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Tinker

Reminders

11 posts in this topic

Reminders

 

Outside the cold bites tender plants

and shrivels vitality limp and black

while inside thick walls, warmth

rides acrid air fouled by smoke

and the stench of sickness.

 

A croaking cough emanates

from the next room and I

hang up the phone processing

the news of a young friend

just diagnosed with cancer.

The season should be reserved

for the old and worn.

 

The sting of winter rests in death.

----------------------- Judi Van Gorder

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A stark piece, aptly titled. It serves well those significant moments in life that may be triggered and recalled much later by a scent, a sound a touch---- or the mantle of a winter's day. B.

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Reminders

 

Outside the cold bites tender plants

and shrivels vitality limp and black

while inside thick walls, warmth

rides acrid air fouled by smoke

and the stench of sickness.

 

A croaking cough eminates

from the next room and I

hang up the phone processing

the news of a young friend

just diagnosed with cancer.

The season should be reserved

for only the old and worn.

 

The sting of winter rests in death.

----------------------- Judi Van Gorder

 

Lots of life's truth here. Though I am old and worn, I long for a reserved season. I'm selfish that way. Time is a commodity that increases in value with the diminishing of its supply. Simple economics except for the one in short supply. Never cared much for winter. Thank you for your insight. Paco

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Hi Benjamin and Paco, Thanks for reading and responding to this slightly morbid piece. Didn't mean for it to be such a downer but like Paco, I too am old and worn and yesterday morning I felt it. Not my norm, I am usually more optimistic and upbeat.

 

Funny how a poem evolves. I have a fragile plant in my yard which I know doesn't handle the cold well. Every few years our weather gets cold enough to destroy its beauty. A few days ago I noticed on one side burnt limbs and leaves and felt lucky that only the one side was damaged. I clipped the dead side and tried to protect the rest from further damage. Yesterday morning I saw the entire plant shriveled and blackened from the cold and it made me sad. I came to my office with that thought in mind and had to write it down. From there it took on a life of its own.

~~Tink

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Yes, quite morbid, Tinker. B's characterization is perfect: stark. The poem derives a lot of its strength from the outside/inside parallel, and the wallop from the phone call prevents the escapist from drawing more abstract conclusions. This is very good work.

 

Tony

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Thanks Tony, your astute observation of the components of the poem affirm that I hit the mark I intended. This was a poem written in only a few minutes but each image and its placement was deliberate. It felt good to write something again even if it wasn't a feel good poem.

 

~~Tink

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Characteristically unflinching and honest - in the writing a poem may take minutes, but there is a lifetime in the words.

 

all the best

 

badge

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Ouch! Everything among the ordinary routines of life ... the runs to the supermarket, the people you meet, the sunlight in your familiar kitchen ... can seem so arbitrary and vulnerable at times. There is no safety, after all. Nothing is guaranteed.

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the winter always seems to make me feel blue...even without the bad news...this poem certainly captures that mood

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Hi Tink, I keep coming back to this poem, never sure I'm ready to post on it, and I'm still not sure. Besides, everybody else touched on most of the main points already: the poem is bitter medicine skillfully administered and true. Still, I would like to step back with a more critical eye of the piece if you don't mind (chuckle, you have never minded before).

 

I might as well start with a spelling nitpick: I believe you intended the word 'emanates'. In the first stanza, I wonder if it would not more cleanly move in consonance with the poem's bitter mood to place a period after 'black' and lose the easy 'while' as part of making the start of a new sentence on line 3. Then perhaps lose 'only' in the final line of stanza 2. That's the technical stuff.

 

In the larger picture, I find myself wondering if the responses given so far would be different if the title and last line were gone. You would have a pretty complete rendering and even a sufficiently rewarding (stinging!) final couplet. Restore the simple title and a different complex is superimposed. Are all these pieces of the original narrative to be collected into a cohesive set of reminders? Of what is the narrator reminded and with what other memories are they linked?

 

Now reappend the last line and you definitely have an augmentation of the "core poem." A somewhat perplexing augmentation. The sentence itself presents interesting ambiguities and leaves one wondering at the literal meaning. It stands as a stanza of its own, apparently the poem's summation. Its connection to the title provides a potential answer to the question raised at the end of the previous paragraph. Reminds me a little of Emily Dickinson's enigmatic endings.

 

A lot to pack into a few minutes worth of writing, but I suspect these themes have been percolating off and on, over a period of decades. This was just when it chose to erupt into full expression.

 

Nice!

- Dave

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Thanks for reading and commenting Badge Dan and Brendan. You got the mood...

 

Hi Dave, You know I welcome critique.... and you have given me much to think about. First things first, spelling corrected, thank you. I hate misspelled words in a poem. The rest I want to print, reread side by side with the poem. As I said earlier, I wrote this quickly while I was supposed to be working at the office. Some poems I dwell on and rewrite a hundred times, this one just evolved. I typed it as I wrote it directly onto this forum and then went back to work. (Its OK I am the boss but at the office I try to keep my Agent hat on.) I will revisit this with your suggestions in mind. Thanks again.

 

~~Tink

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