13 responses

  1. I tatted this out last night in about an hour. Believe it or not the last poem I wrote (“The End of Vanity”) and now this one began as attempts to excel Wallace Stevens’ “The Snow Man.” It goes without saying, I failed. Nevertheless this is my first all-boys poem. Everything before was boy/girl (cf. “Childrens’ Pay”). Any impressions? Thanks.

    The Snow Boys

    Winter is memorial to me
    Of remembered sleds
    And boys that played
    Of stoves we knead our
    Hands above, how once
    We made a hockey rink
    Of frozen swamp and
    Sapling sticks to shoot
    A pine cone tree to tree.
    With 12-year-old
    Equality, equal falls
    To equal laughs—
    That couldn’t stay
    Unfortunately.
    By noon the rink
    Was melting in—
    We switched our wiles
    To fallow fields
    Which yielded up
    Some arrowheads
    And one mad possum
    Brought to bay.
    The brilliant sun
    Gave way to dusk—
    We rushed to supper
    Skipping baths, waged
    A bedroom pillow fight
    Wrestling when it came to that
    ‘Til finally TV
    Stood us down
    The Wild, Wild West
    In black and white
    Our palm-cupped chins
    Fell into sleep
    And in the morning
    Back to swamp
    God had frozen
    Just for us
    Play without a plan or thought
    Next to next
    Our only care.
    So weird the weirdest
    Of the three .
    Lives to be the last to speak.

    Like

    • One piece of advice I might offer is to avoid pigeon English. There’s an awful lot of it in your poetry and I’m not sure why—missing grammatical connectives, articles and that sort of thing. I know that some poets write that way because they think it makes their poetry sound more poetic or elevated, but it’s like putting fake flowers in water. The first line threw me just a little. One could read it as winter being a memorial to you. You meant it more colloquially. I think it’s okay as is. The last three lines, though, puzzle me. Are you saying you’ve outlived your other companions?

      Like

  2. Thanks. Probably the things you mentioned will resolve as I go to completely different subjects and come back to it over several cycles. I feel sometimes I have to let those things go to get the poem out. The same approach saved you from the lurid details of my wet dream that night
    but also omitted a game of monopoly.

    Yes, I outlived them. The first died at 19 (suicide) and the second at 44.(cancer). However, only I was flunking English at the time or had been referred for cognitive and psychological “evaluation.” A weird number to say the least, but then in a Joe Friday sort of way.

    Like

  3. Accounting for your concerns, I’m in the process of formalizing this poem while trying to maintain the imagistic spontaneity of the short lines. Under the new dispensation it would begin

    With winter came a white memorial
    To remembered sleds and boys
    Of slaloms down a minor hill
    Face down in drifts of snow.

    and move on in a similar sound/meter from there. Does that sound more engaging?

    Like

  4. With winter came a white memorial
    Of laughs and sleds and boys
    Of slaloms down a minor hill
    Face down in drifts of snow.

    I could even end up posting both versions. Nothing is finality–or as my tagline reads, “an experiment in literary investigation.”

    Btw, here’s a poem in the same genre written around 1900 by the first poet laureate of North Carolina, John Charles McNeill. https://allpoetry.com/Sunburnt-Boys

    It has rhyme and meter. If I had written this myself would you feel more assured?

    Like

    • If you had written it yourself, I would be amazed by your transformation but I might find your tone a bit quaint and sentimental for the 21st century. :)

      The rhyming is a bit forced and dilettantish, but largely the norm in that day and age.

      Like

  5. Slight adjustment:

    With winter came a white memorial
    To laughs and sleds and boys
    To slaloms down a minor hill
    Face down in drifts of snow.

    Note how just that minor prepositional change added to the movement. And with a minute’s work the four worst lines of the poem are now the best and create a standard to build on. Thanks!

    Like

  6. a day later. I set out to repair 4 lines a day but ended up with 12 lines repaired. Does this seem to be tracking better than the original? Thanks.

    The Snow Boys

    Winter made a white memorial
    To laughs and sleds and boys
    To slaloms down a minor hill
    Facedown in drifts of snow.
    To a stove we’d knead our
    Hands above, a hockey rink
    Of swamp, to sapling sticks
    We’d cut to shoot a pine cone
    Tree to tree, and while only
    I had been referred for “Black Hole OCD”
    The cold blue sky a constant source
    Of one equality.

    Like

    • Needs punctuation:

      Winter made a white memorial
      To laughs and sleds and boys;
      To slaloms down a minor hill
      (Facedown in drifts of snow);
      To a stove we’d knead our
      Hands above; a hockey rink
      Of swamp; to sapling sticks
      We’d cut to shoot a pine cone
      Tree to tree.

      And these last four lines don’t make any sense, grammatically or nominally?

      and while only
      I had been referred for “Black Hole OCD”
      The cold blue sky a constant source
      Of one equality.

      Like

  7. This is today’s spontaneous version. I’m beginning to think its scattershot form captures the motion and age better. In the more formal version I see and sense less boy than mediating, possibly ironic adult. .

    The Snow Boys

    A snow memorial
    To laughter, sleds
    And playing boys
    To slaloms down a minor hill
    To stoves we knead our
    Hands above, how once
    We made a hockey rink
    Of frozen swamp and
    Sapling sticks to shoot
    A pine cone tree to tree.
    With 12-year-old
    Equality, clumsy fails
    And clumsy laughs—
    Not love nor work
    To sort us out
    A frozen bliss
    That couldn’t stay
    By noon the rink
    Was melting in—
    We switched our wiles
    To fallow fields
    Which yielded up
    Some arrowheads
    And one mad possum
    Brought to bay.
    The brilliant sun
    Gave way to dusk—
    We rushed to supper
    Skipping baths, waged
    A bedroom pillow fight
    Wrestling when it came to that
    ‘Til finally TV
    Stood us down
    The Wild, Wild West
    In black and white
    Our palm-cupped chins
    Fell into sleep
    Then up for breakfast
    Back to swamp
    God had frozen
    Just for us
    Play without a plan or thought
    Next to next
    Our only care.
    So weird the weirdest
    Of the three .
    Lives to be
    The last to speak.

    Like

  8. Thanks for your patience. I don’t mean to wear you out with this but I applied several rounds of minimalism to the first 10 lines and got this. By comparison it makes my first draft look like babbling. Slowly but surely as good as Frost, may I say?

    A white memorial
    To laughter, cheers
    And sledding boys
    Down snowy hills
    To hearths we knead our
    Hands before, how once
    We made a hockey rink
    Of frozen swamp and
    Sapling sticks to shoot
    A pine cone tree to tree.

    Like

    • Frost? Frost was a mere precursor.

      I think this is your best version yet. Not sure why you’re allergic to punctuation though? Emily Dickinson, at the very least, used hyphens for everything.

      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: