Critics have also proposed a literal interpretation of the final tercet
, as reflected in the Fosters' judgment that it is "anticlimactic and merits attention only for the complexity of its syntax" (92); a viewpoint which, on a surface level, does have some validity.
Yet upon its republication in Collected Works, the 2002 edition of Niedecker's oeuvre edited by Jenny Penberthy, this utterance is joined to the previous stanza as a tercet
, leaving only three stanzas which unfold in a stanzaic progression of monostich, tercet
, and couplet.
Like the various trees that the poem asks "One" to learn to behold, the poetic surfaces of "The Snow Man" crack and crumble, becoming an icy, slippery surface that speeds up with an increased frequency of enjambment (indeed, the fourth tercet
completely lacks punctuation) toward "the nothing that is." Like winter's wind, unencumbered by leafy resistance, the poem's sentence does away, it would seem, with distinction, variety, and figuration.
The four unrhymed tercet
poetic units hold the book together and keep it from breaking into existential fragments.
On a technical level, it is striking how the spiraling ghazal structure, both open and concentrated, also led Bly into the tightest poetic form he has ever written in: tercets
in even lines, in which each self-sufficient tercet
offers a new configuration or variation on a theme.
The first tercet
employs verbs in perfect tenses, and the first two lines repeat the same temporal adverb (cuando) (9-14).
In the first quatrain an opposition is posed between the rhymes made with nominative singular and those made with the genitive plural--the weighty "masterov" rhymes with the similarly formidable "znatokov." The second quatrain and the first tercet
are likewise playing on the singular-plural divide: "trudov--zritel'--oblakov--spasitel" and "ochakh--luchakh--Siona," respectively.
The twelfth poem, "De Profundis," begins with this tercet
A three-lines-a-center was Purcett, So when he penned a limerick (curse it!) The blessed thing came out a tercet
! Absentminded, the late poet Moore, Jaywalking, at work on line four, Was killed by a truck.
Only the last tercet
of this unpublished sonnet remains: (5)
Originally written at right angles on the reverse of the sheet, the second tercet
of 'The Windhover' runs counter to what it nevertheless endorses, concluding, as a signet-ring pressed into sealing-wax, with 'gold-vermilion'.