William De Witt Snodgrass

(January 5, 1926 – January 13, 2009 / Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania)

Heart's Needle - Poem by William De Witt Snodgrass

Child of my winter, born
When the new fallen soldiers froze
In Asia's steep ravines and fouled the snows,
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Topic(s) of this poem: child

Poet's Notes about The Poem

For Cynthia

When he would not return to fine garments and good food, to his houses and his people, Loingseachan told him, “Your father is dead.” “I’m sorry to hear it,” he said. “Your mother is dead,” said the lad. “All pity for me has gone out of the world.” “Your sister, too, is dead.” “The mild sun rests on every ditch,” he said; “a sister loves even though not loved.” “Suibhne, your daughter is dead.” “And an only daughter is the needle of the heart.” “And Suibhne, your little boy, who used to call you “Daddy”—he is dead.” “Aye,” said Suibhne, “that’s the drop that brings a man to the ground.”
He fell out of the yew tree; Loingseachan closed his arms around him and placed him in manacles.

Comments about Heart's Needle by William De Witt Snodgrass

  • Rookie Michael Shepherd (3/18/2005 6:46:00 AM)

    Anyone who wishes the full text can get it and much else, at poets.org including the author reading. (Report) Reply

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Rookie Michael Shepherd (3/18/2005 6:36:00 AM)

    Michael, could you perhaps submit the whole and correct original? It is done on this site. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 4 Points Michael Gessner (3/15/2005 10:46:00 AM)

    It is something more than a misfortune when a major poem such as Heart's Needle (ital.,) which has certainly influenced, but more likely established, a twentieth century movement-the 'confessional' genre-is presented in excerpts, stanzaic fragments of the whole, and those stanzas are not even in the shapes of the original text.
    How can a poem like this be rated? Hasn't its rating already been established?
    Won't it be read as long as there is human language? When I think of Snograss, I think of Neruda. I think of statues in the capitol of the human heart. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Brian Russel (1/28/2005 12:55:00 AM)

    if i could
    bear the brunt of tragic field
    where blunt ends of havoc wheeled
    i would

    forgive my eyes their render,
    for starry nights cast small the part,
    and love may pull this needle from my heart
    if i allow its splender

    to replace the snow with rain,
    warm in its earthy spill,
    and somehow forge the will
    to move beyond my pain. (Report) Reply

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