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David W. Parsley

A Count of Winter Snows

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David W. Parsley

A COUNT OF WINTER SNOWS

Job’s lament, for protests from a lady I love

.

I guess you would not know

How many Winters I have counted

Crowding on the stiffened Spring

While silence spiced the lofty hemlocks

Hanging like an open mouth

About to speak.

You could not guess how much I know

Of frozen voices caught in last year's storms

Lying on the breathless crest of white

I shatter with my clumsy feet;

And the voicelessness that follows

When I stop

Is lonely: lonely as the night is lonely

When stars are bound by heavy clouds

And whippoorwills are choked on dusted snow.

You watch horizons slide toward me

Leaving faded skies to melt into the night

While countless ranks of restless pines

Reach for unlit moons.

I guess you would not know

How hard I try to reach

A certain moon unlit for many years

Extinguished in a single night.

You could not guess how much I know

Of laughter tossed on branchless trees

Or passion warmer than a thousand suns.

But then, you only see

A man who talks to lonely pines

And shatters crests of snow with clumsy feet.

I guess you could not know.







originally publishedThe Bicentennial Junior Medallion Edition, 1975-1976
C. Cameron Johns Award for Literary Excellence, Gold Plaque
League of Utah Writers, Published Poetry Award, 3rd Place 1977
© 2012 David W. Parsley
Parsley Poetry Collection

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dcmarti1

A certain moon unlit for many years

Extinguished in a single night.

 

Majorly powerful....powerfully major.....darn, I dunno which.....I just know it's STRONG. And I like the uniqueness in which the speaker and hearer BOTH seem to be (at least to me) just misunderstanding each other:

 

I GUESS you WOULD not know.....

 

I GUESS you COULD not know.....

 

Oh, and you have my retro 1992 submission easily beaten: yours is 1975! :biggrin:

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badger11

The repetitions are very effective. The poem rolls out with fluid imagery, the interaction of inner and outer landscape, and this reader is drawn in to read again.

 

'Or passion warmer than a thousand suns' - that was the only, obvious, duff line for me.

 

badge

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tonyv

There's a you whom the speaker is addressing, yet his loneliness is unbearable:

 

And the voicelessness that follows

When I stop

Is lonely: lonely as the night is lonely

When stars are bound by heavy clouds

And whippoorwills are choked on dusted snow.

 

The loneliness weighs heavily upon the speaker (and upon this reader) as if the "frozen voices caught in last year's storms" weren't already punishing enough. Marti's astute would/could observation is in line with this; that you is there but is not.

 

I've read this many times and can't get enough. It's hard hitting and absolutely beautiful.

 

Tony


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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David W. Parsley

A certain moon unlit for many years

Extinguished in a single night.

 

Majorly powerful....powerfully major.....darn, I dunno which.....I just know it's STRONG. And I like the uniqueness in which the speaker and hearer BOTH seem to be (at least to me) just misunderstanding each other:

 

I GUESS you WOULD not know.....

 

I GUESS you COULD not know.....

 

Oh, and you have my retro 1992 submission easily beaten: yours is 1975! :biggrin:

Hi Marti, I greatly appreciate your comments. It has been a long time since anybody saw this poem and I forgot how powerfully people respond to it. I wrote it in two sittings in December 1975, as a senior in high school. After the holidays, I brought in my assignment and laid it before my great teacher, J.A. Christensen. He scanned it in about two seconds and placed both hands flat on either side of it, still as a painting. He glanced up at me, then readdressed himself to the poem, reading it slowly and feelingly aloud. Never given to overstatement, he simply shook his head and declared, "It's beautiful, David." I thanked him, but confessed I was having trouble coming up with a title. He seized a nearby pen and immediately wrote in the blank title space the title it has borne ever since. From that moment, I knew that I would always be, alone or in addition to whatever else, a writer of poetry.

 

Thanks,

- Dave

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David W. Parsley

The repetitions are very effective. The poem rolls out with fluid imagery, the interaction of inner and outer landscape, and this reader is drawn in to read again.

 

'Or passion warmer than a thousand suns' - that was the only, obvious, duff line for me.

 

badge

Hi Badge, I am glad the poem speaks to you, as well. You are right on, about that weak line. Despite the honors bestowed on it, the poem does possess weaknesses. I have attempted a number of rewrites but none worked out, so I just allow the piece to move in its original youthful vitality.

 

Thanks,

- Dave

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Larsen M. Callirhoe

this is so beautiful David. it is a well written gem and a perfect masterpiece. when i was a senior we had to write poems for class and i never wrote much especially regarding hiaku. now poetry comes easy for me. i have a much larger vocabulary now, but even more important is that i have a much better command of the English vocabulary and respect for writting now. off course i was a reject in high school. i never studied, but never once did i think i was a know it all.

 

victor


Larsen M. Callirhoe

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Tinker
You could not guess how much I know
Of frozen voices caught in last year's storms

 

Hi David, Great lines... I am not surprised this is a prize winner. Nice writing.

 

~~Tink


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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jainrohit

Oh ..... this is poetic mastery at its finest ....... The words employed here in the entire description are of the best of their class .

 

Enjoyed reading this :mellow::biggrin:

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David W. Parsley

Dropping in to pick up on my responses. It is early Thanksgiving morning here in Rancho Palos Verdes. We are blessed with balmy temperatures and only a mild disturbance moving in later today. But with severe winter-like storm activities prevalent, many parts of the USA and the rest of the world would find this poem to have current relevance. It seemed like a good time for a bump accompanied by an anecdote.

 

This poem was submitted to the annual state high school poetry competition sponsored then and now by the Salt Lake Tribune. It was established by a Utah luminary, C. Cameron Johns, and perpetuated by then first lady of Utah poetry, Kathryn Kay. (I cannot resist mentioning that her 1941 poem, Thanksgiving Prayer, had a great influence in the early life of future President of the United States, John F. Kennedy.) I was notified that I was a winner, so my family, girlfriend, and I showed up for the award ceremony.

 

I should have done a little more homework on how the contest was structured, which was essentially like many televised contests today. As the third and second place poetry winners had been announced, I nearly stood up right there on the platform as they began announcing first place: Nancy Ann Coon! I blushed to my toes, thinking a horrible mistake had been made - I was not supposed to be there. After the reading of the "first place" poem, things were soon set to rights as Ms. Kay began to explain that each year there was a special prize awarded to the best of the best among the poems and essays (or short stories), named the C. Cameron John Award for Literary Excellence. Some people considered this the most prestigious honor bestowed on a Utah high school student each year.

 

Well, that prize went to this poem, of course, but that was not the end. Afterward, in front of God and everybody, Ms. Kay (actually, just Kathryn, as she insisted with everyone) pronounced me the great literary hope of my generation. She declared the poem the best in the history of the award and proceeded to have a video-log produced for television (she still had her connections there). She then took personal charge of my literary career for the next ten years. And became a close friend.

 

Life takes strange twists and turns. It must have disappointed her when I turned my attention to engineering, science, and religion. But she took it right in stride and gaily told me that I would someday make my way back to the adventure of literature, making a deeper mark than ever for having enriched my life with other experiences. We lost touch. I learned that she passed away at the age of 98, incredibly active almost to the very last. I will never forget her.

 

I hope everyone at PMO is pleased by the reappearance of this poem at the top of the board for a day. I am grateful for the reception and appreciation the poem has received here. I wish you all a simple, warm, joyful holiday.

 

With Thanks,

- Dave

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eclipse

i can only echo the above-just beautiful

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