The Man by Paulette Packard Johnson

The Man

After Van Gogh’s Weaver Arranging Threads

Morning brilliance pouring through
the warped and filthy glass,
illuminates the man –

His fine fingers tease me,
feather-light, stroking my silky length,
enraptured by what I shall be –

Warming, his salt sweat titillating
each fiber of my being becoming
richer for the taste of him,

And incense of lilies, pungence of dust
whispering through the room,
breathe deeply –

Whack and shoosh! the shuttle flies
and I become beautiful in the loom’s frame
because of the man.

Paulette Packard Johnson’s questions:

1)  Is this interesting, or boring?
2) Does verse four work with the rest, or does it sound like it was stuck there to fulfill the writing requirements?
3) What could make this better?

Reply directly to the poet:  Paulette.PJohnson (at) gmail (dot) com


  1. Dan Elman  •  Dec 14, 2010 @6:06 pm

    1) yes! it’s interesting. It found it very provocative, and lively, which is intriguing especially coming from a description of a 2-dimensional and visual object- you begin with the visual, then lead us into touch, then taste, smell, later sound, the rest of the senses, which I thought touched upon the idea of the viewer having or being threads in the metaphorical loom of the artist. You take us with you so beautifully, in an experience that rings true to human experience. There is a connection there I think you pick at rather brilliantly, which I enjoyed a lot.

    2) I had no problem with stanza 4, expect for the dash at the end, which also appears on other stanzas. It really just serves no purpose. Extra punctuation. Maybe it’s just my personal taste- I tend to err on the side of less punctuation whenever in question. In my opinion, excess punctuation becomes nothing more than visual clutter inhibiting movement from one line, stanza, word, to the next.

    3) Your last stanza lets me down a little. I felt everything was strong up to that point. This is a gorgeous line: “and I become beautiful in the loom’s frame” but why don’t you just end with that? what a beautiful, perfect ending. I hope I am not overstepping here, but I got to end of that line and I felt wonderfully full, as a good poem does. Your last line “because of the man.” is redundant, isn’t it? I mean, you’ve already more than suggested that by the time we get to the end of the piece. Why tell us something over again, when we already understand? It’s obvious. You don’t have to say that. It’s much more interesting, enlivening, to be left with the idea of you, the narrator, as a living creature of beauty within this living metaphorical framework.
    For similar reasoning, I would think about a different title. It’s just a little bland, compared to the rest of the piece. It’s so rich in language, rich in imagery, and the other senses. To just say ‘the man’ doesn’t do much to entice or prepare us for what’s to come. Perhaps make it more specific in some sense? or give us something to titillate within the title?

  2. Paulette Johnson  •  Dec 17, 2010 @8:10 pm

    Dear Dan,

    Thank you so much for reading, and for commenting. I’m taking your suggestions to heart, and I’ve emailed you a response.

    Merry Christmas, Paulette

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