Comments on Frogpond, Winter 2006

I wrote the following comments in March 2006 about selected poems from Frogpond 29:1, Winter 2006.

Comments on selected poems from the winter 2006 issue of Frogpond:

        morning chill
        the pile of dishes
        to be put away

                Robert Epstein

This is a poem about the dullness of the winter season, when energy levels seem diminished and it’s easy to procrastinate on simple household chores. We feel the chill not just in the air, but in the dishes, and perhaps also in ourselves.

        deep winter
        we agree that the lost thing
        is in a safe place

                Peggy Willis Lyles

A couple has been searching for something but comes to a temporary resolution in deciding that it must be somewhere safe. Perhaps they have searched for a long time, and only in deep winter, a season of potential despair, do they give up searching with a mental rationalization.

        circle of pines
        God absent
        from the wedding vows

                Carolyn Hall

If one does not believe in God, one would be more likely to have a wedding outdoors among the pines than in a church. Thus, it is no surprise that an outdoor wedding might make no mention of God. The gentle irony of this poem is that, if God exists, he is still present in nature—in the pines that encircle them.

        lazy day
        a croquet ball
        rolls into long grass

                Harriot West

The languidness of the rolling ball echoes the laziness of this summer day. Perhaps the ball has rolled far enough that no one wants to get it, underscoring how laid back everyone might be. Even the grass is uncut, for no one has had the energy to cut it. Yet the people in this poem would rather play a relaxed game that attend to chores. Every detail works together in this poem.

        winter morning
        the shadow of my head
        on father’s face

                Deitmar Tauchner

Others have written poems about seeing a parent’s face in their reflection in a mirror. This is a similar poem that recognizes the changing of generations. In the winter season, the season of old age, the poet recognizes even his own aging in seeing his head’s shadow fit his father’s face.

        no mirror
        above the sink—
        I look at the wall

                Tom Clausen

Haven’t we all done this? Perhaps in a public restroom (where mirrors are sometimes not present), we wash our hands and look up at where we expect a mirror to be for a ritual check of our self-appearance. The poet recognizes this as a habit by describing himself looking at the wall. There is humour in realizing that one is still looking at the wall despite the lack of a mirror, yet also a deeper resonance in this recognition, not of one’s face, but of one’s habit.