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  #1  
Unread 02-24-2021, 06:53 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Default February Dreams

February Dreams (revision)

On oaks that keep their leaves—the prudes
who wouldn’t think of going bare,
who flap brown-paper hands at nudes
flaunting their sinuous limbs in air—

these clothes that cannot keep them warm,
which sag beneath the heaps of snow,
and tatter, frayed by every storm,
dream of the bliss of letting go.


Revisions:
S1L1 "oaks" was "trees"


Unyielding

On trees that keep their leaves, the prudes
who won’t consider going bare,
who flap brown paper hands at nudes
that flaunt their sinuous limbs in air,

these clothes that cannot keep them warm,
that buckle under heaps of snow,
that shred and tatter in each storm,
dream of the bliss of letting go.

Last edited by Susan McLean; 02-26-2021 at 11:54 AM.
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  #2  
Unread 02-24-2021, 08:07 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is online now
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Hi Susan,

I’m curious to know whether this poem is personifying deciduous trees (such as oak, beech, and hornbeam) that keep their leaves (marcescent) or evergreens and conifers. My hunch is the former.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcescence

I was a bit confused by “brown paper hands.” I know it means branches, but why “paper,” except for the fact that paper is made from wood.

I really like the poem. The rhymes are all good, as well as the meter and flow of the rhythm. I also like the alliteration and assonance, such as flap/flaunt and sinuous limbs. The title works, too, I think.

Martin
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Unread 02-24-2021, 08:50 PM
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RCL RCL is offline
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Aren't the brown paper hands dry leaves?
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Unread 02-24-2021, 09:08 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Martin, yes, I meant the marcescent trees, such as oaks, that keep their leaves. This poem was inspired by a walk around my neighborhood today. The brown paper hands are the dry oak leaves, which are the color of brown paper bags and are shaped rather like hands. I was afraid that the syntax might seem too confusing, so I am glad to hear that you could follow it.

Ralph, yes, the leaves are the hands in S1, but are the trees' clothes in S2.

Susan
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Unread 02-24-2021, 09:10 PM
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I didn't say they weren't. Never mind.
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Unread 02-24-2021, 09:14 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Ralph, I was just confirming that you were correct in your interpretation. I shouldn't have mentioned that the leaves also take on a different image in S2.

Susan
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Unread 02-24-2021, 09:38 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Susan McLean View Post
The brown paper hands are the dry oak leaves, which are the color of brown paper bags and are shaped rather like hands.

Ralph, yes, the leaves are the hands in S1, but are the trees' clothes in S2.
I guess that's why I didn't guess, at first, that the brown paper hands were leaves, because, as you said, they are the tree's clothes in S2. I think, by the way, that calling trees prudes is inspired and kind of funny, too.
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  #8  
Unread 02-25-2021, 01:41 AM
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Duncan Gillies MacLaurin Duncan Gillies MacLaurin is offline
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A fun one, Susan. I prefer the title of the thread as the poem's title. May I suggest "coats" instead of "clothes"?

Duncan
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Unread 02-25-2021, 07:48 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Martin, I have to hope that readers can shift gears when the image changes. Many poems contain sequences of images that describe the same thing in different ways. The idea of the oaks being prudes was the germ that the rest of the poem came from.

Duncan, you may be right that I should use the more evocative thread title. I think I prefer "clothes" to "coats" in L5 because clothes come in multiple layers, and that three-dimensional view gives a better idea of what the oaks look like.

Susan
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Unread 02-25-2021, 08:14 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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I enjoyed it, Susan. That the leaves are hands was clear right off to me.

Line 2's "won't consider" struck me as slightly slilted. Did you consider "wouldn't dream of going bare," which would also pun on the title?*

* Editing back to say that I'm worn out today from work so not seeing straight: I mean "wouldn't think of going bare."

Last edited by Andrew Frisardi; 02-25-2021 at 08:24 AM.
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