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  #1  
Unread 05-24-2020, 08:52 AM
Aaron Novick's Avatar
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is online now
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wheat text

Canon (revision)

Like a water frog becoming a quail
or the stern tree outside taking flight,
nothing is constant in the livid night
where even Change is growing stale.

Walk with me, love, along the unmarked trail
our walking carves, our footsteps springy, light
like a water frog becoming a quail
or the stern tree outside taking flight,

then part. Even this vividness will pale.
I know, because it has, and now I write
these lines too late to set us right,
dreaming realities beyond the pale,
like a water frog becoming a quail.


Canon (original)

Like a water frog becoming a quail
Or the stern tree outside taking flight,
Nothing is constant in the livid night
Where even Change itself is growing stale.

Walk with me, love, along the unmarked trail
Our walking carves, our footsteps springy, light
Like a water frog becoming a quail
Or the stern tree outside taking flight,

Then part. Even this vividness will pale.
I know, because it has. Inside, I write
These hapless lines too late to set us right,
Dreaming realities beyond the pale,
Like a water frog becoming a quail.


Edits:

S1L4: Of Awareness --> Where even

S2L4: end stop --> comma

S3L2: , and now --> . Inside,
S3L3: wistful --> hapless
S3L4: absurdities --> realities

Last edited by Aaron Novick; 05-25-2020 at 07:18 AM.
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  #2  
Unread 05-24-2020, 03:34 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hi Aaron,

How sad and lovely this is!

It only sags a little for me on the phrase 'Of awareness', and on the too-obvious modifier 'wistful'. Otherwise, beautiful.

Is the title a wry nod to the 'classic' feel of this, compared to a lot of your work? It's something of a departure.
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  #3  
Unread 05-24-2020, 04:21 PM
Aaron Novick's Avatar
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is online now
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Mark, thanks. I'm glad you like it. You're exactly right about "Of awareness", which was bugging me already as verging on self-parody. I've fixed that, and took the opportunity to make a few other changes that—as is their wont—occurred to me shortly after posting the thread.

I think you're also right about "wistful", but I haven't hit on a good fix yet. In due time. (EDIT: found something with some perhaps pleasing assonance, to go with an appropriate meaning.)

Keeping mum about the title for now.

Last edited by Aaron Novick; 05-24-2020 at 04:38 PM.
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  #4  
Unread 05-24-2020, 05:13 PM
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Ed Shacklee Ed Shacklee is offline
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Aaron,

I like the edits you've made to the first stanza, although should "Change" be capitalized?

Myself, though, I liked the 3rd stanza better "as was," as it were. It's odd, isn't it, how readers react differently. "Too late" caught me by off guard in a good way - I liked the way it shifted time, from reverie to reality if you will. If you are going to kick "wistful" to the curb, I'm not sure "hapless" is a good trade as it carries much the same baggage.

Is there a species of frog called "water frog," or is that a common phrase where you're from? I hadn't heard that, personally, and it seemed a bit odd, like "water swans" or "water fish." I don't think I'd change it anyway, however -- the changeability of water helps with how things change here.

I hope this won't make you wince, but this poem made me feel "wistful," with a universal sentiment presented in a way that caught me by surprise. A very delicate, slant handling of regrets.

Best,

Ed

P.S. I'd be interested in a different title being tried out, however.
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  #5  
Unread 05-24-2020, 07:44 PM
Cally Conan-Davies Cally Conan-Davies is offline
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Aaron, how good this is! How true, what others have said.

To 'wistful' 'sad' and 'lovely', I would add uncanny. Strange, yet profoundly familiar at the same time. There may be things you tinker with, but I just want to talk about the tone, the feeling that you've brought to life in this poem. It feels real, genuine, what we call down here "fair dinkum". There are simplicities here, married so delicately with strangenesses. "I know, because is has". Simple. And the strange presence of the waterfrog changing shape, changing its nature. It really works for me. Well done, Aaron!

Oh, and there's another adjective I'd add. It keeps coming to my mind. Elegant. There is something elegant about this poem.

Cally

p.s. about the title. I keep reading it as "Cannon". I wondered why. And I just realised it may be because the tone of the poem reminds me so much of that Damien Rice song 'Cannonball'.
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Unread 05-25-2020, 02:05 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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I love this, Aaron. The kissed frog who turns into a prince in the fairy tales becomes a quail instead. “Livid night” is lovely, as are other pairings in the poem.

Your revisions are good. I like “hapless” for its modest and self-deprecatory nuance.

My only nit would be that I don’t think you need “itself” in line 4, except for the meter. But a tetrameter line there would not bother me in the least, and “itself” is redundant.

I agree with Cally on elegant as a description for this. And I would add, it is very Aaron-esque. I’ve been thinking of a phrase lately from the Renaissance philosopher Marsilio Ficino, who said to a friend, let’s call him Giovanni, that all things Giovanni-ize in him. This poem’s matter Aaron-izes in your words very nicely indeed.

Andrew
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  #7  
Unread 05-25-2020, 07:32 AM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is online now
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Ed, Cally, Andrew—thanks all. I'm gratified by the warm response to this one. I've posted a revision addressing some of your concerns. A few words by way of commentary:

It is interesting to see how Ed and Andrew took the frog image, Ed focusing on the mutability of water, and Andrew likening it to the frog becoming a prince. In fact, the image is lifted from the Mozi (an ancient Chinese philosophical text), but its origin doesn't really matter (I just lifted it for its poetic strangeness). I want it to be open to these sorts of associations, which is why I suppressed its origin in the first place. These reactions confirm for me that I was right to do so. As for why "water" frog: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelophylax

Andrew, I took your suggestion to let S1L4 be tet. "itself" was needed in the original; it's not needed here. This also resolved the "wistful"/"hapless" issue, I think—that line doesn't need a modifier, except for metrical reasons that vanish when I allow myself unambiguously tet lines.

I went back to the original for S3L2, mostly for the sake of flow: I want the softer pause of the comma. My one worry was that saying the tree is "outside" might seem a redundancy unless it was clear the poem was being written inside, but this doesn't seem to be tripping people up. I've also eliminated the initial caps, again for reasons of flow (I felt it was gunking up the S2/S3 enjambment especially).

Cally, I'm so happy you found this poem "strange, yet profoundly familiar". Andrew, I'm likewise glad you felt this poem "Aaron-izes". Such praise means a lot.

Still thinking about the title.
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