Winter as a Long Vowel

Snow and ice week beats desire, a cold game victory, the spoils spoiled despoiled as even the oils freeze on the street beneath freezing rain, snow, sleet, silver saxophone east three day blow, again with uncertainty freezing rain, then maybe greater snow, the icy home burial, the grave diacritical signal code, the skein stripe heated bellows, below freezing, icicle phase. He’s now showing kinesics of hypothermia, that fellow, up in the trees. Snow shapes blanket the trees, in the wood where wooed we Saint Valentine’s Day, nestling the soft sounds of love, the warmth of feathers. What birds want out, let them fly. Herein we stay with wise advice, waiting for Spring.

Dolce & Metallico

To sand a page of flat board, one abrades first metallico then brushes dolce, as the piece turns to canvas. That is a music lesson learned in the woodshop. On the guitar, metallico is played near the bridge, where the strings are tight and unbending and sound like the steel wheels of a train or fingernails on edge across a chalkboard – both sounds rarely heard these days as trains recede farther into the industrial inner city or disappear through the countryside, and chalkboards fill landfills. In the middle of nowhere one learns to listen. Dolce on guitar is sounded where the strings loosen, up the neck from the soundhole. Sweet is dolce, but the hard, long ē of sweet sounds more metallico, so soft is dolce, not sour, but balmy. Metallico, that steel rail sound, harsh and disagreeable, straightens the spine and tingles the neck hairs. For some listeners, dolce raises goosebumps; for others, metallico does the trick. Dolce is the sound of the short, soft vowel, metallico the sound of the long, hard vowel. Thus the meaning of a musical note changes with its vowel length. A bent line over the vowel illustrates the soft sound (ă, ĕ, ĭ, ŏ, and ŭ), a straight line the hard (ā, ē, ī, ō, ū). Often, the meaning of a poem rests within its sounds, not seen in its definitions. One must listen to a poem like one listens to a piece of music. The reading question is often not what a poem means but how it feels when read or heard, what its sounds suggest. Some poems sand wood; others cut stone.

Vowel Trial Balloon

“Baby I wove you
Ain be mine wover too.”

“Nary time owns you
Ain me I go undo.”

“Say me try toned prude
Nay ye buy so two.”

“Wage fee I know you
Say ye sigh oh adieu.”