wheat pennies and wild oats
child raised questions
to trump the outcome
penny bets bluff thought
a vast wealth in fragments
bounce away on the brick stoop
Lincoln’s monument radiates
everywhere a cent is left alone
wage claimants and hazard acts
rake in their own lucky answers
to holey pockets loaded with dice
the old man quit roaming
his lap has room to spare
go on up for one free hug
rifle through the seat cushion
pitch what even money
there is there into wishes
for unending ripples
in the reflecting pool
0 thoughts on “coin toss”
I’d like to put my 2 cents in on this one. Nice play on words right off the bat with “wheat pennies and wild oats”. The title of poem, ‘Coin toss’, seems to indicate a randomness or gamble of sorts in regards to so many aspects of life, or indeed life itself.
In the first stanza, the poet begins appropriately with ‘a child…’ and beckons a perspective of the wild risk-taker, the chance-maker, the gambler, the experiencer, the learner. The penny is a good symbol here in allowing the reader to figuratively identify the lowest common denomenator to life’s building blocks and pursuit of happiness, as well as the literal ‘starting point’ for wealth and all it may represent.
But let’s examine these lines, shall we? “penny bets bluff thought/
a vast wealth in fragments/bounce away on the brick stoop”. I loved the use of the ‘b’ words here giving us the pleasure of such eloquent sound even though there is the suggestion of a not so pleasureable experience–perhaps one in which the youth learned the hard way that ‘a penny saved is a penny earned’ or even that we don’t always win our bets.
The 2nd stanza continues with more suggestion of gambling and chance-taking with evidence of the unlucky–‘wage-claimants’ and ‘hazard acts’. The mention of ‘Lincoln’s monument’ continues the ‘penny theme’–the Lincoln memorial being the next backside of the cent that was minted after the ‘wheat penny’. Very clever! “Lincoln’s monument radiates”–i love that!
This poem is very much the tale of a progression. The 3rd stanza begins with ‘old man’ (in contrast to the 1st stanza’s ‘child’)and goes on with some acute and poetic lines: “the old man quit roaming/
his lap has room to spare/go on up for one free hug/rifle through the seat cushion/pitch what even money/there is there into wishes/
for unending ripples/in the reflecting pool”. It would seem that this person of topic has become wiser, though not necessarilly any the richer unless we consider wisdom to be the ultimate of riches which is possibly the point here. The imagery and words used here also remind me of the Lincoln Memorial where Lincoln is sitting almost inviting admirers to come up for a hug and for him to whisper thru stony lips what only time can tell. Yet the poem directs the reader to look for ‘even money’ (heads up?) (the bright side/positive side?)and to turn it into wishes in the wishing pool. What are the ‘unending ripples/in the reflecting pool’? Are they the choices we make with the earnings of our labors, or just our desires themselves? What discerns between a fool and a wiseman? hmm. There’s a lot of detail in this craftilly written poem that can jolt and fascinate the reader into so many various tangents.
Very good, sir! You’ve broke the piggy-bank with this one! Quite lucrative cent-aments!
Thanks for sharing!
Each kid is either a blessing, an accident, a choice, or a mistake. I can see everyone to some extent being each of these things simultaneously.
In having children, you throw the dice to keep them rolling along one more day. Maybe that’s the reason we keep trying to make better versions of ourselves. As long as the result is open to debate there is no good, no better, just our best. I know I did my best. If I could have done it any other way, that’s how it would have gone.
My job as a teacher involves witnessing the parenting styles of hundreds of people. The winners in life are the ones who want it worst. I guess when it comes to my own children I just don’t want it bad enough. It’s more important to me to see my kids tumble however they want and let the results speak for themselves. Maybe I’m lazy. Maybe it’s apathy. I can’t try that hard. Deciding the outcome for them by exhausting myself doesn’t seem like something I can do. If I’m lucky enough to be a grandparent I’d like to have enough left over to enjoy it.
Thank you for your comment. I enjoyed reading it.