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  #1  
Unread 01-22-2021, 09:31 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Default The Survivors

The Survivors

Mistrust and a virus
are in the air,
so we, though desirous
of fun we can share,
pick through our shelves
in states of undress
and talk to ourselves.

Nevertheless,
though time goes by
like a sigh,
a yawn,
we do go on.


When the workday ends
and the sun has set,
where are the friends,
the charmers we met
for benders and flings?
This town is a mess
of abandoned things.

Nevertheless,
though life feels wrong,
though song
is gone,
we do go on.


Daylight is brief,
and trees are bare.
There’s no relief
from anywhere.
We either succumb
to plague or the stress
of tedium.

Nevertheless,
though the dire were right,
and light
looks wan,
we do go on.
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  #2  
Unread 01-22-2021, 12:21 PM
Bill Carpenter Bill Carpenter is offline
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Outstanding variable dimeter trailing to monometer in the excellent responses and at the end of S5 (tedium, in which the unstressed -um points to a void of stress). The responses are artfully varied, repeating "Nevertheless... we do go on." My only question is whether "though the dire were right" will last as a credible statement. It depends on a contemporary, and possibly temporary, balance of opinion. That can be a merit, though. The poem can be a memorial to the beliefs as well as the feelings of its moment.

Last edited by Bill Carpenter; 01-22-2021 at 01:09 PM.
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  #3  
Unread 01-22-2021, 02:30 PM
Jane Crowson's Avatar
Jane Crowson Jane Crowson is offline
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Hello,

For me, this is certainly a poem of the moment, and I think the moment absolutely and completely needs to be written about from the perspective of the bored everyday.

I enjoy the complete sense of (for want of a better word) anti-jouissance embedded in the poem. The italicised lines for me echo the old-fashioned phrase, to ‘keep on keeping on’. Moving for the sake of keeping on rather than the idea of moving forward as a journey to a destination or for the interest in the journeying itself. The sense of movement forwards because there’s nothing better to do is echoed beautifully in the pattern and structure of the poem.

The stand-outs here for me are the start (I like how ‘mistrust’ is placed ahead of the virus, offering the thought that lack of trust is ultimately more powerful as a negative force), and the image of the narrator picking through shelves talking to themselves, which is wryly humorous.

The ‘town is a mess/of abandoned things’ is intriguing and I wish I knew more what the abandoned things were. It’s the one place where the poem loses me as a reader because I’m interested in what the mess looks like, but I struggle to conjure up specific lockdown urban images. I imagine a kind of generic post-apocalyptic urban landscape.

The ‘succumb/ to plague or the stress/ of tedium - in my reading, it works that this is presented as a kind of choice, echoing the mistrust/virus. And I enjoy there is light at the end of it, wan or not. It makes me think that ‘the dire’ haven’t quite won out, not quite yet, anyway.

Sarah-Jane
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  #4  
Unread 01-24-2021, 10:22 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Thank you very much, Bill and Sarah-Jane.

I agree that "the dire were right" is a risk but I think it's one I want to take.

Is this poem a keeper?

Best,

Aaron
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  #5  
Unread 01-24-2021, 10:36 AM
Bill Carpenter Bill Carpenter is offline
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Definitely a keeper. Excellent refresh of the Yeats choral form.
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  #6  
Unread 01-24-2021, 02:33 PM
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Jane Crowson Jane Crowson is offline
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Yes, absolutely a keeper. Purely a personal perspective, but it's been one of only two what-might-be-considered 'lockdown' poems I've read to date that hasn't made me want to shout obscenities at the wall.

It also reads to me as unashamedly site-specific, which is another positive.

Sarah-Jane
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  #7  
Unread 02-12-2021, 09:56 AM
Bill Marsh Bill Marsh is offline
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Do you know any musicians? This could be set to music - so far I have not heard a single song about the Pandemic.
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  #8  
Unread 02-12-2021, 07:14 PM
Matthew T. Barber Matthew T. Barber is offline
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I think you could actually drop 'from' in S5, without any harm to the meter, and possibly to the good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Poochigian
There’s no relief
from anywhere.
The whole poem reminds me a little of a U2 song, October.

"October
the trees are stripped bear
of all they wear
what do I care?"

I do think it's a keeper. Sorry for my feeble commentary (here and elsewhere).
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