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Old 09-14-2017, 12:00 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is online now
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Default A Little One

(Revision 7)

A Little One

That wide-eyed spider
braving the wider
realm of the room
has exalted my broom

to a tool of fate
and made my great
human self-love
look out above.

. . . . .

(Revision 6)

A Little One

That wide-eyed spider
braving the wider
realm of the rug
has changed my broom

to the cudgel of doom
and made me a bug
in the shadow of
the Big above.

. . . . .

(Revision 5)

That wide-eyed spider
braving the wider
realm of the room
has changed my broom

to a tool of fate
and left me, a great
human and all,
crushingly small

in the shadow of
a Big above.

. . . . .

(Revision 4)

A Little One

That wide-eyed spider
braving the wider
realm of the room
has upped my broom

to a tool of fate
and made me, a great
human and all,
feel crushingly small

and crunchy enough
to look out above.

. . . . .


(Revision 3)

A Little One

A wide-eyed spider
braving the wider
realm of the room
has changed my broom

to a tool of fate
and made my great
human self-love
look out above.

. . . . .
L1: "A" for "That"

. . . . .

(Revision 2)

A Little One

That wide-eyed spider
braving the wider
realm of the room
has exalted my broom

to a tool of fate
and made my great
human self-love
look out above.

. . . . .

(Revision 1)

A Little One

That wide-eyed spider
braving the wider
realm of the room
has exalted my broom

to a tool of fate
and humbled my great
human self-love.
Look out above.

. . . . .
(Original)

A Little One

That wide-eyed spider
braving the wider
realm of the room
has changed my broom

to the cudgel of fate
and made my innate
human self-love
look out above.

Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 09-16-2017 at 09:20 PM.
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  #2  
Old 09-14-2017, 12:33 AM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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Cute piece. It engages my sympathy for the spider before the speaker turns on it, an effective twist. The last line plays nicely on "look out below."
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  #3  
Old 09-14-2017, 05:00 AM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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Aaron,

I always appreciate your poems have a variety of voices an styles.

I think the two beat lines work to evoke the smallness of the spider, and think the poem works well.

My two nits aren't really nits, per se, as I'll make clear.

I don't love that "wide" is used twice in the opening lines. For such a short poem I'd like a bit more variety. Yet, I like the assonance of "wide-eyed spider" enough that I'd be loath to lose it, and don't really know of a better rhyme word for "spider." In other words, I'm not sure it's worth addressing because the elements work.

I also hesitate about "cudgel of fate" since I don't think it has the same sonic strength as the rest. Yet in that sense it's form following function a bit. Further, I like that I "cudgel" often hear cudgel when discussing the over-didactic. It fits well, and almost gives a lightness to a poem about our own insecure place in the world.

Overall, a nice little piece that, while trodding some familiar ground, does so in compelling ways that open up beyond itself.
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Old 09-14-2017, 05:12 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Good morning Aaron,

I enjoyed this little meditation.
I like wide-eyed spider, as opposed to compound-eyed, and the move on to wider doesn't bother me. I do wonder if Fate might have something other than a cudgel, which a broom imperfectly resembles IMO. I feel bad for spiders too, it's the Buddhist in me.

As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods;
They kill us for their sport.


Cheers,
John
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Old 09-14-2017, 08:48 AM
Aaron Novick's Avatar
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is online now
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The sonics of "wide-eyed spider" are indeed nice, but I think Andrew is right that using "wide" twice in the first two lines is distracting. And, perhaps more importantly, I don't think it's a compelling use of the pathetic fallacy. Since spider eyes are very distinctive (there's eight of them, after all), making it a little less human (but still sympathetic) would be good here. I don't have any specific ideas, but I think there's a lot of room to play around with it and find something better than "wide-eyed."
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Old 09-14-2017, 10:08 AM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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For me, the last two lines lose focus. I don't really know what "look out above" means, though others have singled it out for praise. What's more, I don't like that the subject of the verb is "human self-love," since self-love can't look -- it can be the reason for looking, but not the looker.

The poem reminded me of Frost's "Dust of Snow," also eight dimeter lines in which a natural observation is presented in in the first half and a human reflection is presented in the second half.
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Old 09-14-2017, 10:38 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is online now
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Hi Aaron,

At first I saw this as an act of anthropomorphic empathy on the part of the N. He sees the spider, fetches his broom (I imagine the spider on the ceiling, but maybe he is already sweeping, and the spider is on the floor). "cudgel of fate" makes me think the spider's life is in the balance, but not yet decided. Then I see the N projecting his own desire to live onto it, seeing that look out from the spider's eyes. However, reading the comments I realised there was another reading. The N imagines a bigger being that could do the same to him. Whether this thought is in itself an act of empathy that prevented him killing the spider, or whether he'd already killed it I'm not sure, depends on how I see "fate". The bigger being reading makes more sense of "look out above", as in "beware above", because "looks (peers) out (from) above" as I was reading it, had seemed oddly worded. Anyway, I thought I'd mention this it in case it's useful to know that there's another possible reading. Of course, quite possibly it's only me that reads it that way.

best,

Matt
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Old 09-14-2017, 11:23 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is online now
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Thank you all very much for commenting. Here are some revisions I am considering, based on your suggestions:

A Little One

That wide-eyed spider/That bearded spider/That nearsighted spider/That biggity spider
braving the wider
realm of the room
has changed my broom

to the cudgel of fate/to the tool of fate/to the wallop of fate
and made my innate/and made my great
human self-love
look out above.
. . . . .

Thank you, Max. I think with “Look out above” this poem will work in the “numinous-feeling” collection I am trying to put together.

Andrew, thank you. I have proposed revisions based on your nits. I was wondering if “cudgel” would seem off.

John, thank you. I have to clean up my bachelor-pad in advance of my parents’ visit, and I am wondering what I am going to do with the mess of spiders on the patio—I wish I could tell them to move for me. I love that line “They kill us for their sport”!

Aaron, thank you. I had considered “That eight-eyed spider” as the first line. At your and Andrew’s suggestion I have proposed a number of possible first lines.

Roger, yes, “Dust of Snow” was haunting me. I wanted my own eight-line dimeter. I feel alright about the abstraction at the end, in fact, I even think its necessary, since the speaker doesn’t literally “look out above” bur rather gets the sense that something big up there regards him as a spider and could sweep him up.

Matt, thank you. Yes, it is ambiguous in the original as to whether the speaker has already taken care of the spider or is still deciding. The revisions go in one direction or the other with “tool” or “wallop.” Thank you for the alternate reading. I am glad I had you with me on the “bigger being”. Oh, wow, you reading of the final line introduces considerable ambiguity into the ending. Hmn. I think I like it. Thank you, thank you.

Aaron
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Old 09-14-2017, 03:06 PM
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Woody Long Woody Long is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Poochigian View Post
Here are some revisions I am considering, based on your suggestions:

A Little One

That wide-eyed spider/That bearded spider/That nearsighted spider/That biggity spider
Aaron —

Of your possible revisions for S1L1, I like nearsighted spider, because I thought of it independently & because it seems to be accurate for most spiders.

Other possibilities: shiny-eyed spider/bright-eyed spider/eight-eyed spider.

These also fits the facts for some or most spiders. My reference for all this is here.

I agree with others that the idea of the poem is good & some honing will probably help.

— Woody

Last edited by Woody Long; 09-14-2017 at 03:12 PM. Reason: clarification
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  #10  
Old 09-14-2017, 06:17 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is online now
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I have posted a thorough revision of the poem.

Thank you, Woody. I am still thinking about the first line. Hmn. I can't come up with anything I like more than "wide-eyed"--it's both accurate and suggestions innocence. Hmn. Is the revision better?
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