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Unread 07-06-2019, 07:59 AM
Edmund Conti Edmund Conti is offline
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Summit NJ USA
Posts: 420

Nothing to add but terse admiration. I, too, like Decima as a title.

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Unread 07-06-2019, 09:10 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,168

(I am on my high horse this morning. It’s 10:14am now. By noon I may well be thrown from the saddle or just left to ride off, comically, into the sunset)

John: Pithy and relentless.

Pithy and relentless is right!

It corners the god we’ve never known and do not sense is even there and scoffs; FWIW, It hints at deism. But I don’t think the N is thinking that.

I find Aaron’s questioning and suggesting changes to the language and voice and expression of this to be riveting. --Not to mention your forceful, thoughtful, adroit rebuttal -- and the others’ opinions.

Do you need the hyphen for Horse-trader? To have an em dash so close looks a bit clunky. Could you simply say:

Horse trader god -- are you still there?

I find it interesting that the word “bugger” escapes Aaron’s scrutiny while questioning other phrasing. What does that say about what Aaron does and does not consider to be correct language?

I think L7 is pitch perfect. I like the implication that “in all the shit I’m going through” conveys. It fuels the anger in the poem both literally and otherwise.

As for the last line, if you’re still looking for the right phrasing for the last line, this is a possibility (though I would guess you’ve already considered it):

“Come and do what you’re supposed to do.”

Given the discussion around other wording in the poem, I’m surprised the title has not given anyone pause. It strikes me as incongruent with the voice of the poem. I think it’s very American. A way of getting someone’s attention that is “trending”.
It's hard to spell it, though. Is it "Hell -o-o!!" or "Hello-o!" Neither seems to capture the exact intonation. It's three syllables with an exaggerated emphasis on the second syllable.

Aaron's suggestions are carefully considered, well-made, well-taken and, I think, correct in the larger sense; but I think Annie found the right words.

As an aside, I also love the juxtaposition of Annie's "Hell-o-o" with Aaron's "You Out There?".

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 07-06-2019 at 05:00 PM. Reason: Fell off horse
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Unread 07-07-2019, 02:29 PM
Jan D. Hodge Jan D. Hodge is offline
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Sioux City, IA
Posts: 905
Default slight difference?

Jim M's suggestion of “Come and do what you’re supposed to do” (emphasis mine) rather than Ann's "come and do what you said you’d do" [and variations of the latter] might give a quite different understanding of N's understanding of faith and the deity.

Consider God's words to Job in Frost's "A Masque of Reason" [ll. 69-79]:

. . . .My thanks are to you for releasing me
. . . .From moral bondage to the human race.
. . . .The only free will there at first was man's,
. . . .Who could do good or evil as he chose.
. . . .I had no choice but I must follow him
. . . .With forfeits and rewards he understood--
. . . .Unless I liked to suffer loss of worship.
. . . .I had to prosper good and punish evil.
. . . .You changed all that. You set me free to reign.
. . . .You are the Emancipator of your God,
. . . .And as such I promote you to a saint.
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Unread 07-08-2019, 02:53 AM
Ann Drysdale's Avatar
Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is online now
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A quick post from the Naughty Step, as it were. I'm away from home at the moment with on-and-off wi-fi and nobbut a tiny netbook with an idiosyncratic keyboard. It's like trying to watch TV through the window of a dolls' house. After a few false starts and more than a little cussing, I'm preparing a proper reply as a Word doc. and will paste it in as soon as I can. Meanwhile, trust me; you are not being ignored. Thank you all - and watch this space.

Last edited by Ann Drysdale; 07-08-2019 at 02:55 AM.
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Unread 07-08-2019, 04:33 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is online now
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Thanks Mark.

Max, I’ll come back and address your concerns in more detail if you feel you need more than this: as to what’s going on, this isn’t a specific event; it’s more about moral code than religious dogma, a cynical view of altruism comes into it, too.

John, I think you have picked up on the above.

Jim. I’m sorry you fell off your horse. Are you OK? Your point about the hyphen in the first word is a good one. The weirdness of the impossibility of em-dashes on the Sphere really shows it up. I was trying to emphasise the idea of horse(-)trading as a slightly iffy procedure in the moral sense – caveat emptor etc. It’s better without the hyphen and even better when condensed into a single word. Thanks.

Unfortunately your suggestion for the last line won’t work, partly because of what Jan says and also because of another “voice” in the drama; that of the Décima herself. She will not tolerate more than 8 syllables in her lines. She’s a fierce little mistress, which is why I named her in the thread title, hoping those unfamiliar with her would investigate her provenance and peculiarities.

The juxtaposition is well spotted. The actual “Hello-o-etc.” poem title was added at the time of posting because the working title I had for it was almost the same as Aaron’s. I was hoping the different “voices” in/of the two poems would make for merry discussion here on TDE. Alas, I was the more deceived.

As I tried to say in the italicised portion of post #12, I had an immediate reaction to Aaron’s poem’s (I’ll say “diction” rather than “voice” since the latter has become contentious) but felt very strongly that that reaction per se was not a valid ground for criticism of the piece. It seemed to imply “I want this poem to sound more like one of mine (ie, me)” and I am not OK with that. That’s why I put it on my thread rather than Aaron’s; he deserved better.

I delight in new ways of saying and find personal diction endlessly enthralling, but when I hear the bells of subjectivity chiming in my head in relation to somebody else’s poem, I try to muffle my clapper.

And Jan, thank you. For the grok, and for the Frost.
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Unread 07-08-2019, 07:27 AM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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Originally Posted by Ann Drysdale View Post
Max, I’ll come back and address your concerns in more detail if you feel you need more than this
I don't need more, or anything at all. As always, I was simply sharing my reaction in the hope that it might be helpful. I'm glad this is working for so many readers.

Last edited by Max Goodman; 07-08-2019 at 08:41 AM.
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Unread 07-08-2019, 03:11 PM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is online now
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Thank you, Max. I do see what you mean and why you found it hard to engage with this. I don't suppose that you are alone in finding it puzzling and I am a little ashamed that it had never occurred to me that a reader might feel I was asking them to intuit something deeper in what is, after all, a "small" poem on a vague subject. Again, thanks.
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Unread 07-08-2019, 04:44 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Ann, it’s not so small in either dimension. Right now I’m using an interface about as cramped as what you describe, and haven’t read nearly every word on this post. So, if this has been sorted out, I apologize: but that the horsetrader seems to have left you a message and then gone doggo is interesting. Not good business ethics at all! I like a lot of this a lot. Enough said.
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Unread 07-10-2019, 10:02 AM
Lee Meadow Lee Meadow is offline
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: South Africa
Posts: 27

I like it. Fully empathise with sentiment - who hasn't at one time or another sent a similar moan skywards.

It is just the last line that doesn't run off the tongue as smoothly as the rest because the meter is off.

You have iambic meter in all the lines except the last.

come and do what you said you’d do.

what you said are all stressed syllables which throws the cadence off making it sound very awkward.
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Unread 07-10-2019, 12:03 PM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is online now
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Greetings, Lee.

You aren't the only person to have misgivings about the last line, so I'm still considering possibilities.

As a matter of fact I don't read it as quite so insistently iambic as you do; I had seen that last line as an echo of the first, which starts (the way I read it) with a dactyl. For me, the eight-syllable count was paramount, and I rejected at least one other suggestion on those grounds.

But if you do hear all the rest as iambic, can you suggest what you'd do to amend the last line?

As I see/hear it, the thing that prevents its fulfilling your criterion is that pesky "and", which, with the equally unstressed "do" makes the dactyl I was hoping to introduce, to mirror "horsetrader".

But maybe you read "horsetrader" differently? I hadn't thought of that...

(Also, I don't hear those following syllables as equally stressed. "Said" is the only one I stress as I read it. I am trying not to use the word "voice" here!)

Come back to me on this?

Last edited by Ann Drysdale; 07-10-2019 at 12:23 PM. Reason: added the piece in parenthesis.
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