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  #11  
Old 05-04-2018, 04:14 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Matt,

And thank you for the visit. I'm glad you basically like this, though to be honest, I find it as confusing as you do. I wrote this in a breath a while back when I was more out of control. Random stuff seems to just pop up in it. Yes, I agree, God's house is a little unsettling: people probably shouldn't swim in the pool, and the BBQ might be vegetarian. You just can't tell. I do like the line "It's the best joke," largely for the reasons you adduce, and the fish tank appeals; I'm a fan of fish tanks though I feel bad for the fish. Maybe that's how the barracudas got a pool.
I've taken almost all your suggestions, though I don't have a solution for "bluegrass and the blues." I don't think reggae quite works. Maybe skiffle. Anyway, revision posted.

Cheers,
John

Update: ragtime. That could work.

Last edited by John Isbell; 05-04-2018 at 04:19 PM.
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  #12  
Old 05-04-2018, 08:54 PM
Graham King Graham King is offline
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Hi John,

I like this! It seems refreshingly tangential, cutting across (but somehow seeming also to acknowledge) expected norms - of both religious and secular terms of reference.

My 'critique' below is more of a scatter-gun association of ideas and questions, triggered (in a happy sense!) by your work.

The angels gave me pause. Are they there as living beings or just depicted? (Carvings? Portraits?) Or.. are they 'on the walls', alive, standing there - in some Escher-like, relative orientation - perhaps so as to observe - while not obstructing - the children at play?

So.. God has favourite angels? Does that mean simply all the unfallen ones, or some of those above some others?
Are the angels now dissolved: superfluous functionaries now remembered only (like human former high officials or other notables, now seen commemorated in portraiture on the walls of state buildings and stately homes?)
..Hence, is this a 'now' poem, or a future scenario, or something timeless?

The poem need not elucidate any of this; as it stands, it seems to me sufficient that it intrigues, and leaves various options open.

Next..
I prefer the definite article ('the children'). It seems fitting, as if there is something here taken for granted, something we ought to know - an 'of-course-ness' about the children.. their being there.. and even their activity (which I find delightful *).
*[In the poem, I mean; I don't do the same myself!]

I love the dogs, and their names. Perfect! Naturally, there are dogs.

(What, no cats? I shall leave that matter aside Or maybe there are some, but they are outdoors when we visit.)

The barracudas disturbed me a little, not knowing what they signify (literal or symbolic fish?) or why they are there, or potential for interactions with people there. But that does not mean I dislike their inclusion in your poem!

My idea and yours of a 'wild' party may differ.. (?!)
I am not sure what note that word strikes (or is intended to strike) here.
Ragtime and .. the blues? Hmm.. Again, different takes on that are possible. I'm not disputing your choices.
Richly interesting.

I love the 'sleepover' idea, and the sleeping bags made ready by Mom.. with its cosy homeliness. How wonderful, to party with people whose company you delight in, and vice versa, and to not have to go home your separate ways!

Altogether, enjoyable and stimulating. I shall go to bed myself now happier from having read it!
Thanks for sharing it here.

Last edited by Graham King; 05-04-2018 at 09:01 PM.
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  #13  
Old 05-05-2018, 02:08 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Graham,

Thank you for dropping by! I enjoyed your meander through this poem, a meander which to my mind does a fine job of catching a bunch of the moonbeams the poem is throwing off. This piece is to some extent a mystery to myself as well, though I will say that "on the walls" meant pictures, to my writing mind, and I'm unsure now why God has favorites. God all in all is a bit of a character here.
I've followed your thought and made a couple of changes. "Wild" notably is gone; besides the semantic question, it scans better, and the alliteration comes through more clearly, I hope.
Do people prefer ragtime or skiffle at the end? Either I think might work.

Cheers,
John
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  #14  
Old 05-05-2018, 07:41 AM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Isbell View Post
Hi David,

I think you mean you prefer the original. I do too, and have put it back at top (fractionally revised).
Lazy reading on my part, John. I arrived late and assumed the revision was one that you were going to further regularise. But I don't much mind. I like it either way.

Cheers

David
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  #15  
Old 05-05-2018, 08:34 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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I've yet to read this closely enough to offer anything of value other than to say I like it and think it is something of a departure from your usual poetic voice.

(The invocation “God's House" has such a strong, concrete association for me. When I was a young boy, God's “House” was a real place, with a mailing address and everything! Blessed Sacrament Church, 716 Bellevue Ave., Trenton, NJ. Later we moved -- and so did God! To Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, 137 Upper Ferry Rd., Trenton, NJ… When, as hooligan parochial students, we would act out in church, the nuns would tap us hard on the shoulder and say in a stern whisper that turned your outer ear damp: “Not in God’s House!”)

(I remember, too, a contrary narrative that God was homeless, waiting for us to let him into our minds and hearts. As if he had no place else to go. So I had to let him in. Then God moved out on me when I turned thirteen.)

Thanks for the memories. I’m not helping you at all with the poem’s development. Although my overall impression of what you are conveying is that God’s House is in something of a “state of disrepair”. I almost get the feeling that God’s House is “on the market/for sale”. One could say it is priced to sell fast. A real fixer upper.
x

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 05-05-2018 at 10:00 AM.
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  #16  
Old 05-05-2018, 01:47 PM
Felicity Teague Felicity Teague is offline
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Hi John,

This is interesting! It's certainly unsettling, as you mention above (especially for the barracudas); and I'm intrigued by your note that you wrote it while you were 'more out of control'. I wonder what that means.

I like 'ragtime'; my dad plays Joplin, and I used to before Arthur Ritis closed that road. I think your Version IV reads more fluently than earlier versions. You could move 'It's time for bed[full stop]' to the next line, to give an 'Amen' effect, unless that's something you'd prefer to avoid.

Best wishes,
Fliss
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  #17  
Old 05-05-2018, 08:58 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Jim, hi Fliss,

And thank you for your visits. I'm glad the poem seems to have had a mostly positive effect.
Jim: yes, I do hope those childhood memories are not all a cause for regret! I love the vision of God as a homeless person waiting to be let in. The nuns seem to have had a line or two to hand. I'm not sure God's house here is in disrepair, but it certainly seems either ungoverned or run rather oddly. That's theodicy.
Fliss: those were different times, as Lou Reed puts it. I did write some poems that have hung around. Thank you for the vote for ragtime, I'll stick with that for now. I feel bad that you had to stop playing. I think I may also move the last line as you suggest.

Cheers,
John
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  #18  
Old 05-06-2018, 09:55 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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John: "I'm not sure God's house here is in disrepair, but it certainly seems either ungoverned or run rather oddly. That's theodicy."

One thing leads to another. I do think that the Christian religious institution is up for sale. But that's for another conversation. It is certainly lacking a solemn governing influence (though I like the Pope).

I like the poem very much for it's familial touch. It reminds me of the wild parties friends would throw when their parents went away. Could there be some analogy? Perhaps that is your message here...
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  #19  
Old 05-06-2018, 01:04 PM
Felicity Teague Felicity Teague is offline
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Hi John,

Different is cool. I have a lot of old poems hanging around in a subfolder titled 'Attic' and I like to pop up there sometimes, so to speak.

Thanks for your kind words. Old Arthur's got a knack for closing roads, but I just keep opening new ones <(:-)

I really like this poem.

Best wishes,
Fliss
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  #20  
Old 05-07-2018, 01:39 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Jim, hi Fliss,

And thanks again for stopping by.
Jim, we are in complete agreement. I like the current Pope too, basically, and yes, I think this house is exactly like one where the parents are out and the kids threw a party. As you say, there may be a message there.
Fliss, I like the idea of your "Attic" folder. I have similar folders which I work through from time to time, out of curiosity as much as anything. And they say every time a door closes, a window opens, but who wants to go out a window?
I like your indomitable spirit.

Cheers,
John
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