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Unread 07-22-2019, 09:15 PM
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
Posts: 1,925

Jim, I agree with much that others have already said and won't repeat it. The conclusion is much improved in the rewrite, compared to the original, but it's still unsatisfying to me. The core of this poem is Cordelia, the child (I presume) who is sober and is hearing all of this, to be affected by itóhow. Right now, the poem does all of its emotional work by placing her in that situation and letting us imagine the effects. After doing so, it pivots into the conclusion, which focuses back on the drunkenness and ignores Cordelia.

I think the poem would benefit from a concluding stanza that doesn't forget that Cordelia exists, but ratherówithout being ham-fisted about itósomehow acknowledges her place in all this a bit more. What such a stanza would look like, only you know.
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Unread 07-23-2019, 06:50 AM
Jim Hayes Jim Hayes is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Kilkenny, Kilkenny, Ireland
Posts: 4,919

Hi Jake, this is predicated on two old sayings or ‘old saws’ if you will, the walls have ears and there are skeletons in the cupboards.

Old sayings, for example, behind every great man there is a greater woman or the older the fiddle the sweeter the tune are not cliches. Not that I have anything against cliches, I have no hesitation in refreshing them and including them where useful.

At any rate, I take your point about developing the characters herein further, but that would bespeak a different poem and maybe even a better poet to do them justice, thanks for your interest and taking time to reply, it is much appreciated.

Ashley, I appreciate what you’ve done with this and I agree it does now gallop to the end quicker, but what will I do for the music? I need the ballad rhythm to add humor as well as pace and for the sound. A lot of what I am trying to achieve is lost by condensing it to couplets.
Thanks very much for commenting, your take is very interesting notwithstanding.

Aaron, this relates to an annual event with adult themes and adult behavior, it is no occasion for a child.
I don’t know how you could have assumed Cordelia is a child, she is a contemporary, I clearly state she is a cousin, she is not a niece or a granddaughter, she is a prim and proper old maid abstemious in every understanding of the term.
She is the gossip who takes in all that is said when everybody was under the influence, and subsequently lets the cat out of the bag, the skeletons out of the cupboard if you like, because she is the only one who remembers everything that was said.
I am pleased you find the ending clearer, that was a primary objective.
Thanks again for coming in on this it was good hearing from you.

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Unread 07-23-2019, 07:10 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Location: England, UK
Posts: 3,446

Hi Jim,

The new ending is works a lot better.

The metre of S1L3 could be improved, I think. To my ear, it's ambiguous as to whether we're to hear:

but ONE at the TABle was STILL SOBer, or

but ONE at the TABle WAS still SOBer

I don't think 'was' is clearly/strongly enough a stressed syllable here.

The revision sets up the one who isn't sober quite strongly, Cordelia the abstemious. I'd kind of expect -- and it might be more satisfying -- if when she arrived in the poem she then got more clearly flagged as that one. It is clear that she's the sober one. It's just that the setup goes "But one was still sober. Not X ... Not Y ... Not Z ...", I'd expect a "but" or "it was" to follow -- or something of that kind. Does that make sense? Not sure how you'd work that in, but maybe it'd be worth trying for.



Last edited by Matt Q; 07-23-2019 at 07:15 AM.
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Unread 07-24-2019, 06:19 AM
Jim Hayes Jim Hayes is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Kilkenny, Kilkenny, Ireland
Posts: 4,919

Thank you again Matt, looking at L3 again, I guess this might work;

The fifth post-prandial toast
left one at the table still attentive and sober

Your other suggestion re ‘but’ is intriguing, however I like to leave something for the reader to do, hence the ‘cousin’ Cordelia, I could give the game away by changing the name eg where Hannah the old maid sat but it think that’s too sad and maybe the Widow Cordelia might be better, at least it would solve Aaron’s reading. ☺️where the Widow Cordelia sat

Editing back to say, maybe the but suggestion does work,
But where the abstemious wall had sprouted ears
and the Widow Cordelia sat

Thanks again

Last edited by Jim Hayes; 07-24-2019 at 07:51 AM.
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