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  #11  
Unread 05-20-2019, 11:46 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hi John - Thanks for coming back. I changed the 'sleeping' line, more for the sense than the metre (it reads as the N addressing himself now) but it might read smoother to you. Cheers.

Hi James - Yes, I can see how the 'forget/yet' rhymes could be switched somehow, with the former as the ending. Interesting. I'll have a think.

I see this isn't coming across as clearly as I'd hoped to a lot of people, or if it is it's not doing much. Ahh well.

Thanks folks
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  #12  
Unread 05-21-2019, 04:27 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hi folks,

James got me thinking. I've tinkered with the architecture of the sestet to create a Shakespearean, rather than Petrarchan(ish) sonnet (see how I know stuff!?)

This loses the irony of the N forgetting to say goodnight, but maybe that isn't needed. The poem feels simpler and more direct, which could be a good thing.
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  #13  
Unread 05-21-2019, 06:50 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Mark,

I prefer your new ending - glad to see that closing "and yet" out of there. I wouldn't lay out your Shakespearean sonnet as octave and sestet, though - for me, it's three quatrains and a closing couplet, and that's hidden by your formatting.

Cheers,
John
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  #14  
Unread 05-21-2019, 08:00 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is online now
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Hi Mark,

For me, in the latest version, there's something a little odd about the switch from the first person reportage to the imperative so early in the sestet, with the appearance of "so allow ...". He's talking about himself, then giving (someone else? the world at large?) some advice. In fact even in R2, when this comes later, I find it a little odd.

I also preferred the poem's original last line appearing where it did. It adds final turn and a note of wistfulness. I don't the think "the pull of ..." is quite as strong as the close, since this kind of just restates/summarises what the poems already shown us: the N out of the moment, distracted by the "not-now" -- and I don''t think the "and yet" needs elaborating on / explaining. I liked the way it left things hanging.

Finally, I think the latest revision suffers from not making clear that he's forgotten to say goodnight, an important concrete detail, without which we lose the irony/poignancy that his concern for them distracts him from being with them.

I'd suggest reverting to revision 2's sestet, and keeping "so I allow". The metre didn't trouble me. I'd tend to scan it as an 'epic caesura' (extra unstressed syllable before the pause), followed by a standard trochee-iamb combination: |They're SLEEPing|, SO i | alLOW".

All evening back and forth like this, until
the pull of then and then makes me forget
to say goodnight. They're sleeping, so I allow
the moment just to hang, the gaze to still —
look closer, listen keener — this is now.
So perfect, this advice, so true. And yet.

That said without the imperative, I guess there's the question of "what advice?". But I think the penultimate line's "look closer, listen keener" and "this is now" works well enough to set this up the last.

A final point, I can see that in "the pull of then and then", the "then" is being opposed to "now". He's caught up in the "not-now". However, for me, "then" also has a fairly strong with association the past. While in the poem the "not-now" may involve the past (the death of the N's parent, and so also the N's own childhood, perhaps), but it also seems focused on the future (what might happen in five or ten years), or an alternative now (one in which the grandparent is present to see the kids). I don't know that it's a major issue, and I did see what was intended, but there might be a better way to write this line.

best,

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 05-21-2019 at 08:14 AM.
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  #15  
Unread 05-21-2019, 09:05 AM
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Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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Whato, I've read your poem several times since you posted it - couldn't figure out what I wanted to say until now. How about ending your rev 2 with this line:

the pull of then and then makes me forget
to say goodnight.
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  #16  
Unread 05-21-2019, 09:42 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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I like Mary's suggestion.

Cheers,
John
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  #17  
Unread 05-21-2019, 02:47 PM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Hi Mark,

I find the first sentence too involved. I stay too focused on the "someone gone" anticipating the poem will have more to do with that someone being gone. The accretion of information may reflect the activity of the children, but it's hard getting my footing on entry.

Also, the work "pall" is a put-off. Not one that is commonly used in speech (this may be a New Jersey perspective, but there you have it. ~,:^) Also--is it the right word?

I love the idea of the sonnet--the chance we are constantly give to break from the anxiety of existence and the difficulty we have taking advantage of it. Once into it, it's very effective.

Rick

Last edited by Rick Mullin; 05-21-2019 at 02:50 PM.
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  #18  
Unread 05-21-2019, 04:45 PM
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Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Mullin View Post
I love the idea of the sonnet--the chance we are constantly give to break from the anxiety of existence and the difficulty we have taking advantage of it. Once into it, it's very effective.
Well put, Rick. Plus the poem's idea of Time. I don't mind not knowing who "somebody" is - seems clear it's the N by the end of the poem. I think the original version was a little too slapdash. Rev. 1 was a little too neat. But Rev. 2 is getting there.
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  #19  
Unread 05-22-2019, 04:58 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hi folks,

One last crack at this one, I think, to try to get it to connect with people a bit better than it has been.

Rick - I've tried to simplify the language to something more demotic and less mannered, and therefore to clarify the idea. It's the idea that feels important for this little poem, so I'm grateful here for your thoughts about 'pall'. And the mysterious 'somebody' is now a more general 'the past, the family lost' which hopefully avoids the temptation for readers to focus on this missing person as a key to the poem. Glad you like the general concept here, cheers.

John - Thanks. We're back to Petrarchan anyway. I think a Shakey sonnet can still break after the 2nd quatrain, if it wants to.

What-ho Mary! - I would like to make this work as a sonnet, it feels the right shape for it. It's interesting you saw the 'somebody' as the N, which hadn't occured to me, but I see how that could have worked.

Matt - thanks for your thoughtful response, as always. I've returned to the original 'And yet' ending (with added ellipses to suggest the poem could come full-circle to '...even as I'm watching') and to the idea about forgetting to say goodnight, which I did like. Lots of useful thoughts. 'Then' is a funny word, isn't it, because we use it to refer to the past, obviously, but also the future ("we'll meet at 3, then we'll have something to eat, then...")

Well. I think I might have something that does what I wanted it to now. Maybe.

Thanks all.
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  #20  
Unread 05-22-2019, 06:42 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Mark,

I like what you've done with the octave.

Cheers,
John
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