This Poem was Submitted By: Rick Barnes On Date: 2003-09-15 17:31:52 . . . Click Here To Mail this Poem to a Friend!

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Sole Mates

You don’t stand as tall as you use to, You’re bent over ‘bout half way down. I suppose it’s mostly from all the kickin’ you’ve done In a wild whirl variety of towns. You have been one constant companion. For every step there’s a shoe print Tracing the places, faces and spaces in between The stories we’ve earned and the good times spent. Truth to tell, I’m as worn out as you, Feelin like I’m all but complete. But I'll say this, “If there was a better pair of boots In this damn world, they didn’t fit my feet.”

Copyright © September 2003 Rick Barnes

This Poem was Critiqued By: Thomas H. Smihula On Date: 2003-10-07 22:50:47
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.45098
An enjoyable poem with humor and it does fit the title. I see the sole mates as you have traveled far and wide. Nice to see some humor in a poem and this is the first I have seen this month. Well done Rick and thanks for waking me up. Tom

This Poem was Critiqued By: Rachel F. Spinoza On Date: 2003-10-06 18:54:24
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.93939
Hiya Rick I really enjoyed this poem! Sole Mates Nice triple pun on as –“Sole” instead of the usual “soul” which suggests a less than human relationship with something and also, the “shoe fits.” You don’t stand as tall as you use to, You’re bent over ‘bout half way down. I suppose it’s mostly from all the kickin’ you’ve done In a wild whirl variety of towns. Nice introductory stanza which takes us into the tale and ends In good a strong w alliteration. The word “variety” seems a syllable Too long for the meter – perhaps something like “assortment?” You have been one constant companion. For every step there’s a shoe print Tracing the places, faces and spaces in between The stories we’ve earned and the good times spent. Yep…great storytellers these old boots – and great sustained metaphor!{I never Met a phor I didn’t like] Sorry. Truth to tell, I’m as worn out as you, Feelin like I’m all but complete. But I'll say this, “If there was a better pair of boots In this damn world, they didn’t fit my feet.” Interesting [that means fascinating- it’s a good thing! ] ending! It suggests an acceptance of what it possible rather than a longing for something perhaps “better” but out of reach. A great philosophy cleverly expounded in this most amusing and lilting piece.
This Poem was Critiqued By: Jennifer j Hill On Date: 2003-10-04 11:02:40
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.31250
Rick, Nice metaphor and I like the way this sentiment could actually apply to your wife, TPL, your actual boots or just about anything else you treasure and keep with you. Having bone spurs myself, I know that a good pair of boots that are all broken in just right and molded to the bumps and indents of your feet can feel like heaven and especially when you think about having to break in a new pair. Or break in a new my now theres a thought I want to get right out of my mind. lol The play on words in the title is cleaver. You use some great descriptional phrases here: "bent over ‘bout half way down."---sounds like someone talking to thier very old soul "wild whirl variety of towns."----has a musical ring to it "Tracing the places, faces and spaces in between"--nice rhyming sequence. These plopped down right down the middle of the poem like this are always such refreshing surprise to this reader. The ending is strong too with such a heartfelt sentiment. I have no suggestions for this. It's perfect just the way it is. Thanks for an enjoyable read, Jennifer
This Poem was Critiqued By: Joanne Duval Morgan On Date: 2003-10-01 18:29:09
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.82143
Hi Rick, I know like a bad pain bothering you I'm back. Having a somewhat rough time with physical conditions, I havn't been able to reach this poem before now, but here I am now. Listing tell this with the inclusion how you and your boots, skuffed and worn, havn't left many footprints (in the sand so to speak), on this well traveled and experienced road, the comforfort of those boots, and the stories they could tell which you have done so nicely here. It's rhythm is right now, and I love the aspect of those well worn boots, the story you tell here, is joyful to read, and imagine the sights the sounds, the people the places, wonderfully done, with a great deal of humor included, a wonderful legend in its own right. I can't suggest one darn thing but just accept it, the intent maintained, holding the readers attention, becautiful turns in phrasing and well appled. Maybe I can identify easily with how you equate yourself to the boots, and vice versa. So nothing I can suggest, other then to say this is original, great writing, by what we've come to expect, a truly seasoned writer who deserves got it all, included it all, and I know how comfortable those boots feel, even if they are symbolic....great read once again...Best always, Jo Morgan
This Poem was Critiqued By: Erzahl Leo M. Espino On Date: 2003-09-26 00:17:56
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.20000
Hi Rick, From the title itself “Sole Mates”, your poem is already intriguing and a bit playful with words. Last month Mell has same title sound “Soul Mate” but I know your is differently imaginative and have a little twist. Yes, our shoes (or boots in your case) are the only one who is loyal companions that would never leave us wherever we go. Whatever the distance, the place or the scenario it would be…they will continue to step the path and the roads our feet allow us to go. I like how you emphasized it in your lines: “You have been one constant companion” and “The stories we’ve earned and the good times spent”. --- You described your pair of boots as if it was your best friend - through good and bad times of your travel. I like how it is been with you for many years and how it became torn out because of usage (this might be your favorite pair). This is very much portrayed in the first stanza: “You don’t stand as tall as you use to, You’re bent over ‘bout half way down. I suppose it’s mostly from all the kickin’ you’ve done In a wild whirl variety of towns.” --- I like how you follow an “A-B-C-B” rhyming format to all your stanza though a bit awkward and not too rhyming in the second stanza for “print” and “spent”. “Truth to tell, I’m as worn out as you, Feelin like I’m all but complete.” --- I like how you compare yourself to it in your journey in life. I find a personal mystery in these lines. “But I'll say this, “If there was a better pair of boots In this damn world, they didn’t fit my feet.”” --- In the last lines of the poem, I can sense the appreciation and contentment you experienced for your good old friend that even a new and expensive one couldn’t replace the worth it brought to your feet through all these years. I can sense the “sentimental value” you have for those old pair. Kudos on your fine work here Rick! I didn’t see this coming…and it is a surprise how simple (often ignored) things can tell an inspiring lesson to be applied in our lives. Thanks for posting this for our own reflections Rick. I sure enjoy the read! Another top-notch! As always, Erzahl :)
This Poem was Critiqued By: Terrye Godown On Date: 2003-09-19 22:27:26
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.62500
Yanno Rick, I'd a loved ta hear John Wayne recite this one! Loved the sentiment released through these casual lines. There's an endearing quality laced within your style that conveys a subtly humorous, and soulful reflection of one's self, observed in a simple pair of worn but comfy old boots. Right from the get go, the title "Sole Mates" prepares you for a twist of self discovery that unfolds soon after you convince yourself it's unklikely these crude observations professing this odd liturgy of affection would be directed at a real person... unless of course it was coming from "Rooster Cogburn"! ha ha Anyway, hard ta make suggestions in this style of writing where everything is within a certain context and literary level, so I wouldn't touch this with a ten foot boot heel. I salute ya Rick - (uh..spoken in the duke's drawl here) "at's another dang masterpiece ya done wrought up 'ere, son! Assta la veesta baby T
This Poem was Critiqued By: Andrea M. Taylor On Date: 2003-09-18 21:10:45
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.05556
Rick, I truly enjoy your subject matter. There is a mental picture of these worn out companions and a desire to know their stories. You have a wonderful sense of humor about aging. I did have difficulty with L's 3 & 4 in S1. I found even reading it outloud caused me to pause. It seemed to beg for some compacting with the read. I was wondering if maybe something like this would work: I suppose, it's the kickin' done In a wild whirl from town to town Just a suggestion from this reader. It helps the down/towns thing too. A most memorable and fun read. Thanks for the pause that refreshes the spirits. Andrea
This Poem was Critiqued By: Joanne M Uppendahl On Date: 2003-09-15 21:02:33
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.75000
Rick: How did I miss this? I've been looking for something new from you, and kapoom, right away, as soon as you've submitted this, it is - kerplunk, down at the bottom of my list! I caught your import, I think, from the title. But as I suspected, there are layers here - and more. Not just layers of leather, either. My take on this will be a little off - because my father was in the shoe business, with a specialty in boots - workboots, dress boots, plain ol' cowpowkin' boots. I love the humor you've inserted in the piece, but as I said, I think you gave us a clue in the title. So, anybody'd know who's read any Rick Barnes that you'd have to look deeper than a worn-down pair of boots. Maybe you could be partially talking about your soul, because of the homonym with the title. Also could be talkin' about your body (life/self) because there's a lot of living referred to here. For example, You don’t stand as tall as you use to, You’re bent over ‘bout half way down. I suppose it’s mostly from all the kickin’ you’ve done In a wild whirl variety of towns. The simplicity of language fits these feet. The dialect of the ordinary, being spoken by the *extraordinary* (in my opinion) and certainly someone who is humble. At first I thought you were talking to me personally (again) as first few lines could apply equally to me, but then in the 4th line in the 1st stanza, I realized it couldn't be so. I never knew a "variety of towns" like these boots, like this man. The words are spoken with familiarity and dare I say - love! Not sentimentality. All right, perhaps only deep affection. The auditory effects of reading this poem aloud are soothing. I ended up saying 'spose instead of "suppose" because it just felt right while speaking the piece. You have been one constant companion. For every step there’s a shoe print Tracing the places, faces and spaces in between The stories we’ve earned and the good times spent. There are steps, taken in your life. You took these steps (or the speaker did) and some steps led closer to the goal, or maybe there wasn't any goal then but "good times spent." Truth to tell, I’m as worn out as you, Feelin like I’m all but complete. But I'll say this, “If there was a better pair of boots In this damn world, they didn’t fit my feet.” But boots are the speaker's connection to the earth, to the physical life. They allowed him to be grounded and at the same time, mostly protected from the elements. This last line makes me think: "Don't judge anybody until you walk in his damn boots." These are roles taken, life lived, comfort enjoyed, paths to and back away from various people and encounters along the road. The speaker sounds tired, but the "all but complete" has life left in it - grateful life. An acknowledgment of mortality, of accepted limitations. Jung said that man's feet are his direct association with the reality of the earth, I think. Feels like this speaker is very grounded and centered, and has also spent time walking barefoot on the earth. I also think that his feet (and his boots) symbolize his under-standing in life. I hope I am not putting my foot in my mouth. As always, when writing to you about one of your poems, I feel as if I am sitting at the feet of a master (poet). Since you can't physically throw a boot at me in cyberspace, I feel pretty safe to say that. And that this is a Rick Barnes worth waiting for . . . Ducking, Joanne
This Poem was Critiqued By: Irene E Fraley On Date: 2003-09-15 19:05:04
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.25000
It was a surprise to me as I came to the end of the poem, even though I had noted the "sole" in the title. The imagery in the poem is good, the poem flows very well, the humor is good, and the last stanza had real impact. The rhyme is mostly consistant, and I didn't catch a consistant meter. I enjoyed this poem, particularly the first two lines, which fooled me into thinking it was a person under discussion at first. I had difficulty reading this poem aloud though, and perhaps it could be smoothed out a little? Thanks for an enjoyable read, Rene Fraley
This Poem was Critiqued By: Claire H. Currier On Date: 2003-09-15 18:35:22
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.80000
Joy to those feet that will not give up that pair of boots that have been their friends forever......though you had me going my friend and the read was wonderful even coming up to the end it brought a smile to my face and joy within the hubby has a pair of boots just like those you speak of and God help the person that might put them in the wrong place or worse yet find themin the trash....they are golden and should be treated as such.....nicely structured, great word flow my friend and images all along with footprints here, there and everywhere.......a fun piece to read and I am sure a fun piece to write. Thanks for posting and sharing this with safe my friend and God Bless, Claire I love to walk barefoot so I cannot say I have ever enjoyed any pair of shoes, sneakers, boots or whatever but if I had to think real hard and dig real deep there once was a pair of red spiked shoes that make me grow three inches.....yes, I did like those find such a pair today is not to be least here in Tully...hehehe.....have a good night Rick.....
This Poem was Critiqued By: Darlene A Moore On Date: 2003-09-15 17:47:34
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.53846
Great title with implied "pun". Kept wonderful voice throughout poem. kept true to your rhyme scheme. Just loved the whole thing, the parallel aging shoes/yourself, works quite well, no suggestions for change....getting re-soled? so can keep on kicking another some-thousand plus miles?
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