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  #1  
Unread 10-24-2019, 03:08 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Default The Harvest and the Lamp

removed for cleaning

Last edited by Andrew Frisardi; 11-22-2019 at 02:01 AM.
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  #2  
Unread 10-24-2019, 01:47 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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x
Hi Andrew,
I like this, but wanted it to be clearer than it turned out to be in the end.
It hints and feints and at times feels as if it wants to reveal something stealth... The first stanza is the best IMO but the rest fall short until the final one, when things begin to take shape -- though I can't make much sense of "for things in their lives are the eye in the lamp."

This might be one of those bad pieces of advice but... Perhaps the first line could be "Itís not just the things the earth contains," (or perhaps "simply" or "only".) I don't think it would uproot the meter...
The final stanza could then become:

Itís all of these and more:
like a fire left burning in an empty camp.
We leave the door of the dark ajar (no colon)
for things in their lives are the eye in the lamp.

(I like the variation in the meter to L1 by eliminating "And yet".)

The rhyming, too, is irregular to my ear. Lots of slant to them and the final stanza's abcb departure from the aabb is a bit awkward, though I may warm to it : )

Also, why the colon after the penultimate line?

It's not cohering yet, IMO, but I can feel it close. What I like is the mood of it. There is a spirit in it that is viable, palpable.
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  #3  
Unread 10-24-2019, 05:20 PM
Mark Stone Mark Stone is offline
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Andrew, Hi.

1. Here are some ideas regarding end rhyme and iambicizing the meter:

and diamonds result from the way they are pressed.

and also not the harvest field

or her rehearsing loves and hates
behind the clinking schoolyard gates.

who practices its/his/her shock and awe. [OR]
whoís practicing its/his/her shock and awe.

considering the skyey circuits,
streaked with damp, departed spirits,

like a fire that burns in an empty camp

2. In S4L3, ďand norĒ sounds awkward. I would delete the ďand.Ē

3. The first four stanzas begin with ďItís not.Ē If you wanted to continue this pattern in S5, you could invert the first two and the last two lines of that stanza.

4. In S6L1, I agree with Jim that you donít need ďAnd yet.Ē Here is a possible replacement:

Itís all of these and many more,

5. If you flip S6L2 and S6L3, you would have the aabb rhyme scheme in S6, which would match the other stanzas.

6. The poem reminds me of the song ďThe Nearness of You.Ē

Best wishes,

Mark
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  #4  
Unread 10-25-2019, 01:25 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Andrew, the wrenched rhyme at the end of S1 really clunks, to my ear. What about something like this?

though the deeper they are, the more the heat,
and diamonds form from the forest's weight.

Susan
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  #5  
Unread 10-25-2019, 03:36 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Andrew,

Lots to like in this longish poem.
I toyed with dropping S1. Like Susan, I stumble over the last off-rhyme there, and also, I think it's the weight of geological strata, not of the forest, that creates diamonds. My favorite part of the poem, I think, is the off-rhyming, which has at times an incantatory quality. Anyway, I thought I'd lay the whole thing out and see if I had any useful comments. I quite like the title but you've convinced me recently not to overuse paired nouns as titles.

Itís not the things the earth contains,
buried treasures and burrowed shames,
though heat increases the deeper they rest
and diamonds result from the weight of the forest.

I'm not convinced that burrowing results from shame, and that off-rhyme does less for my ear than later ones. I'd still on balance not regret the loss of S1.

Itís not the hedgesí nighttime meld,
and not, either, the harvest field
nestled in the mothering hills
and sounding vesperís seeded bells.

I love this until L4, which sounds to me a bit padded and a bit cliched, sorry.

Itís not the daydream of the girl
working a birch to leave her scrawl.
Itís not her rehearsal of loves and hates
and the clinking iron schoolyard gates.

Again, lovely IMO until L4, which feels a bit padded (three adjectives) and rhyme-driven.

Itís not the lanes that lead to doors,
or the dead not using them any more,
and nor is it the squawking daw
practicing its shock and awe.

L1 feels a bit rhyme-driven again to me, but I don't really mind because L2 is entirely unexpected. I am also very partial to the daw, but L4 seems rhyme-driven again to me. Shock and awe is I think largely a nonce-term and I believe that better off-rhymes for daw may come to you.

And considering the skyey circuits,
streaked with the damp of departed spirits,
itís not the islands of the blessed,
as star fields prostrate toward the west.

L1-L2: great off-rhyme. I'd rather an off-rhyme in L3-L4, and maybe you could find one by losing the islands of the blessed, which fail to surprise, I think, and keeping the rather lovely L4.

And yet itís all of these and more,
like a fire left burning in an empty camp.
We leave the door of the dark ajar:
for things in their lives are the eye in the lamp.

Here your rhyme scheme shifts, and I think I wouldn't do that if it can be avoided. It startles, without I think adding anything useful to the reader's experience or understanding of the poem. As for content, I like all of it quite a bit. Like Jim, I'm unsure what the last line means, but that may be OK.
On balance, I might change the title. How about just "Harvest"?

Cheers,
John
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  #6  
Unread 10-26-2019, 09:58 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Jim, Susan, Mark, and John, thanks a lot for your comments. Theyíve been a boon for getting me to see how sloppy this was. I was overly enthusiastic about the poem, and should have been more patient with working on it first.

So now Iíve done that more, posting a new version. The stanzas are shuffled around some, and at least half are revised quite a bit.

Jim, I hope you like whatís between the first and last stanzas more now. I didnít want to use ďjustĒ in the opening, since that would change the meaning radically, but Iíve tried something else out. Also worked with the rhyming quite a bit, going for off-rhymes throughout except for the end. As I mention to John below, Iím sticking with the abab rhyme scheme for the last stanza, which I think serves a purpose. It might be less jarring too now, with the off-rhymes throughout.

Susan, you were right about ďrest/forestĒ in lines 3-4, they clunked quite a bit. Do you like the new lines better?

Mark, I think youíll find there is a bit more regular iambic now, but Iíve left in quite a bit of wiggle room for anapests as well. I think Iím going to stick with ďAnd yetĒ in the last stanza, though Iím not entirely fixated on the idea. I just think it says what I mean to say there.

John, thanks for the detailed crit, very helpful. Your suggestion about the off-rhymes convinced me: the poem is better without the exact rhymes, except for the one at the end, which I do want to leave. I also like the change in rhyme scheme there, since it really is rather a sea-change in the poem and the rhyme scheme reflects that. I think Iíve worked on most of what you pointed out, but Iím not able see why ďsounding vesperís seeded bellsĒ is clichť. In what way? Also, Iím leaving S1, which I like in part for earth-sky polarity in the poem. I have left ďburrowed shames,Ē since lots of shameful things (genocide, etc.) have been burrowed into and left in the earth. Could you explain a bit more what you mean there, if you have a moment? Iím unable to see a problem with it.

Thereís no doubt still work to do, but I think the new draft is quite a bit stronger. So thanks again, folks.

Andrew
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  #7  
Unread 10-26-2019, 10:17 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Andrew,

Just two very quick thoughts. You make an excellent point about genocide and other buried things. It's the word burrowed, I think - I don't picture Nazis burrowing, I picture voles or groundhogs. On "sounding vesper's seeded bells," very briefly, the word cliched may well be wrong. What I mean in essence is that the line would not surprise me in Gray's Elegy.
Glad to have been of some help. I'll be back again later.

Cheers,
John
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  #8  
Unread 10-27-2019, 11:41 AM
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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Andrew, first off, thanks for your comments on my poem. I'm hoping it'll sink, so I'm thanking you here instead of there.

I really like this one, which sings with your usual elegance. It's impressive how you've gotten there from where you started.

For now I have just one small comment: the trochee ("either") in S2L2 jars. I think it would be stronger if you went with a headless iamb to start: "Nor is it..."óyou can get away with it given the hard pause at the end of the previous line.
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  #9  
Unread 10-27-2019, 01:23 PM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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I agree about S2L2, Aaron. Thanks for pointing it out. I'd overlooked it, thinking about the other changes I made. It's now fixed. I'm glad you like the poem.
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  #10  
Unread 10-27-2019, 02:31 PM
Mary Meriam's Avatar
Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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Hi Andrew, there's a gorgeous poem here being strangled by verbiage and form. Also, there's a real problem with saying "It's not" if you put yourself in the mind of a schoolboy. I don't get the "eye in the lamp." It seems too surreal for this poem. So here's what I see:

It isnít

the things the earth contains,
buried riches and shames,
heating up the deeper they rest,
diamonds asleep below the crust

the hedgesí evening meld,
the harvest field
in the mothering hills
sounding vesperís bells

the girl
working a birch to leave her scrawl
of love or hate
the bark will blot from sight

the crows
on naked branches with news
about the lanes that lead to doors
the dead arenít using any more

the skyey circuits
streaked with the damp of spirits,
the shadows planets cast
while star fields prostrate westó

itís all of these and more,
like a fire left burning in an empty camp.
We leave the door of the dark ajar,
for things in their lives are the eye and the lamp.
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