Resolutions

Fresh snow on New Year’s.
I sweep the porch,
then stand at the railing
to trim my fingernails —

always an oddly satisfying job
with that click of a clean bite,
the surprising lack of sensation
in these beetle-hard walls that line
our primary instruments of touch.

I take care that each trimming
stays whole, a nearly perfect crescent
to admire for half a second before
I add it to the instant ground below.
__________

For the Read Write Poem prompt, “resolutions.” Links to the other participants’ poems are here.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

24 Comments


  1. Hi Dave, Thanks for your comments! They way you posted some of my lines made me realize there was an almost complete haiku right inside my poem.

    Your poem is superb! Every line is as perfect as those nearly perfect crescents. You have great sound here, as well as imagery. What caught my attention first was the unusual juxtaposition of beauty and the mundane, maybe even beauty and ugly–not that clipping your nails is ugly, but it is definitely a close opposite to regarding the snow.

    You have inspired me to try this juxtaposition in a poem of my own. As well as your four line stanzas. Thanks!

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  2. I like the concentration here, the attention to detail in the action and the writing about it. I like cutting my nails too!

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  3. Before I go
    I’ll get some
    ground to cover.

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  4. So unexpected and welcomed after all those New Year’s Resolutions! I had to laugh because my husband has a nail clipping fetish. I swear! Sometimes they don’t even need it but he still clips and makes them bleed! Perfect!

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  5. Thanks for the comments; I appreciate the feedback. I don’t know – I haven’t quite decided whether I like this one or not. The rhythm seems a little off in the last stanza. Basically, I’m out of practice. But I hereby resolve *clears throat to write and post poems more often – ideally twice a week.

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  6. Very nice one, Dave. Maybe try it without the ” I” s? I don’t know. It reads very well to me, and I especially like the “beetle-hard walls.”

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  7. I like the beetle-hard walls, too, and the perfect crescents. Not sure about the end – does seem like it could leave off with something more satisfying. But overall, very pleasing.

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  8. Maybe try it without the “I” s?
    Hey, there’s a thought.

    I’ll see if anything occurs to me in the morning. Thanks, guys.

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  9. A gardener once told me that nail clippings feed the ants; they carry them off to their home-hill. I used that in a poem once; perhaps it would be useful here.

    Could you see the clippings in the snow?

    Asks she, assuming this is fact as well as truth…

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  10. Very nice. Nothing like writing about the mundane activity we don’t think much of. This poem has an air of lordliness, especially in the last stanza.

    Thanks for dropping by my blog. You were right on the “Whereas.” The legal document look was what I was going for.

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  11. I like the intimate moment, and how the narrator trims his nails outside in the cold air, and also the beetle metaphor. The poem got me thinking about my animal nature, but in a good way.

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  12. The most interesting thing about this to me is the nature of the narrator, obsessive and particular. I wouldn’t be surprised if he always did his nails this way, on the porch and at the same time of day. Little crescent moons at twilight, perhaps.

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  13. Whenever I cut my nails I think, why don’t I do this more often?
    I put the trimmings carefully in the kitchen compost bin as I consider them to be a very small dose of hoof and horn!

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  14. Gosh, maybe I should blog about bodily functions more often. I seem to have struck a real chord here. Thanks, y’all.

    sbpoet – No, they sank from sight. I might put that in, too…

    Derek – Lordliness, eh? But I didn’t make the servants do it this time. :)
    (Glad you didn’t mind my critical comment on your blog.)

    marlyat2 – Interesting. In that case (to answer SB’s last point), the narrator here is definitely not me! Or maybe it’s me the way I aspire to be: a fussy old bachelor who keeps everything neat as a pin.

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  15. Here’s an alternate last stanza:

    I take care that each trimming
    stays whole, a nearly perfect crescent
    to admire for half a second before it drops,
    a moon slipping into the white sea.

    (Okay, maybe not!)

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  16. well… i have to say i do like both endings… however i find the last more ethereal than the body of the poem… if that matters… or not… wonderful way of going about the prompt……

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  17. Thanks. Yeah, you’re right, the second suggestion doesn’t really fit, and it wasn’t entirely serious. I have more work to do on this poem, but it will need to go in the proverbial bottom drawer for a while first.

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  18. Hi Dave,

    First up thanks for stopping by and commenting, I really appreciate it. Secondly I love this poem, as others have said the concentration, the detail are wonderful putting the reader right there in the moment with y0u. Great.

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  19. Thanks, Jo – I’m flattered by your high opinion. I added your blog to my Google Reader subscriptions yesterday, and intend to check back often. Very impressive stuff.

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  20. I like the sounds of “oddly satisfying job” and “click of a clean bite.” And “instant ground” surprised me, in a good way.

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  21. Gosh, maybe I should blog about bodily functions more often.

    I don’t know anyone who manages to work bodily functions into as many blog posts are you do, Dave.

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  22. Hey thanks. I should have been visiting his site when I was working on my GI tract/constipation project. However, it does appear that there’s a sequel in the works…

    Reply

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