Eratosphere Forums - Metrical Poetry, Free Verse, Fiction, Art, Critique, Discussions Able Muse - a review of poetry, prose and art

Forum Left Top


Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-21-2018, 08:17 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Location: England, UK
Posts: 2,818

Woody, Erik, John, Martin,

Many thanks for your comments on this, and extra thanks to those who have come back several times already. It's much appreciated.

Woody and Erik, thanks for questioning 'cloak'. Well, yes, to be fair, it was originally suggested by the rhyme with 'oak', but it's grown on me since. I like the ambiguity / multiple read that 'clothe' wouldn't give. Perhaps it is a kind of love to hide the plain memory of Charles Crane. And perhaps the colourful living growth of plants over the grave that contrasts the plain stone is a kind of love. And perhaps laying a cloak over the grave is provides warmth (as 'clothe' would too). And visually, I see it more as a cloak laid over the grave than putting clothes on it.


"it sounds, if not quite how the canonized inverters inverted ...". Well, I don't know. Here's Shakespeare inverting:

"Here lurks no treason, here no envy swells,
Here grow no damned grudges; here are no storms"

I think I'm sticking with the inversion, unless something better comes along. It's been useful to have it questioned, but I think it fits the tone.

I think 'mown' and 'fern' have slightly more in common sonically than the consonance of the 'n', at least on British pronunciation: /fəːn/ /məʊn/ I think the vowel sounds are a little different in the US maybe? Plus, I think the couplet proximity allows more leeway with the rhyme. I have pure rhymes for the cross-wise rhymes.

Martin and John,

Thanks, I'm pleased the revision is working for your both.


Yes, I've really appreciate the thoughtful and helpful feedback I've had on this one. As for submitting it, I've no idea where to send such a thoroughly unmodern piece. Any suggestions welcome.

Thanks again all,


Last edited by Matt Q; 08-21-2018 at 08:47 AM.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2018, 12:13 PM
Mary Meriam's Avatar
Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: usa
Posts: 7,150

Hi Matt, I like the poem but wonder about "memory" in the last line, since it's a metrical stumble. Maybe something like this?
the plain remains of Charles Crane.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2018, 04:11 PM
Erik Olson Erik Olson is offline
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 1,765


The Oxford English Dictionary gives the British and American pronunciation for mown, respectively: /məʊn/ /moʊn/.

Thus for fern: /fəːn/ /fərn/.
The difference between the British and American pronunciation being, phonetically, that the former elides the r.

Alright, I grant you here grow is not unheard of among inverters, as it were. As I refine my thinking about it, I think for me that inversion sounds more clunky when preceded by ‘but.’ I would like the sound of it better without.
but here grow
I wish it were just
here grow ...
Here, though the graveyard grass is mown,
spread flower and fern above a stone,
sycamore saplings, infant oak,
with death-come-quickly, leopard’s bane—
a kind of love, perhaps, to cloak
the plain keepsake of Charles Crane.

Despite the new-mown grass, here spread
wildflowers and ferns above the dead,
sycamore saplings, infant oak,
with death-come-quickly, leopard’s bane –
a kind of love, perhaps, to cloak
the plain memory of Charles Crane.
It occurred to me that spread might connect with cloak since vegetation spreads like a cloak. But I shan't bother you about it anymore.


P.S. I confess I was never sure why the conjunction was omitted from the list which would have made it grammatically and metrically friendlier.

Last edited by Erik Olson; 09-05-2018 at 03:19 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2018, 11:32 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1,742

Hi Matt,
I’m coming in very late to this... I’ve read most of the posts and see where the poem has come from, see that it's something of an ekphrastic, a lonely poem.
Though you don't use it, I keep seeing the word “overgrown” hovering in and out of it and think that there is a gentle contrast being made between the neatly mowed grass of the cemetery and the wild, forgetful neglect of the the gravesite enclosed in the hollow rectangle.

I visited Charles Lindbergh's grave in Maui and was struck by a similar neglect. His name and achievements are immortalized but his gravesite is a forgotten patch. And there is this incredible graveyard beside a Russian orthodox church on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska that is crammed full of overgrowth and decay and it was, strangely, a beautiful thing to see.

I do like Mary's suggestion of replacing "memory" with "remains".

Just wanted to relate that to you and say you've very simply, poetically captured the nature of neglect and impermanence.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2018, 05:59 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Location: England, UK
Posts: 2,818

Erik, Mary, Jim,

belated thanks for your comments, I've been away for a while.


Thanks coming back for offering alternatives. Always useful.


I guess one person's metric stumble is another person's metric feature. I've made a case for it up-thread, but it's useful to know it's not working for you. I'm not completely attached to it, but have yet to find anything better. Thanks for your suggestion. I'm not sure about "remains" as for me it calls to mind the skeleton more than the the grave. There's something about "memory" that I am attached to here, since it can suggest the grave, others' memory of him, and his own memory. I guess there's:

the plain remembrance of Charles Crane

which does scan straightforwardly, but doesn't quite do it for me.


Thanks for stopping by and finding things to like.

Thanks again all,

Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2018, 04:01 AM
Ann Drysdale's Avatar
Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Old South Wales (UK)
Posts: 4,459

I love the revision.

I have been beating myself up over going on about the fallen cross and stuff, thoughts that arose when you posted the photograph. Even then I deleted a lot of guff about cemetery health and safety regs.

Now the poem is the picture and the flowers are part of it in a way that mere botanical accuracy could never have achieved. You have cut through to the heart of the matter.

I am still wondering though (as Mary was a while back) about the word "memory" in the last line. You have it (Latinised) in the title now and I love it there, it echoes Tennyson and then gently takes a simpler tack. You have it in the epigraph, which is exactly right; this is the subject pure and simple. But what the love is cloaking is not the memory itself; it's embellishing that.

Would you consider using something else, "reminder" perhaps, instead of "memory" at the end?

(ps. Thinking about your discarded "cradle", I also considered, for a while, "the stone memento", but decided that was Annie-diction and wouldn't belong in a very Matt poem.)
Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2018, 01:37 PM
David Callin David Callin is offline
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Ellan Vannin
Posts: 2,051

Matt, I was going to say that it's IPTO* time again, but then I thought that John was on to something in his reference to the first stanza.

So, I like it a lot, but I prefer it in 10 lines rather than 6.



* - IPTO = I prefer the original (of course)
Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Forum Right Top
Forum Left Bottom Forum Right Bottom
Right Left
Member Login
Forgot password?
Forum LeftForum Right

Forum Statistics:
Forum Members: 7,942
Total Threads: 19,700
Total Posts: 254,630
There are 102 users
currently browsing forums.
Forum LeftForum Right

Forum Sponsor:
Donate & Support Able Muse / Eratosphere
Forum LeftForum Right
Right Right
Right Bottom Left Right Bottom Right

Hosted by ApplauZ Online