William De Witt Snodgrass
'One Snodgrass, two Snodgrass, three Snodgrass, four . . .
I took my own rollcall when I counted seconds;
'One two three, Two two three, Three . . .,' the drum score
Showed only long rests to the tympani's entrance.
'Oh-oh-oh leff; leff; leff-toh-righ-toh-leff,'
The sergeant cadenced us footsore recruits;
The heart, poor drummer, gone lame, deaf,
Then AWOL, gets frogmarched to the noose.
Old coots, at the Veterans', might catch breath
If their cheeks got slapped by a nurse's aide,
Then come back to life; just so, at their birth,
Young rumps had been tendered warm accolades.
The kick-ass rude attitude, smart-assed insult,
The acid-fueled book review just might shock
Us back to the brawl like smelling salts,
Might sting the lulled heart up off its blocks.
I thought I'd always favor rubato
Or syncopation, scorning fixed rhythms;
Thought my old heartthrobs could stand up to stress;
Believed one's bloodpump should skip a few beats
If it fell into company with sleek young women;
Believed my own bruit could beat with the best.
Wrong again, Snodgrass! This new gold gadget,
Snug as the watch on my wife's warm wrist,
Drives my pulsetempo near twice its old pace—
Go, nonstop startwatch! Go, clockwork rabbit,
Keeping this lame old dog synchronized,
Steady, sparked up, still in the race.
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Comments about this poem (Pacemaker by William De Witt Snodgrass )
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
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(24 January 1572 - 31 March 1631)
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