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Old 06-14-2018, 02:35 PM
Erik Olson Erik Olson is offline
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 1,625


Confessional: Having read Julie’s comment mentioning angels, I got them into my head; never mind about that, but do mind all beside. I indeed preserved through about the first four lines, but, finding it too insufferable, I read no more. For this reason, I isolated one phrase for comment.

Good luck,

P.S. I suggest that you try pentameter on for size; for I reckon it would help make this easier to be imbibed.

Last edited by Erik Olson; 06-14-2018 at 05:24 PM.
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Old 06-15-2018, 09:02 AM
A. Sterling A. Sterling is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: East Coast, U.S.A.
Posts: 39

Hi Patrick,

There’s an interesting idea at the heart of this, but the poem’s just not doing it for me in its current form, and unfortunately, I think the problems are ones that would call for a rewrite rather than a few tweaks.

The big problem is that this has the same tone throughout all of it. There’s no real turn, no progression. When we learn whom the narrator’s addressing, there’s no drama or poignancy in it, and that's a missed opportunity. The tone itself I don’t have a problem with, per se, but it does become rather obnoxious when it goes on for so long.

I’m also having trouble empathizing with an anonymous we who is distressed and frustrated over things I can only guess at. I have to be in this person’s shoes to appreciate the contrast, and I’d find it easier if it were an “I” rather than a “we,” and if there were something more concrete to grab hold of on either side – whether it’s putting back in some of the original context, which you’ve mentioned, or giving it a new one.

Also, there are a whole lot of adjectives in this, and not all of them are pulling their weight. Someone else here has mentioned hexameter as a problem, but I disagree. Hexameter is awesome, and I wish more people would take a crack at it. But if you’re more used to writing pentameter, then yeah, it's easy to see how the couple extra syllables might end up as filler.

That said, though, I like the final line and the way it shifts from contrasting noise-making with silence to contrasting it with action. It’s a nice moment to end on.
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Old 06-16-2018, 01:37 PM
R. S. Gwynn's Avatar
R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Beaumont, TX
Posts: 4,046

The poem seems to address those who are complicit with evil by not speaking out. Or it may address an unresponsive diety and gang. I like some of the sounds but wonder how "halcyon" managed to fly in. The poem is haunted by the not-so-silent ghost of Stevens, especially "To a High-Toned Old Christian Woman."
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