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  #21  
Unread 09-22-2019, 04:21 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is online now
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Hi folks,

I've done a little more mild tinkering here and posted it.

Cheers,
John
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  #22  
Unread 09-22-2019, 04:57 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is online now
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Hi John,

Just a thought. How about, "But the heart must have a reason" for S1L3, since the poem seems to be about someone who doesn't? Plus it seems to ties into the close more closely.

Here:

based on everything I’ve come to know of people,
which is all anyone can go on, after all.
We are all afloat on our own tiny oceans.

You have three 'all's close together. Since this is direct address, I guess you might substitute 'don't you think?' for 'after all'. Or something else.

I think it'd be nice to enjamb on 'grieve', but that's a very small thing, and I can't see an easy way to do it. And the current enjambment "I grieve to see you / not happy" has something to be said for it.

Other than that, revisiting, I like it. I still don't get the humour, but the poignancy comes across, and there's a gentleness and an intimacy to it, and that's enough for me, I think.

best,

Matt
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  #23  
Unread 09-22-2019, 05:28 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is online now
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Just to add: Rather than seeing humour (a joke at the expense of the N), I see someone wanting to help and trying to communicate, although he's struggling. I think that "We are all afloat on our own tiny oceans" adds something to the revision, to me it seems to relate to the difficulty of communication, and especially with someone who, it seems, is depressed, or even suicidal.
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  #24  
Unread 09-22-2019, 08:24 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is online now
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Good evening Matt,

Thank you for coming back with more elegant suggestions. I've taken both of them essentially as is, and appreciate it a good deal; the opening was still a bit staccato and I think you've helped to resolve that. "The heart must have a reason" isn't quite Pascal's aphorism, but I think it's quite lovely, and also true. It certainly fits this context. And "don't you think?" has a splendid helplessness to it quite in keeping with my own experience counseling the suicidal. I like having an em dash before it and the line about our own tiny oceans after.
"He tried to do his best, but he could not," sings Neil Young in "Tired Eyes." To my mind, that's the N's case here. You're right, it is poignant, but the N would be more poignant and less funny, to my mind, if he realized a tad sooner that him blowing smoke is not going to persuade anybody, least of all the person with the ice cream. As Kant also said, "Nothing straight can ever be made out of Mankind's crooked timber"; we prop each other up, but none of us is a stable base. It's tragic, yes, but also a tad comical, from a certain perspective. And as a well-meaning blowhard myself, i find humor in him, if not in the situation. I've been there.

Cheers,
John

Update: glad you find gentleness and intimacy here. I like that. I've recently decided to be more compassionate once again, as I was in my Buddhist days. I think that will be good.
Oh - in case you're curious, here's the Kant: "Aus so krummem Holze, als woraus der Mensch gemacht ist, kann nichts ganz Gerades gezimmert werden."

Last edited by John Isbell; 09-23-2019 at 03:16 AM.
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