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  #1  
Unread 10-26-2019, 07:19 AM
Mary McLean Mary McLean is offline
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Default The QE2

The Now-Retired QE2

Their final trip to see me was "in style:
enrichment lectures, harpists, arts and crafts,
the largest floating dance floor by a mile,
and evening bridge and checkers (known as draughts)",
mid-20th century England in a hull.

"It’s climbing walls and zip-lines nowadays
on cruises, and whenever skies turn dull
there’s laser tag and video arcades."

I see them strolling quietly on the decks
in London Fog beige raincoats, Aran wool
pullovers, tartan scarves around their necks:
ready to disembark, their cases full,
their cabin emptied, bedding stripped and gone.
Southampton sullenly withholds the dawn.



Note: this is part of a group of poems about boats written after the death of my father.

Last edited by Mary McLean; 10-30-2019 at 02:46 AM. Reason: Added note; added quotes around reported sentiments
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  #2  
Unread 10-26-2019, 11:39 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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I like this one (but I would), and I have no trouble following it because I know the backstory. So you will have to count on others to let you know if they are having any problems. I like the tripartite division, and I think the last stanza is understated, with telling details. I particularly like the last line for all it leaves unsaid.

Susan
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  #3  
Unread 10-26-2019, 12:52 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Mary,

I think this is very nicely executed, but I don’t think I’m your ideal audience. I have trouble working myself up about the QE 2. Though Flaubert did once say, “Anything is interesting if you look at it long enough,” and there are worse mottoes to live by.
Good luck!

Cheers,
John
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  #4  
Unread 10-26-2019, 09:53 PM
Mary Meriam's Avatar
Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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Hi Mary, I'm confused by L1. I wonder if the QE2 herself is speaking. I like your descriptions of how it used to be and feel those three lines in the middle interrupt the reverie. Then in S3, I wonder again who the speaker is. I feel like I should be able to figure it out, but it's a mystery.
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  #5  
Unread 10-26-2019, 11:12 PM
Mark Stone Mark Stone is offline
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Mary, Hi.

1. I like the poem.

2. I read QE2 as the narrator for S1, perhaps QE2 as the narrator for S2, and I'm not sure who as the narrator for S3.

3. If you wanted to start L12 with an iamb, you could change “ready” to “prepared.”

4. I read S3 to be saying that there are several persons, or a large number of persons, strolling on the decks. If this is correct, then I think that “cabin” should be “cabins.”

Best wishes,

Mark
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  #6  
Unread 10-26-2019, 11:19 PM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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I had the same question as Mary about the voice. I do like the details, and the final line quite a bit. In line 8, "there's" could also be "it's," to emphasize the ubiquity and monotony of mechanization.
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Unread 10-27-2019, 02:20 AM
Mary McLean Mary McLean is offline
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Thanks, for now just a quick note that this is one of a group of poems about boats written after the death of my father. Would narrator/they be clearer in that context?
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  #8  
Unread 10-27-2019, 03:54 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Mary, I might suggest something like this for the first line: "On their last trip to me, they came in style." That would make it clear that the trip was to see you, not the ship. But if you could fit "my parents" in somehow, that would probably be even better.

Susan
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  #9  
Unread 10-27-2019, 11:28 AM
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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I like this, Mary, and didn't have trouble with the narrator. The first and last stanzas seem finished as is.

In the middle stanza, I really don't like "on cruises", both in itself and the way you enjamb into it. I've already figured out that it's a cruise from S1, so I don't think you need to make it explicit there. I'd play around with that line.
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  #10  
Unread 10-27-2019, 03:42 PM
Mary McLean Mary McLean is offline
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Thanks everyone for the feedback so far. I was wondering whether this one would stand on its own, and I guess the answer is no as is.

Susan, I'm not sure how to gracefully add 'my parents', and I don't think I would need to in the context of the other poems in my boat series, so I'm inclined to leave it for now. I don't think your first line is any clearer than mine, but I'll think about it.

John, ha, the QE2 isn't my scene either.

Mary, Mark and Andrew, it never occurred to me that people would think the boat was speaking. How funny -- I'm more familiar with the opposite problem that readers always think the narrator must be the same as the poet. But I was aware people might have trouble figuring out who I meant by 'they'.

Mary, I think I need the 3 line interruption, but it is giving me problems, so I may reconsider what could go there.

Mark, I'm particularly found of inverting the first foot of a line to break the monotony -- it's a well-established variant. And it is a single cabin, because it is only my two parents I am talking about (but I'm not surprised people found that confusing).

Andrew, yes, it niggles at me that "there's" is possibly wrong because it should be "there are". But I don't like the repetition of "It's" either. Hmm.

Aaron, you hit on the line that I was still tinkering with on the morning I posted this. Originally the line was, "And when it rains, and children might feel dull", which I thought was too awkward and old-fashioned. Also when I workshopped this elsewhere people didn't understand I was talking about other cruise ships.
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