Eratosphere Forums - Metrical Poetry, Free Verse, Fiction, Art, Critique, Discussions Able Muse - a review of poetry, prose and art

Forum Left Top

Notices

Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Unread 06-14-2021, 09:34 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,996
Default Too Many Of Us

.
(Rev. 3)

Row


All of us are steadfast,
burning passion to the quick,
sifting palmfuls of thick sand in thin air,
diligent, vigilant, determined
to find what's rare.

I, drifting... sit in the back row
of a borderless room, doodling,
dreaming of daylight, lifting my head
closing my eyes to see what I might
see, if only in your stead.

Behind the lids of my id
comes the bony sound of the bee
a dollop of sunlight steals shade
silken petals drop into puddles, slowly.

It is a big beautiful world without you.
But more beautifuly wrought within you.
You come so seldom, so sudden
and so quickly you go.
If I must, just say the word, and I will
move my soul's seat to the front row.



-----

(Rev. 2)

Row

All of us, burning passion to the quick,
listening, poised, waiting,
looking, sifting palmfuls of sand
diligent, vigilant, determined
to find what's rare.

I, drifting, sitting in the back row
of a borderless room, doodling
dreaming of daylight, lifting
my eyes and closing them to see.
what I can see, in her stead.

There, against the membrane,
comes the bony sound of the bee
the dollop of sunlight stealing shade
roses dropping petals down into black water.

(More! More!
I want you so!
You come so seldom
and so quickly go.)

It is a beautiful morning without you.
But beautiful, like you.
Are you there? You are.
I can feel you come and go.
If I must, I will move
my seat to the front row.


EDITS
S1L1: "burning passion to the quick" was "burning midnight oil" (in a continuing effort to weed out cliche)
S5L1: "without" was "sans"
S2L2: "borderless" was "windowless" (again to weed out cliche)


---

(Rev.1)

Too Many Of Us


The muse has us
all listening. Waiting.
Drifting, I sit in the back
row doodling, daydreaming
of another muse that comes
when everyone goes.

But no one goes
and I do not leave
as I should, and I receive
picture postcard musings
from her that leave me
astonished. Famished.

I want to have her all
by myself, be myself, with her.
She says, when she comes,
she must go with the interruptions
So I do my best
to see what I can see
in her stead.

She is the sound of the bee
I only glimpse, never see.
The hummingbird
that zips by but eludes my eye
the soft light suddenly appearing on roses
as I turn to away from the garden.
More! More!
I want you so.
To taste your thrum
as you come and go.

It is a beautiful morning,
sans Muse, but beautiful.





-----
.

Too Many Of Us


The muse has us
all listening. Drifting
I sit in the back row
doodling
daydreaming
of another muse
that comes when everyone goes.

But no one goes
and she only sends me
picture postcard musings
that leave me astonished.
Famished.
I want to have her all
to myself.
She says she is coming
but never does.
So I do my best
to see what I can see
in her stead.

She does not call me
by my name.
I call her
Nora! Nora! Norah!
Manna! Manna! Manna!
More! More! More!

She is the sound of the bee
I never see.
The hummingbird
that eludes my eye
the soft light appearing
as I turn to go.
Nora, Nora, Nora
I want you so.
If not your vision
then allow me my hearing
the thrum of your presence
as you come and go.

It is a beautiful morning,
sans Muse, but beautiful.
The chickadee is in tune with me.


EDITS
S2L: "astonished" replaces "ravished".

S2L5: Famished inserted.

Added stanzas 3 and 4



.

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 06-22-2021 at 08:01 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Unread 06-14-2021, 10:04 AM
David Callin David Callin is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Ellan Vannin
Posts: 2,358
Default

I think this is very good, Jim. I won't give you my reading of it yet, so that the field of snow is left intact for others to enjoy without my having left my bloody big boot-prints all over it.

Cheers

David
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Unread 06-17-2021, 02:00 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 5,391
Default

Hi Jim,

I think muse poems can be very enjoyable as poetry -- they can go in all sorts of unexpected ways - and to my mind, you've pretty effectively carried out a twist of that sort here. My favorite moment for its pure music is "in her stead" at the close. If you wanted to tinker with this, your might find room to work on that ethereal music a bit more.

Regards,
John
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Unread 06-17-2021, 08:11 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,996
Default

.

Thanks for checking in David and John. Yes, a muse poem can go either way I suppose. I still feel at times indebted to her regardless of her seeming indifference to my aura. Perhaps she is a lovely mirage I've mistaken for the real thing. How do we ever know the difference? I think you know it when you feel it : )
I may not have the capability yet to translate the ”inarticulate speech of the heart” (Van Morrison) or “the clear expression of mixed feelings." (Auden) or know what to do with the "lump in the throat" (Frost) but I have felt it all my life and know it well.


John, I, too, like how the poem ends, but buoyed and inspired by your suggestion, I’ve continued the poem on, musing. I would, of course like to have others like it, but it is now turning into one of those prayers I sometimes write that are essentially worthless except as an artifact of the moment it captured for me.

.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Unread 06-17-2021, 09:14 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 5,391
Default

Hi Jim,

Prayers essentially worthless? Surely not! Prayer is the respiration of the soul, said a random C17th French mystic.

Regards,
John
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Unread 06-17-2021, 03:23 PM
John Riley John Riley is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 4,803
Default

Jim, at Accomplished Members Ann has a post about a project she's involved in that looks very interesting. If you open the link and scroll down there is a quote from Allison Neal about where ideas come from. I've been wondering what to say about this poem but she says it much more clearly than I could. I would have quoted it here but am unsure if I should. I think it'd be great if you read it.

Best
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Unread 06-19-2021, 06:33 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,996
Default

.

Revision posted.

John R., Thanks for your honest thoughts. The changes, at some level, must be a direct result of your comment, but I can't say for sure. I do think the revision is a more accurate expression of what I'm trying to say. My sense was, after reading your comment and reference to Allison Neal, that the poem had failed miserably for you (and I presume others).
I've been mulling things over since then and will either get back here with a more detailed response or perhaps a PM if it seems to be more appropriate.

John I., Thanks for your comments. I think you've read this closer to the way I had hoped — and I too felt a certain satisfaction with ending on "in her stead." I hope my revisions retain/expand on the ethereal as you recommended.

David, I'm always happy to hear you've enjoyed a poem of mine. I think sometimes we try too hard to find fault with a workshopped poem. The truth is, a poem can stumble and stutter and drift and even miss and still be a good read.


.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Unread 06-19-2021, 03:45 PM
W T Clark W T Clark is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: England
Posts: 469
Default

The problem this poem presents for me is to get past the abstract cliché of the muse. Ideas for poems do come to me seemingly out of nowhere, sometimes about the things I am doing, sometimes about things altogether more strange. But a kind of ethereal female figure has never delivered to me whole or in parts a poem. Maybe it's that problem which makes the meaning of this poem somehow removed from me, Jim. There is one muse with a whole load ("has us/all"?) of people listening to her hymns. Meanwhile, the narrator has found a new one, from which he hears new things, but only when he is alone. But he can't be bothered to be alone, and is left with the ridicule of "picture postcard musings" which leaves him both astonished and famished.
Maybe this is all about poetic similarity, or the inability of the narrator to distinguish himself from the crowd. But if so, it is all rather quaint and tame. I cannot fully put it onto a forum screen, but these muses do not feel "real" to me, in the sense of relatable or at least recognizable symbols or images. I'm left wondering what these muses really are.
And talking of inspiration, aren't the images of the bee and hummingbird quite run of the mill? They're used so much in poetry they seem not very inventive, but maybe that's the point of the poem's argument? its inability to distinguish itself from the crowd? As I say, meaning here seems rather detached. "I want you so" is another rather quaint phrase.
Hope this helps.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Unread 06-19-2021, 04:40 PM
Sarah-Jane Crowson's Avatar
Sarah-Jane Crowson Sarah-Jane Crowson is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: UK
Posts: 615
Default

Hi,

Muse poems are usually a bit bleurgh for me (I can’t remember having read one that didn’t make me want to vomit, ever) so the fact I’ve managed to read it all the way through is a triumph, promise. I think what makes it readable is the lack of egoism, the gentleness - a kind of gentle honesty in there that has its own claim to being radical in this spiky, volatile world. I’m still not sure it works, though.

I’m not sure how you want it to work, either, so it’s really tricky to offer tangible suggestions. One would be to make some of the ideas in it more tangible. Perhaps show us the postcard more clearly. ‘She sends me a picture of tailored flowerbeds and a wishing well, telling me that…’ Or a cocktail lounge, or whatever.

I like the idea of the N sitting in the back row, doodling. That’s a great image. And the sonics in S4 work beautifully, too.

I’m so sorry that I can’t be more helpful. You are such a great peer critiquer so I feel you’re being massively short-changed. I’ll keep coming back to this poem to see if I can offer more potentially useful things.


Sarah-Jane
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Unread 06-20-2021, 06:31 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,996
Default

.

Revision #2 posted. It includes a title change which signals a major departure from previous versions.

WT, Thanks for exposing what shackles the poem to cliche and holds it back from saying what I really want to say. I’ve taken the “us” largely out (except for the reference in the first stanza) and refrained from using the “M” word. My personification of inspiration has almost always taken a female form. But she is a shapeshifter : ) Sometimes she is you! Or Sarah-Jane, or...

Sarah-Jane, Never hold back. I also generally don't like "M" poems, so go figure...
As I hope the revision indicates, you are right about certain parts sounding out of tune (my words) and wherever it could be re-sung I've tried to do that. There are observations that you made that buoyed me and led me back to trying again, so thank you for that. I generally like a balanced criticism vs. one that only takes the time to be critical in the narrow sense of the word. You are that kind of critter : )

Thanks everyone for the gentle prodding to jar this out of the ho-hum and maybe back into better territory.


.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Forum Right Top
Forum Left Bottom Forum Right Bottom
 
Right Left
Member Login
Forgot password?
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Statistics:
Forum Members: 8,207
Total Threads: 20,635
Total Posts: 262,005
There are 269 users
currently browsing forums.
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Sponsor:
Donate & Support Able Muse / Eratosphere
Forum LeftForum Right
Right Right
Right Bottom Left Right Bottom Right

Hosted by ApplauZ Online