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Old 12-02-2017, 10:15 PM
Jan Iwaszkiewicz's Avatar
Jan Iwaszkiewicz Jan Iwaszkiewicz is offline
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REVISION
Apologies I have lost the original for comparison.

I

There are new songs.
Songs of possession,
written for the wind.

II

The heart of a fence lies in its foot.
It is the first six-inches
that is the most important.
It is here that the tamping must be the most orderly
(and the most protracted)
until the bar sings and the ground is a drum.

The barbed notes will sing of the tension
muscled into corner posts.

III

The night is clear. There is no moon
to dull the brilliance of the stars.
It is not a night for fast riding
but we will be above the Black's camp by dawn.

IV

Empty hands,
each rimmed by ochre,
reach out from the cave walls.

We are caught on the edge of dry days.
In this awful stillness,
our heads are nailed down,
and we hang with wounds that will not bleed.

V

The fence cannot hold back the drought.
The sky aches blue and the sun eats green
The earth coughs dust as rich as blood.

VI

Fence posts,
a jut of stark ribs
grey-silver and black,
all meat eaten by dryness.
The wires slack and rusting,
divide red dust
and will be red dust.

In the marginal lands
we walk past isolated ruins
and each blind stone calls out in pride:
“With gun and axe, plough, spade and spur
we took this land like lords.”

VII

At night the land and stars still speak
but there is nothing left for mending.

Last edited by Jan Iwaszkiewicz; 12-11-2017 at 05:10 PM.
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Old 12-02-2017, 11:29 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Jan,

You've got some chiseled language there. My favorite moments are the last line and this:

The fence cannot hold back the drought.

You must already have thought at some length about who is speaking and how their voice comes through, but that would be my focus. For instance, I might start "We have" instead of "There are" to open the poem.

Cheers,
John
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Old 12-03-2017, 06:03 AM
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Jan Iwaszkiewicz Jan Iwaszkiewicz is offline
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I hear what you say John but here, in the poem, when the wind blows through the wire of the fence in a land where there were no fences before, it is a new song but not a song created by 'we', it is not a song created by the fencers or those who have the fencing done. It is a new song caused or created by the wind blowing through the wires. Hence, 'There are new songs'. Songs are an important facet in Aboriginal culture. Does that make sense?

Regards,

Jan
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Old 12-03-2017, 06:16 AM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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I think this is really good, Jan. I did read, and enjoy, Bruce Chatwin's Songlines quite a long time ago, but I seem to have lost my copy, otherwise I would turn to it now.

Is it just absurdly obvious of me to find traces of Les Murray in here too? They would be good traces.

Cheers

David
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Old 12-03-2017, 08:01 AM
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Jayne Osborn Jayne Osborn is offline
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From the Guidelines:

You should post no more than one new thread per week in the Metrical, Deep End, and Non-Metrical Forums combined.

Jan, this thread is locked for a few days. I'm sorry to be the Bad Cop, but rules are rules, and another member has brought it to my attention that your previous poem thread was started only two days ago.

Jayne
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Old 12-07-2017, 03:04 PM
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Jayne Osborn Jayne Osborn is offline
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You're good to go again, Jan!

Jayne
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Old 12-07-2017, 03:25 PM
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Jayne Osborn Jayne Osborn is offline
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Hi Jan,

I freely admit I'm not really into Non-Met, but I occasionally dip a toe into these waters...
I have a few suggestions, FWTW:

The heart of a fence lies in its foot.
It is the first six inches
that is the most important. <'that are' is grammatically correct
It is here that the tamping must be the most orderly <How about losing 'It is here that' and simply start with 'The tamping...'? It wouldn't detract from the line; you have 'It is' twice and 'that is' in 3 consecutive lines
(and the most protracted)
until the bar sings and the ground is a drum.

The night is clear. There is no moon
To dull the brilliance of the stars. <lower case 't' on 'To' to be consistent with your enjambments
It is not a night for fast riding
but we will be above the Black's camp by dawn.

The fence cannot hold back the drought.
The sky aches blue and the sun eats green <full stop needed
The earth coughs dust as rich as blood.

Hope this helps.

Jayne
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Old 12-07-2017, 04:16 PM
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Jan Iwaszkiewicz Jan Iwaszkiewicz is offline
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Hi Jayne,

As we put in a post we tamp down increments of fill, therefore the first 6 inches is one unit and is singular.

The repetition echoes the work.

I missed that capitalisation. Thank you I will change it.

Regards

Jan
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Old 12-07-2017, 04:20 PM
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Jan Iwaszkiewicz Jan Iwaszkiewicz is offline
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Thank you David you are more than kind.

Les is an hour and a half north of me so we do have some of the same things to draw on

Regards

Jan
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Old 12-08-2017, 05:05 AM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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And I'm surprised that no-one has referred to the Frost factor here. To be honest I'm surprised there are so few comments all round, on what I think is an excellent poem, so consider this a shameless - but well deserved - bump.

Cheers

David
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