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Unread 05-18-2019, 06:54 PM
Aaron Novick's Avatar
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Posts: 1,745

But gold and iron are substances (as teeth are, or near enough), not colors, in this context. I don't think "yellow" is the right contrast.

"Adorning" is not in keeping with the tone of this poem.

The original remains better than any of your alternates, Andrew.
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Unread 05-18-2019, 07:36 PM
Orwn Acra's Avatar
Orwn Acra Orwn Acra is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Beirut
Posts: 1,956

Our age is neither gold nor iron, but children’s teeth
.....hung on the president's door like a wreath.

or something. I don't quite understand the poem, or maybe I do understand it but just think there is more to it when there actually is not.
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Unread 05-18-2019, 08:35 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: New York
Posts: 14,386

Maybe "hung on a politician's door like a wreath" would work.

Apart from the rhyme issue, though, I don't quite get the poem. There is a lack of parallel structure between "gold or iron," on the one hand, and "children's teeth," on the other. And I don't quite get how an age can be a teeth. I get how it can be gold, and I get how it can be iron, but teeth? It eludes me.
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Unread 05-18-2019, 10:11 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 5,947

Andrew - The teeth puzzle me.
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Unread 05-18-2019, 10:31 PM
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Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: usa
Posts: 7,223

I like the teeth - but the wreaths don't work as well for me, even beyond the rhyme. Something like this - try a different rhyme pair?

Our age is neither gold nor iron, but the teeth of youth
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Unread 05-18-2019, 10:53 PM
Vera Ignatowitsch Vera Ignatowitsch is offline
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Canada
Posts: 218

Hmm. Children's teeth are temporary. They fall out and become detritus, but politicians use them as fodder?

strung by politicians in a wreath.
which politicians gather to bequeath.
and politicians pander underneath.

Nothing great, but why not think out loud.

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Unread 05-21-2019, 05:29 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is online now
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1,648

Hi all,

You've given me a lot to think about here.

I like wreath because it both suggests mourning and also (in this context, ironically) celebration. That said, I'm not wedded to it.

I like "children's teeth" because:

a) it is a bit odd
b) an abundance of teeth suggests death, and, well, yeah, it isn't hard to see where this country is with regards to the deaths of children
c) children's teeth are temporary and quickly discarded, which obviously feels like our age. Yet, interesting, teeth can and do last a long time after being discarded.

I don't see why an age can be, metaphorically, gold or iron, but not some other odd substance, like say, children's teeth.
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Unread 05-21-2019, 05:50 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is online now
Join Date: May 2013
Location: England, UK
Posts: 3,113

Hi Andrew,

Just to say, in case I gave the contrary impression, that I liked "children's teeth": it's unexpected and yet apt --- and pretty grisly. (I hadn't made the connection to their temporary nature, though -- and I'd assumed they'd been extracted rather than fallen out naturally, and possibly even that the children were dead). I think it's a great first line. Also, my reservation related only to one of your suggested edits, "a politician's wreath", not the original construction, "hung on politiciansí doors like wreaths", which I think works well, and the associations you want with "wreaths" come across. The main problem, I think, is that "wreaths" isn't quite close enough a rhyme to "wreath", because the vowel sound changes/lengthens (unless it doesn't in the US?).


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Unread 05-21-2019, 05:50 PM
Erik Olson Erik Olson is offline
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 1,982


I confess I am not sure I am altogether persuaded by this yet; it is quite odd and awkward. But it has promise. An idea for what it is worth:
Not gold nor iron, our age is of kids’ teeth
.....on politicians’ doors like many a wreath.
We know wreathes on doors are hung.

Good luck,

Last edited by Erik Olson; 05-21-2019 at 05:58 PM.
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Unread 05-23-2019, 09:53 AM
Mark Stone Mark Stone is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 306


Iím not sure what the poem is about, but I have some general ideas for it. First, because the poem is short, I would go with perfect meter (no substitutions) and true rhymes. Second, because youíre going to need some room to explain what the missing teeth are all about, I would go with a quatrain instead of a couplet. Third, I would use the ABAB rhyme scheme, since people are used to seeing that in short poems. Fourth, I would add some adjectives and/or adverbs, because they can help explain what the story is about. They also provide the opportunity for sonics, such as alliteration, internal rhymes, assonance, consonance, etc. Here are a couple ideas I came up with. One is a sort of ballad stanza and one is in IP.

Our age is not of iron ore
or gold, but childrenís teeth
that hang upon our leaderís door,
just like a black pearl wreath.

Our age is not of gold or iron ore,
but rather one of blameless childrensí teeth
that hang upon our shameless leaderís door,
next to a nameless card and black pearl wreath.
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