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Unread 01-31-2020, 07:48 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,501
Default unmade

Unmade (v.6)

Behind the door
on the bare floor,
she dropped and cried,
sighed and groaned

gasped and uttered
something useless,
something sputtered
(there was nothing to say)

and then lay down
on the unmade bed,
grasping a pillow
her unborn dead.

unmade (v.4)

She gasped
sputtered uttered
something senseless
(there was nothing to say)

under the door
in the nursery room
she knelt and prayed
writhed wept

then lay down
on the unmade bed
grasped a pillow
her unborn dead


-S2L3,4 was: her choked cries quickened / to torturous swoon

-S3L3 was: clutched a bloodied pillow

S2,3 were:
behind the door
in the empty room
her choked cries
quickened to swoon

she lay down
on the unmade bed
clutched a pillow
her unborn dead

S1L3 was, "something or not"

S1L1: Changed "I" to "She"

unmade (v.3)

I gasped at the news
exhaled No
said something or not
(there was nothing to say)

the hollow echo
the lingering light
the quickened lift
of the bloodied sprite
in dark bare daylight

Her mouth could not speak
she laid down on the bed
unable to part
with her unborn dead.

unmade (v.2)

I gasped at the news
felt my breath arrest
my mouth in the shape
of a doleful oh
I exhaled no
said something
(there was nothing to say)
a sprite swept away
gone the beating
gone the lightness
gone the lifting
thing expected
milk unfed
unmade bed
unborn dead



she gasped

yeses turned to noes

unexpectant throes

swamped with woe

slung with sorrow



bloody show

sunken low

life left unfed
her unborn dead
her unmade bed

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 02-26-2020 at 09:44 AM.
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Unread 01-31-2020, 08:13 AM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
Posts: 1,728

Hi, Jim,

The last line works the best for me. It's a fairly concrete image and, in context, speaks of despair.

Most of the rest is abstract, and I don't know what's going on.

I'm not sure whether the line spacing is intentional. It seems to suggest that the lines should be understood as four stanzas and that the first three more slowly than the final one, but since there's little action in the slow stanzas, I don't know how to read the slowness.

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Unread 01-31-2020, 08:37 AM
Phil Bulman Phil Bulman is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 65

Hi Jim,

I like the idea here and some of the execution.

The final stanza is strong.

"yeses turned to noes" seems too general and abstract; it could apply to many changes.

Also, the word "show" does not seem to fit well here. I wonder if another word would work better...although I realize you could lose some rhyme that way.

Thanks for sharing this.

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Unread 01-31-2020, 01:43 PM
Jan Iwaszkiewicz's Avatar
Jan Iwaszkiewicz Jan Iwaszkiewicz is offline
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia
Posts: 2,728

Not sure that this in it's present incarnation belongs in Met. Jim

Gnomic is always a hard nut to crack. I flounder a little at present.

Not much help, sorry.


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Unread 01-31-2020, 03:11 PM
R. Nemo Hill's Avatar
R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Halcott, New York
Posts: 9,084

It seems clear enough (to me). The positive push to give birth turns negative when the baby is perceived to be stillborn, its life left unfed. It is unmade, as it were.

That said, Jim, I don't think the poem is very good at all. It seems more about the wordplay than about the event. I guess its spare quality might be trying to channel the near-speechless of grief and exhaustion, but it doesn't really have that effect for me. It seems to be turning the poem into a riddle for most readers so far; whereas for me it almost trivializes the event by giving the spartan lexical gymnastics such prominence. The rhymes are so loud they drown out the sorrow with their din.

Jan is right, "gnomic is a hard nut to crack". I think the best approach is to foreground image, and give language the supporting role. I "see" very little other than words-working-too-hard when I read this.

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Unread 01-31-2020, 04:44 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 6,448

Hi Jim,

I didn’t know quite what the “theme” of the poem was until I read Nemo’s excellent comments. And I agree with him about the ornateness.

Jan’s question about whether this is really metrical is a good one. I think the only problem is the first stanza, which does not match the meter of the subsequent stanzas, and the first line is only one foot (monometer) — unless L1 is actually a continuation of the title (the title being part of the line).

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Unread 02-01-2020, 06:42 AM
Andrew Mandelbaum's Avatar
Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is offline
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Portland Maine
Posts: 3,389

Yeah...this one doesn't work, Jim. I think the form and feel of short bursts of rhyme are hard enough with whimsical subject, near impossible with a subject like miscarriage. Does anything rhyme with such a moment? I thnk this poem needs to, like Celan said, leave the border of rhyme and go off into the borderless if it is to become something.
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Unread 02-01-2020, 11:53 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,501


Thanks all I'm thinking...
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Unread 02-03-2020, 07:46 PM
Mary Meriam's Avatar
Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: usa
Posts: 7,408

Andrew: "Does anything rhyme with such a moment?"
It definitely could. All the o's sound mournful to me, though I agree the poem could be better. If you really want to learn meter and rhyme, Jim, write sonnets and follow the rules. I'd love to see your sonnet on this subject, with less reporting, and with a more direct and personal voice.
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Unread 02-04-2020, 04:34 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Staffordshire, England
Posts: 3,423

In a poem of under thirty words, it’s hard to get away with free-floating abstractions like ‘swamped with woe / slung with sorrow’ and the rhymes just become overbearing. I got what the poem was about but the rawness never comes to the surface because the poem’s strange mix of minimalist aesthetic and sing-song music overwhelm it. I wish, like Mary, you would give the discipline of form a go, and the unexpected freedom it can produce. I’d love to read Jim’s first sonnet.

She gasped, and all her yeses turned to noes...
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