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Old 04-16-2018, 06:13 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Default Spring Forecast

Second version, 4/18:

And: A Spring Forecast

If things fly off in every no-direction,
and you can stop them 'cause you have it made,
and waves are freighted on the lake with shade,
and you keep tripping on your own erection,

and your hair’s mussed up and what you leave unfinished
is everything you start, and there won’t be
a lake for you in winter’s memory,
and surplus is what’s left when dearth’s diminished,

and mild temperatures give way to freeze,
and innocence is lust and love is lost,
and good-to-go is ever tempest-tossed
without a sextant or a judge to please,

and Sunday walkers stop to watch the waders
from the shore as if to prove a promise
Jesus never made to doubting Thomas,
and moms with carriages are rollerbladers

with babies smiling at the face they’re in,
and worry’s eating you and you eat fish,
and even all the world is half your wish,
and Sun the busker always beats his tin,

and here and now will never be repeated,
and all the happy dogs who splash in waves
are Saint Bernards a sense of purpose saves,
and you most want and fear to be defeated,

decisively, within the hub of zero
spiders weave beside the cyclers’ path,
and dulcet harmonies of songbird wrath
are soundtracks for your paint-by-numbers hero,

and the earth is slow and unafraid of dark,
patient with tangled roots and full of pity
for how the naked moment makes you giddy,
then knock is open wide, and luck’s a lark.


Revisions 4/21:
L2 had "and you can stop them, and you have it made"
The last line had "and" instead of "then"


Original post:

Spring Forecast

If things fly off in every no-direction,
if you can stop them, if you have it made,
if waves are freighted on the lake with shade,
if you keep tripping on your own erection,

if your hair’s mussed up and what you leave unfinished
is everything you start, if there won’t be
a lake or you in winter’s memory,
if surplus is what’s left of what’s diminished,

if mild temperatures give way to freeze,
if innocence is lust, if love is lost,
if good-to-go is ever tempest-tossed
without a sextant or a judge to please,

if Sunday walkers stop to watch the waders
from the shore as if to prove a promise
Jesus never made to doubting Thomas,
if moms with carriages are rollerbladers

with babies smiling at the face they’re in,
if worry’s eating you and you eat fish,
if only all the world were half your wish
and sun the busker didn’t beat his tin,

if here and now will never be repeated,
if all the happy dogs who splash in waves
were Saint Bernards a sense of purpose saves,
if you most want and fear to be defeated,

decisively, within the hub of zero
spiders weave beside the cyclers’ path,
if dulcet harmonies of songbird wrath
are soundtracks for your paint-by-numbers hero,

if the earth is slow and unafraid of dark,
patient with tangled roots and full of pity
for how the naked moment makes you giddy,
if knock is open wide, if luck’s a lark.

Last edited by Andrew Frisardi; 04-21-2018 at 01:01 AM.
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Old 04-16-2018, 08:15 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Andrew,

Just a quick note to say I'll have trouble reading this without seeing Kipling in the spaces between the lines. Not sure if that's your intention or something you work with yet.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46473/if---

Cheers,
John
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Old 04-16-2018, 08:34 AM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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I also think of Kipling.

This is often specific and funny (like in the erection line). The more abstract lines are less engaging and create for me a conflicting picture. The writer/reader has it made but things seem to be going wrong.

I suppose never completing the thought--if these then...--is the main thrust of the joke. The poem announces early that the speaker leaves everything unfinished. Not being smart enough to know how the thought would be completed, the lack disappoints me (and the disappointment doesn't resonate for me).

Last edited by Max Goodman; 04-16-2018 at 12:27 PM. Reason: changing poor wording
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:06 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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I'll wait before responding to crits, but just to clarify: I did not have the Kipling in mind. It's a poem I did see once in passing, but after my initial sketch for this poem, which had the repeating "If." I'd forgotten about the Kipling in any case.

I don't mind the precedent. And I'm going to guess that other poems besides Kipling's have used this anaphora.
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:54 PM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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Just to clarify, that I "think of Kipling" understates the case. I didn't dwell on it because it seemed clear to me that the poem wanted to be read through the prism of Kipling's poem. It's not just the anaphora. It's the rhythm. It's the rhyme. It's the lengths of the lines. It's the length of the stanzas. It's the beginning with a feminine ending and following with a masculine one. The coincidences are many and strong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Frisardi View Post
I'm going to guess that other poems besides Kipling's have used this anaphora.
FWIW, my own guess is that if any since Kipling has used it as consistently as this poem does, and in a form as similar to that of his poem, the poet wanted the reader to think of Kipling.
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Old 04-16-2018, 01:28 PM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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I had just judiciously stopped myself from sending an e-mail to an editor stating: "I assume the 'if' in paragraph four will be printed in black ink." Never mind why.
~,:^)

This is very good. I like the way it runs through with no "then", unlike that other poem.

My only quibble is a gnat... hero / zero is a tired rhyme. But that, actually, may lend a kind of humorous support for you choice in this poem.

Rick
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Old 04-16-2018, 01:54 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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I do think Max has a point, Andrew, in terms of the specifics he mentions. I got two lines in and was already keeping my head while all around me were losing theirs. The main difference (form-wise) is your abba rhyme where 'If' has abab.

You say you took no influence from the Kipling and I have no reason to doubt you (others might but we can make allowance for their doubting too ). But maybe you could embrace the similarities as part of your poem's charm? I did think it was part gently deliberate satire, since Kipling's poem is full of Polonius-like common sense didacticism on 'being a man', for which it's equally loved and loathed, while yours is...well...wonderfully skewed unresolved surrealism.

Which I shall continue to read with pleasure. Might be back!

Crossposted with Rick.

Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 04-16-2018 at 02:16 PM. Reason: Added a joke!
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Old 04-16-2018, 04:02 PM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Thanks for the comments, folks. Again to hold off on the individual crits for now, but just to address the Kipling thing: there's no denying the echo that people hear is an aspect of this poem now, whether I like it or not. What I said about my knowledge of that poem is a fact -- I'd never read it until this past year sometime when someone referenced it on this site. And I didn't bother finishing reading it, since I really didn't like it. The notes for this poem including the ifs precede that by quite a while. And when I wrote this draft (yesterday), the Kipling was not in my thoughts at all and the discussion of it in this thread has come as a total surprise.

But the Kipling's a fact that many will hear here. I agree with Mark's take on their contrasting content. Do people think I'd need to do something further to this poem to account for the Kipling echo?

Last edited by Andrew Frisardi; 04-16-2018 at 04:10 PM.
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Old 04-16-2018, 06:09 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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You have to figure out if you can live with it. Whether you intended it or not, for any reader with any literary history, they're going to hear Kipling; you can lean in, or you can lose the anaphora. But you can't really ignore it since dominates every commenter's (including mine but except Ricks') reading.
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Old 04-16-2018, 07:27 PM
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Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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I found the relentless ifs irritating, and I think the poem would be much better without them.
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