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Under my Mukluks
Ironic I could hear the dripping of the melting winter snow on this coldest day of the year Sun shining, warm rays reflecting off nearby white-ice walls Trapped in corners, the furnace-like warmth inspires thoughts of frozen victims While wind-whipped clouds of blowing remnants of the previous nights delivery promotes the fallacy that all events have a purpose The tapping sound beating in time to the habitual dance steps of Aurora's hidden lights This moment of contrast and my personal response to the deep hard frost between us Bear striking similarities with warm flowing tears and puddles under my mukluks If you were here sweetness I would show you my iceflows Frozen pieces of the past intermingled with renewed hope, chunks of me washed away
Inspired by the frigid temps outside and warm friends.
This Poem was Critiqued By: Mell W. Morris On Date: 2004-02-07 15:16:12
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.95455
Mick: I congratulate you on the writing of this poem; I found it extremely evocative and moving. What follows are my thoughts and reactions both to individual parts of this work as well as my interpretation of the poem's overall meaning to one reader. First, I am impressed by the structure of the two stanzas. The first portrays the "outward" or "physical" observations of the speaker about a harsh, snow-covered landscape and the irony of its being melted by the warmth of the sun despite the freezing temperatures ("the coldest day of the year"). I found the "nearby white-ice walls" interesting because they could represent several things: the speaker could be looking at the walls of a nearby dwelling, a hill covered with snow, or even igloos (suggested by the diction in words such as "muklaks" and the allusion to the "Aurora Borealis," intimating that the speaker is far enough north both to see the Northern Lights clearly and to be near such structures). I was intrigued by the "frozen victims" as well. Literally, these could be others in the cold who do not have the good fortune of the speaker to be warm and able to contemplate objectively the ramifications of the "wind-whipped clouds"; but I found the "victims" to be representative of the two people in the poem, the speaker and the loved one from whom he is parted. This impression is reinforced by the speaker addressing in the second stanza (through apostrophe) the loved one: "If you were here sweetness"). I also found an interesting contrast between the image of "frozen" or motionless "victims" and the "wind-whipped clouds," suggesting motion and change. From this I intuited the speaker to be suggesting that the dynamic action of the wind upon the snow, while appearing to have some type of discernable pattern, is nonetheless random, unpredictable, and ultimately without purpose. I sensed that the speaker is drawing a subtle parallel between this "fallacy" and the idea that there is an understandable reason for the separation from the loved one ("This moment of contrast and my personal response to the deep hard frost between us"). I have two minor suggestions about the mechanics of the first stanza. First, though the piece seems to deliberately eschew some "clarifying" punctuation, I think "nights" might be changed to "night's" since it is obviously a possessive in context ("The previous night's delivery"). Second, I believe "promotes" might be changed to "promote" since the subject of the "poetic sentence" is "clouds," a plural noun, separated from the verb "promotes" by two prepositional phrases ("of blowing remnants" and "of the previous night's delivery"). Thus the syntax boils down to "clouds promote." I was really struck by several lines in the second stanza. I think you achieve here what many successful poets do by engaging the reader with several wonderful images while simultaneously giving greater meaning to the first stanza. I love the image of "the habitual dance steps of Aurora's hidden lights"; the juxtaposition of the expected visual sensation with an auditory response is quite striking and frankly beautiful. I was also impressed by how the poem's many images seemed to coalesce with these lines: "This moment of contrast (the speaker versus the environment and the dichotomy of the sun's warmth melting the snow) and my personal response to the deep hard frost between us (here a suggestion of who the victims alluded to earlier may be)/Bear striking similarities with warm flowing tears and puddles under my muklaks." Suddenly, the snow's melting is transformed in the speaker's mind (and in this reader's mind) into the melting of his heart and his wish to share previously hidden or unexpressed emotion (presumably love mixed with sadness and regret) with the absent loved one. I enjoyed how the final images of "iceflows" and "frozen pieces of the past" tie the outward, physical landscape to the inner, emotional landscape of the speaker's longing. The speaker knows the past is unchangeable and thus frozen as is the environment he is describing, but he hopes for the chance to "intermingle" the unhapiness of the past with a revelation to the beloved of how he feels in the present. I wondered if "the chunks of me washed away" represented the parts of the speaker that he must inevitably lose as he flows through life and thus changes, or if they suggested painful memories and the tears shed over them. My personal response was to "see" both, and as such I think the line is a poignant, unifying close to a very impressive piece. Bravo. Mell Morris
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