poetry critical

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The Work Boot

carries little trace of vanity—
no frilly ribbons or fancy laces here—
this is a down-to-earth boot,
crafted for men and women
performing the day to day
hardscrabble work of the world.
It sloshes through sleet and snow,
mud and manure;
tramps about timbered hills
and tilled fields;
walks along tempered steel
and factory floors.
The work boot pushed ploughshare
through hard clay soil,
danced across rivers
jammed with saw logs—
there is soul in this boot's sole.
And once the job is done, the work boot
rests in the grace of its own history.

This was done for a community project and limited to twenty lines.

27 Mar 09

Rated 10 (7.3) by 2 users.
Active (2):
Inactive (12): 1, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

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this piece must have slipped by folks... this is a grandly written piece of history, covers the subject in an outstanding way, easy to read, prepare in a simple way... i could say more... j.g. smiles
 — goeszon

Very rugged, patriotic and from a blue collar perspective.  One small thing I'm noticing is in L18.  I would change "this boot" to "it" so you don't have the redundance that follows in L19.  Too many "boots."  Y'dig?  There are some nice sonics throughout which bounce off one another and in doing so, there are words AND music.  Excellent!  :-)
 — starr

Thanks goeszon--the title probably doesn't attract an enthusiastic response to readers.
Thanks for the comment starr--the poem will become part of an actual sculpture of a work boot.
 — PaulS

Very cool, Paul.  :-)
 — starr

Thanks starr.  :-)
 — PaulS

 — PaulS

there is a line in  "my fathers boots" were he says "take up your boots"... "this is a down to earth boot"... onward boots stay on the path of instructing us with memories and such... j.g.smiles
 — unknown

this is j.g.smiles... known as GOESZON, i do not know who" unknown" is...
 — goeszon

but i wrote the comment ,there is a line... strange.  j.g. smiles
 — goeszon

You probably weren't logged in when you wrote that line goeszon.  Thanks for the comment and revisit.
 — PaulS

Any other commentors out there?
 — PaulS

Well done.  Not exactly an easy subject to was poetic with and you've managed it quite nicely.  Enjoyable read.
 — sybarite

doesn't seem constrained, as the footnote would suggest.

i like writing like this, for sure. can't add or subtract anything.
 — listen

sybarite and listen, thanks to both of you :)
 — PaulS

completely revised stanza three.
 — PaulS

I have one itsy bitsy issue.. the word danced on line 14, does not seem to really go well with the theme, as it projected a gaiety somehow that isn't a part of the nature of a work boot. That's just what I think.

I love the clarity of images. It's simple, and true on every word.
And this makes me think of the lowly work boot as a hero to be honored.

I wish I can write like this about the simple things and make them to be really meaningful.

Great work.
 — majan

Thanks for the comment majan.  I can see where the use of the word "danced" might imply gaity in the minds of some readers, but where I live the term "dancing on logs" was often used to describe the actions of loggers trying to keep their balance while working the logs down river.  
 — PaulS

Once again beyond average you continue to give us work after work a quality unique to yourself, when we go to your site it's like Christmas all over, treats to be had right at our fingers reach... i urge anyone who has not been there to go for the reads, worth it indeed... kudos my friend
 — ambiguos

oh, nice word  - hardscrabble - I once made a performance Art piece of a work-boot filled with wild-prairie flowers -- the contrast of dirty-ole boot and the splash of colourful blooms being the move that beauty doesn't distinguish with class or race or any f these contrived forms 'n rituals -- rather the dirty-ole boot is the mud of the earth and our mud brothers 'n sisters all have their time to bloom -- indeed the grace in work that is in tune with Nature is its own reward!
 — AlchemiA

A some what juvenile composition.
Lines 13 and 14 are technical nonsense. A ploughshare is the cutting knife or wedge placed before a plough.
 — unknown

Ploughshare:  the part of a moldboard plow that cuts the furrow.  It is part of the plow, unknown, therefore lines 13 and 14 ARE technically correct.
 — PaulS

Thanks for the comment Alch.  The project this was written for is quite similar to the one you described.
 — PaulS

"Ploughshare:  the part of a moldboard plow that cuts the furrow.  It is part of the plow, unknown, therefore lines 13 and 14 ARE technically correct.
— PaulS"

Belligerence is in my opinion not a desirable trait in those aspiring to be poets or other wise.
Your belief and assertion obviously come from one of ignorance.

As a youth, many of my formative years were spent in following the plough on my father’s farm. I later went on too win a number of Young Farmers ploughing competitions.
The plough is designed to be pulled and in the case of horse drawn ploughs, the ploughman merely guides the plough with his hands.
The ploughshare cuts the sod, and the mould board turns it over.
The feet merely walk in the excavated furrow which in the case of a tractor drawn plough and most horse drawn ploughs is normally twelve inches wide. It would matter little to the finished result if work boots were worn or not.
Just to complete your education, the correct name for a ploughshare is the coulter; tractor drawn ploughs are normally equipped with cutting discs called coulter wheels instead of coulter blades.
I hope this proves useful to you in amending your inaccuracies.

Line six appears to be an uncomfortable one in its context
The adjective “hardscrabble” and the noun “work” seem to imply that the work is of a meagre nature; where upon a large number of blue-collar workers may seek to disagree.
With a little bit of imagination, the repeated references to work and boot could quite easily be replaced by less repetitious and boring terms.
The change from present to past tense is disconcerting.
Let’s hope the sculpture is somewhat better crafted than its accompanying poem.
 — unknown

Unknown:  My grandfather was a farmer and he pushed as well as guided the plow.  I commend you on your achievments as a young plow master and I thank you for educating me about the ploughshare, but I am not writing a disertation on the subject--just using the word in context with the poem, which in my view is correct.  As for the change in tense, it's done in many poems.  You can't very well speak about the past in present tense.  Thanks for the crit, but I think it is aimed at your dislike of the poet more than the poem.
 — PaulS

PaulS I think you presume too much. I have no idea who you are.
I merely read your poetry. Therefore, I have no feeling towards you as a person.

Your grandfather must have been an incredible man.
One good Shire horse can normally pull a single plough through previously cultivated ground; however, in heavy clay normally two horses are employed.
I have never in my life seen a man push a plough through clay.
Certainly, the Guinness book of records should be made aware of his achievement.

If I can conclude, I merely assess your poetry as I read it; I am under no obligation to grant favours in doing so.
 — unknown

I must have mistaken you for someone else; my sincere apologies.
 — PaulS

as a subject object to vocalise time, and place, this is good form and style .. will read through a few more times .. a good read..
 — Feminoid

Thanks for stopping by Fem.  I appreciate the comment.
 — PaulS

Thanks for the one unknown, much appreciated.
 — PaulS