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“The Bride in Long Delay”

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The poem was written in response to prompt #108 on ReadWritePoem: apply Matthea Harvey’s technique (as adopted by Matthew Zapruder) of dictionary-dipping. For complete details on my dictionary-dipping, see the Writer’s Statement within the first comment.

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…………………………THE BRIDE IN LONG DELAY
 
…………………………To keep the assembled from looking in, a lockplate
…………………………wedded to screws and pins beneath the tarn-
…………………………ished cover, its tight embroideries, its kreuzers
…………………………of copper, aluminum, steel. Her vows penned
…………………………upon the code of a doily, lace veiling a japanned
…………………………bureau, one lacquered path from a silver river
…………………………dwindling around a mountain. Two peaks
…………………………owned by the knobs of a drawer. All delay to keep
…………………………away that surname, the groom’s title: Holdship.
…………………………She traces it through the air. Hold won’t disappear.
…………………………He waits in cuffs and tie, primed, wallpaper ground.
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…………………………by Therese L. Broderick
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…………………………((A writer’s statement appears as the first comment.)
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About ThereseLBroderick

Independent community poet living in Albany, New York USA.

13 responses »

  1. WRITER’S STATEMENT
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    This poem uses words from The Connoisseur’s Handbook of Antique Collecting: A Dictionary… edited by Helena Hayward (NY: Hawthorn, 1960). The words are: lock-plate; Kreuzer; Japan-work (or jappaned); Holdship; grounded wallpaper. I invented a procedure for selecting these words. The procedure: I started by looking up the word in this antiques dictionary which most closely resembled the last word in Matthew Zapruder’s wordlist, “locked.” Then I counted the number of letters in that word. I used that number to determine which dictionary page I would turn to next (I subtracted that number from the first page number of 168). I repeated this process to locate more words. The term “grounded” in “grounded wallpaper” seemed a good way to end the poem. As the poem developed, its nucleus settled as the concept of being locked into commitment.
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  2. This is fascinating.

    Well done.

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  3. This is so very unusual. I liked it.

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  4. So very interesting. The antiquities, both touchable and visual, are portrayed eloquently. Enjoyed this!

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  5. Her vows penned/
    upon the code of a doily – I really love this image – it reminds of Emily Dickinson!

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  6. Oh, my, I adore your process! You made a marvelous work and with all those limits and restrictions, too. The words are magical. I can see a dressing room, my mind makes up a scene for words and descriptions that aren’t there, such is the evocative power of the few words, in a fairly short poem.

    Terrific sounds in the poem, too, the lines cut just right.

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  7. a-ha!! What a cool dictionary to use! I almost looked up those words and then thought, “Therese always gives us a look into her inner writing sanctum so maybe, just maybe…” and sure enough! I love these new words….

    I also enjoy the “lockplate wedded” and could easily leap into a matrimonial metaphor of being committed ummm…. involuntarily.

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  8. Loved it. I actually had the dull taste of metal in my mouth when I read it. I also like your process of finding the words. Random, yet logical. I plan to look up the meaning of kreuzer and Holdship right now.

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  9. Lovely how this poem moves through its internal environment, details so intimately described, like seen from a circling birds-eye in flight, then so personalized by that line, “She traces it through the air. Hold won’t disappear.” Beautiful. And even at this moment reviewed, the poem’s eye is still in flight.

    And to create this from a list of words (code maker that you were!) is all the more impressive.

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  10. very interesting and imaginative way to choose your words! I really liked the feeling of how becoming married is a form of being “locked up”.

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  11. nicely done…..with that dictionary….hey Im close to being an antique…not in your dictionary??? thanks again fro sharing this

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  12. I believe you may have out-mechanicaled the original. I though I had done that with a paper template placed over the dictionary page.
    Of them all, I think my favorite detail is the simplest: she traces it through the air

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  13. This poem gave me the feeling of an unwanted wedding, an obligation, an old-school girl locked in by expectation and tradition. Sad that this may have been true more often than note in time past. Your words lent that old, antique feeling to the poem, and I pictured a wedding in the Gibson-girl era. What I mean to say is that you used these words to evoke that scene. Well done.

    – Nicole

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