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  #1  
Unread 08-16-2019, 10:50 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Default Midsummer Postmeridian

SECOND VERSION

August

Beside the lapped pier,
in time with heat, cicadas
percuss and rasp their brass.
A dinghy, like a carcass
discarded, bobs in glare.

Bubbles on blackwater.
We've come down to the fringe
of foam, where dragonfly eggs
in strings and nymph-stage
carapaces undulate.

The sunlight rolls on its side
as the day squints down at murk,
returning to the circling
clasp of summer succulence,
the long-armed queen of weeds.




EARLIER DRAFT

Postmeridiem

Beside the lapped pier,
in time with heat, cicadas
percuss and rasp their brass.
A dinghy, like a carcass
discarded, bobs in glare.

Bubbles on blackwater.
Rows of dragonfly eggs,
threading the
nymph-stage
carapaces in algae,
foam-fringed, undulate.

Sunrays roll on their sides
as the day squints down at murk,
returning to the circling
clasp of summer succulence,
the long-armed queen of weeds.


Revisions: commas added in S1 and title shortened
S2L2-3 was "Dragonflies' egg / deposits
title changed again
8/20: Back to the dragonflies in S2

Last edited by Andrew Frisardi; 08-24-2019 at 06:43 AM.
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  #2  
Unread 08-16-2019, 11:47 AM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Very fine, especially the first three lines and the last stanza. May return for a closeup. Molto bene on “squints”.
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  #3  
Unread 08-17-2019, 01:11 PM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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Forgive me if I've missd something but I'm wondering whether "meridian" should be "meridiem". The delicious languor seems appropriate to the latter.
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  #4  
Unread 08-17-2019, 03:56 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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I would suggest a comma after "dinghy" and another one after "discarded", and that you remove the comma after "succulence". And maybe just call the poem "Midsummer"? Or something else entirely that isn't just a repeat of information the poem itself supplies.
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  #5  
Unread 08-17-2019, 04:52 PM
Jake Sheff Jake Sheff is offline
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Andrew,

I enjoyed the play with rhyme in the quintets. It's an ear-tease.

On first read, this poem reminds me of Amy Clampitt -- she often wrote of nature with proper names, terminology I can only describe as rich and polyglottic (which might be synonymous for rich language).

I don't mind the modifier after its object, with regards to the discarded carcass. Although it deviates from how men speak.

I like the short opener of S2 -- it's important to mix in terseness. I think Hugo's Triggering Town overrated, but remembered the lesson well from it about mixing up the length of sentences for aural variability.

It all seems a lovely paean to the beautiful- and ugly-sides of nature. My one criticism was going to be a lack of human presence, but the queen of weeds is there, "Mother Nature." And I suppose the squinting day could be "Father Time."

The rhyming brings to mind Nemo's poem about lines to be left in the ground recently, and I'd done that sort of thing too (in Merrill at bedtime). It's a fun way to make the reader's eye and ear team up. Someone commented on my near lack of human presence in Missouri Rag too. These are the tools of our trade. Hollander might call them meaning-making tools.

Returning from the above tangent, I think this a successful poem, I should add

Cheers,
Jake
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  #6  
Unread 08-18-2019, 03:05 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Andrew,

I am home after long travels, and able to comment. So: to me, S 1 and S 3 are pristine as is, and ready to publish. They do you honor as a poet. S 2 I'm afraid I feel a bit more niggly about. I'm not sure you need that zoom in on the local to achieve the poem's mood and goals. It's a little thing I've been trying to do in my own work, with varying success - cut out the mass of details that weighs the poem down, since I often have a lot of it. There's the great story about Hemingway, that it took him to write The Old Man and the Sea since he knew so much about deep sea fishing he could leave almost all of it out.
I found blackwater in the Supplement to the OED: "A stream stained brown by the peat of the mosses from which it flows." The three other definitions don't seem to fit. Is this what you mean? Of course, in my perfect world, this would be moot, since you'd choose to cut S 2 and make S 1 and S 3 your poem. One that I think is very fine.
I am agnostic about your title.
Oh - I also remember an article about Keats editing his odes. Keats was taking out some fine lines of poetry, which had taken obvious work, because they were tangential to the poem he was building.

Cheers,
John

A footnote to my argument. You've already got cicadas - not sure you need dragonflies at that point.

Last edited by John Isbell; 08-18-2019 at 03:07 AM.
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  #7  
Unread 08-18-2019, 09:48 PM
Erik Olson Erik Olson is offline
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Andrew,

I really enjoy the vivid imagery of this poem. I am transported to the pier at once. It reminded me of The Shampoo by Elizabeth Bishop.

This is a slight reservation that I am not sure about myself. Lapped used as a participle in ‘beside the lapped pier’ gave me pause. The participle form typically indicates some continuous condition or other rather than a single action or series of actions—think the passed field versus passing the field. Seeing as waves lapping the pier is a series of actions, lapped seemed oddly at odds with the way waves interact with the pier. Also, in case it matters, we do not say what by? I would expect something like a wave-lapped pier. Again, I am not sure, though, if either one or both of those potential concerns rise to the level worth changes, but I suppose that is for you to decide anyway.

I reckon your syntax is aptly adjusted to accommodate the sense of the quiet and still moment in time that you paint, such as in ‘Bubbles on blackwater.’ The lack of verb smacks of stasis and things just being, if you will. I especially appreciate the description of the sunrays and ‘the long-armed queen of weeds’ that surprised me at the end. No more nits from me. Well done!

Cheers,

Erik

Last edited by Erik Olson; 08-18-2019 at 10:20 PM.
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  #8  
Unread 08-18-2019, 10:13 PM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Allen, Ann, Roger, Jake, John, Eric: thanks for commenting.

Allen, glad you enjoyed “squints,” I do as well.

For “meridian,” Ann, I went back and forth about that word choice. I ended up choosing “meridian” because it’s more the norm in the U.S. (I think). I agree though that “meridiem” is richer. But now it’s a moot point because I’ve shortened the title.

Roger, good suggestions: I’ve added the commas in S1 and shortened the title. A short quiet poem now has a quiet title. I like the simplicity of it. The one thing I didn’t follow was removing the comma after “succulence,” since that would change the meaning (while having it shows that the queen of weeds is that succulence). But maybe you’re better at commas than I am, so if you have something specific in mind do let me know.

Jake, I’m glad you enjoyed the rhyming, also a favorite part for me. Interesting the Amy Clampitt observation, I’ll have to pull my Collected of hers off the shelf and read a poem or two. The human presence part, yeah, I wondered about that myself, but then found I liked the lack of it for heightening the solitude of the scene.

John, thanks for your thoughts. I have been playing with your interesting suggestion about cutting S2, but I’m not coming down there, yet anyway. I like the pause there, the zoom focus moment before the epiphanic stuff in S3. The sensualness of the details slows things down to increase the sense of stillness. Also, there’s a parallel between the carapaces and the dinghy-carcass in S1 which I feel has some symbolic resonance. For “blackwater” I simply meant “black water,” but enjoyed writing it as a compound, which made it feel blacker, especially after “bobs” and “bubbles.” I’m happy you like this poem.

Eric, I was just about to post this when I read your comment. Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’m going to keep “lapped” in part for the unexpectedness of it—where “wave-lapped” is implied. Also, the double stress is onomatopoeic for the waves’ hitting the pier, which makes it more palpable. And that Bishop poem—what a beauty! I will be by a lake today and I might just bring EB along with me.
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  #9  
Unread 08-19-2019, 08:36 AM
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R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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Andrew, "the long-armed queen of weeds" is a ravishing phrase.

I'm on the fence about S2. One thing I don't like is the break here...

dragonflies' egg
deposits


The apostrophe, though technically correct reads a little preciously, especially given the seemingly singular egg which doesn't become the plural egg deposits until the following line. It seems unnecessarily complicated as far as lineation, though echoing that rhythm by separating nymph-stage and carapaces does help me to recover my balance a bit.

Shortening the title was a good move.

Nemo
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  #10  
Unread 08-19-2019, 10:05 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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I think you raise a good point about line 2 of S2, Nemo. I did stumble a bit reading there myself.

Does the revision help? I like the foreshadowing of the "queen," and dragonfly eggs do float in long strips.

Also, re. the title, does anyone besides me feel it is too bland now? Perhaps per Annie a simple "Postmeridiem" would be better?
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