When I posted the poem returning, a while back, I’ll admit that it wasn’t because I think it’s particularly good. It just seemed to suit the mood and the weather.
One of the problems I see with it is the “poesy”: the self-conscious and unnecessary use of poetic words. I think that including the word gossamer and the phrase in her wake is pretty much unforgivable in so short a piece. The latter could easily be replaced by behind her without losing any of the meaning. After all, whoever “she” is, she’s almost certainly not a boat.
I’m really not sure about gossamer, either, although it is used in a potentially literal way. Chambers define it as “fine filmy spider-woven threads seen on hedges or floating in the air.” I know those threads that float in the air as “Devil’s spit”, and the scarves of evaporation early in the morning at this time of year certainly remind me of them. The poem was intended to be the first glimpse of spring, though and whether the spiders’ silk occurs now, I’m not sure. I suspect not, as it’d be far too cold most mornings for insects – or arachnids – to be out and about.
Even if it’s appropriate for the season, the fact remains that gossamer is a word that needs to be used with caution in poetry. There are many such “forbidden words” that are liable to make the piece sound like teenage angst or far too sugary sweet.
A usenet poetry group challenge years ago invited us to write a (reasonably good) poem using all of the following
soul (or spirit)
I’d extend that list to include death, anger, and many other abstract nouns, and also add gossamer, myriad, afterglow…
I’m not saying these words should be completely avoided, but I’d recommend being very careful about how frequently they appear if you want to write good poetry.