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  #1  
Unread 02-11-2019, 11:40 AM
Orwn Acra's Avatar
Orwn Acra Orwn Acra is offline
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Default qaboos revised

This poem was posted sometime last year. It has been revised with eight completely rewritten lines. Qaboos is the Sultan of Oman and this is the first sonnet in a series of love sonnets about/for/to him, so we don’t have to have that discussion again.

Each prayer came to him as a poem erased
from an unelementaled original by
the author whose face cannot be faced

but guides our spirit to its ultimate fill
of love. He wondered what that sense without sense is
that turns orator to amanuensis
and troubles the hiddenmost pools of the eye.

Like guards his feelings were ranked and filed,
dismissed at once, or summoned at will:
except for one: an exegesis exiled.

Off the palace palms one day windswept
remnants of the weather dripped
into a growing opposite world wherein
the raindrops rose to welcome him.

Last edited by Orwn Acra; 02-14-2019 at 04:33 PM. Reason: fleets --> guards
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  #2  
Unread 02-11-2019, 02:58 PM
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Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
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Walter,
the sounds are gorgeous. The meaning is pretty clear as well, except for S3. I'm not convinced by "fleets", and I love the exiled exegesis, but am a bit unclear about it; is it the "meta", the voice in his head that talks about his feelings? The one feeling he could not control?

In S4, a comma after "palms" might help.

Thanks for the read, and I hope that these comments are some use.

Martin
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  #3  
Unread 02-11-2019, 03:16 PM
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Jan Iwaszkiewicz Jan Iwaszkiewicz is offline
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I will be back Walter but I just had to say how much I enjoyed this the rhyme on amanuensis is an absolute delight.

Regards,

Jan
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  #4  
Unread 02-11-2019, 04:50 PM
Erik Olson Erik Olson is offline
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Walter,

There is a lot here to appreciate and that I could praise, but the following are the few reservations I had. None of them are fatal, but they are reservations all the same.
It did smack of artifice this, ‘unelementaled.’ Still, I hoped it was not injected all for an empty sound; when I searched for it, however, it was nowhere to be found. Suppose you made it up. If so, I can report it that I do not relish the awkwardly lingering taled sound at the end, straight up*. Even for the sound by itself, I might prefer elemented or elementated. Further, one or the other would seem sufficiently wrench-like for a substitute I reckon.

I am partial to the sense and elegance of:
the author whose face cannot be faced
I think amanuensis sounds a good deal loftier than its signification is. This would go some way to explain why the sense left me rather underwhelmed in contrast to the sound of orator to amanuensis. Indeed, the poem has built up to make me expect the orator would turn something rather more exalted than a copyist. Amanuensis to orator seems more climactic in the sense of the words; the reverse seems the reverse. Then again, perhaps that is something of the point, disappointment at the sense in fancy sound? Or not.

I, for my part, commend the nautical simile:
Like fleets his feelings were ranked and filed,
dismissed at once, or summoned at will
The sultan orders his feelings like his fleet at will. You hit on excellent alliteration and assonance with ‘fleet’ and ‘feelings’ to boot. Notwithstanding these nits, much enjoyed.

Cheers,

Erik

* I venture, sparing long digression on theory, that a no acceptation word would be harder to make convincing in stark isolation from other instances.

Last edited by Erik Olson; 02-11-2019 at 11:16 PM.
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Unread 02-12-2019, 01:49 AM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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I don't see how fleets can be ranked and filed; those are infantry terms. Why not just say "like men"? Doesn't the Sultan?

I like the mysterious quality of this, but I don't like mysterious meters. I could go with a sprung four-beat line if it was consistent. The second line resists both scanning and saying out loud. I could do without those eye-pools. Orator to windbag?

The late Prof. Said would not be amused by the exoticism of this East.

Last edited by R. S. Gwynn; 02-12-2019 at 01:57 AM.
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  #6  
Unread 02-12-2019, 09:29 AM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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I absolutely love the last stanza of this, Walter. (Not meant to slight the rest by any means.)

I agree with two of Sam's criticisms: it's difficult to get my mouth around the second line, and S3L1 seems to mix up its images.
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Unread 02-12-2019, 09:30 AM
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Orwn Acra Orwn Acra is offline
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Sam, you bring up some good points. First, I placed this in Metrical but the meter doesn’t concern me; I rarely pay attention to meter in my poems though many of them are more or less metrical. Maybe “unelementaled original” does not work sound-wise though it bubbles on my tongue at least. I do want it to read well and you are suggesting it does not.

Merriam defines rank and file as “the individuals who constitute the body of an organization, society, or nation as distinguished from the leaders” so I used it.

Prof. Said told me to see him after class and then read many cherry-picked passages from Flaubert but had a hard time finding anything orientalist about the poem, which other than an innocuous palace palm, suggests nothing of the East, which as Prof. Said reminded me, doesn’t exist.

It is not about the East anyway, a concept that doesn’t concern me. It is about spirituality and being gay and also words. About not creating your own words but allowing the words of the person you love to fill your life or that person’s silence of no words. He is a literal dictator taking dictation from something bigger than him.

The poem's flaw may be that none of this comes across.

You are maybe right about the eye-pools. I had written “hiddenmost pools of the I” but didn’t want to dare the pun.

Eric, two strikes against “unelementaled”! The word is made up. I could go with unexampled which is a real word and sort of conveys what I mean, though only just.

Jan, please come back.

Martin, not meta. But yes, feelings that one cannot control.

Thanks, all.

[Edited] Aaron, we cross-posted. OK, I will rethink line two. Thanks!
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  #8  
Unread 02-12-2019, 09:37 AM
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I should note that my issue with the second line comes not from "unelementaled" (I think it's a strong choice here and don't mind its absence from the dictionary one bit), but from "original by". I just can't seem to find a way to read it that isn't tripping me up.
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Unread 02-12-2019, 11:12 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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...It is not about the East anyway, a concept that doesnít concern me. It is about spirituality and being gay and also words. About not creating your own words but allowing the words of the person you love to fill your life or that personís silence of no words. He is a literal dictator taking dictation from something bigger than himÖ The poem's flaw may be that none of this comes across.

For me, because Iíve come to hear/feel your wavelength clearly without needing concrete evidence that I am right, there is no flaw in that regard.

It is the exotic use of language and easiness of the imagery coming together that I like. The sounds and word groupings and ease of the flow of thought is swan-like. I donít care all that much about metrical rigidity. If the dance is fluid (and you are dancing again here as Iíve seen you do often) then the song is being sung correctly.

I will of course watch and listen to the way things are fine-tuned, but where that might take place matters less. Nothing is perfect, said the rugmaker. This is that. Keep writing like this. No one else is. Except maybe a few I donít know of.
x
x
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  #10  
Unread 02-12-2019, 02:03 PM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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Orwn, "rank and file" does have the meaning you mentioned, but it was originnally a metaphor, now a dead metaphor, taken from military usage. If you use it with fleets you have a mixed dead metaphor.

"Rank and file now refers to the ordinary members of any group but it originated as a military term. The rows and columns of soldiers, drawn up for drill and not including officers, were called 'ranks' and 'files'. This usage dates back to the 16th century."

"About not creating your own words" -- but haven't you done just this with "unelementaled"? Everyone seems to stumble over it.

Hart Crane bestrides this like a colossus.

Last edited by R. S. Gwynn; 02-12-2019 at 02:07 PM.
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