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  #1  
Unread 09-21-2019, 01:24 PM
Rick Mullin's Avatar
Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Default The Hawk

The Hawk

She flapped into the dying apple tree,
unbalanced terror, reeling from her chase.
Blown owlish in the twigs, she looked at me
and I at her, one heartbeat, face to face.
Her russet cardinal quarry shot away,
a perfect acrobat, and then the hawk
reprised a tearing slash across the tarp
of the gazebo wherein I, in aftershock,
one heartbeat hanging on the shattered harp
whose silent branches quivered in a play
of sunlight through the hemlock row out back,
retained an instant’s image of the eye.
That heartbeat waiting for a heart attack,
illuminated someplace in the sky.
A glass suspended in the howling grey.


__


Line 1: "flapped into" was "landed in"


Line 2: "her" was "the"


Line 5 was: The russet female cardinal got away
Also, "got" is now "shot"


Line 5 was then: The russet cardinal chanced to get away


Line 12 "her" to "the"

Last edited by Rick Mullin; 09-25-2019 at 08:36 PM.
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  #2  
Unread 09-21-2019, 01:41 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Rick,

This feels a bit different from your usual postings. Just a short note to say I like it.

Cheers,
John
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  #3  
Unread 09-21-2019, 04:04 PM
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Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
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Hi Rick,
I like this. However, I think it doesn't gain from the initial ambiguity--do the first four lines describe the hawk or the cardinal? Rereading seems to make it clear, but the stumble interferes with the reading, which I think needs a certain speed. I'm also a bit unsure about the three heartbeats--I have no doubt that they are deliberate, but it gives it a bit of a triolet feel that doesn't seem to fit. Finally, can you find a less stiff word than "wherein"?

Thanks for the read, and I hope that at least some of these comments are some use.

Martin

PS I love the last three lines.
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Unread 09-21-2019, 10:58 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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I like this, Rick. For this line (which I hear as six beats)

of the gazebo wherein I, in aftershock,

Perhaps you could replace “wherein” with “where.”

of the gazebo where I, in aftershock,

which makes the line 5 beats instead of 6. I have a feeling it doesn't matter to you all the much whether a given line is pentameter or hexameter, but just letting you know what I hear and a possible "fix."

Best,
Martin
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  #5  
Unread 09-23-2019, 01:51 PM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Thanks John.


Thanks Martin,

I wondered if the cardinal would be confusing. I considered changing line two to

a hawk, unbalanced, reeling from the chase

but I prefer the original. I think with the title a reader going into it would know I'm describing the hawk. Thus, the cardinal was the prey. The description, especially blowing out like an owl, fits a hawk and not a cardinal. I'm interested in whether others had the problem with the birds...

I do want three heartbeat references--I have explored taking out the second, but I'm trying to use the heartbeats to connote time, space, regularity...

I can see your point about "wherein". I kind of like it as a voltaic. I noticed that "wherein I" occurs at the geographic center of the poem. It's a bit high-diction, which I actually like. Martin also has a problem with it, though. So, it's under consideration.


Thanks Martin--I recognize the problem you're having with "wherein". See my response to Martin. I do go for pentameter in these things. But loose, strategically so, I hope, in some cases. I was rightly faulted for years hear for plodding. ~,:^)

The literally breath-taking eight-line sentence may be a crux....

Thanks again, folks.
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  #6  
Unread 09-24-2019, 03:21 AM
Siham Karami Siham Karami is offline
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Hi Rick,

I love this! I did, however, have a problem with the birds. Part of this is being unspecific in the beginning, although from the title, as you said, I presumed it was the has. But the cardinal was female and so was the hawk, causing me some confusion as to whether I missed something. It does become clear on second reading, so I don’t know how bad this is really. It doesn’t really detract from the poem so much as distract from it. Again at the end, “her” eye made me wonder which eyes you were looking into, because both are female, although the last bird mentioned was the hawk, with whom you’d already established eye contact. if the cardinal had not been specified “female” this confusion wouldn’t arise. On the other hand, I like the specificity of the way it is, and once I got over my initial read, it’s a powerful poem. The ending is spectacular.

Siham
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  #7  
Unread 09-24-2019, 04:26 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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I wonder whether you'd consider changing the order in line 2 - "terror unbalanced" which fixes more surely on the hawk?

How important is it that the cardinal is female? Is it done in the name of accurate reconstruction or possible subtext? You could give yourself another adjective here, perhaps?

And would it emphasise the instant, the gasp, the sudden now-and-not of it, if you snipped the definite article from the title?
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Unread 09-24-2019, 11:10 AM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Thanks Siham and Ann,

Actually, russet and female are even redundant--males are red, females russet. I changed the line. I also considered

The cardinal took its chance to get away,

which might be better.


Ann, I'm not seeming much of a difference between "unbalanced terror" and "terror unbalanced" in that regard. Metrically "unbalanced terror" is preferable, but I also like it better as a way of calling the hawk terror itself in an unbalanced state.

I changed the title, but changed it back. Still tethering. I agree that "Hawk" works better for the instant, but I kind of think "The Hawk" works better for the eye.

I also changed "her eye" to "the eye" in line 12.

Last edited by Rick Mullin; 09-24-2019 at 04:12 PM.
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  #9  
Unread 09-25-2019, 08:30 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hi Rick!

A captured moment. The last line is stunning.

I had assumed the She of the opening word to be the hawk, naturally enough because of the title, but I had my own problem with "unbalanced terror", though. I read "unbalanced terror, reeling from the chase" not as the hawk being the embodiment of 'Terror', but as the hawk being in a state of terror after having been chased. I know this is counter-intuitive, given the hawk's predatory nature, but that's how it naturally read to me at first, so I was a little thrown. I recovered and worked it out, and I really love the poem, but it seemed a slight jarring ambiguity. Would capitalising 'Terror' go too far?

Could just be me.
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  #10  
Unread 09-25-2019, 10:10 AM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Hi Mark,

Does the change in line 5 help? It should clarify that the cardinal is in the picture because it was chased into the apple tree, which I can see was not very clear before. It should also clarify which bird is which.

Thanks,
RM
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