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  #1  
Unread 10-21-2020, 04:51 PM
Cally Conan-Davies Cally Conan-Davies is offline
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Default Osman



Osman


Osman chattered all the way

about his father who was a miller,

his sister who was five,

his donkey who was sick,

about the ice cream made from

the mountain snows in summer,

his school were he had begun

to learn English.

I am

he said proudly and inconclusively

I am




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  #2  
Unread 10-21-2020, 05:53 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is online now
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Hi Cally,

I really like this vignette, with its appropriately inconclusive ending. Maybe he lacks a word to end his sentence. Maybe he just is.

One thing I did wonder about is the enjambment on 'from'. It seems a weak word to enjambe on and rhythmically slightly jarring. To me anyway. The rest of the lines are end-stopped, or enjamb verbs.

Anyhow, likely it's just a matter of personal preference, but one alternative might be to enjamb that line on the verb:

about the ice cream made

from the mountain snows in summer,

his school where he had begun

to learn English.


Another thought was that might also losing "Osman" from L1 and just have the poem run on from the title, which might contribute to the slightly chattery feel of the the poem, if that makes any sense?

Finally, you have a typo, "were" for "where"

best,

Matt
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  #3  
Unread 10-21-2020, 07:25 PM
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Orwn Acra Orwn Acra is offline
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I agree with Matt about using the title as the first line. I disagree with Matt in that I think the enjambment at "from" works because of the surprise in what the ice cream is made of (who would have thought mountain snow?).

I am -- the shortest complete sentence, the name of God, the marker of existence.
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  #4  
Unread 10-21-2020, 09:07 PM
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R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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But now I only know I am—that’s all.
.........................—John Clare
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  #5  
Unread 10-21-2020, 09:12 PM
Cally Conan-Davies Cally Conan-Davies is offline
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Thanks, Matt! I love vignettes, I really do. I want to get practise at them -- how to get the sense of something huge through their very smallness.

Yes, I'm aware of the softness of the 'from' line-end. The reason for it is precisely what Walter says. The next line, I hope, opens up the world -- the eyes look up! It needs to be a stand-alone-line image, a catch of the breath. And then, what follows is a language, words for something wordlessly vast -- I AM. That's the effect I'm hoping for, anyway!

Beautiful One, thank you. I know. Those two words, uttered. The font of life. I can feel Osman's joy! However one chooses to expand this primal sentence, somehow contracts it. All possibility exists in I AM.

About the title/first line. Let me think about it. I can't help, at the moment, simply saying the name 'Osman'. And repeating it as the first word. Osman. Something like the way Osman repeats 'I am'.

I'll think.

Thank you both!

Cally

Nemo! Crossed! Yes. Yes! And 'that's all' is not a diminution, but an everything! That's ALL.

Thank you for Clare, Nemo!

Last edited by Cally Conan-Davies; 10-21-2020 at 09:14 PM.
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  #6  
Unread 10-22-2020, 09:27 AM
John Riley John Riley is online now
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What I like the most is "inconclusively." He's proud of "I am" but is inconclusive about it. That opens up a door to the infinite for me. The repeat of "I am" indicates unconfidence in the declaration. I know this is a wild swing but it reminds me a bit of Quentin Compson at the end of Absalom, Absalom standing in the cold New England night saying "I don't hate the South, I don't hate the South." The repeat suggests an effort to convince himself of his existence.

We've all known someone who chatters away with a need to be seen. Almost as though they fear they'll disappear if they stopped talking. If you haven't ever met someone like this then allow me to introduce myself. Glad to meet you. "I talk, therefore I am" is something I realized about myself and maybe that is why I sense it in Osman.

It's amazing how much this little poem makes me think. Thanks, Cally.

Best
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  #7  
Unread 10-22-2020, 02:11 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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Ordinarily I'd agree with Orwn and Q~ I like titles running into poems, generally (I don't know why), but unless I'm butchering "Osman" horribly, embarrassingly, and start a war somewhere, the start echoes the close. And I really like that. Great poem, Cally, and thanks, John, for your critique~ you clicked me into it.
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  #8  
Unread 10-22-2020, 06:43 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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.
I like vignettes like this one for their ethereal feel. Ethereal is good!

If I'm reading the crits correctly, I have a decidedly different take on this poem. From my view, it's about a child, young, possibly immigrant, talking. Children are natural "streamers" when it comes to conversation/chatter. Their minds skip from one thought to another as if connected by some invisible thread that ties the disparate together. That's what I think is happening here.
It is also natural for children, in spite of being asked ad nauseam by adults "What do you want to be when you grow up?" to be indifferent to such adult aspirations (except in the spirit of pretend) and instead have a natural sense of wonder about themselves and the world. Therefore, I am becomes a confirmation of Osman's status as a child — one who has a father who is a miller, a sister who is older than him, a donkey who is sick, remembers ice cream made from mountain snow — all of it revealed as one. That's my take.

I can't help but hear an echo of Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am". I think it has relevance here, though I won’t go any further to explain why. It just does. Children do not know to doubt their existence. They are existence.

The "inconclusively" is ironic in that the child is yet to have matured into adulthood but is mature in his childlike paradigm of inconclusiveness of who he is.

The compactness of the language and the concise images are beautifully presented.

Btw, I am, too. That's the best I can do.

There are other aspects to this poem that are intriguing (e.g. the middle eastern name Osman, the apparent simplicity of his, and by extension his family's, status, the hint of the immigrant: the English learned in school...)

As for the title, maybe something else... though I don't think it works as Matt suggested by keeping the title and having the poem grammatically joined to it. Perhaps it could be called "I".

My take could be wildly different from what you intended. But I'm sticking to it unless I find my foot is in my mouth : )
.
.

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 10-23-2020 at 08:09 AM.
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  #9  
Unread 10-22-2020, 07:11 PM
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Orwn Acra Orwn Acra is offline
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That's true, James, about the repetition being mirrored. I think it should stay now.
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  #10  
Unread 10-24-2020, 01:09 PM
Coleman Glenn Coleman Glenn is online now
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Hi Cally,

This a wonderful, poignant vignette. I read it slightly differently from Jim - I read Osman not as an immigrant, but as a child walking and talking in his native country - maybe a country where people tend to speak tribal or native languages at home but where English is an official (or at least advantageous) language that is learned in school. He’s chattering “all the way” - to where? I imagine it as being to wherever he is accompanying the narrator, who is an outsider being shown around.

So, I read the whole poem as Osman inviting the narrator (thus the reader) into his world, so that by the poem’s end there is nothing more for Osman to say but “I am” - we are completely in his world now. For that reason, I like “Osman” as the title - he is the sole subject of the poem, and just as with “I am,” adding anymore would detract from the small perfection of the vignette.
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