Original poem reprinted online here: "Waiting on the Corners" by Donald Hall
Originally read: December 25, 2012?
More information about the Poet: Donald Hall
I wrote a lot of "I like" for this poem. Funnily enough there's a lot of grammar issues within the poem that would make English majors wince. However, grammar is a tool to standardize communication, but in a poem, miscommunications bring a sort of insight.
For example the first line: "Glass, air, ice, light, and winter cold." Even though I wrote that "this collection of verbs [they are nouns past me -- you dolt] are mundane." There's a sense of two things with the first line -- immediacy (the nouns are right in front of the) and disorder (without a complete sentence there is a lack of context.
As we get further down into the poem there's ambiguous pronouns "They" in line three could refer to the items above or a group of people -- the line has a sense of duality to it as though the scene and the people, or the scene or the people can be referred to. The "It" is once again ambiguous, yet, refers to Christmas -- yet the tone of the poem at this poem brings an emotional impact to "it" -- a kind of desolation.
I feel that the use of this ambiguous intent (contextualized emotionally by words like "unemployed" [used as an adjective] and "exultation" this sort of wanting to be happy internally but, in reality, life is crap) has greater effectiveness when it shifts onto different and distanced images "the big, idle farms, on the hills, / forest and rivers"
But the last part "of America" loses it for me though because it goes too specific. The poem because prophetic instead of observant -- and it's a typical twist, but I felt the observations were stronger because of the reiteration of the mundane images used in the beginning which, now, has a changed context in the poem (regardless of place).