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  #31  
Unread 07-10-2019, 01:45 PM
Lee Meadow Lee Meadow is offline
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Interestingly accent plays a larger role than we allow for in where stresses fall. So it is actually entirely possible for two people to hear different stresses and both be right.

For me, the way I read it, the entire poem has a clear iambic da DUM cadence, except for the last line.

The solution I came up with for the last line, which keeps the 8 syllable count, and resolves the cadence issue is:

come and do as you said you’d do.

Just changing what to a softer word does the trick for me. Does it work for you?
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  #32  
Unread 07-11-2019, 02:39 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Meadow View Post
Interestingly accent plays a larger role than we allow for in where stresses fall. So it is actually entirely possible for two people to hear different stresses and both be right.
That is a generous way of looking at it, Lee. Thank you for that.

I am still a bit puzzled by your substitute line, though.

I would find it difficult to establish a metrical pattern by stressing a conjunction unless it was important to the sense. But, leaving that aside, if you are happy to do that, why did you not read the original line in the same way?

You suggest:

come and do as you said you’d do.

So I truly don't understand why you couldn't do exactly the same with the words as I had them - come and do what you said you’d do. You've only changed one word, and changing "what" to "as" - a softer word as you hear it, and then putting a heavy stress on it, seems odd.

There are indeed some lines of iambic tetrameter in the poem - line 3 is a case in point - but I was going for a looser feel. However, I'll experiment with your suggestion. I fear I may be becoming lazy in my old age.

Incidentally, do you read the first line as iambic? Maybe I should put the hyphen back in horse(-)trader...

Thank you for your interest. You are making me think.
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  #33  
Unread 07-11-2019, 05:44 AM
Lee Meadow Lee Meadow is offline
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I know it seems like a minor change, and then I go and say that 'as' being softer, takes the stress and changes the rest of the line, but as I say the line and do the stress test (hand under your chin to see where the emphasis is) with 'what' the 'you' that follows is not soft and seems to take the emphasis from the hard 't' at the end of 'what', but when I replace 'what' with 'as' it is easier to flow into a soft unstressed 'you' to keep the rhythm going.

Basically 'what' seems (to me) to make the 'you' stressed, while 'as' makes the 'you' unstressed.

As for the accent vs stress - that was the result of a rather active discussion on another forum some years back with people with strong accents all weighing in with a different idea on where the stresses lay in a particular work, until someone said 'but what about our accents', and when we all said how we were pronouncing particular words we figured out that accent does play a role. And it wasn't even a case of a more overt difference in pronunciation where words gain and lose syllables depending on whether they are clipped or drawled but down to subtle differences in the cadence of the natural speech patterns.

And it is an interesting thing to consider - I mean it's all fine and well when you are dealing with works of known meter - but when you are evaluating new work - you can end up with quite differing opinions.

So back to your troublesome line - for me I can't get a nice rhythm going with 'what' in there, but I can if I change it to 'as'. You may feel completely differently and I'm totally fine with that, because it is your poem, and you know what it sounds like in your voice and if it's right to you, then it's right.

And that isn't a cop out, I absolutely think that first one must please oneself with what you write. Critiques are just opinions, and range from entirely unhelpful to wow I'm so glad you said that! And have to be evaluated against what you want your work to be.

Last edited by Lee Meadow; 07-11-2019 at 06:23 AM.
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  #34  
Unread 07-11-2019, 06:10 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hi Annie,

I read it quite naturally like this, fwiw:

Horsetrader god – are you still there?
What I just did was hard but good,
so please do what you said you would
if I allowed myself to care.
Are you around, and if so, where? xxxxxx (or possibly 'Are you around' -- either works)
I haven’t time to look for you
in all the shit I’m going through.
The moral high ground hurts like hell
so don’t you bugger off as well, xxxxxx (or possibly 'So don't you bugger off' -- again, either works)
come and do what you said you’d do.

I think when reading a metrical poem, generally one should be able to read it just as one would naturally say it. That should come first. And if that 'fits' with the metre, then the poem is working. Metre-wise at least. This one seems to fulfill that just fine, to me at least.
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  #35  
Unread 07-11-2019, 06:30 AM
Lee Meadow Lee Meadow is offline
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See LOL Mark's comment as a case in point.

Horsetrader god – are you still there?
What I just did was hard but good,
so please do what you said you would
if I allowed myself to care.
Are you around, and if so, where?
I haven’t time to look for you
in all the shit I’m going through.
The moral high ground hurts like hell
so don’t you bugger off as well,
come and do what you said you’d do.

With you not being as unstressed as it should be to my ear. I have to work hard to make it unstressed and that last line just doesn't roll off easily like the rest does.
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  #36  
Unread 07-11-2019, 07:39 AM
E. Shaun Russell E. Shaun Russell is offline
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Since this thread is still going, my two cents:

-I like the poem a lot as it is. I'm reminded a bit of Rossetti's "Introspective" or Henley's "Invictus" in its defiant tone and plain diction.

-I find everything perfectly scannable, though I hear the first two syllables of "horsetrader" as a spondee (which I like).

-In the much-contested L7, might I humbly suggest "amid" instead of "in all"? "Amidst" or "among" wouldn't sound quite right, but I think "amid" is a tad stronger than "in all."
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  #37  
Unread 07-11-2019, 12:58 PM
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Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
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Ann,
Sorry to be late to the party, but I like this as well, though to be honest, it feels a bit unsurprising to this old atheist.

As for the two lines being debated--in my ear "I don't have time" flows more naturally than "I haven't time" but it is indeed a matter of a personal voice--and indeed, I hear Aaron (or Martin) say "I don't have time", but am happy to listen to Ann say "I haven't time". Perhaps "I don't have time" is more aggressively dismissive.

I like "in all the shit" and agree that it is an important difference.

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

Martin
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  #38  
Unread 07-11-2019, 03:30 PM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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Thanks again, Lee. I should be interested to know about this chin technique for determining stresses. I have never heard of such a thing before and I'd love to hear more.

I'm not quite sure why Mark's comment made you LOL - I think he was perfectly serious and my own reaction was more of a TFFT. (I jest!)

Thanks Mark, Shaun and Martin. I am more than happy with the flexibility of scansion your readings, along with Lee's, have underlined. (I think scansion is perhaps a better word than metre for the subject of this discussion.)

I like your "amid", Shaun, and have pocketed it. Thanks. And I'm still balancing "don't have" and "haven't".

Ah, Martin, you have put your finger on another truth here. What I have been trying to see as "universal" is perhaps more truly "unoriginal". I am wearing a rueful smile.

I am currently away from home at a ten-day poetry festival. Today ended with a two-hour close reading of Larkin. I am a husk.
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  #39  
Unread 07-11-2019, 03:36 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Quote:
Today ended with a two-hour close reading of Larkin. I am a husk.
I'm jealous! Was the conclusion that he was just a natural fouled-up guy?
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  #40  
Unread 07-11-2019, 03:58 PM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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It was led by William Wootten (who lectures at Bristol) and concentrated on some of the poems, rather than the poet himself. But since one of those poems was Dockery and Son, the work itself led in that direction.

Tomorrow: Fanthorpe, Duffy and this year's Gregory Award winners...

It's time for me to sleep and for this poem to slide down the board.
.

Last edited by Ann Drysdale; 07-12-2019 at 03:46 AM. Reason: awoke to see a space crying out for an apostrophe, so I slipped one in.
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