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Old 12-28-2001, 07:25 PM
Steven Schroeder Steven Schroeder is offline
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Location: St. Louis, Missouri
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Hi!

We've actually met when you were a guest in Professor Jarman's formal poetry classes in fall of 1998. At the time, you expressed some measure of dissatisfaction (it wasn't entirely clear how much) with your poem "El Rio de las Animas Perdidas en Purgatorio," a poem I enjoyed greatly. Unfortunately, you didn't really have time to tell us more about what exactly you were less than fully happy with. I'm posting the poem below for the other board denizens to read, and I was hoping you could tell me (us) what its strengths and weaknesses are in your opinion.

P.S. Colorado Springs has some lovely scenery, doesn't it? It's a small world and all that...

-----

El Rio de las Animas Perdidas en Purgatorio

No one recollects where the Spaniards died.
A rescue party found their armored bones,
thought their souls estranged from the love of God;
so the river was named and flowed on past,
bearing no knowledge of its wandering spirits,
cupped to baptize newborns in the valley.

My people came here when the coal mines started,
fed their young on Rockefellerís scrip.
In late summer, stilled by the weight of leaving,
the hot, exhausted railyard seems to ache.
The red-haired boyhoods of my fatherís clan
become the stuff of anecdotes with coffee.

In boarded businesses and weed-cracked streets,
few recall them. Under a secret sign,
the eye and compass, ancestors lie buried,
but I have never been to see their graves.
My peopleís time beside the Purgatoire
was brief--far briefer than our scattering.

-----

------------------
Steven Schroeder
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Old 12-28-2001, 09:55 PM
David Mason David Mason is offline
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Location: Colorado
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Stephen,
Have we met here in the Springs? Pardon my memory--it's so jammed with details--five books in the works, lots of teaching and traveling--I hardly remember my own name half the time.

Poems, however, are easy to remember.

Well, one thing that's not right with "El Rio" is that I got Masonic iconography wrong--it should be the square and compass, not the eye and compass. I suppose I thought at the time that the poem just didn't lift off the ground the way I wanted it too. It's a rather muted piece of rough blank verse. But then a tone of mutedness is what it's about in a way, isn't it, and perhaps you know the town of Trinidad, where it's set? I've done a longer poem (seventy odd- two-beat lines) on the San Luis valley--sometime I'll post that one for you.
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Old 12-28-2001, 10:48 PM
Steven Schroeder Steven Schroeder is offline
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I think my familiarity with the area being described was definitely part of my enjoyment of the poem. And no, we haven't met here in the Springs. I certainly wouldn't be averse to it, but I guess I haven't managed to ask for some of your time or figure out when or where you might be doing readings. Argh.



------------------
Steven Schroeder
Darwin's Bulldog
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Old 01-01-2002, 08:39 AM
Nigel Holt Nigel Holt is offline
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David,

The Square and Compass are central to Masonic iconography and symbolism, but the Eye - the eye of the Great Architect, as depicted on the back of the dollar bill, is also. Ask any president and they won't tell you the same.

Nigel
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Old 01-01-2002, 09:21 AM
David Mason David Mason is offline
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Yes, but it's the square and compass that are on the gate to the Masonic cemetery in Trinidad, Colorado.
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