Eratosphere Forums - Metrical Poetry, Free Verse, Fiction, Art, Critique, Discussions Able Muse - a review of poetry, prose and art

Forum Left Top

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 07-09-2017, 12:12 PM
David Callin David Callin is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Ellan Vannin
Posts: 1,414
Default Eric from the Black Lagoon

REVISION - LARGELY DUE TO MARTIN, REALLY

To us he was just Eric,
a slightly stupid boy
who saw something shiny
and wanted it.

Something lightsome in him,
some bubble curiosity
drew him up
toward the dangerous sunlight.

He would bring things back
and wonder why they died,
grieving overmuch
until the next time.

Then the others came,
in a dirty clanking vessel
that streaked and stirred up
our tranquil waters,

making waves
that rocked our little world.
Eric goggled helplessly
out of the newly turbid depths.

She was - I'll give you this -
a thing of beauty.
He knew he had to have her.
It all flowed from there.

The ungainly, hulking boy,
the clumsy one, the splasher,
achieved apotheosis -
the lovesick booby.

When it was all over
we retrieved his punctured body,
mourned his violent passing
and blamed him for it.

Now, we tell our young ones,
"Don't go in the shallows",
They have not returned yet,
but they will.

ORIGINAL

"Gill-man", I think they called him -
something like that,
something, you know, unflattering
and dismissive.

To us he was just Eric,
a slightly stupid boy
who saw something shiny
and wanted it.

Something lightsome in him,
some bubble curiosity
drew him up
toward the dangerous sunlight.

He would bring things back
and wonder why they died,
grieving overmuch
until the next time.

"Don't go in the shallows, Eric",
we used to say to him -
"they'll 'ave yer."
Big joke.

They, to us,
were gentle people,
living lightly
off the land;

Eric lurching suddenly
out of the infernal deep,
they did not stop
to ask for his credentials.

Then the others came,
in a dirty clanking vessel
that streaked and stirred up
our tranquil waters,

making waves
that rocked our little world.
Eric goggled helplessly
out of the newly turbid depths.

She was - I'll give you this -
a thing of beauty.
Whether delirious vision
or divine apparition,

he knew he had to have her.
It all flowed from there,
the whole mad pursuit.
Eric, dopey Eric,

the ungainly, hulking boy,
the clumsy one, the splasher,
achieved apotheosis -
the lovesick booby.

When it was all over
we retrieved his punctured body,
mourned his violent passing
and blamed him for it.

Now, when we tell our young ones,
"Don't go in the shallows",
it is a different ghost we conjure,
a different fate we fear.

It is all very quiet now,
and has been so for ages.
They have not returned yet,
but they will.

Last edited by David Callin; 07-18-2017 at 07:30 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 07-09-2017, 01:25 PM
Martin Rocek's Avatar
Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: NY, USA
Posts: 4,013
Default

David,
it's a fun idea, well executed, but it goes on too long. IMO, you can dispense with S1 entirely--S2 is a stronger, more disorienting start. S2-4 I like a great deal, they set things up very nicely; I'm not sure if/how they could be tightened. S5 isn't pulling its weight. I think you could cut S8-9 as well, and combine S10-12 into one or two verses. I'd also combine the last two verses into something like:

We tell our young ones
"Don't go in the shallows"!
They have not returned yet,
but they will.

Perhaps italicize "they" each time it refers to the us.

A few other thoughts--I like the vertical format--it somehow makes it seem like coming from the depths.

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

Martin
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 07-10-2017, 01:14 AM
William A. Baurle William A. Baurle is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 1,844
Default

David,

This is a fantastic story. But I think I agree with Martin that it could, and probably should, be shortened. This is tragic and, if true, this person has my deepest sympathies, although I am not certain about what exactly happened to him.

Later, I will run through and do a few edits, which you will either accept or ignore.

I also hope to discover a little more about what happened to Eric.

Your writing continues to impress me, more and more.

Blessings (from the BIG Y/A and/or the Flying Spaghetti Monster & the Pink Unicorn),

Bill

Last edited by William A. Baurle; 07-10-2017 at 01:17 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 07-10-2017, 01:36 AM
Martin Rocek's Avatar
Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: NY, USA
Posts: 4,013
Default

Bill,
I think this poem is a humorous perspective reverse version of this story: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creatu...e_Black_Lagoon

Best,
Martin
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 07-10-2017, 12:58 PM
Malcolm Thom Malcolm Thom is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 10
Default

Hi David,

Overall, I thought the way the story unfolds as a kind of riddle was engaging.

I think what is strong about the poem comes from the maintenance of the regretful-nostalgic but forensic narrative voice in contrast to the reported folky 'voiced' community exhortations concerning Eric's behaviour.

I get the feeling the poem is reaching for more of an allegorical reading, but not yet committed to that project. So, we get the funny role-reversal in the "Black Lagoon" -type story, which is deftly executed in general, but it sort of fizzles out (for me) by the time we get to the end. The last two stanzas seem too vague--lacking either the light and fun touch that preceded or some more provocative allegorical 'turn' that (I think) the reader is expecting. I think this is why the poem seems too long (as your previous reader noted too).

I agree with your previous reader's suggestion (Martin) that S8-9 could be removed. They 'muddy the waters' unnecessarily and (for me) contribute to the emerging vagueness.

I did not really 'like' the short four-line stanzas, but I'm having a hard time saying why. I didn't note any particular reason for the line breaks / stanza breaks (related to poetic diction), so I was distracted by trying to figure out why you did it. On the other hand, I don't have an alternative to suggest. Did you try any other formats? E.g., starting with big long lines narrowing to one word at the end, etc.?

Fun read that left me feeling like there was one more very important thing to say.

(Note: in the direct quotation, doesn't the comma go inside the quotation marks? Maybe it's not really a direct quotation...)

Regards,
M.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 07-10-2017, 02:46 PM
Phil Wood Phil Wood is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Wales
Posts: 72
Default

Like it David. Particularly liked the tone, the reader led into a narrative that triggers thoughts on evolution and the inevitable destruction of 'weaker' species - an inference that the 'gentle people' who live off the land will also fall victim to 'progress'. The sense of insularity in the speaker was palpable - a contrast to the 'bubble curiosity' of Eric (love that phrase). Was the 'she' a reference to the woman in the film?

best

Phil
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 07-18-2017, 07:29 AM
David Callin David Callin is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Ellan Vannin
Posts: 1,414
Default

Thank you Martin! That's all good advice, and I think I have adopted all of it in an up-coming revision, except that I have kept verses 8-9 and cut verses 6-7 instead. It just seemed right at the time.

Bill, thank you for that. Martin is, of course, right about where this came from. (IT CAME FROM BENEATH ...) That's my love of 50's B movies overflowing. (Is it fair to call it a B movie? Maybe not.)

Thanks Malcolm. Martin is (as above) absolutely right about it being too long, so I hope I've addressed that point for you too.

And, as ever, thank you Phil. Watch the film! Itís great. (You're spot on about the glimmer of environmental concern as well.)

Cheers all

David
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 07-18-2017, 12:53 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is online now
Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: England
Posts: 1,246
Default

Hi David,

I think this has really benefited from the trimming. The mix of B-movie 'reverse perspective' fun and pathos is sharper and clearer, where the previous length seemed to muddy the tone. You could do a whole series: the Incredible Shrinking Man's wife, The Man With X-Ray Eyes' optician...the possibilities are...well at least two.

Edit: 'bubble curiosity' is nice. Put me in mind of 'the bubble reputation' from the 7 Ages of Man.

Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 07-18-2017 at 02:17 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 07-18-2017, 11:42 PM
William A. Baurle William A. Baurle is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 1,844
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Callin View Post
Bill, thank you for that. Martin is, of course, right about where this came from. (IT CAME FROM BENEATH ...) That's my love of 50's B movies overflowing. (Is it fair to call it a B movie? Maybe not.)

David
D'oh!

I guess I feel rather silly, thinking this was about a real person, and that you had just copped the title from the film. I will have to read it now with that info in mind...and perhaps add some more thoughts.

If I have any, I will add them to this post.

***

Edited in. I've never seen the film, but I did read the plot entry at Wikipedia (and had a look at the poster and a still photo with the creature and Julie Adams).

Hmmm...

One thing I can say is: Yep, Julie Adams would have caught my eye something awful as well, though I wouldn't have creeped after her. I would have just tried not to stare too much and kept my legs crossed a lot.

^ I hope I don't get in too much hot water (or perhaps cold water would be better? ) over that comment, but if I do, what the hell.

As for my new perspective on your poem: it still reads like a tragedy that happened to a person, not a fanciful Hollywood "creature". Martin says it's humorous, but in your revision, I don't see anything humorous. ?

I think the writing is fantastic, and I like the small quatrains. I understand the narrative, but I don't think I am getting the joke, even after quite a few reads. Sorry. Like I keep saying, I'm a numbnuts.

I will read some more and return with more comments if a light bulb suddenly manifests over my noggin.

Last edited by William A. Baurle; 07-19-2017 at 12:06 AM. Reason: Editing!
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 07-19-2017, 02:25 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is online now
Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: England
Posts: 1,246
Default

I don't think it's 'Haha funny' humourous at all, no. Any humour comes from the witty use of the pop culture source, images of which remove the reader from any real sense of tragedy. And from the voice which turns Hollywood schlock into an understated British sounding tale of an awkward youth. It's bittersweet. Full of pathos. In that sense it isn't too removed or subversive of its origins anyway, as the best of the 30s 'monster movies' had sympathetic monsters anyway: Kong, Karloff's Frankenstein's monster, the Wolf Man. The 50s 'Gill Man' seems more in that tradition than in the 'big radioactive beastie' of the 50s. (Yes, I love this stuff too David haha)

Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 07-19-2017 at 02:54 AM.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Forum Right Top
Forum Left Bottom Forum Right Bottom
 
Right Left
Member Login
Forgot password?
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Statistics:
Forum Members: 7,839
Total Threads: 18,721
Total Posts: 241,871
There are 83 users
currently browsing forums.
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Sponsor:
Donate & Support Able Muse / Eratosphere
Forum LeftForum Right
Right Right
Right Bottom Left Right Bottom Right

Hosted by ApplauZ Online