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  #11  
Old 09-18-2018, 02:38 PM
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Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
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i Martin,

[rewrite ABAB quatrains] - I don't mind at all! It's actually way more fun.

This is a poem with entirely different meaning than what I wrote though. Symbols as well as tactics and techniques for pointing them out seem entirely gone. Examples-

*The importance of the line of sight pointing toward hope (geese, sun) and the line of shadow pointing toward a dark circle (night,the lake).
*The reflexive grasp for one another in the face of a final end
*No one is saying come back; there is no coming back.

This is not a simple paint-up Nature poem. It's a poem about humanity and cosmos. Iceberg theory. Little of which seems to have been noticed, which sends all critiques awray.

##

Hi Mark,

-Languishing on the literal level only and will leave you greatly unrewarded.-

['Duplicates / my mind' oddly cold] It didn't seem like that to me, but I validate your experience of it. FWIW, that was the line that coined the poem for me. I knew I wanted that and [the sound abating] because it's the loss, the going awayness that evoked the emotion. Nonetheless, if it doesn't communicate to most readers what it communicates to me, then I should stick it on my bathroom mirror and not here-- or, of course, edit it. Y'know, I think I had Melville in mind, come to think of it: "Not one atom stirs or moves in nature but has its cunning duplicate in mind." Or something like that. Might be good if I can relocate it and use it as an epigram.


The trail around the lake is speckled now
with walkers, all who for the moment merely opt
to stand.

Your truncation leaves out a great deal of important detail. It leaves out the trail, which also helps define the size of the lake if there's a trail around it. "Speckled" manages to desribe by denotation and connotation both the trail and the quantity of people on it. It describes that they come to a stop; that they choose to stop to take in this event and implies that they too intuit greater depth in the experience. There's also a double-entendre on "for the moment" which ought to bring that out in a close read, i.e. 1.) they stop for a short period of time--moment=a few seconds and 2.) they stop because this is a special period of time--moment=a unique experience. It also indicates distance precisely, not so close that you could walk over and touch them, but not so far that they could not be individually discerned.

***feels confused and muddy to me. ...so much matter seems to have been glossed over. With such substantial errors in the read itself, conclusions are difficult to draw. For example, the form itself (see Martin's rewrite) seems to have been unpleasant to many. Obviously there's a message there in and of itself. Hoping to glean more.

The reason the methods of description are chosen is so that three items can be described simultaneously with the same word/s: the literal item, the symbol beneath, and the relation to other items & symbols. The form is relaxed out and not compressed to uptight levels because it's beneficial for the mind to have a little leisure during the read to let those depths, those inferences process.

Erik, Curtis- I've seen and read your posts and made a quick copy of it, but have not had time to properly think through what's there. My apologies for the delay.
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  #12  
Old 09-18-2018, 08:21 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Hi Daniel.

I agree that my rendition lost a lot of what you were going for, really a different poem. But I had fun fiddling!

Anyway, I was mostly interested in the meter, and rhymes, but also at least some “meaning,” even though it diverged in many ways from your poem. But what was bothering me was that the initial rhyme scheme was not maintained, so I tried to remedy that in my own way.

In other words, if a poet introduces a rhyme scheme (in this poem ABAB) and then abandons it, I think there should be a good reason for doing so. I’m not suggesting that you can’t stray from your own rhyme scheme, since you are the poet and are free to do anything. But just that it didn’t seem to me that there was some basis for straying.

I think there is a good and interesting poem at the heart of this, but I believe it will only reveal itself with more experimenting, with each line and phrase till you find the right balance between the philosophical musings and the concrete imagery, as well as finding a tighter form to contain it.

Thanks for letting me know what the geese and sun, and the pointing shadows represent or symbolize, as I didn’t really understand the metaphors at first. And the people grasping for each other, and the not coming back. These are all great ideas, and I like them, but I just think the poem has not revealed these connections well enough yet. Even though there are underlying themes, I think you could get them more focused — without actually telling the reader.

Or maybe I should just say that the theme was not apparent to me. I can see how there is an interaction between the cosmos and humanity. But certain images seem puzzling: the holy birds. What makes them holy?

I like the playing with the concept of time. I read somewhere that time is the most used noun in the English language, but nobody actually knows what time really is. I wonder if you might explore that a little more in the poem, the “now” and the “moment” in relation to eternity or the arrow of time.

I get a sense of nostalgia in this poem. Also transience. The flock of squawking geese taking off and vanishing in the distance, the people halting their walk to gawk at them, straining to see as they recede, their shadows stretching. All that is wonderful, but I think you could still make this poem tighter.

Last edited by Martin Elster; 09-18-2018 at 09:22 PM.
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  #13  
Old 09-19-2018, 05:36 AM
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Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
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still coming round to this guys, did a couple posts while rebooting servers these wee hours, but I'm done now and really tired

Quick note for later: Form is abab cdcd efgefg hh with hexameter alternated with pentameter. One immediate fiddle/experiment is to try to go pentameter/tetrameter.

I very, very much appreciate the deep engagement that all of you are providing me on this poem. And so many others. But I'm going to sleep now.
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  #14  
Old 09-19-2018, 07:24 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hi Daniel,

Fwiw, the rhyme-scheme and metre are clear and consistent. I think Martin (forgive me M) must have been having a little brain-blip there. I still struggle with whether the poem's language is straining to fit into that formal box, whether it is at the mercy of it. Your prose explanations of what you want the poem to achieve are clear and I can read them into the poem, but the poem alone is still not doing the job for me for the reasons I gave. I hope you get more comments on this because I admire the sincerity of ambition at least.

Cheers.
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  #15  
Old 09-19-2018, 10:23 AM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark McDonnell View Post
Fwiw, the rhyme-scheme and metre are clear and consistent. I think Martin (forgive me M) must have been having a little brain-blip there.
You are right, Mark. I was having one of those. I now see the rhyme scheme, Daniel. Itís quite clear, and the meter too. I think your idea for trying this in pent alternating with tet is good, and I predict that it will get the poem more focused and centered.
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  #16  
Old 09-19-2018, 12:26 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Curtis: “I'm sorry, for me this is very tortured.”

Well... the title is "Plaintive" : )

Sometimes when I read a poem it just so happens I can visualize it through my own personal experience filter. In this case it’s Blackwater Pond in Provincetown, MA. It has been made somewhat famous by the poet Mary Oliver who lived in Provincetown for years and often wrote about the local environs. She wrote a poem titled, “At Blackwater Pond”.

It’s not Oliver’s poem that yours reminds me of, but instead my actual recollection of the mood of the place when I visited it once. It’s a beautiful little spot aptly named (the water always seems to be in shadows) and there is a path that circles it, in which at any point you can see across the pond to the other side and any others who might be walking the trail. My personal image of that pond fits so neatly into the image of this poem of yours, Daniel. I can almost remember the same honking sounds -- or at least lots of bird/nature sounds that would stop people in their tracks to listen and look for where all of it was coming from. And in between the silence.

But to your poem: I would actually describe it as a bit stiff; a tad halting. It could be that is your intent, since stillness is central to the poem. But there is also a stiffness to some of the imagery and wording, though it doesn’t get in my way of enjoying the overall.

Curtis: “I think that perhaps the demands of form, meter and rhyme, led to this tortured delivery.”

That could be, though Daniel has good command of things like meter and rhyme (and again, “tortured delivery” isn’t accurate IMO). It may be, as you also said, that Daniel has yet to get to the bottom of this poem… I think, as Mark says, Daniel has articulated well what he is trying to achieve in the poem, yet it doesn’t quite jive with the poem itself.

There are two things that are undoubtedly present in the poem in both mood and execution: stopped time and silence.

I wonder if the poem would be helped by breaking it up into stanzas like this?

The geese are gathering themselves and calling out.
How all their plaintive honking duplicates
my mind! These afternoon thoughts flail, lift, call, pause, doubt.
And all time stops, although the sound abates.

Perhaps all time is only stopping, not yet stopped.
The trail around the lake is speckled now
with walkers, all who for the moment merely opt
to stand. The geese call out again but now

the walkers turn, their shadows stretched and straining toward
one end, their eyesight stretched and straining for
the geese, the sun perhaps. It is a different now,
a dying sound; and then with one accord,
confused, they strain for one another once they're sure
the cries are gone. Then time restarts, but how?

The night accepts the shadows of those holy birds
I have no more words.

I do like the poem for it’s contemplative tone and its connection to nature.
x
x

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 09-19-2018 at 06:14 PM.
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  #17  
Old 09-19-2018, 01:08 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Itís funny, I was also thinking the poem might be more effective with stanzas, though I didnít try it to see how it would look. Jimís idea is very good, I think. It allows my eyes to see clearly the implied stanzas, and gives some space to the whole thing.

In fact, the more I read this poem, the more I like it for the contemplative mood and the nature imagery. I also love the allusion to sound and itís connection with the Nís thoughts, sound imagery being less common in poetry than sight.

By the way, I just read the Mary Oliver poem and enjoyed it. Thanks, Jim, for mentioning it. She also wrote a much longer poem called ďIn Blackwater Woods,Ē which I am going to read today.
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  #18  
Old 09-19-2018, 03:09 PM
Erik Olson Erik Olson is online now
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Daniel,

My mind kept returning to one point above all, the considerable extent to which the lines of this piece could be condensed. As such, I ventured the following sketch for an illustration. Not to say in the least that this is how the line should be changed exactly, but to merely suggest or hint at the room for condensing by a rough sketch. I mean to illustrate, hopefully, the wider contours that leave sufficient room to fit the sense only.
The gathering geese who rail
echo my inmost states
of mind: lift, pause, and flail.
Like honking dissipates—
not stopped yet—time is stopping.
Speckling the lakeside walk,
they turn who had been loping:
Toward that weltering flock,
eyes strain to make out geese
gilt where the day departs.
As dying honks will cease,
so time—then it restarts.
Best of luck,

Erik

Last edited by Erik Olson; 09-20-2018 at 05:08 AM.
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  #19  
Old 09-19-2018, 04:44 PM
Curtis Gale Weeks Curtis Gale Weeks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Moonan View Post

Curtis: “I think that perhaps the demands of form, meter and rhyme, led to this tortured delivery.”

That could be, though Daniel has good command of things like meter and rhyme (and again, “tortured delivery” isn’t accurate IMO). It may be, as you also said, that Daniel has yet to get to the bottom of this poem… I think, as Mark says, Daniel has articulated well what he is trying to achieve in the poem, yet it doesn’t quite jive with the poem itself.
Meter and rhyme are surface features or structure. How the content intertwines with these, or rides these to the end, is the thing. Thing (tm). I think I am not alone in believing that the limitation imposed by meter and rhyme is actually freeing in some way; but sometimes, that freedom is forgotten and the content doesn't ride the form so much as twist itself into knots when forced into accommodating that structure.

At least, the latter was my own meaning behind "tortured delivery."
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Old 09-20-2018, 08:28 AM
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Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
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The more I read, the deeper in everyone's debt I am.

Curtis - I pretty much agree with your notions of content and form. This wonderful little animation shows how I often feel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgqUya0kGPA -The Dot and The Line


Eric: I get your demo. It points me to the real exercise I ought to do. I ought to try to put it not into pent/tet, but tet/tri (which won't ever work, I don't think). Not tet/tri as a formal re-write, but for me to pull out exactly what the most important turns are, what things might be said well enough by implication alone, and what syntax changes are allowed--it's a lot less rope, s

o a lot less twists. Then I should let it breathe out to pent/tet. When I "cheat" to allow an extra word that I have to have for clarification, but couldn't otherwise fit, it should relax out to the right form. This will be hard work.


Martin - For my bravado with Eric and going a step further to test tet/tri, pent/tet is kicking my a** right now. I think I'm still beat from a couple allnighters.

Jim - I think you've said it right. I'm not at the bottom of all this yet.

also... maybe 'Perhaps all time is only stopping, not yet gone/.../with walkers all who for the moment are merely drawn / to stare.' hmmm

Last edited by Daniel Kemper; 09-20-2018 at 08:33 AM.
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