March 6th, 2014

Acquainted with the White

[NOTE: Gerard Vanderleun recycled an old post of his at American Digest, an ode to the rainy season in Seattle. Which reminds me that, way back when, I wrote an answering poem—only mine was an ode to snow season in New England. Which makes me think it just might be appropriate to recycle it now, too, because if anything, this season has been even more snowy. In fact, I’ve come to regard snow as the default position.]


The inspiration for this poem of mine: the snow, Robert Frost’s timeless “Acquainted with the Night,”and Gerard van Der Leun’s timely “Acquainted with the Blight.”

Just to make sure I receive full appreciation for the arduous work involved in writing it, I refer you to this. It explains terza rima, the convoluted rhyme scheme involved:

Terza rima is a three-line stanza using chain rhyme in the pattern a-b-a, b-c-b, c-d-c, d-e-d. There is no limit to the number of lines, but poems or sections of poems written in terza rima end with either a single line or couplet repeating the rhyme of the middle line of the final tercet…There is no set rhythm for terza rima, but in English, iambic pentameters are generally preferred.

So, without further ado, I bring you:

ACQUAINTED WITH THE WHITE

I have been one acquainted with the white.
I have walked out in snow–and back in snow.
I have watched drifts climb to impressive height.

I have felt blizzard winds that rage and blow.
I have shuffled my muklukked, booted feet
And sniffled wanly, crying, “Woe, oh woe!”

I’ve slipped on ice and skidded down the street
And heard those dying voices with my fall*
Then gone inside to fix myself a treat.

“Snow is design of whiteness to appall,”**
My favorite poet would say, with keen insight.
(Just note his name; he’s called “Frost,” after all.)

I’ve heard friends call me wrong, and far, far Right.
I have been one acquainted with the white.

*go here and scroll down to line 52

**go here and scroll down to the next to last line

6 Responses to “Acquainted with the White”

  1. vanderleun Says:

    Now Frost has a good reason to come back from the dead and shoot both of us.

    It is truly said that in New England there are only two seasons: “Winter” and “Road Work.”

  2. Jack Says:

    Blinded by the science craze
    that hustlers use to take us.
    Global warming is the phrase.

    Lefties raised an awful ruckus
    grand marshal of this parade,
    Al Gore set out to …. us.

    Now their phony hand is played.
    Now the people know their game.
    Now these liar’s hopes will fade.

    Their dreams they cannot claim.
    Their hopes of cash will dwindle.
    Sheeple can’t secure their fame.

    Americans won’t be swindled.
    Their fury has been kindled

  3. Minta Marie Morze Says:

    Neo and Jack: I think it takes people who love great poetry to do that to a poem. :o)

    Neo, I laughed out loud when I read your woeful lament, and my startled brother dropped his donut on the floor. (It’s OK—he dusted it off and ate it anyway.) And then I got to Jack’s ellipsis and laughed aloud again!

    Then I went back to each of them and enjoyed them for the cleverness that went into them. Good job!

    I thought you might enjoy the special Christmas poem the Poet Laureate of England wrote in 2012:

    (If you think this has to be an ugly joke, you can find it in all its very real reality at: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/arts/books/poetry/article3630214.ece)

    The Mistletoe Bride
by Carol Ann Duffy

    The December bride who, bored with dancing, skipped from the castle hall to play hide-and-seek, a white bird flickering into the dark . . .

    The groom, who searched each room, calling her name; then the bridal guests, flame-lit, checking the grounds . . .

    The fifty Christmases till a carpenter jemmied an old oak chest; the skeleton with its unstrung pearls, loose emeralds, its rings of diamond, sapphire, gold . . .

    The running feet, the shouting for others to see what he’d seen; mistletoe in the loose bones of a hand . . .

    Like love, patiently green.

  4. kit Says:

    I like your poem and especially like how you give a mention to your favorite poet and winter’s frosty weather.
    Then I read it out loud, twice and I like it even more.

  5. neo-neocon Says:

    Thanks to all who liked it, and special kudos to another terza rimer, Jack.

    I just want to point out—because I get such a chuckle out of it myself—my favorite part of “White” is those last two lines:

    I’ve heard friends call me wrong, and far, far Right.
    I have been one acquainted with the white.

    The reason is that the last two lines of Frost’s poem are:

    Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
    I have been one acquainted with the night

    The transformation seemed to just write itself. Or Right itself :-).

  6. Minta Marie Morze Says:

    Probably no one will see this, but I meant my comment above to be high praise of both Neo’s and Jack’s efforts. Sometimes I’m ambiguous when I most want to be simply understood.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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