My only other option was to include allusions to “Sailing to Byzantium,” Yeats’ most bitter poem btw. But used rubbers as “mackerel-crowded seas” seemed a little pretentious under the circumstances. Anyway, this is how I will publish it in my collected poems. Enjoy!

    Oh, and having bounced so many of these little gems off your blog I hope you don’t mind if I acknowledge Poemshape as a major creative inspiration in the Foreword.

    Woodstock II

    A walk
    In the woods
    Commemorates
    Nothing said
    Some pine straw
    In her hair,
    A modest bliss.
    “Were we ever young?”
    Back at his Buick
    In due course, stumbling
    Or sidestepping used rubbers
    In disgust
    He stows away his cane
    And leaves.

    • //I hope you don’t mind if I acknowledge Poemshape as a major creative inspiration…//

      I would be disappointed by anything less. Better to be stabbed with praise than stabbed in the back.

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