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  #1  
Unread 11-06-2019, 10:19 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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For Bill Holm, poet and essayist (1943-2009)

The former farm boy who rejoiced in Bach
and books, Haydn and Whitman and Thoreau,
as daylight faded, tried to slow the clock
by wintering for weeks in Mexico
and summering in Iceland, where the sun
shouldered the night aside. Yet its dim twin
advanced in lockstep. Vanishingly wan,
the moon still rang its changes, taking in
the measure of his days. He built on sand
(as writers do) his shrine to deathless art,
immoderate as his ancestral land,
its glacial moonscapes and volcanic heart.


Revisions:
L2 was "and books, Whitman and Haydn and Thoreau,"
L10 "(as writers do)" was "(like all of us)"; then reverted to original version; then back to "(as writers do)"

Last edited by Susan McLean; 11-12-2019 at 12:46 AM.
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  #2  
Unread 11-06-2019, 10:29 AM
Clive Watkins Clive Watkins is offline
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Wonderful!

Clive
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  #3  
Unread 11-06-2019, 09:12 PM
Mark Stone Mark Stone is offline
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Susan, I think this is well done. Three things. First, I assume that the "dim twin" of the sun is the moon. Is that correct? Second, I had trouble at first with "vanishingly wan," but it's growing on me now. Third, I like the phrase "as daylight faded." Best, Mark
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Unread 11-07-2019, 01:05 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Clive, I am glad you liked it.

Mark, yes, the "dim twin" is the moon. I have been noticing how hard it is to see the moon when it is out in the bright light of day.

This is my belated elegy for my former colleague. I got the idea for it soon after he died, but I couldn't write it then.

Susan
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Unread 11-07-2019, 08:35 AM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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Yes! Our tastes may not overlap much, Susan, but there's real magic here, imo. "shouldered the night aside" and "rang its changes" stood out, and I quite like the close. And the whole is emotionally resonant. (like all of us) is the only time I paused-- took me out of the moment. Really fine work.
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Unread 11-07-2019, 09:09 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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James, I thought that without "(like all of us)" it might sound as though I was putting down Bill's writing, when I am actually just pointing out that no matter how passionate we are about our art, there is a very low chance that it will outlive us long (and even great art is not really deathless--it just lasts longer). I thought that "(as do we all)" would sound more stilted. Would "(as writers do)" work better for you?

Susan
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Unread 11-07-2019, 09:12 AM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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I'm with Clive, here. Fine work indeed.
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Unread 11-07-2019, 12:15 PM
Simon Hunt Simon Hunt is offline
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Lovely. (like all of us) functioned to help me feel included in this affecting elegy for somebody I didn't know.
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Unread 11-07-2019, 12:18 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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I didn't take that into consideration, but I get that. But also I think identifying with a poet might exempt you. I think without it, it might even be a stronger tribute. Or at least how I read it. But, whichever way you go, don't stray too far from what you have now. It's about there, for me.
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  #10  
Unread 11-07-2019, 12:32 PM
Mary McLean Mary McLean is offline
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I like this one a lot. Without the parentheses I agree it would sound like a put-down. No nits.
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