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  #21  
Unread 10-18-2019, 09:03 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is online now
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Nemo, we cross-posted. I don't think this poem will appeal to everyone, and I think you are right to sense an edge to the speaker's attitude, which comes out both in the rather satirical tone of the first stanza and the flat declarative tone of the second. I am pulling together four women from four very different marriages, who have in common only the fact of the very large age gap between them and their husbands. The women and their husbands ranged from close friends to people I knew for years, but mainly from proximity. It isn't fair to them to lump them together and look only at the pattern they had in common, when they differed in many other ways. But that is all a very short poem can do.

The edge in my attitude comes from one factor connected to the age gap: when the husband is much older than the wife, he is more likely to dominate in decisions. It takes a woman of great determination and strength of will to be able to insist upon having a say in decisions under these circumstances, and the women varied a lot in their ability to do so. So that is the subtext, but I am not sure that foregrounding it would help.

Susan
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  #22  
Unread 10-18-2019, 11:05 AM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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The sonnet requirements are making this poem less effective as a poem. I would strongly recommend keeping only the first two and last two lines of the octave before launching into the sestet.
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  #23  
Unread 10-18-2019, 12:12 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is online now
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Julie, I tried looking at the poem the way you suggested, but I felt it lost a lot of relevant detail that way. What is it about the octave that you find to be ineffective? Do you not like the contrast between what people assume would be the problems in such matches and the actual challenges?

Susan
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  #24  
Unread 10-18-2019, 02:06 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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Without diving into a critique of the whole poem, I'd offer one thought, which is simply to repunctuate the opening lines like so:

Women who wed much older men
may find their roles have been reversed.
When he grows frail and must be nursed,
they may be troubled by a yen ...
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  #25  
Unread 10-19-2019, 12:56 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is online now
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Roger, I thought about that suggestion, but it changes the lines to something I don't mean. The frailty is related to the role reversal, but not to the potential attraction to other men, which can happen at any time in the marriage.

Susan
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