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  #21  
Old 09-21-2018, 09:14 PM
Phil Wood Phil Wood is offline
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Hi David,
I suppose there is an argument that the emigration of farm workers was more due to cheap imports from the Empire and industrialisation. Malthus was a name from my history lessons too.

Some interesting line breaks, like falling-off a cliff. Also interesting that mix of diction, shriving/access for example. The title is a definite hook.

You do write interesting poems.

enjoyed

Phil


Quote:
Originally Posted by David Callin View Post
Ruined cottages are the
high water mark
of population,
left high and dry by Malthus, like
some prodigious effort
of the sea.

Life climbed as far as this, before
falling back into
the fatter valley,
an overflow decanted via
Liverpool to Saskatchewan
and Ohio.

How many Margarets - Peggies - Paaies,
who hung out washing in
the flapping gale,
or tried to make a garden on the
side of a steep
unfriendly hill,

have not grown giddy at the thought
of the purgatorial
Atlantic,
its shriving storms, its access, after
many trials, to
the Plains of Heaven?
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  #22  
Old 09-22-2018, 08:59 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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I'm sure Malthus is very familiar and he's just one of those odd gaps in my knowledge. I knew the name but had to remind myself of its significance. But it's not that I thought you were trying to be deliberately obscure, just that I think any academic reference would take a little of the purity away from the poem. The buildings and the lives of the people are viewed from a kind of panoramic distance, which really works. Invoking 'Malthus' (or anyone similar) gives a drier intellectual distance that I don't like as much.

Hope pub night was fun!
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  #23  
Old 09-22-2018, 09:38 AM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is online now
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Yes, absolutely Mark. For me it's almost, hedging? And that might work in a particular context. Just not for me here. My turn to go to the pub.
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  #24  
Old 09-22-2018, 09:55 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Mark: "The buildings and the lives of the people are viewed from a kind of panoramic distance, which really works. Invoking 'Malthus' (or anyone similar) gives a drier intellectual distance that I don't like as much. "

Yes, the panorama of it is what gives this its power, especially as it pulls back further as the poem unfolds. Malthus is almost a starting point from which the story launches and its "academic" start is left in the classroom as the N continues to imagine deeper and deeper meaning. That's been my take.

But still, isn't the poem about the question that lingers?
x
x

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 09-22-2018 at 09:57 AM.
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  #25  
Old 09-24-2018, 10:03 AM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark McDonnell View Post
I'm sure Malthus is very familiar and he's just one of those odd gaps in my knowledge. I knew the name but had to remind myself of its significance. But it's not that I thought you were trying to be deliberately obscure, just that I think any academic reference would take a little of the purity away from the poem. The buildings and the lives of the people are viewed from a kind of panoramic distance, which really works. Invoking 'Malthus' (or anyone similar) gives a drier intellectual distance that I don't like as much.

Hope pub night was fun!
In reverse order, it was, yes. And ... on pub night, one of our friends told me - as he rarely does - that he liked the poem, and very much liked the idea of the tholtans as a high tide mark. I asked him what he thought of the Malthus reference. He said "I didn't understand that bit, so I just ignored it."

So I think that's a casting vote for removing it. Thanks to you, and James, for setting me right on this.

Hello Phil! Nice to see you emerging from the ... er ... well, Woods, really. And thanks for the support on Malthus. However ... see above. (Time for you to post something of your own again?)

And thanks again Jim. You're a very generous reader.

Cheers all

David
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  #26  
Old 09-29-2018, 10:34 PM
J.B. Marshall J.B. Marshall is offline
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Default Tholtans

Good evening David,
I confess I had to look up both Tholtans and Malthus. I don't think that you could change the title - not easily.
We don't have too many skeletons of stone houses here in North America so we don't have a word like Tholtan. "Derelict" comes to mind, but it doesn't do the poem justice.
I wondered about the reference to Malthus as well. But looking him up as well as his theories on population and food supply, you've added a layer of meaning and complexity by simply dropping his name into the poem. Well done.
I would like to ask how you decided on where to break your lines. I don't have a criticism about them, but just want to understand how you came to your choices.
Again - well done. I really like this poem.
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  #27  
Old 09-30-2018, 01:31 PM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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Hi JB. I thought we were done on this one, but I'm happy to resurrect it if no-one else minds. But I only have to resurrect it to say this ... thank you! Very pleased you liked it.

And to say that there was no special plan for the line breaks. I just put them where they felt right. I always do, but opinions as to rightness may differ.

Cheers

David
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