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Old 03-19-2003, 06:10 AM
Tim Murphy Tim Murphy is offline
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Forty-Eight
I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.
—Mae West


Your shovel slicing, slicing through the snow,
the squeak of soles at seventeen below,
your breath freezing on reindeer cap and mask—
what more could a born blizzard-lover ask?

Only the strength to trench the ten-ton drift
dropped at your door like an early Christmas gift
and the crisp line of work precisely done—
the pristine path beneath a haloed sun.

You pause, panting, to drink with blinking eyes
a draught of sugared spruce and frosted skies;
you pat the puppy frisking at your feet,
then stamp indoors to savor the hearth’s heat
where cider tastes sweeter than vintage wine
and love pretends you still look thirty-nine.

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Old 03-19-2003, 09:12 PM
Rhina P. Espaillat Rhina P. Espaillat is offline
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Subtle poem, with a tender-tough attitude toward life and the realities of aging. The connection between the epigraph and the theme seems purely on the surface until the last lines, and then it becomes more significant and apt. Love the humor, the good-natured view, and the close attention to such details as sound and tactile impressions.
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Old 03-19-2003, 10:29 PM
Bruce McBirney Bruce McBirney is offline
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What a lovely, good-hearted poem. As one who's 48 and white-haired, I'd love for my love to pretend I looked 39--but she'd have to wear pretty thick glasses to pull it off!
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Old 04-02-2003, 11:32 PM
rizenmoon rizenmoon is offline
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There is nothing unenjoyable here. The pace is brisk and holds ones attention with un-urgent expectancy and delight.
There is an understated sense of authority and a command of poetic direction that's impressive. Good job.

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Old 04-03-2003, 11:58 AM
Paul Lake Paul Lake is offline
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This poem's perfect last line has come back to more than once since reading it--a sure sign that's it's a winner.
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Old 04-03-2003, 01:23 PM
Terese Coe Terese Coe is offline
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Awfully late, but I finally have some quiet time here.

No one has commented on the opening line, which is full of force and onomatopoeia; L2 does its best to keep up and succeeds; the trochee in the second foot of L3 slows it down as it should, considering the freeze, and is also a beauty (I thought at first a real reindeer was standing on L3, and the cap and mask were his face! Which I enjoyed, and still enjoy); and, as a blizzard-lover myself, I'm very fond of L4 (though at first I paused at "born blizzard").

[Note, I don't think the epigram adds enough to justify its presence.]

In S2, I admire the use of "crisp" and "pristine" in successive lines, and again the two successive stresses on "crisp line," which accentuates the crispness. This was a lesson to me, and thanks for that, Alan.

I simply love (again) L9; the sestet is lighter than the octet, and the final line draws me back to wonder whether love "pretends" or "believes." I suppose it depends how well we know ourselves, and who's doing the talking, but I've noticed I'm relatively blind to the elderliness of one of my oldest friends, now 72. It's a blindness with a purpose, no doubt.

Terese


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Old 04-03-2003, 01:30 PM
A. E. Stallings A. E. Stallings is offline
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It's also refreshing to see this relatively rare but time-honored variation on the sonnet, in couplets--so skillfully pulled off, we hardly notice. And appropriate to the subject.
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Old 04-03-2003, 07:39 PM
Rhina P. Espaillat Rhina P. Espaillat is offline
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What I like about the epigram is the way it suggests the themes of age and fragility at once, but also, and at once, robs them of their potential sadness and substitutes the jaunty, racy tone of the famous speaker of those words.
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