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  #1  
Unread 01-09-2019, 08:20 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Default Star Stuff

Star Stuff

If all of this is star stuff, quantum
gubbins, and the ceiling buzzes
from more than just the faulty wiring
but shakes its atoms, making plain
the duplicity of solids, liquids, gases
yet we don't respond by shaking our asses,
ecstatic with the ka-boom that led
to all of this, the infinitesimal
'not-a-chance' that means that we
can wake each day and see, hear sounds,
talk, reflect on the echoing boom,
the room, the bookshelves, boxes, shifting
play of light, the less or more
on the end of every fork, or spoon,
then O Great Singularity –
O Swallowing – just kill us now,
we deserve no more or less.
But if, instead, we are chosen, planned,
designed as Chief of Spheres and blessed
and all is true – the Garden, the Tree,
the Cross, or the Merchant and the Cave,
the dumb dictation, patient angels,
fear of flesh, mutilation,
the mad performance repetition
tries to prove the perfect shadow
of a truth, then kill us too.
We're tired of crawling on our bellies
straining for the absent light,
scratching our eyes with star stuff.



Capitalised bits and pieces

(Removed, then replaced, caps on Chief of Spheres)

Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 01-09-2019 at 10:24 AM. Reason: mispelled 'quantum' ha
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  #2  
Unread 01-09-2019, 09:34 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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I love this, Mark, it really buzzes and hums, and is a pleasure to read aloud. I'm just liking it from start to finish, but one style detail occurred to me: maybe capitalize some of the words, like in the "garden, the tree, the cross, or the merchant and the cave,
the dumb dictation, patient angels" sequence, but also maybe elsewhere.

There will probably be some tinkering with this or that word or line, but I hope you don't change much here.

Andrew
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  #3  
Unread 01-09-2019, 12:18 PM
Erik Olson Erik Olson is offline
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Mark,

First off, I enjoy and appreciate both the execution and structure of this poem, both being deft. That said, I must confess that the refrain ‘just kill us now,’ which serves as the conclusion of both hypotheticals posed—‘then kill us too’—I am less than keen on, and then some. My reaction from the first finds it hard to take this blanket superlative of cynicism at all seriously. That is my limitation with getting behind this one. Otherwise, I fancy the lead into the we should all die. What, the narrator wishes universal death if this or that is true? Silly. That seems hard to wish likewise. I remain unconvinced too by the argument presented so that I do not think that the conclusion follows. Why should we all be killed again? because the narrator is so averse to think that this or that is true? Sorry, I cannot bring myself to enjoy this particular conclusion itself; it does not resonate with me, so that I have to like the piece despite and not because of that idiotic moan. Well, maybe it is not my cup of tea, as they say.

Cheers,

Erik

P.S. I find myself less averse if the insistence parodies some argument, puerilely jaundiced as it is.

Last edited by Erik Olson; 01-09-2019 at 04:31 PM.
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  #4  
Unread 01-09-2019, 01:21 PM
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Don Jones Don Jones is offline
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Mark,

Like Erik, I too like the execution but not the conclusion.

It is an interesting coincidence that this poem is an answer to John Isbell's poem "Baroque" posted on another thread. While I like his conclusion, being more optimistic and humanist and not postmodern with misanthropy, your going about conveying your message (or is it ironic as Erik conjectures?) is more convincing.

I do like the music, which, also ironically, seems more "baroque" than John's poem.

Don
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  #5  
Unread 01-09-2019, 02:27 PM
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R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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Gee, I think the "kill us too" is played rather well, not as a philosophy, but as a passing mood: a kind of damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't howl of almost delighted exasperation. If there is irony, it is in the narrator's knowledge that this too shall pass: this life, this poem, this quest, this curse. And there is such delight in the run-on language, its momentum, that the poem seems full to bursting of the very life it would impulsively surrender. It also manages to include death in the whole parade, giving it neither more nor less power than anything else.

I have a friend who, years ago, whenever he was in the throes of unadulterated enjoyment, used to turn to me and say very calmly, "Kill me now." It was a hymn of praise to the infernal joys of life.

I love that the poem ends on the title.
And I like Andrew's suggestion of Elizabethan caps for symbolic words, for primal nomenclature.

Good one, Mark.

Nemo
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Unread 01-09-2019, 03:14 PM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Yes, "the kill us now" / "then kill us too" works perfectly. Sort of an inside-out Romanticism here, or a mirror image of Romanticism, capturing that balance of faith and reason in the face of being called upon to pick one and disparage the other.


I also think the capitalization suggestion of Andrew's would be more than appropriate.


Good one,
Rick
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  #7  
Unread 01-10-2019, 04:04 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hi Andrew - That's great, thank you! I love the idea of someone hundreds of miles away reading this aloud. I took your capitalisation idea. I tried to be judicious with it, but it was hard to know when Enough became Too Much, to paraphrase Blake. Let me know what you think. Cheers.

Erik and Dom - you had similar reactions here. I'm glad at least you both liked the music and the execution. Believe it or not, this is supposed to be a quite joyous poem, or at least that's how I saw it. A godless song of incredulous wonder, if you like. The key is there in the argument: 'If all of this...yet we don't respond by...then kill us now'. It's a reminder to be absolutely and continually thrilled and amazed that you even exist. The second half surmises that maybe the tenets of religion are true, but lays them out in a way that suggests the N doubts it and anyway would probably rather they weren't thank you very much. He kind of throws his hands up in, as Nemo nicely puts it, 'a kind of damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't howl of almost delighted exasperation'.

Nemo - Thanks. I'm so pleased you like it and got it. I can hear your friend perfectly, that made me smile.

Thanks Rick - I tried the Capitalising thing. Hope it works.

Cheers all!
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  #8  
Unread 01-10-2019, 04:35 PM
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R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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I'd drop the caps on Perfect Shadow of the Truth.
And maybe Chief of Spheres and Blessed.

And maybe even Great Singularity and Swallowing.

What remain are very specific images: Garden Tree, Cross, Merchant, Cave. Almost like a new zodiac.

Nemo
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  #9  
Unread 01-11-2019, 01:05 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark McDonnell View Post
Believe it or not, this is supposed to be a quite joyous poem, or at least that's how I saw it. A godless song of incredulous wonder, if you like.
Yeah, that's how it struck me, like an agnostic Song of Innocence.

I think Nemo's call on the capitals is spot-on, though I heard tarot card names more than zodiac ones.
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  #10  
Unread 01-11-2019, 12:15 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hi!

Thanks you two. Yes, I went a little 'Too Much'.

I've kept the capitals on Great Singularity and Swallowing because I think they would fit into the proposed new zodiac/tarot pack (love that idea) as kind of representing the non-deities of a scientific/godless worldview, Also I do like the way they look with the capital O (I'm almost tempted to give them an exclamation mark)

Cheers.
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