David M. Pitchford is an exceptional poet. He's written thousands of poems in varied forms on myriad themes, almost always with inventiveness and aplomb. If you click the picture above you'll go to his "Thousand Poem Challenge" blog, no longer current, but full of gems.
Scrolling down the abandoned blog, one of the first brilliancies you'll find is: "Kentucky February Snowfall."
Let's look at the opening stanza:
deep blue rhythm of arctic winter grasps
in chill fingers southern haven belies
comforts, jails them in frosted winter world
when to end? when to end? for warmth they pray
though to whom none can certain say, they pray
and curse and burn more fuel, wood, gas, coal
smoke and steam escaping impotent to heat
the world and its arctic sky snowing slow.
Note that the entire stanza accelerates like a ball rolling down a steep hill, becoming more and more urgent, even verging on despair with the repeated "when to end? when to end?" and then coming to a perfect close on the word "slow."
This is like gunning a Lamborghini to the edge of a death-cliff, then turning it around on a dime, no -- kissing it around -- to a stop, where it shines in moonlight.
After this deft volta, Pitchford describes the first inklings of spring -- early signs of winter's death. These are stirrings in the mind and soul, mysteriously timed to and forever joined with the seasons, nature, and the earth. The second stanza is smooth and lyrical, slow and triumphant, leading to affirmation.
The repetition of the word "vernal" in the second (final) stanza is perhaps an oversight or, more likely, an echo of the repetition-device in the first stanza, modulated to reflect the inevitability of rebirth and spring.
Last notes: Pitchford's logopoeia here is flawless. Particularly in the first stanza.
And the poem's closing word is perfectly chosen, don't you agree?
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