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  #1  
Unread 01-26-2019, 02:05 PM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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Default Gable end

MINIMAL REVISION - BUT NOW WITH ADDITIONAL CLOSING COUPLET

I grew up in a gable end.
The rowdy wind became my friend.

On winter nights, tucked up in bed,
I heard him calling while I read.

He'd try all the external doors,
then tumble through the sycamores,

gathering great handfuls of rain
to throw against my windowpane.

The book, the light, the baying dark -
I might have been a tonsured clerk

rejoicing that the dragon ships
could not bring their apocalypse

ashore tonight. I was as snug,
my father said, as a bug in a rug.

Nothing could get in or out.
The wind flung the trees about.

While my friend romanced the night
I took off into dreams of flight,

a rootless life among the trees.
They take me back on nights like these.

ORIGINAL

I grew up in a gable end.
The rowdy wind became my friend.

On winter nights, tucked up in bed,
I heard him calling while I read.

He'd try all the external doors,
then tumble through the sycamores,

gathering great handfuls of rain
to throw against my windowpane.

The book, the light, the baying dark -
I might have been a tonsured clerk

rejoicing that the dragon ships
could not bring their apocalypse

ashore tonight. I was as snug,
my dad said, as a bug in a rug.

Nothing could get in or out.
The wind flung the trees about.

The fingers glowed on the dial
in ghostly admonition. While

my friend the wind romanced the night
I took off into dreams of flight.

Last edited by David Callin; 02-09-2019 at 11:58 AM.
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  #2  
Unread 01-26-2019, 10:41 PM
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RCL RCL is offline
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David,

A nice rhythm for a childís drowsing adventure propelled by natural wind and rain. In S8 Iím guessing that you want the forceful ďWIND FLUNG the trees about.Ē It took me a couple of readings to get S9 since I donít ever recall hearing the clock hands referred to as fingers or the clock face a dial; so, a childís neat metaphor; but whatís being admonished? That the boy is still awake? Fingers personify, the admonition is ghostly, a bit of a mix that doesnít feel organic with the wind's action; or is it and Iím off about it? Hmm, kind of a scary image, but then wind is called a friend. Maybe I wonít finish this gin after all. . .
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  #3  
Unread 01-27-2019, 03:38 AM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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Thanks Ralph. I have been thinking about this - overnight, appropriately - and questioning the idea of admonition myself. I'm not sure where it came from, and I think it's wrong. I'll give that some thought as the day goes on. As well as your othet points.

Cheers

David
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  #4  
Unread 01-27-2019, 05:04 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is online now
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I live in a mid-terrace "safe as houses" so the feeling of sailing into the wind is a memory from North Yorkshire isolation.

Those finger don't as you've decided, admonish. They inform, they promise that the dark is going, the light is coming. They move, they hiccup round the dial, they are benign.

Flung is too short a word, it snags the line. The wind would fling?

I bewail the wasted opportunity of "great handfuls of rain". I want to be reading this to a sleepy child and the slight glitch in the rhythm calls attention to the need for something better. either a word with the stress on the second of two syllables or a three-er - as chucking up bucketfuls (buckets full?) of rain to trickle (with the implication of impotence) down my windowpane... (would you swap your alliterative Gs for my assonantal Uhs?)

And the ending feels a bit awkward. What if you worked on the fingers and bought a bit of space by dropping the enjambment so that the last stanza can begin "and while the wind..."

I like this poem.
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Unread 01-27-2019, 07:33 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Ann: I want to be reading this to a sleepy child

Ah, to grow up in the arms of stories like this would have made all the difference for me. Alas, it was not to be...

Some Thoughts

"External" feels off... What about He would try all the outside doors

S4 is storybook gorgeous. The rhyming couplets do give this the bedtime story quality that Ann pictures. And I can picture. Can you draw? I would love to see a Maurice Sendak "Night Kitchen" graphic depiction of S4. Or the whole poem for that matter.

The tonsured clerk throws me out of the child-like mood I had slipped into that point. Could it be someone else, someone more Dickens-like? On second thought it fits better than I first thought... OK, I like it. : )

The ending pulls up rather quickly and maybe too neatly. I feel left short of more detail of where the boy went in his dream flight. Across the Seven Seas? Or maybe just a bit of rephrasing to settle this into a more happy place?

But I love the fantasy and imagery of this little poem. Keep writing them! Children are waiting! Hurry!
x
x
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  #6  
Unread 01-27-2019, 08:19 AM
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Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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I love this one, David!!! Every word just the way it is. No nits from me. The critter in me wanted to complain about the meter, but lurching meter is exactly what's best for a poem about the wind. Of course the clock's fingers are admonishing - that's what they do - a perfect word for clocks. And perhaps the clock is admonishing the wind for being so rowdy. The external/sycamore combo is delicious. Love thinking of the wind having hands and handfuls of rain to throw.

[Dinkum, you need to read this!!!]
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  #7  
Unread 01-27-2019, 09:31 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hi David,

I really like this one, too. It has a real 'Child's Garden of Verses' charm to it.

Only two nits, which aren't so much nits as suggestion which you might happily dismiss:

The book, the light, the baying dark -
I might have been a tonsured clerk


The clerk, I assume, is a monk contemplating a Viking invasion. 'Clerk' seems a bit wrenched for the rhyme to me, as 'monk' would be a more obvious word, especially from a child's perspective. Could you do something in the previous line with 'trunk' (of a tree maybe)? Probably doesn't matter.

ashore tonight. I was as snug,
my dad said, as a bug in a rug.


I love this line. My dad used to say the same to me. For some reason I can't explain, I feel I'd love it more if it was

ashore tonight. I was as snug
as a bug, my dad said, in a rug.

But, really, it's lovely.
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  #8  
Unread 01-27-2019, 01:30 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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This is lovely, David, but I notice that you use "wind" a lot. In the line "The wind flung the trees about" the rhythm feels a bit awkward to my ear, which perhaps could be solved by finding a substitute for "wind," such as "The blusterer flung trees about." I know you are personifying the wind here, so not just any substitute would do.

Susan
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  #9  
Unread 01-27-2019, 02:57 PM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is offline
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I like the concept of the poem, and much of it, but I'm afraid I can't join as heartily in the general praise, because I feel it needs work - and that what you're trying to do (I think) - write an adult poem in childlike verse - is a bitch, and you're not there yet.

"External", "baying" "tonsured" (particularly), "apocalypse" and "admonition" all sound wonderful - but they don't belong in this poem, and every time I hit one of those thoroughly adult words I twitched. I think you have to either focus on a child's vocabulary (but write the poem for adults); or make it clearer that you are an adult, speaking as an adult, and looking back at childhood. I sense you're trying to do both, and it isn't working for me.
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  #10  
Unread 01-27-2019, 03:08 PM
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Jan Iwaszkiewicz Jan Iwaszkiewicz is offline
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I am somewhat in the Cantor camp on this David as the bones and soul are well and truly here but the cladding of flesh needs some work. I feel that the register must be more congruent.

Regards,

Jan
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