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  #1  
Unread 12-22-2019, 07:39 AM
Aaron Novick's Avatar
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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Default the sphere can have little a sapphic

wheat text

Solstice

Walk with vision blasted off form and color,
hearing high on silence and small sounds. Look there:
the dead tree uplifting to nothing, twisting
trunk and branches into elusive prayer.
Feel its mushrooms, firmer than you expected;
sense beneath this fruiting the filamentous
stirrings. See the sun that toward light is tilting
once again, as winter returns to us what
autumn stole. Yes, this is complete, unlacking.
Yes, yes—only—listen. There. Underneath it:
....comatose stillness.
....Let it unnerve you.


EDITS:

L4: in its --> into

Last edited by Aaron Novick; 12-22-2019 at 08:24 AM.
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Unread 12-22-2019, 07:58 AM
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Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is offline
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Just a few quick thoughts before heading into the woods behind our field to mark the day.
I wonder if you can get rid of the double "its" by changing L4:

(twisting) trunks and branches into elusive prayer

I don't get the blast off business. To rockety for my ear on this one.

I don't experience the solstice woods as comatose stillness though I do like the unlacking. Unnerve? Hmmm. I am gonna go out among the polypore birch and think about that.
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  #3  
Unread 12-22-2019, 08:36 AM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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Thanks, Andrew. Took your suggestion for L4—an obvious improvement. Proceeding more slowly with the rest.
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Unread 12-27-2019, 01:22 PM
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Bumping this since it seems to have gotten lost over the christmas whirlwind of inactivity.
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  #5  
Unread 12-27-2019, 08:08 PM
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Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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Hi Aaron, I'm not sure why the reader is being told what to do. Perhaps the speaker is telling himself what to do?

This is terribly depressing:
the dead tree uplifting to nothing

I like this:
Feel its mushrooms, firmer than you expected;

comatose stillness.
Let it unnerve you.


No, I won't!
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  #6  
Unread 12-28-2019, 04:20 PM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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Thanks, Mary. I am always happy to hear what you, especially, have to say about my endeavors in sapphics.

The poem is meant to be a sort of guided tour of a particular experience. One may wish to go along, or not.

I think the tree can be defended, on grounds internal to the poem, as less depressing than you think. (One of these grounds being the very next line you cite. That's still the tree!)

One can lead a horse to the woods, but one cannot make her be unnerved. I don't think it's bad to be unnerved in this context—it is merely the flip side of the senses "blasted off" their sensations.
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  #7  
Unread 12-28-2019, 08:02 PM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Hi Aaron,



I do think you have to do it this way:


X -- X -- X -- -- X -- X --


...if you're going to do it.



Rick
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Unread 12-28-2019, 09:21 PM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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Rick, thanks for stopping by. By my count, eight of the ten sapphic lines scan perfectly (L1, L2, L4-L9). L3 has an iambic substitution in the first foot, which passes the test of my ear, at least, and is a substitution I intend to continue to use. L10 can scan as sapphic, though I'll grant that it's likely to do so only in a context where that meter is firmly established. I do think 9 preceding sapphic lines with but a single substitution between them suffices for that. Your mileage does, of course, vary.

Last edited by Aaron Novick; 12-28-2019 at 10:07 PM.
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  #9  
Unread 12-28-2019, 09:57 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Hi Aaron,

Like Mary, my favorite line is the one about the mushrooms being firmer than expected. I’m wondering why the tree uplifts to nothing. I would think it would be rising toward the light (even in winter).

I like the personification of the trunk and branches twisting to elusive prayer. I also like the alliteration of “fruiting/filamentous.

I am fond of the imperative sentences that begin: walk, feel, see.

I hesitated a bit with that iambic substitution that starts L3, and read it over and realized the substitution, but I think it would be less distracting if you figured out a way to start the line with a trochee.

The other line that is not (to my ear) sapphic is L10, because “there” is a strongly accented beat, but on the 4th foot, not the third as it normally is in a sapphic.

I wonder if it would be better to end the poem with “comatose stillness” and omit the last line about unnerving me (even though it is another imperative sentence).

Overall I like this, mostly because of the combination of imagery and philosophical musings, as well as the sonnics.

Best,
Martin
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  #10  
Unread 12-29-2019, 11:34 PM
Mark Stone Mark Stone is offline
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Aaron,

Hi.

(1) In L1, ending a word with an " f " and starting the next word with an " f " makes the line not flow smoothly for me.

(2) The substitution at the start of L3 doesn't work for me. Here's my thought:

dead trees lifting upward to nothing, twisting

If you adopt this line, you could change "trunk" to "trunks" in L4.

(3) Like Mary and Martin, I enjoyed L5.

(4) I also like the phrase: as winter returns to us what autumn stole.

Best,

Mark

Last edited by Mark Stone; 12-29-2019 at 11:47 PM.
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