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  #11  
Old 08-25-2018, 05:11 PM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Martin,

I would, for metrical purposes, go with ...nor any ball. "Ball" is much better than "enthrall".

Tiger shark is so out of left field that it, too, is obviously a stretch to make a rhyme.

RM
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  #12  
Old 08-25-2018, 05:44 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Rick, thanks for looking in on my progress with this.

I’m glad you like “ball.” That’s good to hear.

I’m going to try replacing “tiger shark” with “meadowlark.”
There are very few good “ark” rhymes, unfortunately. But it gives me a challenge!

“Alert as a meadowlark” has a nice alliteration at least.

If I use “nor any ball” (S4L3) I may have to replace “oder” with “smell.” But I think I don’t mind the anapest “nor are there odors, nor any ball.” There are several others in other lines, so it won’t stand out.

Last edited by Martin Elster; 08-25-2018 at 05:48 PM.
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  #13  
Old 08-26-2018, 08:00 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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"Alert as a meadowlark" stands out as rhyme-driven (because it is so out of the blue). Is there any way to work in the phrase "on a lark"? Since this means with a light heart and on a whim, it wouldn't apply to the N searching, after this phrase, but it could go with the dog before it. I see what you mean about the limited supply of rhymes for this.

Btw, "mid arc" should have a hyphen.
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  #14  
Old 08-26-2018, 09:52 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is online now
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x
Hi Martin, I read this a few times in its original form but am now looking at the most recent revision.
Though the underlying sentiment is strong and some of the imagery good, I'm still stuck in a few places:
  • I can't decide, based on the phrasing/language, if the dog is indeed dead or just lost. I think sead, due to "everlasting". But I can't quite equate "lost" with dead.
  • S1L1 and S2L3 are redundant. I know the form is at play here, but as Mary says, you've strayed too far from the repetition and not given new meaning to the dog's bark.
  • As was noted by Rick, "meadowlark" appears suddenly, too abruptly. And I think "squall" does, too.
  • These lines don't make much sense to me:
Now you’re lost in a land so dark

the frisbees freeze and plunge mid arc,


It sounds as if the darkness makes the frisbee behave differently vs. what I think you are saying: the frisbee plunges because the dog is not there to catch it. Also, I think a full stop after mid-arc is better than a comma.

I wonder if the fact the dog remains nameless has a chilling effect that you might not want. Perhaps in the title? Or at least something in the body of the poem to break up the "you"... I get an strong sense of desperation from the whole that hits home for me, a dog lover. I think the revisions are making it better. I can't comment much on the form, but do feel it to be a bit stiff and rhyme-driven, presumably for the sake of it.
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  #15  
Old 08-26-2018, 12:51 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Hi Jim and Andrew,

Many thanks for your feedback. I posted a revision with your thoughts in mind.

Andrew, I ran with your suggestion of “on a lark.” It’s a phrase I thought of, but dismissed it at first, thinking it might not lead anywhere. But now that you suggested it, I used it as a springboard to get in a little narrative about the dog leaping into a river, then plunging over the falls, the N trying to follow.

Instead of “mid-arc,” I revised L10 to

the frisbees wander off their arc.

Jim - I see how the context is ambiguous: is the dog dead or just lost? I kind of wanted it a bit vague. But your suggestion of having a real dog’s name got me thinking. So I changed the title to “Charlie.” That’s a very popular dog name, so readers may identify. (I hesitate to use the name of any of my late or current dogs.)

I could go with “Dog Gone” but that may be too punny. But at least it would give more of an indication of the dog being dead.

You are right that L2 was a bit redundant, though I could say that the metaphor (loudest bark / truck horn in a concert hall) neutralized the redundancy. Thanks, though, for mentioning it, because now I have something more social: Charlie yapping (conversing) with his peers.

Alternatively, I could try saying that Charlie is small, but that’s not very interesting, and I think I want to leave his physical dimensions open to the reader’s imagination.

Or, maybe, I could say that Charlie’s bark is equal to any, large or small.

No more “meadowlark” or “tiger shark”! Please see my reply to Andrew about “on a lark.”

I revised the frisbee line so it makes more sense. I was torn between personifying the frisbee or making it do something unusual. I’m going to try “the frisbees wander off their arc.”

Since you and I are both dog lovers, I am grateful for your feedback. You can empathize with the feelings of disquiet and remembrance running through this. This poem is not specifically about any particular dog I’ve had, however (except for the fact that my current dog is brown and white, with touches of black).

Last edited by Martin Elster; 08-26-2018 at 12:57 PM.
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  #16  
Old 08-27-2018, 11:51 AM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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After making numerous tweaks, and then some more, I think this is finished. But if anyone has a different opinion, please feel free to stop by and say so.

Thanks again, people, for the feedback so far.
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  #17  
Old 08-29-2018, 10:32 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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I like how this has shaped up, Martin. Since you asked people to still comment if anything still seems off, I want to point out that the final lines are grammatically ambiguous:

I see you crawl,
roll over, sit, hear one faint bark
from the farthest, darkest land of dark.

This says that Charlie hears the bark though you mean the N. You could put a period after "sit" and put "I hear a faint bark" to get that final image.

Also, "darkest land of dark" could be better. I don't think there's much point to "darkest" there and feel that the two syllables could be used better.
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  #18  
Old 08-29-2018, 12:31 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Andrew, thanks for your thoughts about the latest draft. I’m pleased to hear that it has pretty much jelled.

I did, in fact, contemplate putting “I” after “sit,” but don’t like how that affects the meter of the line. I don’t mind if the reader has to go back over it once to get that the N is the one who “hears” as apposed to the dog.

As an alternative, I could put an em dash between “sit” and “hear” so at least the two phrases are separated.

For the last line, instead of “darkest” I’m thinking maybe “dullest.”

from the farthest, dullest land of dark.

So I retain that “D” alliteration, which I think gives emphasis to the image.

By the way, I was just looking at examples of polyptoton. I guess the way I used it here (in the last line) isn’t very interesting. Still, I like “darkest” as a superlative of the “land of dark.”

Last edited by Martin Elster; 08-29-2018 at 12:35 PM.
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