Thursday, April 25, 2013

Analysis of "A Little Shiver" by Barton Sutter

Original poem reprinted online here: "A Little Shiver" by Barton Sutter
Originally read: January 27, 2013
More information about the Poet: Barton Sutter






When reading this poem again, I thought to myself that this was something I would see in a Norman Rockwell painting -- something so light-hearted and domestic that  I have a hard time being cynical about the poem.  The poem starts out with the "bad tidings" being snow.

And here's the aftermath of such an event:
1) Children abandoned their homework (then a light-hearted jab at hypotenuse).
2) Snowplow driver getting ready for work.
3) An couple resolves their "barking at each other" and decide to "go to bed"
4) Dog, in the snow, puts tail over snow.

Surely, there are things missing in the poem (if I look at this as a narrative) more centered around the couple who "barked at each other"; however, I fill in the blanks with connotation.  Something as innocuous as quilts diffuses my cynicism.

And this is where I think the poem keeps with the tone very well, this homely, domestic, warm tone.  The words being used in the poem don't have another layer to them.  What I mean is there are lead in words that bring in something different to the poem.

For example, "The old couple, who'd barked at each other" (emphasis mine).  If the poem changes barked to argue, fight, or something a bit more darker, then I would look at this poem down another layer -- and lok at words like "abandoned" (line 5) in another dimension.  Yet, those connotations, at least for me are not there.

What is there for me is a strong images that are upfront and cute.  The last four lines

And the aging husky they failed to hear
Scratch the back door, turned around twice
In the yard, settled herself in the snow,
And covered her nose with her tail

Past me wrote this:

-The scenes were like in a movie: so instead of looking deeply into the images -- I'll take the scenes face value

or

-There might be something hidden in the images or construction, but the poem is light-hearted enough to   not be too sweet, and no deep enough (in language and scene) to say there's a deeper meaning in snow.

    -The title adds to the light-hearted notion.

And I don't think any differently now.  However, I'm a bit saddened by the way I think.  I see this poem as artificial and unreal in a sense -- that I can't believe the scenes in the poem; yet, I want the scenes to exist outside the poem and maybe this type of thinking is really looking at the poem.

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