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  #1  
Unread 06-21-2019, 11:26 AM
Jim Hayes Jim Hayes is offline
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Default One Big Eye

Rewrite
New S1

When people don’t like us we wonder why-
is it because of the one big eye
above our eyebrows, between our noses?
It’s the ears at the back of our heads, one supposes.


When we open our mouths we gibber and squeak
and gobbets of rheum furrow our cheek,
we’d wipe them away, slimey and green
but we only have legs where our hands should have been.

We enter your home at the darkest of night
when the Lares retreat leaving you to your plight,
we jostle each other surrounding your bed
impatiently waiting to enter your head.

Each morning you wake up drenched in our sweat,
and you try but you know that you’ll never forget
that one big eye, red, suppuratory
engraved in your mind as a memento mori.






Most people don’t like us, we don’t know why-
is it because of the one big eye
between our eyebrows on top of our nose?
It’s the ears at the back of our heads we suppose.

When we open our mouths we gibber and squeak
and gobbets of rheum furrow our cheek,
we’d wipe them away, slimey and green,
but we only have legs where our hands should have been.

We’ve been with mankind from the earliest times,
we’re the goblins and ghouls in old nursery rhymes,
we’re the gargoyles that scowl from cathedral walls,
We’re Sile-na-gig, we’re the Merrow that calls.

We like to appear at the darkest of night-
when the Lares can see us to cower in fright
as we solemnly gather surrounding your bed,
each taking its turn to creep into your head.

Each morning you wake up drenched in your sweat,
and you try but you know that you’ll never forget;
(that laugh from a face suppurating in pus-
the horror of death is to be one of us.)

Emending lines 19-20 a la Ann’s comment

the laugh from a face suppurating and gory,
that resounds in your brain as a memento mori

Last edited by Jim Hayes; 06-25-2019 at 03:40 PM.
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  #2  
Unread 06-21-2019, 11:53 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is online now
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Line 19 - suppurating? Forgive me, Jim, I'm shit-hot on pus.
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  #3  
Unread 06-21-2019, 12:15 PM
Jim Hayes Jim Hayes is offline
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Fixed, thanks Ann
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  #4  
Unread 06-21-2019, 02:33 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Hi Jim,

So, here we have monsters of folklore as reminders of death, as part of our collective psyche perhaps.

What I wonder about most here is S3. To me, it's rather like the poem pauses to explain and spell things out here. If you cut it, I think the poem becomes more interesting because the identity of the "we" isn't explained, and the reader has to work it out for themselves.

As the poem's opening line, S1L1 could be doing a better job of establishing the metre, I think. "we don't know why" is ambiguous as to where the stresses fall -- first or second syllable? -- or so it seems to me. Also, coming at this cold, I'd likely stress "most" over "people" for sense: "Most people don't like us". The second time round maybe "Most people" (people as in not monsters). Anyway, read naturally, not knowing the metre, I don't really hear the metre.

S1L2-3 seems a little ambiguous. Are the eyebrows on top of the nose. Or is the eye on top of the nose?

We like to appear at the darkest of night-
when the Lares can see us to cower in fright
as we solemnly gather surrounding your bed,
each taking its turn to creep into your head.

I don't see what the em-dash gains you or why it's there. (Incidentally, I'd personally find it easier to read the poem to read if you used '--' as an em-dash, or just cut and paste an em-dash in from a word processor or the web (like this '–' or this '—'). Currently I'm seeing hyphens and expecting the word to continue on the next line.)

I don't think "when the Lares can see us to cower in fright" is quite the right construction. Or at least it seems odd to me, and maybe just to me. They cower in fright because they can see the monsters. But they don't need to be able to see the monsters in order to cower, which is how it reads to me.

L4 seems ambiguous. Who creeps? It could be the 'Lares' creeping away or the monsters. It would be clearer to write "each taking our turn", but the grammar's off, I guess. How about:

as we solemnly gather surrounding your bed
and take it in turns to creep into your head.

That ways it's very clear who's creeping. Incidentally S4L4 seems to have an extra stress:

each TAKing its TURN to CREEP inTO your HEAD

I guess you want:

each TAKing its TURN to creep INto your HEAD ?

but that takes a bit of forcing.

In the final stanza, I don't understand (syntactically) what the semicolon is doing. What follows is it not a sentence. A colon would work (absent the brackets) as what follows clarifies what precedes. I'd consider dropping the brackets. I think it takes away from the close, demotes it.

all the best,

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 06-21-2019 at 04:32 PM.
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  #5  
Unread 06-22-2019, 01:43 AM
Jim Hayes Jim Hayes is offline
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Thank you for a very close read Matt, much appreciated. Loath as I am to drop S 3 Iíll go with it and see what happens, most of your other suggestions I can adopt with profit.
Rewrite above

Kind regards
Jim. .
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  #6  
Unread 06-25-2019, 04:28 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Hi Jim,

Coming back to this, I do think it works better without the original S3.

I like the new closing couplet. Both the 'suppuratory' rhyme with 'memento mori', and the call-back to the eye of the title. For me it's the best of the three versions you've posted.

With

between our eyebrows above the nose?

I have the same issue as

between our eyebrows on top of our nose?

but I prefer the latter as it has more bounce to the metre.

In both cases I'm not clear whether it's the eyebrows or the eye or both that is/are "above/on top of the nose".

Visually, I would imagine the eye above the nose and between the eyebrows (hence the eyebrows are not be directly above the nose, but off to the sides). To me, the lines above say that eye is between the eyebrows, and the eyebrows are above the nose. But if that's the case, and the eye is between the eyebrows and both are above the nose, it's hard to see how everything would fit. I wonder if you need a comma, since the comma would serve as an 'and', making things much clearer (to me, anyway):

is it because of the one big eye
between our eyebrows, on top of our nose?

So that now the eye is above the nose and between the eyebrows, I think.

best,

Matt
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  #7  
Unread 06-25-2019, 05:58 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is online now
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Between the brows and over the nose...?
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  #8  
Unread 06-25-2019, 10:30 AM
Jim Hayes Jim Hayes is offline
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Thanks, Matt, Ann, there’s also the more grotesque

above our eyebrows between our noses?
It’s the ears at the back of our heads, one supposes

Or,
below our eyebrows between our noses?

All best
Jim

Last edited by Jim Hayes; 06-25-2019 at 10:37 AM.
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  #9  
Unread 06-25-2019, 10:35 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Jim,

I like the more grotesque idea. The "on top/above our nose" part was somewhat redundant -- in that that's where I'd expect the eye to be given it was between the eyebrows.

Again, I think you'd need a comma in the middle of that phrase for the reasons given above.

best,

Matt
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  #10  
Unread 06-25-2019, 10:51 AM
Jim Hayes Jim Hayes is offline
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Thanks for the affirmation Matt, and the advice.
Iíll go with this latest version and have posted the rewrite of S1

Much obliged
Jim
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