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Old 08-15-2018, 01:42 AM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 5,646

Hi Siham,

I’m pleased to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by. Your comments really made me think. I like your reasoning and suggestions.

So I’ll keep S7 (about the other side of town). I’ve made a cursory tweak of S2, where the family are daydreaming whilst doing their chores. I made it more obvious that they are in a reverie. S3 makes it even clearer with “Suddenly their daydream ... clears out like wounded mongrel.”

I have the dad picturing a seashore now, instead of living room paintings. His daughter imagines the call of a plover, while also fantasizing about her child in the middle of a field of wildflowers. So the little girl is not literally in a field. The next stanza makes that apparent.

Also, I put in “piping plover” (in place of “cry of a plover”). She may or may not know what a plover is, but I don’t know what I would replace “plover” with, since that is a rhyme word. Besides, she is just hearing the plover’s piping, even if she doesn’t know what it’s called. I’ll think about finding some onomatopoeic word, if I can rhyme it with something. In any case, she may be remembering the sounds of some beach she once visited. The child (in S2) is now in the daydream of his mom (who fantasizes about the plover calls). So she envisions her daughter in a field of flowers.

Your idea for the rabbit fleeing from a werewolf —instead of the nightmare (last stanza) — is compelling. I think I like it better than “nightmare.” Though “nightmare” serves as a grim echo of the daydream at the beginning. I’ll think about it. But I’m tentatively trying “werewolf.”

Most importantly, you confirmed my feeling about having at least some indication about why these guys are causing trouble. It’s a social and political thing, which I’m glad you guessed. I was thinking about bars in history (from something I read), a time when governments tried to close the immigrant and working-class bars on Sundays, which was the only day these folks could gather and socialize and drink. The Anti-Saloon League and the KKK were very much involved in it. But hopefully this poem can connect with a more contemporary context.

Thanks again, Siham, for your careful reading and very helpful comments.


PS - I posted a 5th revision, which I think is coming closer to jelling.
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Old 08-16-2018, 12:53 AM
Siham Karami Siham Karami is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 3,182

Hi Martin,

The revision is an improvement, I think, in that it makes the daydream clearer, and putting “whistle” is a nice touch, although thistles being sticker-bearing plants, I wonder how nice a daydream that would be for a little girl.

Another issue for me I didn’t deal with earlier is “like a wounded mongrel”, which not only doesn’t fit the meter at all, but is an odd choice for a daydream. Wounded, yes, but mongrel? A daydream is something nice...but I can sort of see what you mean. When it goes away it might transmogrify. Just a thought. But definitely changing the order of stanzas was the way to go, and works much better imo. Good luck with it!

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Old 08-16-2018, 11:41 AM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 5,646

Thanks, Siham.

It’s true that thistles have velcro seed heads, but they are beautiful flowers that attract butterflies. The other flowers in that stanza — milkweed and clover — also attract butterflies and other pollinators. Milkweed blossoms are quite pretty, and are, of course, important for monarchs. So the kinds of flowers in S2 have something in common, some link between them. Perhaps there are lots of butterflies in this fantasy meadow. I agree, however, that thistle is prickly and the seed heads cling to your clothing. But I like the double rhyme of “plover, whistle / clover, thistle.” When I thought of it, it was a bit of a eureka moment.

Re: “Like a wounded mongrel.” I’m glad you like “wounded.” I’ll see if I can come up with something else that is wounded besides a mongrel.

Edit: Iinstead of “wounded mongrel” (S3, L3), perhaps “wounded sparrow” or "bluebird." Is that more in keeping with a daydream?

I was also thinking of a beach image: “the daydream ... is swept off by a riptide.”
is lost in a violent riptide
is lost in a fierce rip current
goes down in a fierce rip current
or something ...

I think the meter is OK, though:

clears OUT / like a WOUND / -ed MONG (-rel)

I’m happy you think the daydream is clearer now, and that the new stanza order is more effective.

Thanks again, Siham, for your feedback, which is always helpful.


PS - I have changed "mongrel" to "bluebird." I'm trying it out, and think I like it.

Last edited by Martin Elster; 08-16-2018 at 01:16 PM.
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