Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sidewinder

Northern Copperhead

Sidewinder




There was no black in you (or I've forgot)
only autumn browns, eyes amber hot,

with an underbelly pale star-silver steel,
coldblooded stroking icy death to feel.

Always sideways, you reasoned me quite mad;
sideways ate my heart then made me glad.

No black showing, only mottled brown
of earth returning matter to the ground.



~September 2012

Copperhead Snake




55 whispery shed snakeskins for the g-man




Also 
posted for    MeetingtheBar:Symbolism   at dVerse Poets Pub
Victoria encourages us to explore the use of symbols in poetry. I had written this poem last night before reading the prompt, but I think it fits.




Process Notes: This poem is written in a very old, traditional style and meter, known as the Heroic Couplet. I got it into my head reading some poetry of Lady Caroline Lamb's last week, and now I can't get it out. Also, I'm having some back issues again, so please be patient as I try to return comments.



Header Photo: Northern Copperhead, by Michael Hodge on flick'r
Footer Photo: Copperhead Snake, by GA-kayaker, on flick'r
Shared under a Creative Commons License

50 comments:

  1. heroic couplet...very cool..and i knew this is the prompt for you..your writing is always so full of symbolism..sideways ate my heart...shivers...have to think about the underbelly pale star-silver steel a bit more...can't believe how many layers you manage to put into just 55 words hedge..

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  2. A few haiku or tanka should break the couplet hold. ;) Love this. Not sure I would have thought of snakes without your pics (though "sideways" might have sparked it). Even so the joy of symbolism and poetry is we find our own.

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  3. Hedge--this is great--love the cold-bloodedness of this.

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  4. There's a reason why calling someone a "snake" is an insult.

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  5. Oh my! Just such a powerful metaphoric take. Kinda gives me the shudders. Beautiful...so glad you joined it.

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  6. very cool rhythm to the this one hedge....love that always sideways couplet....also interesting repetition of there being no black as it makes an interesting contrast to the snake imagery...

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  7. Gorgeous. You might be Cleopatra here, loving the one who is about to . . . It is a fair and shared way to go, but not yet. . . the writer should listen for a rattle and back up slowly.

    Feel better!

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  8. Jaw-dropping. Literally (not symbolically, heh). I just don't even know what to say. Amazing poem, tight and beautifully captured.

    "sideways ate my heart then made me glad"

    Just...wow.

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  9. Sorry to hear about your back.

    This is great, I love the form... sideways or not.

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  10. A rather new form to me despite its history...but I've never claimed to be a student of poetry...more of life and words are how I choose to express. The image is fantastic, and there is always great poetry to be found in the shedding of one's skin...it may not be lengthy, but you've opened a grand can of snakes in this reader's overactive (to a fault) imagination. (And I do hope the back settles down...nothing worse...)

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  11. Nothing like a little sideways logic to send a good woman to the madhouse. You know what they say about brown eyed people, that they're full of shit. But as Waylon sang, there's just somethin' 'bout a brown eyed handsome man, too.

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  12. Beautifully written, Joy. You have said so much in 55 words.

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  13. Loved how you brought this particular snake alive in your poem!

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  14. Hi. I've heard folks call you Joy. May I. I don't know any and I like it. I mean...joy. Right?
    Open mindedness. I try. With all the creatures. Sometimes it's a challenge. Reptiles. But I like how you kind of included him in the cycle."....earth returning matter to the ground..."

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    1. Certainly, Scott you can call me Joy. Yes, everything is a crucial component in the biota of life, even the sidewinders. Thanks for seeing this as a poem of acceptance and reinterpreting the past, because it is.

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    2. Thank you, Joy. Acceptance and reinterpreting the past. I know. It will continue in my next life.

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  15. i didn't even realize this was form until the end of the third couplet. ive never been a huge fan of traditional forms, but always admire those skilled enough to do it, and then, to use it so well that i don't even notice, well thats just mastery, thats what that is

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  16. oh, and im sorry to hear about your back. get well soon

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    1. Thanks wood--I miss reading your poetry. I will be by tomorrow without fail.

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  17. "you reasoned me quite mad"

    love this line!

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  18. I especially liked the lines:
    eyes amber hot,

    with an underbelly pale star-silver steel,
    coldblooded stroking icy death to feel.
    Great images.

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  19. Thanks so much, everyone. Your input and thoughts are always appreciated. I will do my best to return visits tomorrow.

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  20. But how can you be glad after your heart gets eaten?

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  21. Plus it speaks with a forked tongue!!
    Sensational Sidewinding Story JA.,
    Loved your reptilian 55
    Thanks for playing, sorry about the ailing,
    and please have a Kick Ass Week-End
    (I got some Vicadons)

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  22. The sneaking sideways of pain and joy ...lovely.

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  23. i hope your back is better soon
    i like the poem its snakeness is evocative

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  24. very cool. Love the tone here Hedge. Love the use of color here, and the second couplet is very cool. Also, really like how it camouflages itself in the bottom pic

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  25. Wow, this is a real treat, form and substance. I'm bowled over.

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  26. The couplets work so well - honestly, I was not even conscious of them until reading your note--they can be so pat, and comical, some times but that parenthetical at the beginning seems to me to be incredibly effective at somehow softening the unconscious jolt at the end of the line. Works so well.

    For me though the third couplet sums it up. Agh.

    Do feel better. Back issues are so debilitating. My dad - and I have no knowledge of any scientific kind - at one point got a mattress made of magnets - it sounds incredibly weird, right, but he actually knew a great deal about science - and he never complained about pain again - whereas before he'd once had to sleep in a chair for six weeks. You'd have to really believe in something like that though to make the investment. He really did, but don't know if I could. Good luck. (Sorry for my sometimes goofy remarks.) k.

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    1. I have some good back pills--I just hate taking them because they make it impossible to write, and I feel like my brain is a wooly caterpillar interested only in eating and pupating. The magnet thing sounds interesting, but we bought a new bed not that long ago, and it is really a good one. I'm thinking I need a new computer chair, as all my pain begins in my hips. Thanks for reading, k--have a great weekend.

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    2. PS 'goofy' is actually the password to this clubhouse--don't know who let that secret slip. ;_)

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    3. Thanks. So sorry you have those choices - re pills or pain - awful ones - hopefully will subside soon. (Although pupating does sound kind of promising!) k.

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  27. Wow--amazing! I especially love "eyes amber hot," but the whole work is really powerful.

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  28. Masterful, you always illuminate the complexities of human relationships with insight and intelligence. I am very sorry to hear your back is acting up again and hope the pain recedes very soon.

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  29. You write beautifully. It's amazing that you can capture such depth, while responding to so many different prompts, and still write in a particular form. You have my full admiration.

    Hope you feel better soon.

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  30. I've not heard of this form before. You always amaze me with your technical prowess and how these forms look easy with your skillful pen. Hope your back is better soon.

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  31. nice form, and the third stanza really jumped out at me... The relationships was horrid, and I too, am glad he shed his skin and left. Although the experience has left me with a greater appreciation for what I have now, with my husband.

    Hope your back gets better. I understand...pain effects every ounce of my being, and not in a good way. And don't worry about returning the comment. It's really not how I roll. You just get well, k? :)

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  32. Well, the heroic couplet definitely suits you! Incredible 55.

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  33. Oh I think brown is such a dandy color- and I enjoyed the style
    of your sidewinder! Thanks.

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  34. I saw a snake slither sideways a few months ago for the first time. I was quite captivated at the grace and quickness! I think it is beyond my powers to decipher this poem, but I do now it rolls off the tongue! (give me a few more years of learnin' :)

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  35. I have visions of snakes shedding their skins often during meditation. This sloughing off of the old and emerging renewed is healthy... but there is more to this, I know. Hoping each of us receives a portion of truth from it, this one is to ponder. Nicely done, babe. Peace, Amy
    http://sharplittlepencil.com/2012/09/05/nurse-in-the-field-afghanistan/

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  36. your hues render me quite mad, Hedge. you are everywhere hot and cold with this sidewinder. I do love the line, "you rendered me quite mad." and I enjoy the overall effect of sensory upheaval.

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  37. I came back for another read. I think I may end up not able to get them out of my head! Thanks again for the treat.

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    1. I know--the form is just mesmerizing and has been creeping into everything I write--thanks so much for the double read and comment Dave.

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  38. To concentrate on both form and content is amazing. Great 55ve!

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  39. I find snakes to be most beautiful and intriguing animals. I love the way you have described the colour and texture of this specimen. Now I have R.E.M's song, The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight, playing in my head.

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  40. OF COURSE you were reading Lady Caroline Lamb's poetry and got an itch to do an Heroic Couplet! {smile} you are one of the few people who can say that and it doesn't sound pretentious!

    FABulous poem ~ especially liked the sidewinder's sideways ways...

    i really wish your back would quit acting up! hope you're feeling much better by now.

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  41. Well done heroic couplets; some pit vipers are warm-blooded...

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg