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  #21  
Old 06-18-2017, 07:25 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Hi Aaron,

I like the idea of the general and his men turning up. The octet leaves it nicely neutral as to whether Rhesus and his army are hope or doom, defenders or attackers. And I like that I have to wait to the end for this to be resolved. I read the desolation as internal (depression, grief, loss) rather than external (state of the nation, Trump etc), and the army as that which overwhelms the N, to which he surrenders.

I find myself wondering if there's any significance to the choice of Rhesus, who was slain in his sleep, and was on the losing side. Could this signify hope? A strategic surrender? Or if could this be ancient general and his men?

Oh, Rhesus, in this time of desolation
I always look upon your warriors.

Does this mean: in times of desolation, I always ..., or only in this particular time of desolation, I always ... It reads like the latter, but "this time" and "always" seem to conflict a little.

You've said you have "wooden chair" because you have one in your room, but for no reason connected to the poem. But every detail, I guess, will be assumed to be chose for a reason. I guess in the context of the poem it might be seen as playing off the fire (the ashes) as something flammable, that might also be destined to burn. If it's woodenness is not important, though, you could consider changing "wooden" for a modifier that physically locates the N somewhere, which would help set the scene. Can you use it show he is in his bedroom, for example, which you've implied is where the poem is set. At present we know only that he sits in a chair, but not where the chair is; or even whether he's inside or not.

best,

Matt (the real Matt).

Last edited by Matt Q; 06-18-2017 at 07:31 PM.
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  #22  
Old 06-18-2017, 11:41 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Matt, thank you for commenting. I have posted a revision (the present habitual version) which deals with the issues you raise. First, I changed the opening lines to:

Oh, Rhesus, in my times of desolation
I often look upon your warriors.

The revisions change the tense to present habitual (at certain times, over and over again). I revised the last sentence to: "Often I accept defeat" to match the established tense.

I have also revised the "wooden chair" to a "rocking chair". I prefer the rocker because it suggests the speaker is anxious as he contemplates the scene.

I prefer the revision (the present habitual version), so thank you for pushing me to make the revisions.

Best,

Aaron
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  #23  
Old 06-19-2017, 12:28 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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I think I found the final draft--the octave is in the present habitual, and the sestet is in the very present. Thanks, all, for picking and pushing at this.

Is it done?
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  #24  
Old 06-19-2017, 02:25 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Hi Aaron,

I like the tense change in the octet, which resolves the issue I had.

I liked your suggestion of "rocking chair" for the word play you mentioned. If you went with it, I would prefer "my rocking chair" since that seems to locate it more -- place him in his room. I'm not so clear on the motivation for "present chair" -- in contrast to a future chair maybe? Some time when he is stronger, less afflicted?

It did occur to me that the last line might be something like:

Oh Rhesus, may I kill you when you sleep [ or "I will kill you"]

But that might require some research on the part of the reader. And is of course, a very different, far more defiant ending (and depends on me being right that this is about some sort of mental/psychological affliction, which it may not be) -- so probably not the poem you want to write. So, I mention it only because it occurred to me, and seemed to make the choice of Rhesus -- as opposed to any other general/leader from the past -- more relevant. It's not an objection to the present ending.

best,

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 06-19-2017 at 02:27 PM.
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  #25  
Old 06-19-2017, 07:01 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Matt, I intended "my present chair" to modulate the tense from present habitual to immediate present.

I think I will try "from this very chair" instead.

I am tempted to give more mythological backstory but other crits have persuaded me to keep Rhesus a mere name, an addressee.
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  #26  
Old 06-19-2017, 07:28 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Hi Aaron,

I prefer it to "from my present chair" and now see your need to show the change in tense. However, I notice that "this" on its own provides the necessary modulation for you, since it moves from the general to the specific. So for example, you could also have "from this rocking chair" and still have the modulation. I do prefer "rocking" to "very", in that it shows vexation, whereas for me "very" doesn't seem to add or show much at all. There may well be better options than "rocking", of course, but I do think there's a better use of that foot than "very".

best,

Matt
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  #27  
Old 06-19-2017, 08:07 PM
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RCL RCL is offline
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I seriously doubt that rocking chairs existed before the 18th century. Didn’t Franklin add it to his list of inventions? Wood or maybe marble/stone might be more appropriate?
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  #28  
Old 06-19-2017, 08:23 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Ralph,

My read is that this is a present-day N beset by a visitation of historical/mythical characters.

best,
Matt
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  #29  
Old 06-19-2017, 08:57 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Thanks, Matt and Ralph. Yes, I do intend the setting to be contemporary but the visionary Thracians are indeed from ages ago.

Matt, you have persuaded me that "this" is enough to switch the tense to "now". I will go with "this rocking chair." Thanks.
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