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  #1  
Unread 02-09-2021, 01:09 PM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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Default Difficult crossing

We thought that you would blossom,
becoming radiant, lit from within.
More like a months-long Steam Packet crossing
from Liverpool in winter,
is what you said. You were the captain,
poring over the charts, and you
were the chief engineer, muttering over the engines,
and you were the suffering crew.

Down below the cargo slept,
dreaming such dreams as cargos might
be privy to, until the harbour crept,
with its landing gear and gantries, into sight.
Like one of those gulls that has flown beside the boat,
I walked about the pier on my flat feet.
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  #2  
Unread 02-09-2021, 03:59 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Well hellooo!!

I love this. It's pregnancy and birth, yes? With the N partner pacing the waiting room at the end. I think the extended metaphor works beautifully and is totally delightful. Lovely, subtle rhyming too. It's a sonnet, of course.

I did wonder if you might establish the seafaring metaphor a bit more in the opening, so the pregnant mother's contradiction ("More like...") was more logical.

Quote:
We thought that you would blossom,
becoming radiant, lit from within.
More like a months-long Steam Packet crossing
from Liverpool in winter,
is what you said.
Like "We thought that you would blossom / and all would be plain sailing..." or similar

Maybe? Maybe not necessary though.

So nice to have a Callin poem back in these parts!

Edit: maybe a comma after "Down below"?

Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 02-09-2021 at 04:10 PM.
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  #3  
Unread 02-09-2021, 04:58 PM
Joe Crocker Joe Crocker is offline
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Yes! It took me a while to figure out the actors in the drama. But it works wonderfully well. The narrator is the hapless gull flying alongside the pregnant boat - the mother suffering all the weight and the worry and the pain. I love the delivery harbour and it’s gear and the narrator landing awkwardly on the other side.

I did wonder about the engineer “muttering over” the engine. Muttering seems slightly low key. Would something like “urging on” be more forceful?
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  #4  
Unread 02-10-2021, 12:26 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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I love this, David. Great to see you posting here. I'm nitless, really. Just that I can imagine a comma after "Down below" to make it clearer right off that it's not "below the cargo."

The same translucent quality in this that I have been enjoying in your book. Lovely and fluid.

Welcome back.


Andrew
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  #5  
Unread 02-10-2021, 08:25 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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.
Duh! Now I see the metaphor — now how could I not have seen? It's a perfect metaphor for pregnancy. Wow. And the flat-footed gull that is the speaker creates both that diminished sense of being helpless yet vigilant to what is an imminent sense of deliverance. The ultimate muse might well be the woman carrying precious cargo.
Really beautifully wrought. A vintage Callin yarn.


And I agree a comma in S2L1 after "Down below" would make things clear — and probably no comma at the end of that line.

.

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 02-10-2021 at 07:13 PM.
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  #6  
Unread 02-10-2021, 01:03 PM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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Hello to you too, Mark. Ideally you would have been stroking a white cat while saying, suavely, we've been expecting you, Mr Callin, but life is far from ideal at the moment, I know. And you probably weren't, anyway.

That is the gist of it indeed.

The sea-faring metaphor came from the pregnant mother, spontaneously, in the first place - not what she expected (for which see first two lines). Think I'll leave it as it is.

And thank you!

Joe, Andrew, Jim, will get to you another night. Time is pressing. But please accept this thank you as an advance payment.

Cheers

David
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  #7  
Unread 02-11-2021, 01:33 PM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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Belatedly ...

Thanks, Joe. There was a lot of muttering. Not that I can blame her for that. "Urging on" would be fine for the final stages, but not for most of the months before that. I think, anyway.

Thank you, Andrew - grammatically, I can see the point of the comma as you suggest it, but I think it works without it. I am over-prone to commas anyway, and I'm trying to avoid the sort of Buddy Holly effect that too many of them can produce.

Very pleased you're enjoying the book!

Ah Jim! Thank you very much. Herring gulls - aka (here, and possibly elsewhere) shitehawks - do have very flat feet, don't they? Which is very much how I felt - metaphorically.

Cheers all

David

Now to reciprocate ...
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  #8  
Unread 02-11-2021, 01:52 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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There's something about this that makes me want to flip the stanzas, David. Though I think I understand the order. The only strongish opinion I have is to get rid of "about" in the last line. I think birds often walk a straight line,
albeit, removed. Which works for me.
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  #9  
Unread 02-12-2021, 12:44 PM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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Hi James. Flipping the stanzas is an interesting idea. It reverses the logical, and temporal flow, though, doesn't it? But definitely worth thinking about.

Herring gulls do kind of wander about, from my experience, in a vaguely menacing juvenile delinquent manner.

Nice to be in touch again.

Cheers

David
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  #10  
Unread 02-12-2021, 06:38 PM
Matthew T. Barber Matthew T. Barber is offline
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Greetings,

It's a lovely image. Just two small comments.

There's a strong, -- yes it is intended I'm sure -- cognitive dissonance (I say, under the influence of wine) between the blossom and the Steam Packet. But what I mean is, would it help the reading of it to put her comment in italics?

Quote:
We thought that you would blossom,
becoming radiant, lit from within.
More like a months-long Steam Packet crossing
from Liverpool in winter
,
is what you said.
That's if you believe in using italics at all in poetry. Just a thought.

In S2, I think "be privy to" could be eliminated, giving you some space for some other words, if you like. I can easily read, "dreaming such dreams as cargos might," as an end-stopped line [sp. cargoes?]. The "be privy to" is implied. No, I do not have any immediate suggestions as to what might replace "be privy to." Maybe "cradled in darkness" (too much?).
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