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  #1  
Unread 01-16-2021, 10:50 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Default The Maze

Dear Eratosphere, I can't decide whether or not to keep this poem. What do you think?

First Revision:

The Mirror

For what it’s worth:
while you are out here doing life on earth,
you are inside a labyrinth,
possibly drawing nearer
to a central plinth
where stands the torchlit mirror
in which you would discern you are
the monster in the maze.

O self-adorer,
pray that, in all your days,
you never get that far.
Pray that you never see that horror.
Pray, pray, for what it’s worth,
that your sunlit reflection stays
lost on the sunlit earth.

. . . . .

Original:

The Mirror

For what it’s worth,
while you are out here living life on earth,
you are inside a labyrinth,
possibly drawing nearer
to a central plinth
where stands the torchlit mirror
in which you would discern you are
the monster in the maze.

O self-adorer,
pray that, in all your days,
you never get that far.
Pray that you never see that horror.
Pray, pray, for what it’s worth,
that your sunlit reflection stays
lost on the sunlit earth.

. . . . .

Line 4: "possibly" for "randomly"
Line 7: "would" for "will"

Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 02-10-2021 at 12:07 PM.
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  #2  
Unread 01-16-2021, 06:45 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Sonically vey good! Message-wise, it sounds like Baudelaire on a truly bad hair day. I repugn what I think is the message, even if the narrator speaks from experience. Things generally are what they are. Like it and don't like it.
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  #3  
Unread 01-16-2021, 07:53 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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The message?
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  #4  
Unread 01-16-2021, 08:31 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is online now
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Hi Aaron,

I really like the way you handled the heterometricism and rhymes, as well as the sonics. I wasn’t looking for a message as much as a theme, which I’m still trying to figure out. Namely, why does the N think of himself, herself, or itself as being a monster?

Another consideration I thought of was: Is a maze actually random? It may seem random to one who is walking through it, but it’s not actually random. Or maybe it is. Something to think about anyway.

I reckon the repetition of “for what it’s worth” is a clue to the theme or perhaps the N’s emotions, thoughts, or sentiments, but I’ll have to think about it some more to fully grasp the purpose of the anaphora.

S1 is a declarative sentence, while S2 is imperative. I like the contrast. It’s like a dream or, rather, a nightmare. The self-admiring man or woman (or animal) — the “you” — hopes they will never get to actually see their monster-like aspect.

On the other hand, there have been plenty of books telling people how to have self-confidence and self-esteem but, lately, there are more books telling people to love themselves, which is supposedly much better for your health and happiness.

I get a sense of Greek mythology in this poem — the Minotaur. As far as Greek mythology goes, you are the expert. So, if you are so inclined, please tell me what sort of allusion(s) the poem contains. I’m curious.

The character is a “self-adorer.”
The setting is underground inside a labyrinth but also “out here living life on Earth,” so two places at once. Interesting!
The plot is a being moving through a maze toward a plinth holding up a mirror, which is torchlit, suggesting that it’s either nighttime or still somehow subterranean.
The mood (especially S2) is one of caution, warning, fright, and also apostrophe.
The tone seems to be a warning and urgent message to the self. The “O” at the start of S2 is an archaic exclamation (which is what makes me think of mythology.
Regarding the theme, I’m still working that out, but the mirror is a clue, which seems to be about self-reflection.

Martin

Last edited by Martin Elster; 01-17-2021 at 04:37 PM. Reason: typo
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  #5  
Unread 01-17-2021, 06:04 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Hi Aaron, I like this a lot. I think it packs a coiled insight into what Jung called the shadow, the consciousness of which inside oneself can be a shattering experience. The meter and rhyme scheme are themselves labyrinthine. I have no nits.

I found the mirror image especially fascinating, since it's reminiscent of the mirror the birds see in the Sufi story about the journey of the birds to their god the Simurgh, who ends up being themselves ("Simurgh" meaning "30 birds"), seen in a mirror.
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  #6  
Unread 01-17-2021, 06:50 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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.
Aaron, There may (or may not) be much that is intentionally woven into this that I only weakly grasp any references or allusions to Greek mythology, the Jungian undertones, the logic (or lack thereof) of mazes, etc., but as a reader eager to understand the heart of this and feel its pulse, it is as lucid and clear as a nursery rhyme to a child. All I need are the words-turned-into-images. No nits.
Labyrinth / plinth is a killer rhyme.
Really fine work.
.
.

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 01-17-2021 at 06:53 AM.
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  #7  
Unread 01-17-2021, 06:59 AM
Bill Carpenter Bill Carpenter is offline
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Yes, quite excellent. I think I remember a pitiable minotaur in Fellini's Satyricon--he must have looked in the mirror. The heterometric lines exhibit the conceit underlying some uses of the ode (and of free verse), which is that the speaker's emotion overcomes regularity of form. Here it subtly enhances the anguish described.
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  #8  
Unread 01-17-2021, 07:52 AM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Everything Martin Elster said, verbatim.
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  #9  
Unread 01-17-2021, 12:21 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Thank you, all, for your comments.

This is not a particularly allusive poem. All it asks of the reader is to know that mazes (labyrinths) might have monsters in them. There rest is there in the words themselves.

Martin, you have persuaded me that "randomly" is not right. "Possibly" is better.

Allen, I still don't know what you mean by the poem's "message." Your initial critique is meaningless without some sort of explanation.
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  #10  
Unread 02-10-2021, 12:09 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Dear Eratosphere, I can't decide whether or not to keep this poem. What do you think?
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