And now... With a gobful of sludge from clearing the overflow pipes from the rainwater butts and the seepings of water between the stone steps from the kitchen held at bay with a shovelful of clean cat litter (a good tip, that; I might patent it) I'll try and answer you all.
Rick, thank you for the compliment. I wanted this to be, first and foremost, a Sonnet, and to pass the craft test. I have addressed your later query about the title in my first post above.
Max, I see what you mean by your questioning of "Criticise". What I was hoping to convey was that Edna should distance herself, look at the conversation dispassionately and evaluate it at the level of lit-crit. I shall see if I can find a way to express that without the ambiguity that you've expressed so clearly.
Jim. Thank you. I am tempted to file your horticultural compliments in a safe place near my heart. (I enjoyed your now-deleted confessional blathering and will keep it with the flowers.)
RogerBob I am already on the case with the title, and I'm glad you are at ease with the scansion.
John, thanks. I'm still experimenting title-wise.
Susan your gut feeling didn't let you down. As I've explained earlier, that's who I really did have in mind. And the gin - well, they don't call it Mother's Ruin for nothing. Again, my thanks.
Nemo, thanks for spotting the provenance of the title. It put me back in the context of playing Bullshit Bingo as I listened to masters of management explaining how problems should be tackled - and then up-ended the concept. Knowing your mother's name makes it easier for me to give the poem the two faces I wish for it.
Mark M. I'm so glad you can hear it. As one of the few Sphereans who has heard me "for real" as it were, that matters a lot. I've explained the roots of the poem a bit in my previous post, so you can see why the warmth matters.
Morgan, welcome to this merry madhouse! I am so glad that what Yeats would have called my "stitching and unstitching" has made something that sounds easy to your ear. Thus I take your misgivings about the second line seriously.
As I understand it, it's not the metre you're querying so much as the word-choice that feels a bit like filler. It made me ask myself why I chose them. I think, in the context of this easygoing conversation with Edna, I needed to be a little (over)formal at the beginning of it. I am a good deal older than poet-Edna was "then" and need to establish "who I am" before I offer my expertise. I need to get her attention...(Oh, Morgan, I suddenly saw myself as The Ancient Mariner for a moment and made myself laugh.) In all seriousness, though, it's queries like that, challenges that make poets look hard and ask themselves "why?" that are one of the greatest gifts of Eratosphere. (See what I mean - I am a pompous old bugger!)
Martin, thank you. You see both sides of the coin I am spinning. Your discussion about the metrical variations is insightful. It's important that those who know metre, like you and RogerBob, are happy to define, and, to some extent, forgive, my liberties therewith.
Mark S. If only you knew how I'd agonised over that comma. The other one, at the end of line 5, has been in and out so often that I have worn a hole in the virtual paper. In the end, that one stayed. My reasoning was that I needed the meaning to be drawn down over the line ending without an obvious enjambment. In the first line, I decided eventually that the linebreak itself did the job.
I think you're right, though, about "the" lack of satisfaction. I think "your" fits the didactic tone better and does away with ambiguity.
I've talked about "criticise" in my reply to Max, but I must say I think "analyse" is rather good and fits the meaning I was hoping for.
As to the chocolate and the gin, they are a sort of bonding constant for those in "our" position. I don't deal much with the sort of worldview that is peculiar to what Hemingway called "wimmies", but in this case I've made an exception. This is my chocolate and my gin and I am offering to share it with Edna, confident that she will accept it as a symbol of solidarity. And - thank you for the closing compliment.
Sam Thank you, sir.
Andrew I've just seen your post. Thank you for the input on the title question. Your reasons are compelling. I am considering carefully.
Last edited by Ann Drysdale; 02-16-2020 at 09:36 AM.
Reason: I discovered Andrew's post after I'd submitted this one.