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Old 09-09-2017, 08:45 PM
VictoriaGaile VictoriaGaile is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 1,705
Default Gull-Light


The flicker-light
of gulls in flight
encodes the news
of varying breeze,
winging the word
from sun to sky
to shore to cloud.
With wing-up white
and wing-down dark,
they heliograph
among the flock.

How apposite
an opposite
to lighthouse built
by hands on rock,
whose only word
is "Ware! Ware! Ware!"
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Old 09-10-2017, 01:14 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Lazio, Italy
Posts: 4,136

Hi Victoria, I don’t believe we’ve interacted on this forum despite our both being members for a long time. Pleased to meet you.

I enjoy the imagery of the gull-wings’ play of light and dark and flapping creating a kind of code, and the contrast with the lighthouse’s cautionary isolation. And the sonics in this are nice; I especially like “wing-up white” and “wing-down dark” as sounds evocative of the image they describe. I.e., it’s a subtle onomatopoeia, nicely done.

I was a little disappointed that the news their flight encoded was only something as literal as the breeze—that strikes me as a missed opportunity for a metaphorical leap. I get it that the wind was strong and their wings’ movements and play of light was connected with that, but since you allude to a “word” on the next line, I would prefer something more imaginative at that juncture—as you do with the lighthouse at the end of the poem.

Also, can “heliograph” be used intransitively? On the line below that, “among the flock” seems tacked on, unnecessary except for the rhyme and for the contrast with the lighthouse’s isolation, which could be shown in a less direct more surprising way.

Anyway, nice to read your work. Good luck with your poem(s),

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Old 09-10-2017, 05:17 AM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
Posts: 1,166

I like that this takes an unusual form, the very short lines. The sound suggests that flight of the birds. There's also an entropy to the form, each stanza moving from its beginning away from rhyming couplets, the first stanza beginning with perfect rhyme and moving through a sort-of rhyme to no rhyme at all, the second beginning with a near rhyme that already is less perfect than where the poem started.

The short lines are a real challenge. Despite the lack of rhyme through most of the poem, the poem clearly presents each two beats as a line; it doesn't simply break longer lines typographically.

I don't quite follow what the gulls are communicating, possibly because I don't know enough about wind or birds.
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