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Unread 06-19-2020, 12:12 PM
Jayne Osborn's Avatar
Jayne Osborn Jayne Osborn is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Middle England
Posts: 6,132
Default Demolition

(Double-ended rhyme)

Old, crumbling house, once so tall and proud,
Cold, like a corpse in a dusty shroud.
These well-worn stairs don’t look safe to me;
Please don’t give way! I will only be
Three minutes at most: a hurried look.
(We are made to do things by the book –
Take risks quite often, yet still take care;
Make sure that there’s no-one trapped somewhere.)

Tables and carpets and beds – long gone.
Cables, fuses with gelignite on
Will soon be fixed to the outside walls.
Still for a moment… then DOWN she falls.
Dust, smoke and rubble will fill this space.
Just for a moment I sense the place
Trying to contact me, I believe.
Dying, but there can be no reprieve.

Much has occurred, and this house has known
Such great happiness, but now, alone
Down and out, in its sad hour of need,
Town planners have sealed its fate, through greed.
How did it manage to make me see?
Now I feel certain it spoke to me.
Amazed, I could swear I heard a cry…
Razed to the ground, the house screamed Goodbye.
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Unread 06-20-2020, 02:53 PM
RCL's Avatar
RCL RCL is offline
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 5,553

Wonderfully detailed sketch of the house and its mourner, Jayne. The steady beat of couplets in a way echoes the dialogue of N and house. I’m not yet clear about what the house has made its owner see. The greed that destroys it? There’s a hint that this is an extended metaphor or allegory. This also reminds me a bit of Poe’s House of Usher disintegration.
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Unread 06-20-2020, 03:28 PM
Mary McLean Mary McLean is offline
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Cambridge UK
Posts: 1,141

Hi Jayne,
Great to see you posting again! It's always fun to read your work.
Like Ralph, I'm having a little trouble fully engaging with this and seeing what the narrator sees in the house. Maybe more details about things that went on in the house through the decades? The people who lived there, or their furniture or wallpaper or belongings. I guess it's difficult if the narrator doesn't know (is it someone involved in the demolition?), but the hints about developers' greed suggest that the narrator knows something about the history that isn't quite coming across.
L8 would read more smoothly to me without 'that'.
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Unread 06-21-2020, 10:17 AM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
Posts: 1,761

Hi, Jayne,

I agree with others that more details of the speaker's memories of the house would help.

Also, the rhymes are pretty predictable throughout. Space/place I hear almost as an identity rhyme. And the following "I believe" is redundant, there only to rhyme with the next line.

The poem opens poignantly. It's jarring when greed enters later in the poem. I had thought the house was being knocked down because it was unsafe.

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Unread 06-22-2020, 03:43 AM
Jayne Osborn's Avatar
Jayne Osborn Jayne Osborn is offline
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Location: Middle England
Posts: 6,132

Hey, folks, would you believe it? My IP address locked me out of the Sphere for a few days and Alex had to come to my rescue. It's even happened to him in the past, too. (How very DARE it!!! )

Thanks for your responses, Ralph, Mary and Max. I turned up this poem while having a major sort out in my study... it's about 20 years old and I'd forgotten I wrote it.

It made me smile a bit to see that you're wanting more details about the house... it was, in fact, just an exercise to see if I could write a convincing story using double-ended rhyme. None of you has mentioned the fact that the lines all rhyme at both ends - does that mean you didn't notice, or that you didn't find it significant?

Regarding the 'story', the N is the demolition expert who has to check the house for any occupants before it's knocked down... and he feels very sorry about having to do it as it was once a lovely house; he regards its demolition as merely making way for, say, a new development that will make some property developer rich...hence the 'greed'.

Mary, L8's 'that' is there because I'm a bit OCD about the syllable count!

Thanks, all. I'm interested to know if your perspective on it has changed or not; is the N's part any clearer with my explanation?

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Unread 06-22-2020, 06:32 AM
W T Clark W T Clark is online now
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Join Date: May 2020
Location: England
Posts: 57

Hi, Jayne Osborn,
Being a new member, I apologise in advance if any part of this critique comes off as silly, or simply not up to the standard of the sphere. We are all still learning.

I agree with other critiquers on the poem's subject matter and the lack of enough detail, (no matter how fictional the poem and the n of the poem is), so at the moment I'll point out only a few things I find jarring about the poem: mainly, its rhymes.

Choosing to write rhyming couplets is brave, no matter how skilled you are, but choosing to write rhyming couplets at both the beginning and the end is incredibly daring. However, I do not think it entirely pays off.
Take the first two lines for example:
"Old . . . proud/Cold, . . . shroud", the reader is not given time to settle into the metre before she is hit by a pair of rhymes which are almost entirely punctuated. You noted yourself on this thread that not a lot of people had noticed that the beginning of every line rhymes with the next beginning, and that is most likely because they are hidden through not being punctuated, however your first two lines almost shove there technique in the reader's face, and in my mind at least, prove a little jarring to the extent that I am distracted from the content, not enabled to perceive it in a manner enhanced by form.

The problem I have just expounded upon is not evident entirely throughout the poem, and you do a good job of hiding the beginning rhymes, but the end rhymes are repeatedly end stopped, and this means that they are emphasized to the reader. Furthermore, your end rhyming (though not your beginnings, interestingly) grows at time quite predictable. You rhyme me with be, space with place, walls with falls, believe with reprieve, and this is all from the first stanza. These couplets might benefit the poem if they weren't placed in such close proximity, and the same goes for other rhyming couplets in other stanzas. All in all, these couplets do not serve to elevate or enhance the sonic effect to the benefit of the poem's content, they distract instead, and sometimes I find myself trying to guess the next rhyme, instead of avidly fixating upon the poem's argument/plot.
Nevertheless, there are good passages in here as well, and if I were to be so bold as to advise you whether to keep this or delete this, then I would probably comment that this poem deserves to be kept and revised somewhat.

Hope this helps.
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Unread 06-22-2020, 06:50 AM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
Posts: 1,761

Originally Posted by Jayne Osborn View Post
None of you has mentioned the fact that the lines all rhyme at both ends - does that mean you didn't notice, or that you didn't find it significant?
Didn't notice. Except for in the first couplet, which might have made me look more closely at the beginnings of the rest of the lines, but didn't.
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Unread 06-22-2020, 08:53 AM
Allen Tice's Avatar
Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Brooklyn, NY USA
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Double-ended rhyme! Wizard show!
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Unread 06-22-2020, 03:44 PM
Jayne Osborn's Avatar
Jayne Osborn Jayne Osborn is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Middle England
Posts: 6,132

Hi WT,
A big welcome to Eratosphere. (It would be nice to know your first name, should you wish to tell us, but it's not obligatory.)

Thank you for your honest critique - which is certainly not silly at all; I welcome the feedback, and this is The Deep End. It's intended for "saying it like it is"!
I'm glad you found some good passages, and I take on board your comments about the rest. Many thanks.

Thanks for coming back. I'm construing it as a good thing that the double-end rhymes weren't blatantly obvious. I'm not trying to pass it off as a good poem, I'm more interested in what everyone thinks of the experiment. It was quite tricky to do, in my defence!

What can I say? Your reaction made me smile... thank you for that.

Thanks for your thoughts, all. This is one of only a few double-ended rhyming poems I've written; I shall probably attempt another one at some stage as I found it an interesting challenge. Because of its nature, revision is difficult, without a complete re-write, but your comments are all helpful and gratefully received.

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Unread 06-23-2020, 09:51 AM
maggie flanagan-wilkie maggie flanagan-wilkie is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: devens, ma, usa
Posts: 422

Jayne, A thought on this line. Maggie

Please donít give way! I'll only be
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