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  #1  
Unread 09-22-2019, 04:41 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Default Mature content

Death comes too soon. (R1)

We're more then halfway there, and there's no cure.
How come I’ve spent an hour on this text?
And whence these teenage thoughts? And what comes next?
I’ve yet to see you naked, but I’m sure
that gravity has had its way with you.
And I am overweight and varicose.
But it could work: a setting not too bright,
our glasses off. I see your inner light,
and love transcends all things – or can come close.
And close beats halfway there. And close would do.
.

----------
Changes to title and L1

Possible alternative L1s:

There is no cure, and we're past halfway there.
Things fall apart, and we're past halfway there.


Getting Closer (original)

Death comes too soon, and we’re past halfway there.
How come I’ve spent an hour on this text?
And whence these teenage thoughts? And what comes next?
I’ve yet to see you naked, but I’m sure
that gravity has had its way with you.
And I am overweight and varicose.
But it could work: a setting not too bright,
our glasses off. I see your inner light,
and love transcends all things – or can come close.
And close beats halfway there. And close would do.
.

Last edited by Matt Q; 09-27-2019 at 02:06 PM.
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  #2  
Unread 09-22-2019, 07:27 PM
Woody Long's Avatar
Woody Long Woody Long is offline
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Matt —

A text message, well within the limits.

I take it the several and's help to speed the poem and add a sense of urgency.

The poem seems clear enough and sounds good to my ear.

I wonder if the opening might be more indefinite than death, e.g. it instead of death, or any of the many possible tweaks to L1 to lead into what follows (mainly the effects of age). The presence of death right at the start seems too heavy. The halfway there in both the first and last lines is enough to tie things down.

I read the poem as neither particularly light or heavy, but as I said, perhaps urgent.

— Woody
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  #3  
Unread 09-22-2019, 07:47 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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I might not write exactly this poem with its details, but there’s a great deal here to like. - Except for the “halfways”. For me, they equate proximity to the desired beloved with proximity to death. I would want it to be a match with life. This is otherwise a charming poem that I read with pleasure and a good deal of understanding. Maybe Woody’s ideas will help.

Best.
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  #4  
Unread 09-23-2019, 07:46 AM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Hi Matt,

A technical observation: The first line has irregular meter, whereas all that follows is pretty direct IP. So, it's a tough start and that first line just ends up sticking in the (this?) reader's craw.

Rick
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  #5  
Unread 09-23-2019, 09:02 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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I think this is an entertainingly wry variation on the carpe diem theme. It made me smile. I like the way the repetitions tie the poem together, set against the sometimes widely spaced rhymes. I don't mind the mention of death at the beginning. For me, it alludes to the frequent puns on orgasm as the "little death." The "whence," which I might normally object to as archaic diction, fits perfectly in a poem with these themes, but I like how that word, too, is offset by the casual diction of contractions and "teenage."

Susan
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  #6  
Unread 09-23-2019, 11:10 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Woody, Allen, Rick, Susan,

Thanks for your comments.

Woody

Yes, not particularly light and not particularly heavy: those are two stools I often fall between, I think. I'll think about how important it is to me to name death at the beginning, and what alternatives there might be.

Allen

I'm pleased you found things to like. I guess close beats halfway there in terms of intimacy, but also love, intimacy and sex beats being halfway to death and alone. I think the straightforwardly romantic reading is there, but age and the approach of death are also in the mix too for this N.

Rick,

Can you say more? That line sounds o.k. to me, but then it would do, I guess. How are you hearing it?

Susan,

I'm glad this made you smile.

Woody, Allen, Susan, did the first line trip you up?

Thanks again all.

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 09-23-2019 at 11:16 AM.
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  #7  
Unread 09-23-2019, 11:15 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Matt,

The first line scanned fine for me, but I’m no authority. I don’t like two beats for hour in the second. I have mixed feelings about the poem - the inner light is my favorite bit. Maybe I’m a prude.

Cheers,
John
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  #8  
Unread 09-23-2019, 11:22 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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John, that's why I gave a mature content warning

Thanks for commenting. Yes, I guess some people do say 'hour' as a single syllable. Me, I say 'ow-wuh' and sometimes forget that others don't.

Last edited by Matt Q; 09-23-2019 at 11:24 AM.
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  #9  
Unread 09-23-2019, 11:47 AM
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Woody Long Woody Long is offline
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Matt —

re the scansion of L1: When I first read the poem I counted it out a couple of times by tapping my fingers on the table along with reading. That way it all sounded pretty regular. (Though I suppose tapping mechanically along like that does tend to force agreement.) When I read it aloud today after reading the crits, and trying for a "natural" reading, it still sounded good though perhaps not as regular IP as the rest of the poem. I like the effect of the line. It may be that, because of its rhythm, L1 reads more slowly than the rest of the poem, which speeds up thereafter. All to the good in my book.

re hour in L2: I pronounce hour with what I think of as one-and-half-sylllables, almost ow-r. So for me the word can fit in different lines in different ways. The common method of scansion does not have the granularity needed to account for words like this.

— Woody
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  #10  
Unread 09-23-2019, 07:48 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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x
Hi Matt, I’m still savoring this. I like the rhythm of the first line (though I wonder if Woody might be right about not mentioning death by its name).
As I am prone to do, I found an Eliot analogy in this one. I find the speaker to be refreshingly Prufrockian in his middle-aged resignation towards and acceptance of his circumstance. That might be just me being sophomoric, but that’s the way it feels.

L2 is filled to the brim with emotion and inference.
L3 is a great setup for L4.
L4, in context, is the best pickup line I’ve ever heard.
L5,6 are brutally honest and give credibility to L4.
L7-10 are when Prufruck enters with understated verve.


The only word I question is “whence" (though Susan has reassured me). I have a friend (a Liverpudlian) who regularly uses the word “whilst” and I love it but at the same time chafe a bit at it for some strange reason. The same thing with “whence”. I see that it is still broadly accepted (according to Merriam-Webster) but wonder if a simple “and why these teenage thoughts?” might work as well.
I wondered, too, about “inner light” but it nestles so nicely in the nape of the poem that there is simply no reason to consider another way of saying it. It says everything.

I pronounce "hour" both ways.

It’s a brilliant poem, IMO. Truly transcendent to this reader in spite of the speaker's stubborn refusal to go there. Nor would Prufruck.
x

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 09-24-2019 at 11:49 AM.
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