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Old 10-12-2017, 04:17 PM
John Riley John Riley is online now
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Would rhymed couplets turn it into a sing-song that precluded any sense of something below the surface of the words? I wouldn't think that is what you want in a poem that is, although it claims not to be, talking about a long walk with Christian references and language. If so you will need to make the other adjustments. A walk, particularly a long walk, is inescapably spiritual. Perhaps continue and discover what is going on?
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Old 10-12-2017, 04:36 PM
Erik Olson Erik Olson is offline
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Location: Portland, OR
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But, oh, don't knock even trimeter couplets .
Besides Jonson’s several strictures on cross rimes, the stanzas of Spenser, the alexandrine of Drayton, English hexameters and sonnets, the very first entry of the conversation with Drummond tells us of a projected epic with the added information ‘it is all in couplets for he detested all other rimes.’ A little below Jonson tells of his having written against Campion’s and Daniel’s treatises on versification to prove ‘couplets to be the bravest sort of verses.’
My only concern would be that rhymed couplets are more difficult to manage in trimeter so as to avoid sing-song. However, I would certainly not discount or belittle this form by default as it has been successfully used before as eminent examples attest. The poem Happiness Makes Up In Height For What It lacks in Length of Frost was rated among his most beloved, being in cascading couplets in iambic trimeter.

O stormy, stormy world,
The days you were not swirled
Around with mist and cloud,
Or wrapped as in a shroud,
And the sun’s brilliant ball
Was not in part or all
Obscured from mortal view—
Were days so very few
I can but wonder whence
I get the lasting sense
Of so much warmth and light.
If my mistrust is right
It may be altogether
From one day's perfect weather,
When starting clear at dawn
The day swept clearly on
To finish clear at eve.
I verily believe
My fair impression may
Be all from that one day
No shadow crossed but ours
As through its blazing flowers
We went from house to wood
For change of solitude.
Anyway, it is really all about how you use the form. As to whether this poem should change its form, I did not think a change was necessary myself. All I know is what was presented was successful.

Last edited by Erik Olson; 10-12-2017 at 05:45 PM.
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Old 10-12-2017, 04:44 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Location: England
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Stick with the tricksy rhyme scheme David; it's working well here with the conversational tone and enjambments. Like some of laughing Larkin's best, where you barely notice there is a rhyme scheme until you're halfway through the poem, then you realise its been weaving its spell and you go 'Oh! That's clever...'
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Old 10-15-2017, 09:38 AM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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Okay. Suitably exhorted I will stick with the tricksy rhyme scheme (c. M. McDonnell), but I am finding it pretty tricksy. I hope you won't mind if I put this on the back-burner for a while. I shall take it with me on a walk this afternoon. Short-distance, sadly.

Thanks all

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Old 10-16-2017, 07:21 AM
Ed Shacklee's Avatar
Ed Shacklee Ed Shacklee is offline
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I wonder if you might change the punctuation a bit, as it's short (pithy) enough to be a single sentence. Apologies for going all Emily Dickinson on you and mucking around with it:

It is a pilgrimage
of secular appeal:
what draws us out and on
is not the appointed shrine
of some holy person,
nor is it our design
that steers us clear of hell
or salves a salvaged soul -
he penance of a ridge,
the labour of a hill,
have no eternal goal.


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Old 10-16-2017, 12:20 PM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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Location: Ellan Vannin
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Thanks Ed. That's a nice-looking revision.

I already had some furniture-moving in mind for that first verse, and I've added another - how far it gets me, and in which direction (the right or the wrong), I don't know.


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Old 10-16-2017, 01:45 PM
Charles Albert Charles Albert is offline
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Location: San Jose, CA
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I won't weigh in on technical questions or tricksy v rhyming couplets. but I will say that if you have a conclusion in mind for this poem then I'm all for you continuing on it. I've often wondered why the heck we all go on hikes in the woods when there isn't really any goal in mind other then the self-satisfied tiredness you point out.

When they were smaller, I used to lure my boys out of the house and onto the trails with the promise of sighting some flash of fur or feather, as though that made the exercise less pointless. But now nothing short of blasting caps will get them out of a wifi zone.
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Old 10-17-2017, 10:50 AM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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I agree with those who say you should go back to the more convoluted rhyme scheme. "Have no eternal goal" is the right ending for the first stanza, and leads nicely into the opening question of the second.

I like the second stanza you've added, but it's rough in places. I'd cut "just" from L2, and do something with L7, which lands awkwardly as the third "eep" rhyme. I think to work it needs to hew a little closer to the poem's iambic base rhythm. But you might cut it altogether, and write a whole new line to put elsewhere in the stanza.
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Old 10-19-2017, 11:59 PM
Phil Wood Phil Wood is offline
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Location: Wales
Posts: 93

Hi David
I prefer the original.

What are we after, then?
The reader was left with the question in the original, which allowed the reader to fill in the space (the answer to the question being personal and individual).

Perhaps your answer to that question could be answered in a separate poem. I'm sure the original prompted others to write speculative poems on the why.


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