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  #1  
Old 06-23-2018, 06:38 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Default The Well

The Well (v.5 -- now a reversion to original) )

When I find myself
in the well of my desire
where words pour over me
and thoughts echo
with a voice rejoicing
sometimes softly
sometimes thunderous,
time condenses to flashes
of reflection and dreaming
that find connection,
sometimes blinding
sometimes blazing
a vortex through the deep
dark pool of belonging
where I swim clear
and do not drown
or burn in the surface light.


-----------------

The Well (v.4)

When I find myself
in the well of my dreaming
where words submerge me
and thoughts lap
like tongues from
a voice borne,
sometimes soft,
sometimes thunderous,
time condenses to tenseless flashes
of reflection and desire
that converge and find connection,
sometimes blinding,
sometimes swirling,
a vortex that I swim through,
surging skyward
and pray I do not drown
or burn in the surface light.

In the brightening room
I reach for something
to scribble down what little
still clings to me.
It is like being young again
emptying my pockets of things I caught
when I thought I could catch anything,
like bubbles and stars
and lightning bugs in jars.
Once, I became rich
collecting pennies
from a wishing well.


Edits
S2L5: changed "It is like I am young again" to "it's like being young again"
S2L7: changed "of things I thought I caught" to "of things I caught"
S2L11: changed "Once, I thought I became rich" to "Once, I became rich"


------------------
The Well (v3 edited)

When I find myself
In the well of my dreaming,
where words submerge me
below a glow so bright,

Then, breathless, bug-eyed,
I swim clear towards waking
and pray I do not drown
or burn in the surface light.


--------------------

Conflation (re-write)

When I find myself
in a well of words
washing over me
and thoughts lap
like tongues from
a voice borne
sometimes soft
sometimes thunderous,
time condenses to flashes
of reflection and desire
sometimes catalytic,
sometimes caustic,
then my arms flail
in the conflation
and form a vortex slicing down
through the dark pool where I swim clear
and do not drown or burn in the surface light.


--------------

The Well

When I find myself
in the well of my desire
where words pour over me
and thoughts resonate
with a voice rejoicing
sometimes softly
sometimes thunderous,
time condenses to flashes
of reflection and dreaming
that find connection,
sometimes blinding
sometimes blazing
a vortex through the deep
dark pool of belonging
where I swim clear
and do not drown
or burn in the surface light.
x
x


Edits
L4: "reverberate" changed to "resonate"
x
x

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 07-04-2018 at 07:45 AM.
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  #2  
Old 06-24-2018, 02:54 AM
Ann Drysdale's Avatar
Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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Deleted. Replied too soon. More thought needed.
.

Last edited by Ann Drysdale; 06-24-2018 at 03:02 AM. Reason: regretted hamfisted suggestion.
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  #3  
Old 06-24-2018, 03:46 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Jim,

I like this inner landscape. The well, to me, works well as a ruling metaphor - I notice your return to it here:

sometimes blazing
a vortex through the deep
dark pool of belonging

I have two questions about those lines, though; is it possible to blaze a vortex? and what is the N belonging to?
I'm not sure those questions need answers, they are just my inquisitive mind.
In these lines -

with a voice rejoicing
sometimes softly
sometimes thunderous

- I hear a still small voice.

Cheers,
John
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Old 06-24-2018, 10:05 AM
Aaron Novick's Avatar
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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Grammatically, the poem currently splits up like this:
1. When I find myself in the well of my desire
2. [the well] where words pour over me, etc.
3. [there] time condenses to flashes etc.
But I, at least, don't see why [2] and [3] there are separated, why you specify that [3] happens in the place where [2] happens.

Why not collapse them, like so:
When I find myself
in the well of* desire,
words pour over me,
thoughts resonate
with a voice rejoicing
sometimes soft**
sometimes thunderous,
time condenses to flashes
of reflection and dreaming...
Two other notes on the above:

* I don't see that you need the "my" in L2, and I like the rhythm better without it.

** "softly" is an adverb, "thunderous" an adjective. One way or another they need to agree.

– –

Like John I., I get a bit confused around "sometimes blinding / sometimes blazing / a vortex". As currently punctuated (no comma after blazing), the vortex becomes the direct object that is being blazed. I don't get that image. If you add the comma, then the vortex begins a new thought. Then, if I'm parsing correctly, the read is something like: "time condenses to... a vortex", which is also a little strange. So I think that part of the poem needs some thought.
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Old 06-24-2018, 10:17 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Ann, it's something of a puzzler I guess. The metaphor (a well) is stretched to almost being warped. Please come back if you have any thoughts to help it into shape : ).

John, Thanks, it is entirely an inner landscape. I am hoping it doesn't come off as pretentious or too grandiose. I'm always terrified of that prospect -- in fact, this poem has something to say about that very aspect of my “well” of inspiration.

The “well” of inspiration can be a dangerous and deceptive place. It’s not all euphoric light and understanding, though it can feel that way in the moment it’s happening. Rather, it’s a rich mixture of ideas that are actively coalescing in front of me. My efforts to capture them are seldom successful. Hence the drowning and burning reference to end.

I have thought about the image of a vortex and whether one can be "blazed" especially in liquid... But I decided to leave it for now because I want to blend both water and fire in the overarching image.

The voice is indeed multifaceted. It does overpower at times in it's excitement, but never frightens.

The N is belonging to this place, the well, where he wants to be but can't always feel at home. To make matters worse, when he leaves thinking he has found something precious, he risks drowning (losing the thought) or even worse, resurfacing with what he thought was precious only to have it "burned" in the light of day. All metaphorically speaking, of course.
x

Aaron -- just saw we cross posted. All good thoughts as usual. I'll get back.
x
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Old 06-24-2018, 12:06 PM
John Riley John Riley is online now
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I like what Aaron and John have suggested. I'm afraid I, nevertheless, don't think "well of my desire" works. It's sort of overly abstract and simply doesn't work as a memorable metaphor. Words are tools we use. Words come from us. They don't pour over us and if they did we'd never notice them. Words are more like saliva than they're like hair conditioner. Thoughts require language to communicate. Time isn't reflection or dreaming. It is the duration of them.

I'll stop with that. (Before I get to vortex.) I thought all night if I should be honest here or really disrespect you with a few, fluttering words. I don't think any of this works. It is a list of undeveloped metaphors for the writing process and the only one that is close to reflecting the experience is the title--going to the well. I'm not trying to be hurtful and don't mean to be an ass and don't think I am. I'm only pointing out why this attempted poem doesn't work. Maybe others will have a different view.

Best,
John
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Old 06-24-2018, 01:42 PM
Felicity Teague Felicity Teague is offline
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Hi Jim,

I like this. When I first started writing poetry, it was with a sense of drawing strength from a very deep well. But this is different, as you're 'in' the well. I think your well must be a different structure from mine. What does it look like?

Interestingly, when I come to the 'pool' I see very clearly a pool at the base of a waterfall. I think this is because it fits with a lot of the language that's gone before, such as 'pour', 'thunderous', and 'flashes of reflection', where I see the sun on the water. The 'blinding' and 'blazing' let in the light too. I suppose it's just easier for me to imagine swimming in a pool than in a well. Sorry if I'm missing something! (I'm a bit tired this evening.)

Best wishes,
Fliss
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Old 06-24-2018, 01:56 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is online now
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Hi Jim,

This poem is largely made up of abstractions (desire, time, reflection, dreaming, connection, belonging, "thoughts resonate"), or, where things are concrete, it is pretty general (words, thoughts, a voice, " "flashes of reflection and dreaming"). As a result, there's very little specific, sensory detail here: Things I can clearly see, hear, smell, taste, touch etc.

So, I wonder if there are ways to get some specific, concrete sensory imagery into this poem, to paint me more of a picture. What does "the well of my desire" look like? Can the general become more specific? Do you need all the abstractions? Or could they be offset by more imagery?

If this poem were a painting, or a movie with no captions or commentary, I wonder what it would look like -- it would necessarily be shorn of abstractions. I wonder if you could write something more in the direction of that poem? I'm not saying use no abstractions, just that this poem is very heavily reliant on them, and I enjoy it less for that.

On the metaphor here:

In the poem 'well' could be a spring (though that's an archaic meaning, at least in the UK) or a shaft sunk into the ground. I'd assumed the latter at first. But the words "pouring over" the N seem to suggest the former (but perhaps at the bottom of the well water pours over him?), so perhaps it would be useful to use a less ambiguous word.

If you do mean something like "wellspring" you're very much on cliched ground, I think. On the other hand, if you've have the N at the bottom of a well shaft, then I'd say you've got a fresh and interesting metaphor.

Is the "deep dark pool of belonging" with its whirlpool, the same as the "well of desire" with its spring/fountain pouring over the N? Can these features co-exist? Or is there more than one body of water in the poem?

best,

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 06-24-2018 at 04:06 PM.
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  #9  
Old 06-25-2018, 12:18 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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WellÖ
I'm afraid I've posted another cut flower.

As all have said or implied, this is riddled with problems, mired in cliche.
I am in such a stew about this. How could I let such an abstraction trick me into seeing something worth reading? Again? And again?
No one likes cut flowers once they think about it a bit : ) Cut flowers. I keep cutting flowers.

John R, Glad the title is working for you : ) Of course, youíre right. Btw, Iíve changed the title : )

Aaron, Thanks for pointing out the grammatical issues (and reserving comment on the rest). I could feel them (grammar) but didn't stay with it long enough to reconcile. Will do (to the degree they still apply when I re-write).

Fliss and Matt, You both question the nature of the well metaphor. I went back and forth with it. I became a bit afraid of it, honestly. But I do want a strong sense of confluence of light and dark, fire and water. Why, I donít know. The poem is a mess.

Matt, I have stepped back and thought about what Iím trying to say with the eyes of a painter. (Always good advice, always). Iím afraid all I could come up with is the revision posted.

Revision posted. I still have not escaped the abstractions and cliche for the most part, but hope it at least makes better sense and -- fingers crossed -- grammar is ok.

Barring any other lifesaving ideas, Iím fine letting this sink to the bottom of theÖÖ...Well.

I'm not lazy, just tired.
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Old 06-25-2018, 01:21 PM
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Edward Zuk Edward Zuk is offline
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Hi Jim,

I find that too much of the poem is spent trying to explain the metaphor. Hereís a radical idea: why not cut out all the explanatory middle and keep the set-up and ending?

The Well

When I find myself
in the well of my desire

[i] do not drown
or burn in the surface light.

This sounds like something that Robert Creeley might have written.

I like "The Well" as a title much better than the abstract "Conflation."
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