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  #21  
Old 07-11-2017, 02:38 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Blue. It seems so obvious now I read it again. I got, like Roger, that each stanza was referring to the same 'it' but not what the 'it' was. A veil has dropped and the poem is even richer for me.

Blue. Yes. Wow.
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  #22  
Old 07-11-2017, 03:14 PM
Jesse Anger Jesse Anger is offline
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Alchemical Blue! Wow, this is fantastic, and subtle. Now that I know, I know.

No edits,

J
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  #23  
Old 07-11-2017, 03:33 PM
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Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R. Nemo Hill View Post
For me the final more passionate stanzas came as a sort of a surprise....(On a side note, Mary, the poem really sprang from that first image, which came up in email conversation between Cally and I. I vowed to write a poem about it.)
Maybe the surprise you felt is the energy of your subconscious. Aren't we all trying to bring that energy into our poems? Isn't that the most exciting thing? I have no emotional connection to your email conversation the way you do. The feather stanza seems more intellectual and contrived than those ecstatic last three stanzas. So anyhow, I reversed them for you to look at. For me, this brings the poem bursting into life. Then you can get into the virgin, cold, mask, light years, shadow -- the artistic stuff.



True

—Oh, but those berries,
bushfuls of them,
and singing mouthfuls.

It’s nowhere in the garden.
It’s absolutely nowhere
seen through stained glass.

What you gave me.
What I gave you.
All of it is true.

The virgin’s robe
of cold seawater
sheds it as she surfaces.

And light too bright
on polished black
may stare through its mask.

Ice caught it, once,
light years away
at lunar edge.

Rainwashed, the sky
explains its shadow
to everything.

A heron feather
on a string of pearls
lets go of its name.
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  #24  
Old 07-11-2017, 06:12 PM
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R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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Thanks, Mark & Jesse!

I dunno, Mary. That doesn't really work for me structurally, it's all out of balance somehow. And I don't really make that kind of divide between emotional and intellectual that you are postulating. Besides, there is subconscious intellectual energy as well. If the opening stanzas (as I have them) seem contrived, well then maybe that is my strategy for unlocking the sub-or-unconscious. For me the poem turned out to be a process, and I feel that I need to keep that process intact out of respect for it.

In your version I do like the transition to the virgin robe stanza, but after that the "it" loses its rhythmic being. And the poem, in the context of the series, is about the "it". As Roger noted it is a love poem, but it is broader than that somehow as well. Perhaps it is a love poem to the color itself.

Nemo

Last edited by R. Nemo Hill; 07-11-2017 at 06:16 PM.
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  #25  
Old 07-11-2017, 06:24 PM
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Woody Long Woody Long is offline
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...
And here I sit
Hand on the telephone
Hearing a voice I'd known
A couple of light years ago
Heading straight for a fall


Joan Baez, Diamonds and Rust, 1975

A light-year in astronomy is a unit of measure of distance. Considering relativity theory, it also relates to time.

Phrases like light years away and light years ago have recognized usage in idiomatic English. Choice between distance and time is more a matter of tone and poetic intent. I personally don't believe there's any correct or incorrect about it. The diction of True is somewhat informal & ought to allow some choice.

I like either phrase, but believe light years ago has more echoes. My favorite stock phrase for distance is the not-so-far a thousand miles, traditional in folk balladry and song.

Anyway, there's my rant.

The poem is a keeper.

[Cross posted with Nemo]

Woody
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  #26  
Old 07-11-2017, 07:07 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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I always thought that Baez blundered in her use of "light years" as well. I wouldn't cite Baez lyrics as any sort of authority on proper usage.
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  #27  
Old 07-12-2017, 06:01 AM
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R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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Thanks, Woody. But I have made my peace with the change. The word "away" is actually rather ambiguous in the time/distance context: light years away can thus refer to either time or distance, indicating a general remoteness. I think it satisfies the "relativity" of the term in a subtle manner.

Perhaps Joan should consider it as well, eh, Roger?

Nemo
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  #28  
Old 07-16-2017, 09:22 PM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is online now
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Nemo, this is a beautiful poem.

I'm happy to see "light years ago" dropped. But I'm still going to be grumpy about "light years away." The moon is not light years away. I'm not sure how far away it is, but it takes <9 minutes for light to reach us from the sun, so the moon is closer than that. "General remoteness"—sure, but it's an imprecise way of indicating that, and it doesn't fit with the rest of the poem, which strikes me as more deliberate.

I think "lets go of" in S1L3 is a bit mealy in the mouth. A single word might serve you better there, probably best if it's two or three syllables, if you can find the right word.
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  #29  
Old 07-17-2017, 07:06 AM
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R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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Aaron, the problem with the distance of the moon occurred to me as well. Which is why I changed it from moon's edge to lunar edge, hoping by that slightly less familiar terminology to reference moons in other universes. I thought it sufficient.
Is it bothering anyone else?

I like let's go of. It's so minimal, almost passive: a single simple gesture with vast consequences.

Glad you enjoyed the poem.

Nemo
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  #30  
Old 07-17-2017, 08:03 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hi Nemo,

I would still naturally read 'at lunar edge' to be referring to our moon. It doesn't really bother me, but if it bothers you at all that people may be bothered, how about this? Use the word 'some' to better suggest a distant moon other than ours and reverse the lines to keep the metre (to avoid having to say 'light years away /at some lunar edge')

Ice caught it, once,
some lunar edge
light years away.


A thought maybe? Easily dismissed. Cheers.

Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 07-17-2017 at 09:13 AM. Reason: clarity
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