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  #11  
Old 08-21-2018, 11:02 AM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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John,

This is a very good piece, I think. It's rich, and I know I make this suggestion a lot and I know it's not your style, but here I am again suggesting you break it into stanzas. I think it would help your reader stay focused on the individual images and connections if it were couplets or tercets, each leaves that last line wonderfully alone.

Most of the rhythm flows well for me, but I stumble over "are to be." Most of the other lines have a lovely cadence that almost feels like that line is bobbing in the waves like the bottle, but that first line...not so much.

Another thought: I don't know that "tall" adds a lot--"sail the shadows" is such a lovely line itself, and I think tall gets in the way of it, a bit. I can imply "tall" from the buildings's shadows moving around like a clock of sorts.

Most of the lines have 2-3 beats, and I like reading it that way. "No one reads such stories today" doesn't fit that mold, and so stands out rhythmically to me.

The end-rhymes in the poem are a tad distracting to me.

These are all pretty minor nits, though. The poem itself is very good.
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  #12  
Old 08-21-2018, 11:35 AM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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Revision Posted

Mark, I wanted to blur the distinction because they're the same person, which is why his hands are forest dirty. The narrator is on to himself and sick of himself. It may not work but that was the intention.

Aaron, I hope the changes I made fix your issue.

Andrew, I posted a revision that includes many, maybe all, of your suggestions. What do you think?

Best to all,
John
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  #13  
Old 08-21-2018, 11:57 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is online now
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Oh yes, I got that John.

God knows I have days
when I can't bear him, the subject
of the words.

The N is referring to himself here.
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  #14  
Old 08-21-2018, 10:58 PM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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I couldn't tell, Matt. I do think what is now the second stanza has problems. I don't know what to do about them yet.
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  #15  
Old 08-22-2018, 05:22 PM
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Jan Iwaszkiewicz Jan Iwaszkiewicz is offline
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Not sure that 'gazer' works John, at least not for me, in the context it brings images of stargazy pie, the fish 'stargazer', an amateur astronomer but not a ship's navigator. Is it a sci-fi or fan-fi thing? Not in context, but strongly for me, is a horse with an unfortunate tendency to do just that.

The loblolly pines of swampland are quite evocative and the mind comes back to the bottle, the spirit of and the message in, or is it the the spirit in and the message of?

We are divided and separated by much yet here is a bridge.

I like this.

Jan
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  #16  
Old 08-22-2018, 10:01 PM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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Thanks, Jan. I'm happy you like most of it. "Gazer" has been a problem for others. A solution will come but do know I'm waiting for it.

Best,
John
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  #17  
Old 08-23-2018, 08:21 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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x
My quick summary is that the metaphor/image of a note in a bottle is meant to express isolation. But hope, too, that someone will find it and read it. Hope that its contents will be understood, which in turn will bring some kind of salvation of the N's meaningfulness. And self-doubt in the form of the back and forth interior dialog that ensues.

Isolation, hope and self-doubt. That's a large bottle : ) That you are able to compress such large thoughts into a metaphorical bottle and then to toss it into a dry sea is beautifully expressed. And all done in your characteristic understated, spare style. That you refer to the message in the bottle as "minutes" is brilliant. That they are "twisted" allows for a double entendre that suits the entirety of the poem beautifully. Really nice poetry John.
x

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 08-23-2018 at 11:10 AM.
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  #18  
Old 08-23-2018, 08:27 AM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is online now
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John, I think the stanza break works.

While I see Andrew's point about the "tall shadows" now that I look at the poem without it, I think both lines have suffered rhythmically. I'd go back to the original for those two lines.
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  #19  
Old 08-23-2018, 05:56 PM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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Thank you, Jim. I'm humbled.

I'll think about replacing "tall," Aaron. I'm going to wait so I can grow used to it this way and then I'll notice the change and if it feels right. Thanks.

John
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