November

·

There’s nothing left but overall
Remnants of what had once been fall;
Even where a week before
A leaf or two blew through the door
The dwindling days have turned to soot
The little traveling underfoot.
·
Snow will follow soon enough
Careening through the unmown scruff
Of jimson weed and bush clover,
Nothing apt to be covered over
With just a midday’s squall—but soon
Winter will stay the afternoon.
·
Then who will afterward remember
The few days readied since September?—
The ghostly sighs of thimbleweed,
The bony knuckles of the reed,
Whole fields of startled hair turned white
Before the year end’s stricken flight.
·
I wouldn’t ask but that I know
It’s not just seasons come and go.
When ice gives way to watercress
And all of April’s loveliness,
Remember, though the days are few,
November has its flowers too.
·

·
·
Pussy Willow Branch (Reduced)·
·
·
·
·
·
·
·
·
·
·
·
·
·
·

·
by me | January 8 2018

·
·


·
·

    This is my first audio recording using my new YETI microphone. My reading of the poem is just okay, but then I’m never satisfied that way. Best that I never hear myself. The poem itself is one I started not in November of last year but the year before, with a haiku. I finally devoted the time to finishing it.

15 responses

  1. You are the only poet besides Stevens, Dickinson, Ammons, and Yeats whose poems I can tune into enough to recreate or recompress. Your advantage over them is that you are more oriented to people and work—that is, reality—and generally more at ease. Thus when I piggyback your poems I’m more apt to get a pro-social outcome. In this latest one, for example, I felt the instant potential for a domestic scene.

    Upon this fit of winter squall
    A remnant of the former fall
    A leaf or two through open door
    The oak that warms our hold on life
    And not so warm the soot that builds
    On nights and flues and human will
    But that is where the voices help
    To keep the darkness underfoot

    As winter howls around our eaves
    My daughter stirs an early spring
    The peanut brittle on the stove
    Snow does not transmogrify—no,
    Sweetens to the closing in!
    “Mom & Dad & Nell & Ned
    Bring your plates into the den
    ‘Thar’s gold in these har hills!’”

    We laugh.

    Am I reading your brain correctly?

    Like

    • Well, you know, I’m a believer in the cagey poet. I don’t think poet’s should be commenting on their own poems. That’s almost a breech of contract.

      What you do is something I also enjoy — writing pastiche’s of other poems. :) I think the concrete imagery does your version good. Your own poetry sometimes tends to miss a sense of place — not that all poetry requires a sense of place, but I look for it poetry.

      The one thing I’d say your version misses is the implicit threat, if not terror, in my own poem — the cellar and crawlspace of the New England soul. I’ll leave it at that.

      Like

  2. Oh I have a sense of place alright, but several of its contours are so subject to stereotype among a general audience I’d rather not risk alienating your readers. Besides, I’m just one of several hundred guests who visit your site every day, and they deserve to enjoy your website as much as I do. Maybe after 9 in 10 of my poems are among the most perfect in the English language instead of just one in ten I can get by with it, and we can do a poetry reading together at Middlebury. Are you game for a concussion and neck brace?

    Like

  3. Pingback: Blog Profiles: Poetry Blogs | Beyond Bylines

  4. Sorry to bother you again just wanted to ask what you thought about my analysis to your poem…(it probably won’t flow, since each sentence is kind of like an “idea”)

    You’re not here anymore with me, but the memories of those times are still ingrained in my head. I recall your presence just a week before. Now our time together is becoming less and less and my days are becoming gloomy. The time we had has now come to an end. Time will keep passing by my unkempt self consisting in fields of sorrow. However, nothing can mask what we are feeling. The times will get tough, but so will they become more clearer to us. Who will remember when you first came into my life? Now everything is fading away and becoming more like an “ancient” memory. Before I even start my life anew. I know the answer to such question. It’s not just that these things are bound to happen. When you have thoughts like “things could’ve been better if you had done something.” Remember there’s no time to dwell on the fast. There’s always a brighter side to every situation.

    Yeah, that’s basically it, took me a very long time to get to this point, but I still enjoyed the poem. It’s very interesting and one can very much analyze it in very different forms, which is something I like. Hopefully you understand my analysis though. 😁

    Quick question though there’s one thing I’m having a hard time on and it’s the iambic tetrameter part of this poem. What I mean is, in the line, ” Nothing apt to be covered over.”
    I’m not sure where the each foot of that line ends, since there needs to be a total of 4 feet for it to be considered a tetrameter. As well as I am not completely sure what syllables are stressed for that line of the poem.

    Would it be something like…

    noTHING | apt to BE | coVERED | oVER

    or..

    nothing APT | to BE | coVERED | oVER

    I have more guesses, but they’re bound to be far from right. So i would highly appreciate if you could help me out :)) so sorry for pestering you. Have a good day or night(?)!!

    Like

    • Nothing ruins a poem more so than having the author of the poem analyze it. But I will tell you something I learned from Robert Frost, and that’s the idea of the metaphorical landscape. This means that even though “The Road Not Taken” is literally about a road not taken, it can also be read as metaphor (or a metaphorical landscape), which nearly everyone does. In other words, one might ask what the roads stand for? When I was a student I hated questions like this, because I thought (and in some cases it was unfortunately true) that the instructor was looking for a certain/right answer—the road stands for this. What I later learned was that there isn’t a right answer and that the road’s meaning depended on the life experience of the reader reading it. :) Frost was notoriously cagey about his thoughts on his own poems. In my view, the second rate poem tells you what it’s about whereas the great poem lets you decide. So, when I read your interpretation, I see some of my own intent, but I also see some that’s not mine, but yours; and that’s as it should be. I think the interpretation you bring to the poem is wonderful. Don’t let anyone tell you you shouldn’t read it that way.

      On to the Iambic Tetrameter. I took more liberties, in terms of “variant feet” than in my earlier poetry. I feel like I’ve already proven that I can write perfect metrical poetry when I want, and now I want to play a little. I want to work the vernacular rhythms of speech against the meter. That said, the meter is still essentially iambic tetrameter. In the line you quote, I scanned it as follows when I wrote it:

      NOthing | APT to | be CO|vered Over

      So, this line is comprised of two Trochaic feet, one iamb, and a feminine ending. Feminine endings (amphibrachs that occur at the line’s end) are ubiquitous in iambic meters. Think of them as iambic feet with an extra unstressed syllable at the end. When scanning a line, a nice trick is to work backwards. Start with the end of the line. In this case, you would immediately see a feminine ending. Then dividing the rest of the line into two syllable feet is easy.

      Beginning an iambic pentameter line with two trochees is quite common in Shakespeare and later poets, but less so in Iambic Tetrameter. Probably in older times, the shorter line was thought to withstand less variant feet. The trick, is to maintain, in the overall poem, the feeling that there’s a dominant meter. If one writes too many variant feet, then the “pattern” breaks down.

      Does that help?

      Like

  5. Patrick, long time, no hear. My first poem in months. Am I losing my touch?

    My summer bride
    Has skipped her vows
    And dances in another town
    Left darkness to envelope me
    A darkness darker than the night
    Perpetual and so solitaire
    I search and search and search and search
    To find her sunshine in a face
    But find my own expediency.
    Ah, I shall know better come the spring
    Than think she brightens just for me
    But chastened heed her warning more
    And keep around community.

    Like

    • Hi Cliff, :) I’m working on a new post. Finally. I’m also over at Haiku Three Six Five commenting on each haiku (a year long endeavor inspired by my own I think) just to sort of get the rust out of my toolkit. I’m commenting on them a week at a time and am currently half way through March. Feel free to join me there. I know that our author would appreciate one more comment from time to time.

      And kinda’ like your poem. I think the line “A darkness darker than the night” might flirt a little too closely with cliché. I’m ambiguous about the repetition in “I search and search and search and search”. Might be overkill?

      The last couple lines sound an awful like Emily Dickinson. Totally could see her writing those lines.

      Not sure what you mean by find your own “expediency” — but that might be me, not you. All in all, this poem is definitely more “on topic” than your usual poems. You usually have a taste for sudden digression and non-sequitors of all kinds; but this one ends in the same world it started.

      Like

  6. Thanks, Patrick. Glad to find you doing well. I will check out that haiku site. Sometimes cliché is essential to priming and forming an edifice—in this case about 10 minutes’ work. Then, months later, the right words. No rush. Yes, non-sequitors, millions of them: The difference between reading a book on moral philosophy and living it. Cf. The Good Person of Szechwan. Realpolitiks: Can we help ourselves?

    My summer bride
    Has skipped her vows
    And dances in another town
    Left darkness to envelope me
    A darkness darker than is death
    Perpetual and so solitaire
    I search and cast and search and cast
    To find her sunshine in a face
    But find my own inadequacy.
    Ah, I shall know better come the spring
    Than think she brightens just for me
    But chastened heed her warning more
    And keep around community.

    Like

  7. Patrick, I browsed through the haiku site. Are all the poems by “Drink.Wine.Today” – a single poet?

    Re: “You usually have a taste for sudden digression and non-sequitors of all kinds; but this one ends in the same world it started.”

    I was thinking about that—clinically speaking that issues from the same sources I get my superior sound sense. “In some studies on creativity, knight’s move thinking, while it describes a similarly loose association of ideas, is not considered a mental disorder or the hallmark of one; it is sometimes used as a synonym for lateral thinking.” Put another way, per the “Master,” “success in circuit lies.” Of course there’s always the possibility I may be using my poetry—and poetry only– to offload some latent schizophrenia. Is that necessarily a flaw? My prose by contrast never “derails.”

    Like

    • Hey Cliff. Yes, all the haiku are by Drink.Wine.Today.

      As to your second paragraph. My own attitude is that any rationalization that explains my behavior as a byproduct of my irrefutable genius has to be a rock solid rationalization.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: