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  #11  
Unread 10-20-2019, 05:03 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Jim, John, Andrew and Mary,

Many thanks for your comments.

I'd love to know what you all think this poem is describing.

Also, does it come across, in the first poem, that he is days consist of alternating between resting and not-resting? 2.5 hours of being 'up, followed by half and hour of resting lying down, "on a good day", with worse days comprising more resting and less time 'up'?

Jim,

Thanks, I'm glad you like it. I guess I could try a version without asterisks. I'll see what I can do. I'm guessing you're reading this as about old age? Is that right?

John,

Do you think if I lose the "not snow" part, the reader would still get the reference to Eskimos knowing 100 words for snow? Rhythmically it works for me, plus there's the although / snow rhyme. And yes, maybe I should lose the indentation in the night sweats section; it seems less necessary somehow now the first line is longer.

Andrew,

Thanks for coming back. I'm pleased the 'his' addition worked for you. I also like it with asterisks, though I will have a play with losing them.

Mary,

I'll have a play with an asterisk-free version. When you say I don't need 'nausea', can you say why -- and are you suggesting losing the word only or the whole cat section?

I think if I segue from 'midnight tide' of the night sweats section to the 'great river' part, it does seems to change the meaning quite a bit; the sweats would seem then to have dwindled to a stream rather than his life, and would no longer be like a tide if they were a stream.

Thanks again all,

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 10-20-2019 at 05:10 AM.
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  #12  
Unread 10-20-2019, 05:30 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Matt,

Hmm. I missed the although-snow rhyme. I'll post that stanza here. The Eskimo or Inuit do not of course have 100 words for snow, that's a myth, but more to the point, I suspect more than one reader will miss what you're driving at - I did for starters. I don't think the snow adds anything you need semantically, myself, and I'm not sold on the music yet. My 2c. I think ending on head could be stronger.

Today he learns another word for fog.
Why should that please him?
But it does.
Smur,
a drizzled mist,
a mix, he thinks, of smudge and blur,
a hint of smear.
Hed like to know a hundred more.
Although its fog he has inside his head,
not snow.

Cheers,
John
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  #13  
Unread 10-20-2019, 05:30 AM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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This is powerful in places. I particularly like the rhetorical device about his bones. And the section about the fog.

The poem would move me more if I knew more about the character's specific life, if he felt more of an individual to me.
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  #14  
Unread 10-20-2019, 09:15 AM
Mary Meriam's Avatar
Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Q View Post
Also, does it come across, in the first poem, that he is days consist of alternating between resting and not-resting? 2.5 hours of being 'up, followed by half and hour of resting lying down, "on a good day", with worse days comprising more resting and less time 'up'?
Yes it does.

Quote:
are you suggesting losing the word only or the whole cat section?
I love the cat section. It's only the one word that sticks out.
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  #15  
Unread 10-20-2019, 03:24 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is online now
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x
Matt: I'm guessing you're reading this as about old age? Is that right?

Yes, it most often feels to be about old age or someone infirm. At first, though, I thought of a writer struggling with depression. Perhaps it is inspired by someone specifically, like Franz Kafka. It could be about one at any age who is hobbled by a physical or mental illness. It could be heartbreak.

But I did not get as much a sense of intervals as I did different angles/ways of describing the trials of a life pent by merciless, senseless circumstances.
x
x
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  #16  
Unread 10-20-2019, 05:54 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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John, Max, Mary, Jim,

Many thanks.

I've posted a revision that loses the word nausea from the cat stanza, and gives it a stanza of it's own. I've yet to work out a reordering. I've been playing with losing the asterisks too, but not yet to the extent I've got something I want to post.

John,

Thanks for sticking with this. Although it's a myth, it's a well known one. I'm hoping most readers will wonder why 'snow' is mentioned and pick up the "100 words for ..." aspect. Assuming they do, I think this adds. The idea behind the myth is that snow is a major part of Inuit's lives, and also that there are many distinguishable kinds of snow. So, hopefully, the same is communicated about the fog in his head.

Max,

Thanks for commenting. I'll think about how I can make it more individual.

Mary,

Thanks for coming back, and thanks for letting me know that first part is coming across as I intended. I'm still not sure what you don't like about "nausea claws" (I did wonder if BANNED POSTyou pronounce 'nausea' differently than we do, but maybe it's too rhymey?), but you're not the first person to mention it. It's important to me to have nausea in it, and I did want to associate it with the fatigue -- the sharp end of the fatigue, so to speak. Anyway, I've taken tried taking it out of the cat stanza and given it a stanza of it's own.

Jim,

Thanks for coming back. So this is something I've written about before. It's hard for me to get it not to sound like depression or old age. I'm thinking on ways .... I think your right about the title. It works for the first section: intervals or activity interspersed by rests, but less so for the whole. I'm trying a new title.

Thanks again all,

Matt
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  #17  
Unread 10-21-2019, 01:48 PM
Phil Bulman Phil Bulman is offline
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Hi Matt. I really like this.

The ending could be stronger if you cut the final line and simply end with:

if someone were to ask him.

Perhaps as a one-line stanza, which would make it stark.
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  #18  
Unread 10-23-2019, 02:58 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Hi Phil

Welcome to the Sphere!

Thanks for your comment. I'm glad you like this. You may be right about the end. The last line is probably a little overstated. Part of my reservation about losing the last line is that then the poem would end on an unstressed syllable. (The last two lines together are, in effect, a line of IP split in two). But maybe there's another wording that would work. I've also considered losing the two lines all together.

best,

Matt
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  #19  
Unread 10-23-2019, 09:43 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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A vote to keep both those last two lines. I like them a good deal.

Cheers,
John
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  #20  
Unread 10-24-2019, 04:14 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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I too like the 2 last lines, but I wonder if it could be strengthened by ending the penultimate line with a period and making "But they don't" a whole sentence. That would be consistent with the staccato style of much of the poem.
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