Pacemaker Poem by William De Witt Snodgrass

Pacemaker

Rating: 4.1


I

'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.

II

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.

III

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.

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Marieta Maglas 24 April 2018

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. -Beautiful poem -thank you for sharing.Voted 10.

0 0 Reply
Edward Kofi Louis 24 April 2018

Peace to the world! ! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.

1 0 Reply
ooooo 24 April 2018

by far the worst poem ive ever read (0/! 0)

1 0 Reply
Glen Kappy 24 April 2018

I’m not familiar with Snodgrass though I’ve seen his name and maybe read a poem or two by him. This one was an interesting experience for me feeling like I was pulled in one direction and then, somewhat abruptly, in another. But, at the end, I felt it was worth the read. I particularly liked, in part II the first stanza, at their birth, young rumps had been tendered warm accolades. -GK

1 0 Reply
Michael Brainy 24 April 2018

amazing poem, full of true, joy and hope

1 0 Reply
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