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  #1  
Unread 10-25-2020, 05:25 PM
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RCL RCL is offline
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Default Mortal Math

Rev 1

Adding Up

One, my smile is sunny
Two, I rampage wildly
Three, I feel life’s funny
Four, I act out pridefully

Five, I play to win
Six, my thought’s uneven
Seven, learn of sin
Eight, ask Where's heaven?

Nine, I wish I’m ten
Ten, school is a bore
Eleven, joy juices yen;
Twelve, they go to war

Thirteen, my mind’s a daze
Fourteen, rules seem bondage
Fifteen, sold work pays
Sixteen up earn knowledge
that adding’s not a raise



S3L3: joy juices for hormones
L4: pridefully for snidely
New title
S1L4: snidely for mildly
S4L16: Sixteen up for Sixteen soon


Mortal Math

One, one’s smile is sunny
Two, one toddles wildly
Three, one feels life’s funny
Four, one behaves mildly

Five, you play to win
Six, your thought’s uneven
Seven, you can sin
Eight, you pray for heaven

Nine, you wish you’re ten
Ten, school is a chore
Eleven, hormones yen
Twelve, endorphins war

Thirteen, in a daze
Fourteen, rules seem bondage
Fifteen, sold work pays
Sixteen soon earns knowledge

that adding's not a raise


New final line above for rhyme; it was:

That adding is a countdown
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Last edited by RCL; 10-29-2020 at 03:42 PM.
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  #2  
Unread 10-25-2020, 05:48 PM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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For light verse, you probably need a true rhyme to close.
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Unread 10-25-2020, 05:57 PM
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Thanks, Sam. I plugged in a new one for now.

Later: I think it works better thematically.
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Last edited by RCL; 10-26-2020 at 01:49 PM.
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Unread 10-25-2020, 09:12 PM
Coleman Glenn Coleman Glenn is online now
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This is a clever twist on a children’s counting poem. I particularly like the parts where you play with the tropes of the genre, e.g. the obligatory seven / heaven rhyme - except that heaven is on eight, it’s rhymed with “uneven,” and given its pairing with sin, takes on a darker connotation than in your typical children’s poem. I also think the new final line (even if you just “plugged it in for now”) really works as the conclusion - the “raise” pairs well with paid work at 15, and it captures the disillusionment of starting to enter the adult working world. Paired with the title, that’s enough to convey the dawning sense of mortality the poem is building toward - I think the original line may have gone a little overboard.

A few of the rhymes feel a bit like stretches (wildly / mildly - I have a 5 and a 6 year old, and at 4 they must have missed the “mildly” memo; ten / yen - is it the hormones that are yenning, or do they inspire yenning?), and I’d like to see little more subversion of clichés (hormones and endorphins defining pre-teen years is a little tired), but otherwise well-executed.
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Unread 10-26-2020, 05:45 AM
W T Clark W T Clark is offline
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Hello rcl


For me the poem is caught up in a tug of war between the private and the public. Some sections seem to address the public side with an aim toward universality, but others seem less sure that the public address is the way they wish to go. For instance, when we start talking of "heaven" and "sin" I begin to think the poem has some private story tension it wants to create, but this more interesting element is quickly swamped out especially by the clumsily banal sixteenth line: "soon earns knowledge", monetary accumulation does not universally result in "knowledge" for a start, and why would a more public line such as this attempt to portray all sixteen-year-olds working? You are probably writing out of your own experiences which is excellent in this case, I just wish the poem offered more private and tension-inducing information than it does currently.

The form seems pretty arbitrary to me, why not up to eighteen, or twenty-one (when Americans can drink away the sorrows of childhood as they reach the legal drinking age)? I also find the seventeenth line entirely rhyme-driven, I don't really think it adds anything.
This is fun, but sometimes it's pretty forced. Why would the world be funny at three when it isn't at one? don't babies laugh? The first four lines all present a view of young children that is half-incorrect, as much as they smile, they also cry. I would advise you to go for the private, or be even more outrageous with the public.

Hope this helps
Cameron
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Unread 10-26-2020, 09:56 AM
Coleman Glenn Coleman Glenn is online now
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I'm wondering if it's clear that line 16 and 17 form a single sentence. I didn't read them as a single sentence with the original ending (I read the final line as a standalone sentence, "[The preceding] adding is a countdown." I think we're supposed to read the final two lines as "Sixteen soon earns knowledge that adding's not a raise," correct? Adding punctuation at the ends of the lines might help, although too many semicolons might overwhelm the poem. And maybe I'm alone in my earlier misreading. (OR, maybe I'm misreading it now?)
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Unread 10-26-2020, 01:46 PM
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Coleman, thanks for reading and finding something positive. About that last line, my muse was working overtime and gave it to me instantly, as I read Sam’s comment. Had to smile about the econ connection. I’ll be combing through this with your suggestions in mind. (Re the behavior of infants and children, I can only draw on myself and watching five sibs and an unofficial daughter growing up.)

Yes, the last two lines are one sentence; I’ll lowercase first word of L17.

Thanks for the careful reading, WT. I agree with much of what you say and may try to tune it more with my personal experience. I had fun writing it and appreciate your seeing some of it as working. The initial, unrhymed, final line is where I edged toward universality (maybe also with the “terrible twos”).
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Unread 10-27-2020, 09:59 AM
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Each line characterizing the behavior for that age is a very cool conceit. Might I mischievously suggest "carnal knowledge" for sixteen? I plan to circle back.
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