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  #1  
Unread 01-20-2019, 07:20 PM
R. Nemo Hill's Avatar
R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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Default Every House Is A Ship

.
.
.
Every House Is A Ship

At anchor in the rolling of the mountains;
or adrift, the porch planks tilting.
The trees, green fountains—.
Where is this vale we’ve built in?

Sea shells and sea glass in their baskets
beside my rocking rocking chair.
Coastless now, their task is
to quell the waves we’ve shared,

to reach across that sea
whose echo is my ear,
and carry only memory
as through the shore we steer.
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  #2  
Unread 01-20-2019, 07:48 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Very nice images; concept well enough handled to make it superior; good rhyme work.
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  #3  
Unread 01-20-2019, 07:49 PM
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Orwn Acra Orwn Acra is offline
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It closes a little too perfectly and easily for me. I want an off-rhyme at the end and the idea to not quite fit, like the lid of a trunk that keeps popping open because it's too full. Extra points for "rocking rocking chair."

Last edited by Orwn Acra; 01-20-2019 at 07:52 PM.
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  #4  
Unread 01-20-2019, 08:26 PM
Erik Olson Erik Olson is offline
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Nemo,

I reckon the house as ship conceit works well in general and in such details as the ‘porch planks.’ Initially, the first sentence appeared a bit odd to me with its absent predicate:
At anchor in the rolling of the mountains;
or adrift, the porch planks tilting.
But then the verses that had not flowed so smooth together before suddenly did swimmingly when I discovered the rest of the sentence in the title:
Every house is a ship
at anchor in the rolling of the mountains;
or adrift, the porch planks tilting.
I confess I had been unclear on why a semicolon should fall after ‘mountains’; it had the effect only to make matters less clear when the or would seem to want to connect the prior clause. But this too made better sense, and then some, after factoring in the title. Though I still think that the semicolon is not needed. What I do wish is that there were at least not that extra space between the title and the first line.

For my part, I would not have minded some verb in
The trees, green fountains—.
but I figure you must have had some solid reason to opt for this omission.

The want of a predicate here accentuates the sense of collectedness and stasis :
Sea shells and sea glass in their baskets
beside my rocking rocking chair.
I fancy that remarkable moment in the poem as well as the epigrammatic lines below foremost:
Coastless now, their task is
to quell the waves we’ve shared,
I did have some ripple of hesitation, however, with
as through the shore we steer.
Since I could hardly help wondering to myself if or how it is possible to steer through shore in any actual way not figurative. I take it that this line comes back to the conceit of houses as ships, &c. Yet this concluding metaphor strikes me as possibly unideal, to wit: insofar as the denotation seems much less felicitous and apt than the connotation. Not fatal, this, but worth consideration I reckon.

At any rate, I find the poem deft, effective, and rich. Much enjoyed indeed. That will make all I have as yet.

All the best,

Erik

Last edited by Erik Olson; 01-20-2019 at 11:52 PM.
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  #5  
Unread 01-21-2019, 12:25 AM
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Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik Olson View Post
I find the poem deft, effective, and rich.
So do I. My only hesitation is the last line. Its meaning isn't reaching me like all the other lines.
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  #6  
Unread 01-21-2019, 12:36 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Nemo,
In general I like this, but something about the last stanza feels wrong. After a varied start, you seem to settle into a too-regular meter there that could use some shaking up, perhaps "carrying" in place of "and carry." I also stumble on "whose echo is my ear." I have trouble figuring out how an ear can "be" an echo. "That echoes in my ear" would make more sense to me and would still be ambiguous in terms of whether the echo is real or imagined. But maybe you prefer to keep it less clear.

Susan
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  #7  
Unread 01-21-2019, 02:45 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Nemo,

I love the image of trees as green fountains, but it throws off the image of open and wild sea. Fountains are more of a garden image.

For "shared" I thought "dared" might be nice, since the sharing is implied.

The ear as echo is wonderful. Ears are shaped like sound waves, as though sound formed them.

I like the contrasts and paradoxes in this poem. It might be good, as some have suggested, to vary S3's meter a bit more, like the first two.

Much enjoyed,

Andrew
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  #8  
Unread 01-21-2019, 03:05 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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I saw the "through" as an indication of the direction of the journey; the sea has been crossed (the shared waves sailed through) and is left behind as the ship continues to sail through the shore.

The house slips easily into its new identity; the poet rocks on the deck-planks and hears the echo of the sea when he reaches for one of the landlocked shells and holds it to his ear.

Perhaps there is a way, perhaps by softening the rhyme, of conveying the liminal nature of this stage of the journey, the inshore pull of it.
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  #9  
Unread 01-21-2019, 09:51 AM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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Maybe reorder the lines of the final stanza like so?

to reach across that sea
as through the shore we steer
and carry only memory
whose echo is my ear,

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  #10  
Unread 01-21-2019, 10:01 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Nemo,

Just to join the chorus enjoying this poem. Ears also resemble shells, and I like that echo.
To resolve Andrew's fountains concern, how about "landlocked"? Could that work for you?

Cheers,
John
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