1867 German illustration‘The Melancholy Snowman’ and Other Poetry by Avery Miller The Society April 6, 2019 Beauty, Culture, Humor, Poetry 23 Comments The Melancholy Snowman Though stony-eyed, I watched the finches glide. The chimney smoke, the builder slide, At night, I gave the constellations words, The House, the Builder, and the Birds. My silver ear was filled with tree-ish taps, And twiggy fingers twitched with sap, I wondered if the rain would melt my heart, When, at a loss, I dripped apart. And then I found the key to my creation, There at the edge of transformation, I lost my head, but heard a peeper sing, And that made sense of everything! April a rondeau Once clear-eyed April, sky-blue dressed, Had cried all night in great distress, At winter’s loss, she left her grief, And sighing, grew a maple leaf, So, all that water served to bless! “These eyes of mine, I must confess, Have mourned a friend in wateriness, May I, like you, now breathe relief, Clear-eyed April?” “Of Mercy, yes, she is the guest, And washed in tears her Easter best, Adorn yourself in blue belief, In joy as long as strife is brief, And burgeon under sky,” expressed, Clear-eyed April. Once a high school Spanish teacher, Avery Miller is now a home educator in New York. She and her husband are much occupied with math, meals, science, soccer games, sentence diagrams, dirty dishes, Latin, and laundry. Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related 23 Responses Sally Cook April 6, 2019 A couple of misspellings, meter unwieldy, nice imagery. Reply Evan Mantyk April 6, 2019 Thank you, Sally. I have hyphenated “clear eyed.” If there are any other misspellings or errors, please point them out and I’ll correct them. I wonder if “Snowman” was the meter issue. I think it is just iambic pentameter alternating with iambic tetrameter, a somewhat unusual meter choice. Thank you, Avery Miller, for the poems! Reply Sally Cook April 6, 2019 Evan, I was thinking of the word “wateriness”. At first I didn’t believe it was a word, but now I find that it is! So I guess that even though I still think it is awkward, I have learned something. I do, however, enjoy the way Avery Miller just jumps into a subject. Yes, it was the pentameter tetrameter thing that unsettled me as it always does. No grousing about the rain here; no pettiness. Miller seems full of joy, which is as it should be. I liked the snowman illustration, too. Avery April 6, 2019 Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I agree with the hyphen at clear-eyed. Reply Monty April 6, 2019 Since discovering SCP a cuppla years back, I’ve gradually formed an opinion on the usage of Poetry-Forms; this is the first time I’ve felt compelled to share said opinion. I feel that some contributors to these pages are prematurely attempting some of the more complex Forms (exemplified by the above attempt at a Rondeau) when it’s clear to see that they’re not yet even competent in the writing/discipline of basic, standard poetry. I’ve encountered numerous pieces where the author’s attempt at one of the more glamorous Forms has been to the detriment of the Poetry. It seems that in their determination to wade through the unique disciplines of such Forms, they’ll think nothing of sacrificing the odd syllable here, the odd full-rhyme there, a small chunk of meter . . and even the basic clarity of the diction. Anything, just to complete the piece; to be able to say: “I wrote a (Rondeau)”. Well, I feel it’s wrong to take liberties with such majestic forms in the name of self-aggrandisement. With the above attempt: perhaps other readers will fare better than me at grasping the diction . . I got lost trying to negotiate my way through the over-abundance of commas. Many of the commas either shouldn’t be there (after ‘distress’), or should be replaced with full-stops and semi-colons. Additionally: the basic premise of a Rondeau is.. 15 Lines; and only two rhymes throughout. The above attempt has three rhymes. Of all the contributors to SCP, I consider there to be only a minority (maybe a third) who are bona fide, genuine poets; those born with the pure-gift of an affinity with the written-word, so as writing became effortless.. which eventually and inevitably led them to Poetry (as opposed to those not born with the gift: but who, never the less, decided at some stage in life to try their hand at Poetry.. and for whom it’s far from ‘effortless’) . . . and I’ve noticed that nearly all the poems I read from that minority are in either basic Form or no Form (unless there’s a name for 6 four-line stanzas, etc?); with the occasional Sonnet. The reasons for this are: a/ They know what they’re capable of; they don’t feel the need to prove their worth, or impress others, by tackling one of the glamour Forms.. b/ They’re more intent on letting the Form fit the Poem; whereas the majority fall into the trap of becoming determined to make the Poem fit the Form. From which, there’s generally only one outcome. I personally have never really considered Form at all when writing a poem; I’ve always been fearful of the potential restrictions it may place on whatever I wanted to convey. If I was to write a poem which transpired, upon completion, to be of 6 four-line stanzas, I wouldn’t have known till the 4th or 5th stanza that it was gonna end-up as 6! Or if I wrote what transpired to be a Sonnet, I wouldn’t have known till maybe the 10th or 11th line that it could become a Sonnet. Talking of which: I feel that, these days, far too much emphasis is placed on the Sonnet; it’s become far too trendy. I shudder at the thought of determindely writing a Sonnet: reaching line 11 or 12: and realising that I’m gonna need another 4 lines, at least, to make my point fully; and then trying to squeeze 4 lines into 2 . . . ugh, I can’t do it like that! Reply Avery April 6, 2019 Thank you for writing such a lengthy comment. I’m happy to learn how my diction sounds in another’s ears. You see right through me! “April” was my first attempt at a rondeau. How to choose a form is a topic I would like to see discussed here at SCP. Just as a watercolorist, for example, learns the principles of color theory and wet/dry techniques to express what she wants to say, a poet must learn the tools of the craft and how they likewise apply to what she wishes to express. I’m hoping a second volume of “How to Write Classical Poetry” will someday be produced. Reply Monty April 7, 2019 . . . and thank YOU, Avery, for tolerating me in using your space to get a few things off my chest. I must say: your response to my Comment was one of the most honest, contented and gallant responses I’ve seen on these pages, to one who made unfavourable remarks about their poem . . . how refreshing. And what’s more, you’ve raised (in said response) a very valid and vital point: How does one choose Form in the writing of a poem? And you go on to suggest that such a topic could be discussed at SCP; what a splendid idea. I for one would be very interested to learn How or Why poets chose/choose certain Forms for their work. Not just at SCP, but also with some of the renowned poets from the last few centuries. I find myself curious as to how big a part Form played in their work; or how much emphasis they placed on certain Forms; or what criteria they used to decide that a certain poem shall be in a certain Form (maybe the most reliable answers to these questions are to be found only in poet’s memoirs, or private letters). You also drew a good analogy between the complexities of the Watercolourist’s art . . and how a poet “must learn the tools of THEIR craft; and how those tools likewise apply to what they wish to express”. That’s a vital point you make, Avery.. and anyone with ambitions of taking-on one of the glamour Forms would do well to heed such advice. I feel that aspiring poets should start by submitting poems only in basic Form; if they’re criticised constructively, take the criticism; learn from it; then submit more poems in basic form; then more still. And if one is a genuine poet, their poems will eventually become faultless: beyond criticism . . only then can they say they’ve ‘learnt the tools’. And when one’s satisfied that they’ve ‘learnt the tools’: go ahead.. try your hand at one of the fancy Forms. But until that time: don’t try to run before you can walk! Changing subject, I feel that the nature of your response to my Comment has a further attribute; It rightly makes a mockery of the recent SCP edict whereby authors of poems published on its pages are able to have any subsequent Comments removed if they deem them to be potentially injurious to themselves or their poem(s). While writing my initial Comment above: I had the unwelcome awareness that you might immediately have it removed. The fact that you didn’t speaks volumes for your honesty: but more than that, it shows that the healthy and constructive discourse we’ve since had – and the valid points you raised about the ‘choosing of Form’: with the potential for a welcome discussion on the subject at SCP – would never have materialised if you’d simply and dismissively had my Comment removed. Contrast this with another Commenter above, Ms Cook, who submitted 3 poems to SCP in early February (under the banner of ‘Star Needles’): all three of which (especially the 3rd) displayed what I considered to be severely strained diction; and a shocking disregard for basic grammar. I subsequently left a scathing – but accurate – Comment pointing-out how the poems seemed patently rushed: and, as such, they looked like “not much more than glorified text-messages”. The author (almost immediately) had my Comment removed.. as was her right. But, incredulously (and seemingly without shame or embarrassment) in her subsequent response to another (more favourable) Commenter on the same poems . . she openly admitted that she’d “rushed” the poems. Yeah, RUSHED.. the one word which I never thought I’d see attributed to the writing of a poem, be it by a novice or a renowned poet . . . RUSHED: the very basis of my initial Comment: how obviously ‘rushed’ they seemed. And with her admission, she was (obviously unwittingly) at once justifying and validating the very Comment which she was allowed to have removed! How ludicrous! Thus, I’m relieved that you’re feelings are obviously less susceptible to an unfavourable Comment: and I applaud your response for the example it’s set as to how criticism can be taken positively . . and can sometimes lead to a further healthy debate on a subject, involving multiple Commenters. This is how things should be at SCP. Readers shouldn’t be deprived of certain Comments just because the author (rightly or wrongly) felt them to be unfavourable. It’s a falsity. With all the above in mind: I await with mild curiosity any future submissions from yourself . . . keep at it. Reply Avery April 7, 2019 Thank you for the thoughtful response and encouragement. I’m inspired to pay close attention to the end-of-line marks in poetry that I admire. Funny, shameful actually, that I never gave much thought to it before. C.B. Anderson April 6, 2019 Avery, I find nothing wrong with heterometric lines, provided they are used consistently throughout the poem, which you did. I have a suggestion however (something I have done often): When you write lines of uneven foot-count, begin the lines of highest footcount (pentameter, say) flush left, and for every reduction in the number of feet in a line indent five spaces before typing the first word. So for tetrameter lines you would indent five spaces from the left margin, and so forth. This will give the reader a visual cue as to what is going on, and poems so constructed will look great on the page. And yes, as Monty noted, there were too many commas in the Snowman poem. Precise grammar is your friend. Master it, and let it become your master. Read the poem you’ve written aloud and note how commas you’ve placed cause you to pause, and use a period or semicolon when your sentences tend to run on. In stanza 3, line 1, the line should end with a period, or, even better, a colon. In “April” I am confused about a couple of things: It’s unclear who is the narrator of the poem. Is it the “I” that appears in stanza 2? It’s not April, for otherwise the quotation marks would not be necessary. I find this perplexing. And here, too, there are misplaced commas. I liked the ideas in both poems, but I would have understood the ideas better if they had been expressed with greater concinnity. Reply Avery April 6, 2019 How does this look? It’s a little tricky to see as I type in the comment box. The Melancholy Snowman With stony-eyes I watched the finches glide, The chimney smoke, the builder slide. At night, I gave the constellations words; The House, the Builder, and the Birds. My silver ear was filled with tree-ish taps, And twiggy fingers twitched with sap. I wondered if the rain would melt my heart, When at a loss I dripped apart. And then I found the key to my creation, There at the edge of transformation. I lost my head, but heard a peeper sing, And that made sense of everything! And here is a corrected version of “April”. The word “wateriness” troubled me, too. Wouldn’t you know this solution came to me not a day after I had submitted it. April a rondeau Once clear-eyed April, sky-blue dressed, Had cried all night in great distress, At winter’s loss, she left her grief, And sighing grew a maple leaf. How all that water served to bless! I, too, have mourned, I must confess, A friend in manner aqueous. “May I, like you, now breathe relief, Clear-eyed April?” “Of Mercy, yes, she is the guest. And washed in tears her Easter best. Adorn yourself in blue belief, In joy as long as strife is brief, And burgeon under sky,” expressed, Clear-eyed April. The first set of quotations is the narrator posing a question to the personified April. The second set is April’s answer. Thank you for your suggestions. Reply Avery April 7, 2019 Sorry, the indents didn’t take. Well, I get your meaning, and I’m thankful for that bit of nuts and bolts instruction. Reply C.B. Anderson April 7, 2019 Avery, in “The Melancholy Snowman” first stanza, I don’t know what it means to watch a builder slide. Line 3 would have been more effective if ended with a colon. A colon draws attention to that which follows. In the second stanza, your silver ear is much preferred to a tin ear, and you should be thankful for that. You have the right instincts; you should just refine your technique. My own experience with spring peepers is parallel to yours, an experience at least as telling as the bloom of daffodils. In the second poem, if April’s reply is just what it seems to be, then why was I unable to understand this from the first? Perhaps I’m stupid, but there’s no doubt that the comma after stanza 3, line 5 should be omitted. Please continue to submit verse to this worthy venue, because you have something to say and it is very likely that you will say it well. Reply Monty April 7, 2019 Ah, Ms Cook: I see from your Comment above that you’re evidently still smarting from my aforementioned Comment in February. After all this time . . Why? It’s not as though the Comment came from a renowned expert poetry-critic; I’m just a taxi-driver who reads a lot of poetry . . and writes one once in a blue moon. Hence, I’m not one of whom you’re obliged to take any notice. So why this lingering bitterness towards me; displayed in your above Comment with thinly-veiled sentiments such as “grousing”.. “pettiness” and “Miller seems full of joy”? As has been clearly shown previously on these pages by your (misplacingly) loyal defender Mr Salemi; when one uses a Comment to surreptitiously have a vengeful dig at another Commenter, the result is always predictable: their Comment strays away from the given subject on which they were (ostensibly) commenting upon.. and contains words of total irrelevance to the same. Thus we have your above Comment: with words such as “No grousing here”: “No pettiness”. Given that there’s not the slightest evidence in my Comment of any grousing or pettiness: your words are there for all to see as trying to indicate only one thing . . that I, in my initial Comment on Ms Miller’s attempt at a Rondeau, was just being unnecessarily grousing about the piece; and that I was just being petty. I implore you to read again Ms Millers response to my Comment . . . does that sound like the words of one who feels that another has just wantonly groused their poem, and has done so out of sheer pettiness? See, your words bore absolutely no relevance to the discourse between yourself and Mr Mantyk; so they can be there for only one reason (I’m just relieved that Ms Miller didn’t entertain you in your attempt to put your words into the mouths of others). Then we have your other nonsensical (seemingly clairvoyant) proclamation: “Miller seems full of joy, which is as it should be”. Ms Miller may well be ‘full of joy’ (and, given her benign response to my Comment: it’s a fair bet that she is); but what relevance does that bear on one’s attempt at a Rondeau? Are you gonna try to tell us that one must be ‘full of joy’ to attempt a Rondeau? Of course you’re not . . you can’t. It’s universally known that some of the greatest poets in recent history combated depression for most of their lives; and produced their most memorable work when they were at their most depressed. So, in the context of someone’s attempt at a Rondeau; and your discourse with Mr Mantyk on a totally different topic . . why would you ever randomly throw-in that “Miller seems full of joy” . . other than to try to indicate that I myself am NOT ‘full of joy’, and that’s why I ‘groused’ the poem in a ‘petty’ way. I hope you can now see how the using of an unrelated Comment to have a sly dig at another . . forces the perpetrator to render their Comment totally meaningless to the ostensible matter in hand. When that happens, their intention becomes clear: as did yours. Further, when one feels the irresistible urge to employ that method: THAT, Ms Cook, is pettiness . . in its purest form! After reading this: I hope you don’t attempt to waste your time or mine by trying to claim that: “Ah, Monty’s just being paranoid: my Comment was not directed at him” . . . we both know how it is. It’s to be hoped that you now just drop the whole thing. I’ll say no more; hence it should be simple for you, if you so wish, to assume that Monty no longer exists! Reply Joseph S. Salemi April 7, 2019 Monty, the one with an unresolved bitterness problem is you. Sally Cook has made only two brief comments on this thread, neither of which touches upon you at all. One comment was no more than a brief sentence; the other was a two-paragraph comment on metrics. You, on the other hand, have put up three lengthy and pointlessly garrulous speeches, the obvious purpose of which is to re-ignite the controversy from February about your deleted comment. Who’s the one who’s still smarting? I personally don’t agree with Mantyk’s new policy of allowing comments to be deleted on discussion threads at the request of poets — but the reason for that policy change was your barely veiled nastiness back in February. I’d prefer for ALL comments to be left up, or that there be no comments at all on poems. And Sally Cook has not been the only poet to request deletions. Just recently Essmann asked for the deletion of a serious critical comment by C.B. Anderson on one of his poems. That deletion led Joseph Charles MacKenzie (one of the best poets ever published here) to resign from the SCP website and board. If you still think it chivalrous to attack a woman for her failing eyesight and difficulty in typing, I have a suggestion. Attack me instead. Let’s see how far you get in a direct fight with me. By the way, to all readers — Sally Cook has three new poems published at the Expansive Poetry On-Line website. They are beautiful. Go see them at expansivepoetryonline.com/html. Reply Wilbur Dee Case April 7, 2019 1. I fondly remember those days of math, meals, science, soccer, sentence diagrams, dirty dishes, Latin and laundry [the meals, the dirty dishes, and the laundry continue on]. Just yesterday in a friendly game of Scrabble, my son brought up various home-school terminology, including words from physics, biology, and the occasional acceptable Latin word. Those years of learning offer a continual flow of shared experiences later on. 2. Although I may be as unappreciative of Ms. Miller’s “The Melancholy Snowman” as others, I appreciated the word “wateriness”. I would not drop that word; for me it is the poem’s moment of brilliance. Whenever a poet uses a word such that its usage is particularly precise, evocative and unique, I believe it draws to the author’s language. When a phrase, or a thought, so crystalizes in a work of art, it links to its author, as the phrase “and miles to go before I sleep” to Modernist Robert Frost in “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”. “Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound’s the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.” 3. Modernist Wallace Stevens, shedding rhyme in “The Snowman”, sets out to express an emptiness and barrenness. “One must have a mind of winter To regard the frost and the boughs Of the pine-trees crusted with snow; And have been cold a long time To behold the junipers shagged with ice, The spruces rough in the distant glitter Of the January sun. and not to think Of any misery in the sound of the wind, In the sound of a few leaves, Which is the sound of the land Full of the same wind That is blowing in the same bare place For the listener, who listens to the snow, And, nothing himself, beholds Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.” 4. On the other hand, mid-20th century popsters Walter Rollins and Steve Nelson, in “Frosty the Snowman”, intersperse the happy-go-lucky with the passing of time. “Frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul With a corncob pipe and a button nose And eyes made out of coal Frosty the snowman is a fairy tale they say He was made of snow but the children know That he came to life one day There must have been some magic In that old silk hat they found For when they put it on his head He began to dance around Oh frosty the snowman was alive as he could be And the children say he could laugh and play Just the same as you and me… Frosty the snowman knew the sun was hot that day So he said, ‘Let’s run and we’ll have some fun Now, before I melt away’ Down to the village with a broomstick in his hand Runnin’ here and there, all around the square Sayin’, ‘Catch me if you can’ He led them down the streets of town Right to the traffic cop He only paused a moment When he heard him holler, ‘Stop’ Because ol’ Frosty, the snowman, he had to hurry on his way But he waved good-by sayin’ ‘Don’t you cry I’ll be back again some day…’ 5. It is nice to have individuals, like Ms. Cook, Mr. Phillips, and Mr. Anderson, commenting on one’s works, because that does allow one to learn how one’s “diction sounds in another’s ears” or one’s meter, or how others look at one’s grammar, punctuation, etc. 6. It’s a rather brutal way to learn how to swim; but my truly-loving mother, perhaps exasperated at my trepidation, tossed me into a deep lake, and I had to swim—which I did. I bring that up in reference to writing a rondeau. Just go for it. Practice will make it better…if it’s a form that truly matters to one. After all, most poems are not great; though there are frequently moments of greatness in many works. As Einstein once said, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new”. 7. As to form, for me it matters deeply; because it is the place from which I launch my visions of reality, limited as they may be. That is why it’s good to practice older forms, like the sonnet, and to create now forms as well. But even though there are an infinite number of poetic forms that can be created, it is important that the forms one creates have reasons for being. When I was trying to make a poetic form that was a quick, square snapshot to capture our modern era, I created the bilding, a 12-line by 12-syllable poetic structure that helped me deal with the Postmodernist world I found myself in. To deal with the New Millennial onslaught of information caused me to create the tennos as a vehicle for docupoetry. 8. As to poetry “rushed”, I think nearly all of my poetry is “rushed”, id est, spontaneous; nor am I alone in that practice, Shakespeare being a notable example. I simply write what comes to mind, often in response to some mundane thought, some significant or insignificant event, etc. As to comma usage, I have been taken to task for my use of commas, but if they have a purpose don’t yield too easily to criticism. The American writers whose commas I most admire are those of Realist Dickinson, for intensity, and Modernist Cummings, for carrying significance. 9. Both of Ms. Miller’s poems are competent, especially in comparison with the poems @ SCP; and it is hard to say where any poet will go in his or her lifetime with their writing. Reply Avery April 7, 2019 Thank you for the collection of snow/snowman poems. Wallace Stephen’s was new to me. This site is a remarkable place! In the one year that I’ve been following it, I’m sure that I’ve learned far more than would be possible in any amount of years at State University. My young charges are most amused at my having been “schooled” in commas, the use of which they persist in rejecting. Thanks all for your time. Reply Monty April 10, 2019 How predictable: the Great Defender is again trying to defend the undefendable.. in this case, his Most-Defended defendee. I wrote above how you’ve shown in the past that your Comments – when trying to falsely defend a ‘mate’; or when having a personal dig at someone ‘cos they’ve proved you wrong – always stray from the given subject into nonsensical irrelevancies. And now you’ve gone and done it again . . in perfect transparence. Your defendee has, as you rightly say, made only two brief comments on this thread. The 1st, as you again rightly say, was “no more than a brief sentence”; the 2nd, as you wrongly say, was “a two-paragraph comment on metrics”. We both know what I mean by ‘wrongly’, don’t we: ‘cos the 2nd comment contained one paragraph on the word ‘wateriness’; and the 2nd paragraph contained just ONE SENTENCE on ‘metrics’ . . and then a further TWO SENTENCES which deviated into other ‘matters’ patently unconnected to ‘metrics’; patently unconnected to the discourse with Mr Mantyk; and patently unconnected to the above poems. You already know, as will anyone who reads it, that my above Comment was directed ONLY at those ‘further two sentences’; you know what those two sentences inferred, and to whom they were directed. The fact that you’ve made no reference to those ‘two sentences’; and the fact that you’ve flagrantly omitted them from your defending (d’you think they’ll just vanish?) and tried to gloss-over them with the futile claim that it was just “a two-paragraph comment on metrics” . . now makes it obvious to me, and surely all who can see it, that you’re prepared to lie through your teeth in your ill-considered attempt at defending the undefendable. So, now it’s become established that you knew I was referring only to those ‘two sentences’ (yeah, they’re still there.. have a look above); and now it’s become established that you knew fully the real nature of those ‘two sentences’ . . . yet further evidence of your crookedness can be gleaned in the following: Imagine (hypothetically, if you will) that you were making a genuine, truthful defence of your defendee’s comment . . . after gathering that my comment was obviously directed only at the incongruous, bitchy words ‘grousing’ and ‘pettiness’; you would’ve made no mention of the 1st paragraph, nor the sentence on ‘metrics’; you would’ve jumped straight to those last two sentences (secure in the knowledge that I’d misinterpreted them), and you would’ve been bending over backwards to offer alternative suggestions as to what your defendee might’ve meant by those two sentences . . to try and convince me that I’d misinterpreted them; and that it was all a mistake on my behalf. But no, you simply acted as if those ‘two sentences’ never existed. I tried to warn you in my (deleted) comment in February that when one tries to defend the undefendable, one can only end-up looking foolish; but you evedently paid no attention. And now you’ve got yourself in the inevitable position where anyone can read the above and say to themselves: ‘He knew full well what Monty was referring to; that’s why he tried to gloss-over it’. See? You can’t help yourself, can you? I’ve only just returned from my annual 3-month sabbatical in Nepal: where the wifi is generally still in primitive form. Hence, whilst there, I generally just use the internet for a few hours once every 10 days or so (just to check emails, etc), and then only if there’s electricity! ‘Twas on one such day in February that I encountered the defendee’s submissions; after which I left a scathing comment. The next day, I was informed by Mr Mantyk that my comment had been deleted by your defendee. I was undeniably annoyed; not just about the deletion of MY comment – but by the fact that this could even happen at a poetry-site which invites discussion and appraisals on its pages. But by the next day IT WAS FORGOTTEN! The rich variety of Himalayan life ensures that there’s no time or place for one to harbour any ‘unresolved bitterness’: on any given day, many hours can pass without one – not one – thought about the western-world. On top of which, I was playing the drums in a band for 2 months, and also partaking in numerous outdoor-activities . . . I trust that you’re now beginning to gauge how easily and inexorably I was able to immediately forget about the ‘deleted comment’ . . . and it was STILL FORGOTTEN right up until this week: when, during the course of commenting on Ms Miller’s poems, I suddenly remembered the new SCP directive; and was immediately startled at the realisation that Ms Miller may delete the very comment (above) which I was writing. The fact that she didn’t led me, in my relief, to praise her for not doing so . . and I alerted her to the February incident only to exemplify the two sides of the coin: taking a critical comment positively, and responding to it as such . . . or taking a critical comment negatively (and personally), and dismissively having it deleted. My comment was also partially aimed at the SCP powers-that-be, and what I saw as the folly of their new directive . . . but it WASN’T aimed directly at your defendee, nor her deletion of my comment – that was just the vehicle I used in my attempted rant towards SCP. I trust it can now be seen that it isn’t me who’s “still smarting”, it’s your defendee: and it’s she who evidently still holds a ‘lingering bitterness’ . . shown in the very words which you patently attempted to disguise. Here’s another indubitable example of how your comments degenerate into clear falsities: You say that I “have put up three lengthy and pointlessly-garrulous speeches, the obvious purpose of which is to re-ignite the controversy . . ” and yet, unfathomably, you don’t seem able to grasp that anyone reading my “three speeches” will reasonably concur: Speech 1.. Monty had a little rant at what he considered to be the premature use of complex Forms; and he gave a short appraisal of the above attempt a a Rondeau . . no mention of a deleted comment. Speech 2.. Monty and Ms Miller had a comfortable and potentially-productive discourse on the ‘choosing of Form’. Monty then goes on to praise Ms Miller for not having an unfavourable comment simply deleted . . . and he then produced a previous incident from his mind – to use as an example to SCP of why he feels that a review is genuinely required of their recent directive. A simple but serious debate on A versus B . . e.g. The right to have a comment deleted, and its potential ramifications*.. versus All comments shall remain, in the assumption that they’ll be absorbed positively (* in view of recent events at SCP). Speech 3.. An unrelenting and unadulterated, but justified response at what Monty saw as a personal sleight against himself. (But I feel satisfied that some good has been achieved from Speech 3: your defendee won’t try that trick again, ‘cos a/ I’ve [hopefully] persuaded her to assume that Monty no longer exists.. b/ She now knows that she won’t get away with it) See? We’ve gone, in reality, from your “three speeches re-igniting the controversy” to zero speeches re-igniting the controversy; 1 speech on poetry Form; a 2nd speech in discourse with Ms Miller; and a 3rd speech with me defending the utterly defendable (myself). As for your desription of the ‘three speeches’ as “lengthy” and “pointlessly garrilous” . . well, all three were certainly ‘lengthy’ (as I saw fit); but Speeches 1 and 2 were between Ms Miller and me only . . you weren’t involved! Hence, it can only be for Ms Miller to say if she found our exchange to be ‘pointlessly garrulous’, nobody else.. least of all you with your lies. And the lies go on . . . You clearly state above that my ‘deleted comment’ in February was the reason for the new SCP directive . . . even though the directive was clearly in place several weeks before (if not longer). Check with SCP! Go on, check, man! Tee hee: I’m sure you won’t; but others may.. and they’ll unequivocally see for themselves that your lies have no boundary. Again, I’m baffled at your apparent blindness in exposing yourself to all: Lying’s one thing.. but to lie in such a reckless way that everyone can see and prove it . . well, you’re like a thief who writes his name on the wall of the shop he’s just burgled. Inexplicable! In February, I attacked a poem.. severely. And if I could go back in time, I’d attack it again.. severely. I didn’t, as you claim above, “attack a woman” (with good OR bad eyesight, not that that has anything to do with anything). My ‘deleted comment’ was wrote entirely in the third-person . . and entirely against the poem. Poem’s, as you’re well aware, get judged on poetic-merit: not on the condition of the author’s eyesight. In your defence of the undefendable: you’re inferring that someone could acceptably enter a poem into a competition with a little caption underneath saying: If you find any errors in my poem, please take into account my failing eyesight. See? How pathetic. So, don’t mention the ‘eyesight’ thing again, you silly man. I feel that I’ve covered all the points I so wished; now the fun can begin . . . Me attack you, you suggest! Why would I ever want to do such a thing . . when I can just sit back and watch you constantly attacking yourself: in the way that you unwittingly expose your disingenuousness to the wise minority who’re able to see it. Yeah, it’s only a minority (as it always is in such cases, thankfully): but it’s a wise one. And I’m not just referring to the readership at SCP (although, I’m fairly confident that such a minority exists in amongst the majority who, in your celebrity-driven shores, blindly hang on to your every word just ‘cos you’ve got a cuppla letters in front of your name (none more so than the robotic Mr Sale.. who, if you wrote a poem exhorting him to jump off a roof, would gladly do so). Nah, it goes wider than that . . much wider. Recently, the occasional comment/commenter at SCP has directed me to other poetry outlets in which similar discussions have previously taken place . . . and, well well, it didn’t take long to see how you’re viewed by other such minorities; they’ve all got you sussed. But you already know that, don’t you (if some old taxi-driver in europe now knows it; then you’ve always known it). It’s sometimes said that ‘we must know our enemy’ . . and I’m sure you do. But I certainly wasn’t surprised at my findings. How could I be. Since my early days at SCP – when I was, admittedly, one of those who did hang on to your . . if not every word, then certainly every comment – I’ve gradually began to sense your underlying bitterness at everything which isn’t as you feel it should be; your constant and predictable diatribes against others who don’t see things as you do; who don’t pray to the same mirage as you; who don’t like the same type of poetry as you do; who wanna have sex with whoever they want to; who don’t vote for who you vote for . . . and your constant addressing of all them as ‘Scum’ (it’s entirely feasible that you’re not even aware of how many of your comments contain that word; such is your intrinsic bitterness, which causes you to just spit that word out randomly). That’s really how it is with you.. the perfect black ‘n white: either they see it as you do.. or they’re Scum. Although it’s no excuse, once one can see and feel your bitterness, they can perfectly understand why it’s there. How can it not be? You have to work with Scum; you have share cafés with Scum; you have to share a train with Scum; you have to walk the streets with Scum; you have to buy things from Scum . . . you have to conduct your entire existence with Scum! Is it any wonder that you’re bursting at the seams with bitterness? At the end of every working day, you must surely return home close to combustion; and then what . . you get on your keyboard and let someone have it. There’s a well-worn phrase for that: it’s called ‘letting off steam’. Your bitterness is everywhere: it’s in most of your comments; most of your poems (some of which were obviously written for that very reason: to let off steam). And then there’s your Cronyism: which leads to your occasional cringeworthy defence of the undefendable, as has often been seen on these pages when backing-up one of your ‘mates’ such as Kenzy, or more recently, your defendee. Why do you even try? You only end-up exposing yourself as being disingenuous; and then some readers realise that they can’t trust your blinkered comments. Again, I realise that this is only a minority (and maybe you’ve settled for that; and can live with it, provided it’s always only a minority); but surely you can see how much easier your life could’ve been if you’d have became a well-respected, honest, impartial poetry-critic. If you could’ve added those attributes to your seemingly-unrivalled knowledge of all-things poetry; you’d surely be a renowned and formidable critic by now; and maybe a high-selling author/poet . . instead of some bitter teacher who’s seemingly now realised that any ambitions he might’ve once harboured about being a rich or famous (or both) literary scholar . . are now not gonna happen. Could that be the reason for your bitterness? Has life screwed you up? Look at your recent poem on these pages concerning tattoos (or, more pertinently, those who bear them). Those weren’t the words of one who doesn’t like tattoos; they were the words of one who doesn’t like society! In today’s western-world – where tattoos have become so normal that no one would bat an eyelid if their friend’s mum acquired one – who in their right mind would refer to the tattooed with such oafish terms as “brainless brats”.. “morons”.. who “look like feral brutes from a far-off jungle”.. “a circus freak”.. ladies who have tattoos are “sluts” . . . I ask you to repeat that last sentence loudly to yourself.. go on: LADIES WHO HAVE TATTOOS ARE SLUTS! I’ve already asked: who in their right mind would say such things, and the answer is.. nobody! The only reason you said those words is ‘cos you’re NOT in your right mind: you’re twisted. A twisted, frustrated, grudge-bearing misogynist. It’s no surprise that one commenter on that poem was compelled to ask of it’s author: “Do we see the mark of a fractured soul?” . . altogether now: OH-YES-WE-DO! The same commenter goes on to say that “So many of your comments, and much poetry, are such seemingly bitter polemics” . . altogether now: OH-YES-IT-IS. In response to the commenter, and in defence of the tattoo poem, you stated that “Satirists (as you obviously style yourself) are like snipers; their only task is to take-out targets with well-placed shots”. See? I know it’s only an analogy, but can’t you see from your choice of words that it’s like a war to you? And it IS a war . . you’re at war with the world. See? People are on to you. They realise that it’s not tattoos that you hate: it’s people. The Tattoos in the poem were just the vehicle from which to attack certain members of society. Next month, it’ll be a poem against those who ride the modern-day electric scooters: Scooter-Scum! The month after, against those who fly drones: Drone-Scum. Any excuse to attack members of society. Any excuse to let off steam. Of course you’ve still got your loyal hangers-on at SCP, as can be seen from some of the misguided comments below the tattoo poem (some of which must surely have been written through gritted-teeth), but some of those commenters will never write PURE poetry in their life; hence they’re just content to be involved; content to be on the same page as a real-life professor. But even some of those hangers-on, when caught alone in recent days, might’ve been thinking to themselves: “Many of my girlfriends have got tattoos, as have some of my colleagues at work; and he’s as good as saying they’re all sluts. Why did I praise his poem with a comment? I should’ve just said nothing.. then I wouldn’t have to question myself like this”. And if they’re sensible enough, they may begin to learn the lesson that you’re learning now: defending the undefendable can only lead to falsities and ridicule. You’ve no need to ask me “how far I’d get in a direct fight with you”: history’s already shown how far I’d get . . all the way! If “fight” is the right word, we’ve already had two previously . . and you’ve come 2nd on both occasions. And when you’ve finished reading this missive, you’ll realise that you’ve come 2nd again: that’ll be 3 times out of 3! Fight 1.. Some time last year, in an SCP thread on Carole Mertz’s poem ‘The Mellow Season: we were debating the usage of half-rhymes.. during which you asserted to me that “No one who was serious about formal poetry.. would write a poem consisting entirely of half-rhymes”. I then produced 3 poems by Dylan Thomas which were entirely in half-rhyme . . after which you responded with some nonsense about Thomas “not being a classical formalist”.. and that “he was influenced by the bad ideas of some modernist revolution”. That smacked of desperation . . 1-0 to me. Fight 2.. In the act of showing you the Thomas half-rhymes, I off-handedly wrote the word ‘masterful’ underneath (to desribe what I saw as the quality of Thomas’s rhymes). Obviously still smarting ‘cos you’d been proved wrong about Thomas’s half-rhymes.. you responded immediately by saying that I should’ve used the the word ‘masterly’, not ‘masterful’ (you were misguidedly trying to say that ‘masterful’ meant ‘bossy’ and ‘masterly’ meant ‘skilfull’.. when I knew full well that it was the other way round). I then pointed-out that the dictionary listed BOTH words as meaning ‘skilfully’.. with ‘masterly’ also having the second meaning of ‘bossy’ (as you were rightly saying). That should’ve been the end of the debate: I’d proved incontrovertibly that my use of ‘masterful’ was wholly correct. But no! In desperation (and in classic Salemi fashion when you’re trapped), you retorted, incredulously, with: “Our lousy modern dictionaries slavishly follow the dictates of bad usage”. You went on to suggest that I check a “really good dictionary like the OED, compiled by genuine scholars”. I then informed you that that’s the very dictionary I was using! That’s when you blew-up; you knew there was now no way out. You either had to concede that my use of ‘masterful’ was correct; or try to come up with some other desperate nonsense to try and save face. And what did the cornered-animal do? You tried to tell me that some Yugoslavian chap had told you 30 years before the difference between ‘masterly’ and ‘masterful’! Yeah, as much as you must regret it now: you really did say that. (I should add that this moment was the very first inkling I had that you will defend the undefendable in you’re desperate attempt to not be proved wrong). And STILL you continued with further desperate drivel, even when another commenter tried to put you right. And it all culminated in you uttering the immortal line: “I THINK THAT MY OPINION IS OBJECTIVELY RIGHT, AND YOURS IS WRONG”. If ever one sentence summed-up one man’s entire existence; all his bitterness; all his frustration; all his blindness . . it was that sentence After which, I immediately declared an end to the debate. I realised immediately that no one could ever be involved in a healthy debate with one who’d just uttered that sentence. 2-0 to me. I’ve just one final example of the lengths you’ll go in defending the undefendable: A cuppla months before our ‘masterful’ debate, you submitted a poem to SCP: ‘The Composition Teacher Addresses His Class’.. (a poem, I might add, which I will consider till the day I die to be an all-time masterpiece; the words of which should be enlarged and hung in all classrooms.. for all time), and, subsequentally, it deservedly elicited numerous positive comments: one of which was from one of your ‘mates’ at the time, the late Mr Yankevich. His comment read, quite fittingly: “Masterful, witty and truthful as usual”. Nice words, but it can be seen that you didn’t feel the need to tell one of your ‘mates’ that he was misusing the word ‘masterful’.. no siree! And yet weeks later, in a moment where you’d just been proved wrong on Thomas’s half-rhymes . . you dared to question my use of that same word! See? That’s you in a nutshell. Sinking to the depths that can only be reached by defending the undefendable. I’m not unaware that there must be many moments in your life when you’re defending the entirely defendable . . cling on to ’em, ‘cos they won’t get you into the holes from which you can’t dig yourself out. In my eyes (maybe mine only), that makes it 3-0 to me. Although the chances are minimal, it’s to be hoped that in the light of such a resounding defeat: you won’t again invite me into a “direct fight” with yourself (mind you, after 3 attempts and 3 defeats: I doubt if your own medical team will let you in the ring with me again!). p.s. As I said above: I don’t believe that you despise tattoos as much as you tried to convey in the poem; but if I was wrong, and you really did despise them.. well, one can only imagine your thought’s on the fact that you’ve got the word ‘bitter’ tattooed on your forehead. Reply Joseph S. Salemi April 10, 2019 Good God… twenty interminable ranting paragraphs! Monty, if you’ve just done anything, it’s this: you’ve proven yourself an utterly fanatical nut-case. And yes, I still think my opinion is objectively right, and yours is wrong. Reply Monty April 12, 2019 You can save your breath when asking “good-god”; he can’t help you here. You suggested a “direct fight”.. and I obliged. That means no outside influence on either side . . just me and thee. And I’ll save my breath from now on; these will be my final words to you. Trust you to stray away from the subject by counting the paragraphs; trying to deflect what they contain. I’d say I displayed admirable economy by only using twenty; can you imagine how challenging it was to write someone’s biography in 20 paragraphs? You’ve got ME counting now; I just counted another commenters words above . . 7 paragraphs and 19 stanzas! Will you label us as Length-Scum? Oh, what a pleasure and a privilege it is to be a nut-case; and see straight through dragons such as you. What a glorious and fortunate minority we’re in, us nut-cases. To the extent that one positively shudders at the thought of being in the majority of the perfectly normal people; many of whom can’t see any further than the end of their nose. Now, that’s what I call forward-planning: writing your own epitath long before it’s required. And when the time does eventually come: how fitting it will look in all its glory: “My opinion was always objectively right . . and everyone else’s was wrong”. It’ll have a lasting effect . . dave whippman April 10, 2019 I loved “The Melancholy Snowman”. Something endearing about the idea of the snowman coming to terms with the fact of his own dissolution. Reply Wilbur Dee Case April 11, 2019 Because I really mainly focused on “The Melancholy Snowman,” I thought I should look more closely at the rondeau. Because I’m frequently involved in writing docupoetry, etc., I often fall lax in perceptive reading. “April” is surprisingly good metaphoric’lly, more so than most of the poems here @ SCP; still, many of the poems at this site have other worthy qualities too. What I like about the poem are its Cummingesque qualities, particularly its tone, and its Frostian simplicity. The first stanza is impeccable. L4, which I like very much, reminds me of some poem or poet I can’t quite place. Who specific’lly is the “she” in S3? L12 is strikingly good with the Wilburesque phrase “blue belief”. “April” is a remarkable poem, because, although it is very good, it “cries” for improvement. My own predilection is to place “once” at the beginning of L9 and L15 and play with possible meanings; though I must admit, the syllable drops there @ L9 and L15 are also interesting. You really are in touch with Frost! Reply Avery April 11, 2019 The “she” in stanza 3 is the “friend” who is mourned in stanza 2. In short, the freshness of an April day after rain is likened to the feeling one gets after crying. The question posed is the soul asking permission to stop mourning. The answer is yes, without insisting that the lost loved one is in heaven. “Blue belief” is meant to express that joyful faith in Mercy and the redemptive value of suffering is enough to “burgeon under sky.” I suppose I shouldn’t give the whole thing away like that. Reply Monty April 12, 2019 There is indeed an argument, Avery, for saying that “you shouldn’t give the whole thing away like that”; but in hindsight, I’m mighty glad that you did. The reason being: I can now see what a good idea it was for a poem; and what an original concept it was; with a cute use of analogy/metaphor. And yet, I couldn’t see any of that in my original reading of it . . purely because the state of the diction prevented me from doing so. And it’s my belief that the unclear diction transpired only because of your act of trying to fit it into a complex poetry-form. I now find myself wondering how the same concept would’ve turned-out if you’d tried writing it in a basic Form. Now the intentions of the poem have been made clear to me, I detect that you’ve got a real feeling for poetry; and a good sense of metaphor-usage. That’s some of the battle already won! But one must take the utmost care with diction . . diction is everything. If the diction’s unclear in a poem, then other qualities within it will also be lost on a reader. When revising/re-reading a poem you’ve wrote: try to not necessarily read it in the way you wrote it . . but in the way that others might read it. Maybe give it to someone else to read it out loud to you; to see how it sounds in another’s perception. Try to cover all bases. I hope to see more of your work in the future . . Leave a Reply to Joseph S. Salemi Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.