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Unread 09-18-2019, 03:46 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Good evening Matt, Anka, and Nemo,

And thank you for stopping by.
Matt: this piece has a lot of monosyllables. Given that, i think you're right to regret the loss of confirms and fashioned. NB I'm avoiding the word reveals since I have reveal in S2. I have, in consequence and after some thought, restored "confirms the god" and "But ... fashioned" - and given the relative tightness of the piece, other changes have required attention. First, I've got "the god" twice in S1. I've tried other words - "this/that" in particular - but have no fix as yet. I think the repetition may be OK, since the second time, it performs a slightly different grammatical function, which I think the mind picks up in context. Second, I don't quite see how I get from smoke rising to surmising Khnum's works may have perished. However, you as an attentive reader have no problem with that, and no-one's yet objected to it, so maybe I'm making this harder than it has to be. I do prefer fashioned to "shaped then," which is rather flat. Anyhow, that's where I'm at. Those are my only remaining concerns about the piece.
Anka: hi. Yes, this piece has been gradually evolving. To answer your questions. First, I don't know how much you know about pagan gods, but they are traditionally identified by their attributes. In Khnum's case, like the case of the Pharaoh with his double crown for Upper and Lower Egypt, the crown tells us he's not some random god, he is the demiurge who created all gods and all men. That's why I put it there. We're also led into the crown, if you look at the link I provided, by the discussion of the ram's horns on Khnum's head, naturally I think. Second, Khnum is old enough that the ram he in part is - to this day - has become extinct. I find this unusual and worth a mention - it is the genesis of the poem. Third, yes, I do repeat the opening idea twice. But I find it unexpected enough that it bears repeating, and since nobody else has objected to it yet - readers have instead tended to favor S1 - I think I'll keep it. Fourth, I'm uninterested in the colloquial sense of bull. If a reader finds it here, fair enough, but I don't think it's in keeping with the poem's tone. I myself mean bulls as timeless symbols of, well, sacrifice for one thing. It also happens that the next poem is "Sargon and the Holy," about the lamassu or winged bulls that guarded Sargon's palace in Khorsabad. So I like that. Fifth, here is a short link to the traditional heaven of ancient Egypt: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaru ; and here is another to Egypt's sky goddess Nut: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nut_(goddess)
It seems pretty clear, in short, that Egyptians would not find the concept of Heaven, as I use it, terribly alien. There remains the question of whether they would in fact offer burnt offerings to gods. Here are two sources on that topic: http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/offering.htm ; https://www.ucl.ac.uk/museums-static...dailycult.html
If you take a look, you will I think find that offering was fundamental to Egyptian ritual, and that burning offerings certainly had a role. So: yes, I could use a small h, but Heaven is a word I capitalize throughout this MS. and in general use. I don't feel that Egyptian practice compels me to use lowercase in this instance. Sixth, I could indeed use silt. However, I have river birds in the next line, and since Egypt notoriously has, in essence, one river running the length of it - the Nile - I feel that is all the hint an alert reader will need. If they happen to know or find out that Khnum rose up from beneath its First Cataract, so much the better. To conclude: thank you for engaging me in this review of some Egyptian data. I don't think, at present, you've given me reason to change a word, but you've certainly led me to think about the poem's various implications and resonances.
Nemo: welcome. i see you've ended up with a comment on this poem, and I appreciate it. You are quite right, the poem has much evolved since its posting last week. We have, i think, different views of the value of that process. I like my poem as it has evolved - indeed, that's why I have revised it here - and I'm quite happy opening my religion MS. on it, though again, I do appreciate your advice. I am sorry i don't comment on your poems more often, I certainly intend to do so when one catches my fancy.

Thank you all,
John

Update: mild revision posted.
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