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Unread 11-08-2020, 08:27 AM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: *
Posts: 2,115
Default snow

The Weather of Dreams
yyyyyyyyyyyy--for my mother at 48

She lives past death, his heart stopped
in his tracks in the unexpected heaven

of a snowy night. Now it always snows
in her dreams, no matter the season

in her sleep—blizzards blur the glare
of summers like confetti that returns

a hero, or the rice and veil, the sudden
light outside the church. She shakes

white from her hair in spring to fall into
her sailor on leave, who grabs off his cap

of flurries and lifts her so high she flies
over his crystal carrier and the snowbanks

of the sea. With a romance face down
on her chest, she often finishes his path,

shoveling between the lines she read into
sleep. Now and then a sigh or a whisper

appears, breath clouds rise from the heap
of his collapse. He’ll make her an angel

so she’ll laugh—something to make light
of his death—and she’ll smile for real

beyond her dream from that bright night
of flurries and unsettled souls, both living

and dead, where she can drift as much up
as down and so much of falling is flight.
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Unread 11-08-2020, 02:23 PM
Steve Bucknell's Avatar
Steve Bucknell Steve Bucknell is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Stocksbridge. Near the Dark Peak.
Posts: 1,524
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Default Thank you


Just a pleasure to read. After a few reads it just, for me, gets better and better. One image opens into another, circles and falls. It settles beautifully. Wonderful. I’ll read it some more.

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Unread 11-08-2020, 03:22 PM
Cally Conan-Davies Cally Conan-Davies is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 4,285

It's exquisite, James! Don't touch a hair on its head.

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Unread 11-08-2020, 04:22 PM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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Location: North Carolina
Posts: 4,498

I can’t think of anything I can say except bravo. It feels brave to me, the willingness to let the unknown stay unknown and take a bold step forward.
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Unread 11-09-2020, 02:00 PM
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RCL RCL is offline
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 5,699

Wow! a chilling dream of concordia discors.
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Unread 11-11-2020, 08:15 AM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
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Posts: 2,115

Thank you very much Steve (great to see you back), Cally, John, and Ralph. I'm thrilled that this is working for you. I've attempted to write a poem about this from my mother's perspective many times and this is the first one I've felt good about. It had been difficult to get the emotions, the state of mind right, not just around when it happened, but dealing with it going forward. Anyway, your reactions are very much appreciated.
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Unread 11-11-2020, 09:22 AM
Rob Wright Rob Wright is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Philadelphia PA, U.S.A.
Posts: 871

This is, as other commenters have written, lovely. The images are indeed haunting, and the device of the snow angel is so strong that I like that you have held it far into the poem and produced it just when it is has the greatest effect. If I were to make a suggestion it would be to put a full stop after "death" in line one and start "his" as a new sentence. It may be me, but it slowed me down having the two unassigned pronouns with no separation between them. That said, this is lovely, moving work.
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Unread 11-12-2020, 01:10 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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Posts: 2,115

Hey Rob- thank you, and I'll think about that first line. I wanted no separation between them, but, if it's confusing, it may not be worth it. Thinking about that.
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Unread 11-12-2020, 05:22 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,804

Hi James, I have drifted my way through these couplets many times, and many times started to respond, but never able to find the time to finish my thoughts. Perhaps it would be best to say “What the others have said” because a comment that doesn’t cover new ground is of no use to you and praise is best given in heaps.

But I do have some things to say that may shed some light on how one reader is hearing it. Do you know Jim Morrison’s “Crystal Ship”? When I came to the word “crystal” in the poem the melody of it began to play dreamily in my head (not so much the lyrics). I think it befits the tone of your poem. What a great song to have playing when remembering such things…

The snowbanks / of the sea is a gorgeous image. You are resolute in your attachment to the snowiness of the images/memories/stories and it works like a snowglobe does, each stanza is a new shake. Snow has so many triggers of meaning. IMHO, the one that underlies this poem is snow as a symbol of death — in a similar way that Joyce uses it in The Dead. The past.

But what touches me beyond measure is the fervency with which you describe the actions of the two in love forever. The lightness of it and the contemplative tone of it.

I’ll save this one.
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Unread 11-12-2020, 06:02 PM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Northern New Jersey
Posts: 8,304

Not much to add--It's a beauty.
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