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Ice Storm

after black hour,
trees tumble,
ice crystals cascade
with beautiful
bundled in thick blankets,
I sit stupefied
as the weather war
rages on;
just another shadow
in flickering candlelight.
Civilization has
thinned the skin—
pulled it  taut
against our frames—
I realize
how insignificant
I really am.

18 Dec 08

Rated 10 (8.3) by 6 users.
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centuries of civilization have yielded a great wall and rice krispies
 — unknown

Paul, good!  Maybe insert something pertaining to blown glass?  At least that's how it looked to me the morning after.  Food 4 thought.  I'd take out the interjections in L4; they're a little Kelloggs Rice Krispy-ish in my opinion.  L9's constipated seems out of place (maybe consider deleting that line too?)  Also, I might remove L13 so that from 12 it reads "rages outside, thins skin, pull it taut..."  More food 4 thought in the name of sonics.  I might end L16 w/a period and remove the conjunction that begins L17(and.)  Yup.  You nailed it.  I was there too.  :-)
 — starr

Oooh, this is just so visual! I can almost hear the sleet coming down, as it does in the sidestreets of Seattle at Christmas Time. Whenever I go walking, I'm always amazed at how perfect Nature is, and how small and insignificant I am. This is just a wonderful poem, Paul!
 — unknown

Thanks unknown.  Starr, thanks for your input. I made some major edits, probably more to come.  Still a work in progress.
 — PaulS

More edits.
 — PaulS

a few more changes.
 — PaulS

brittle by brittle,
trees break down,
ice crystals covering
the oak fine wounds.

my thoughts aligned and stilled,
in motionless snug,
the winter war
cannot ignite me.

our houses and heaters
have taken our winter,
turned it over,
and sent it skiing
down the mississippi.  
 — geckodrome

Thanks for your rendition, joey.  I like it.  But this poem is written from my perspective, sitting in my 34 degree living room (no heat or lights) wrapped in a blanket for hours.  It's meant to convey how lost we can feel without the amenities of life we normaly take for granted.  Thanks for reading, and as I've said before, I always take something from one of your crits.
 — PaulS

i think that's clear, but i don't think it really came off in the poem. it mostly just came off as you singing a song, and i tried to give you a song to sing. i was kind of thinking that the real poem in this is how we've let our amenities do our thinking for us.
 — geckodrome

Yes, I see what you're trying to say.  Thanks, it is food for thought.
 — PaulS

nice poem. title drew me in, wasn't let down.

i will favorite this one day. just you watch.

 — unknown

Paul, i read this the other day, but i would've needed more time to comment than i had.  there were several things i wanted to point out, but looks like you've made some good revisions.  =-)

i do want to mention that 'through the night' is so...blah?
could you just say ice crystals cascade; a/in beautiful devastation?
and, 'as the weather rages its war' sounds less trite. i'd also remove 'outside'.  also, line 14 semms redundant, if may say so.

i like ice storms, but i don't like what happens to us when we lose power. i can relate to your poem. i have often been left wondering what the hell people did in the 'olden days'. i think it would have sucked.  
this kind of thing happens here all the time.  in fact, just a few weeks ago the trees were falling on our cars and homes, and powerlines were collapsing under the snow.

thanks for writing, =-)
 — jenakajoffer

Are you from Massachusetts?
 — TCooks

This is exactly how it feels, I always realize it all over again when a storm comes, good writing paul
 — unknown

'exactly how it feels' -- but, if you had to take this to hell, your only literature, would it cool you off?
 — geckodrome

If I was going to hell, I'd want something longer. Eternity is a long time.
 — TCooks

Well, probably not, mostly nothing would, I hear that's the point of hell ( -:
 — sherains

point of being a poet is that we can make heaven out of anything. you've got a point though... just crying in your beer isn't enough to put out the flames of hell.
 — geckodrome

Sort of the same way people remember 'the good old days' not that they were good because mostly you were itching to get to tomorrow hoping it'd bring in more money or inspiration, but looking back we like to remember there was a feeling of resiliency.  But back to the poem!
 — sherains

using 'civilization' to 'stand for' 'having a life' is to play an emblem against a 'suspicion' -- suspicion that things can't really be categorized. i think this is an ok list-with-comments of things which went down and caused the piece to be written. contrast, really, the words 'civilization' and 'insignificant', where we're supposed to understand how powerless we are. and that comes across in this, yes, but still more as 'think of that' rather than 'being this guy'.
 — geckodrome

Thanks for the suggestions, jen, I used some of them.  This is still a work in progress.  Thanks for reading listen and sherains.  TCooks, thanks for the visit, I live in New Hampshire.
 — PaulS

Final revision for now.  I'll leave this alone for a couple of months.
 — PaulS

i dont know about this one
"cascade with devastation" doesnt really make sense. the cascade might "cause" devastation, but the way it reads it sounds as though the ice crystals are cascading "alongside" devastation. i might think that if anything, it's the landing of the ice crystals thats doing all the damage, not the cascading. cripes, those crystals can cascade all they want, so long as though dont land and accumulate on my windshield, what do i care?
7 i suggest a hyphen, otherwise it sounds as though you just did a mighty urination in a winterswept out-house
i'd almost want rages to be wages, but then again, is this poem by elmer fudd
14 against seems odd and i'd suggest changing it to over, as it would give some credence to the image, but the sound of "over our" dont agree with my ear at all
 — chuckle_s

Thanks the comment, chuckle_s.  I thought about changing rages to wages but figured the alliteration would be to much.  This was an "in-the-moment" kind of thing, but I'll consider all your other suggestions. Thanks.
 — PaulS

I like this.  The spacing at the end makes me shiver, right where you want me to.

I'd get rid of the comma after hour, line 1.  Hour after black hour.  I really like the image of the 'beautiful devastation."  Very clear.

Is stupified the right word?  That seems a little clumsy after all the other lines ahead of it.  There must be another word that can be used.   Can you show us where you're sitting watching?  Maybe numb would work instead of stupified?  But why are you just sitting being cold,  can't you watch and be bundled up with hot something to drink?  That would make more sense - not that poetry has to make sense, though.  

One more thing - evolution would be better than civilization, civilization thins our emotional skin or ego layer but not the skin that's on our frames.

Shoot, I'm very dogmatic today!  Must be the cold!  haha

I think the end fits perfectly.  

Now that I have finally cheated and read the comments, I am surprised to find that you are sitting with no heat.  You have to put that in, the idea that we are accustomed to our nice electrical things that keep Nature at bay.  We need that information.  You might also mention the contrast - perhaps birds are coming to a bird feeder, no coats, no heater, they still manage.
 — Isabelle5

'I really like the image of the 'beautiful devastation." Very clear. '

what does beautiful devastation look like? how is beautiful devastation an 'image'?
 — unknown

A huge out of control fire is beautiful.  An ice-covered tree is beautiful devastation.  A little child crying in grief over his dog being run over in the street is beautiful devastation.  Use your imagination, you're a writer, aren't you?  How can you not see this phrase?
 — Isabelle5

Thanks for reading,Isabelle.  Maybe I was'nt clear enough, but I thought lines 2 and 7 adressed the idea that I had no power or heat.  I'm searching for another word for stupified--I added another line that might help.  I used civilization instead of evolution because of our dependancy on the things you spoke of--that whole stanza is meant to be taken in a metaphorical sense, but I'll think about what you said.  This is an "in the moment" poem and I wanted it to have a sparseness to it.  I'm sure there are things I can do to make it better. Thanks.
 — PaulS

A few changes, thanks to everyones suggestions.
 — PaulS

hey Paul I love the lines "pulled it taut against our frames" really tite imagery...
 — brother_sun

well made plight pome and we've got weather plummeting us into piles of snow here, as well -- the last reverie is real and none make it  out alive -- In the light of Cosmic time, both great and small are extinguished by that infinity, yet it remains important that we create, explore and evolve with the courage of a Loving Heart. -- like you've done with elegance here PaulS
 — AlchemiA

Yhank you, AlchemiA, your comments are always so inspirational.
 — PaulS

A couple of tweaks.
 — PaulS

Oh, yes!  Your changes are good, this is much more solid and tells the tale with no questions.  Excellent job!
 — Isabelle5

Thanks, Isabelle--your in-put helped alot with this.
 — PaulS

minor changes.
 — PaulS

Congrats PaulS on winning with this piece -- its a well made poem with wisdom 'n feeling in it! Write on ...
 — AlchemiA

than you AlchemiA, your comment is much appreciated.
 — PaulS

Got to cut some big words
devastation is abstract anyways, more specific, I dunno what beautiful devastation looks like yet, show me
weather war?  war is special, its when nature stretches or yawns you see how insignificant you are, hm?  
flickering candlelight hackneyed hackneyed
What skin are you tlaking about?  Or what civilization?  That last part is so important because it leads us to the realization, it needs to make perfect sense to guide us there so we agree and get it, that we can understand what it made you understand, right? More specific all over, don't be afraid to describe the conditions or who as with you, roll this one around a little, see what you can add to it and if it works
 — bykguy2000

Well, bykguy2000, I don't understand your rationalization about big words needing to be cut as I see no big words, just a few discriptors and metaphors.  This makes perfect sense to me and others, but I appreciate your stopping by and reading.  Thanks.
 — PaulS

byk, why must we all agree about what the skin or civilization is?  That's not what poetry is about, this isn't history class or a science project, it's up to the interpretation of the reader.
 — Isabelle5

I sit stupefied as the weather war rages on... Civilization has thinned the skin- pulled it taut against our frames... how insignificant we really are against the storm... if you know what i mean... once again you come across unique as you always are Paul ...j.g. smiles
 — goeszon

Thanks for reading goeszon--much appriciated.
 — PaulS

Well written...wonderfully descriptive...n ICE   :)
 — JKWeb

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, JK :)
 — PaulS

That first stanza was strikingly brilliant. So very well structured and paced. Something tells me Frost would have apprecited this work too.
 — PaleHorse

PaleHorse:  I am humbled by your gracious comment, thank you.
 — PaulS

i love the contrasting image of beautiful devastation and the overall use of contrasting imagery. im am also intrigued by the idea of an ice storm as a weather war. i see now how a storm can be both terrible and amazing. overall amazing poem.
 — ishQueen