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  #1  
Unread 10-07-2019, 12:37 PM
R. Nemo Hill's Avatar
R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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Default While I Stand Here

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REVISION #1


While I Stand Here


When real cows have come home
let the autumn mists rise
till the mountain’s unknown
in its thinnest disguise.

Let me orphan each word
as a cloud claims each stone.
Let no line be unblurred.
Let me lose track of home.

There’s a wind, yes, that's true,
but it fades as it swells—
while I stand here subdued
by the faintest farewells.




(Catskill Mountains—2019)
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Last edited by R. Nemo Hill; 10-10-2019 at 07:02 AM.
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  #2  
Unread 10-07-2019, 02:47 PM
Mark Stone Mark Stone is offline
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Nemo, Hi.

1. It’s a beautiful poem.

2. Since “while I stand here” is already in the poem, I wonder if the title of the poem should be: Catskill Mountains, 2019.

3. I like the internal rhyme in L4.

4. It’s not clear to me what the “that” refers to, i.e., what it is that is fading.

5. “Yes, it’s true” seems like filler. I would want an exact rhyme for "subdued" at the end of this line. Perhaps something like:

The fall wind will denude
all the trees as it swells –
while I stand here, subdued,
by the faintest farewells.

This may not fit your story, but it illustrates what I have in mind, I think.

Best wishes,

Mark
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  #3  
Unread 10-08-2019, 02:12 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Gorgeous poem, Nemo (and highly Nemo-esque!). The autumn landscape and elements as the signature for mist-ification of consciousness, a watercolor sketch of that.

I have one suggestion: leave out the em dash at the end of line 3. The mountain being unknown in its thinnest disguise would be more ambiguous that way, more consistent with the poem’s drift, I think.

I recognize Upstate New York in the cows and the mountains, or at least I do because you tag the poem that way. But it does bring on nostalgia for autumns I have spent in that area.

Thanks for this,

Andrew
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  #4  
Unread 10-08-2019, 07:16 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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x
I like every word like I do apple cider. It is catalytic to me.
I read this first last evening and must have slept on it. There is something about the opening line that, on repeated readings and contemplation, transports me to being there, in nature, and is mesmerizing. The simple insertion of “real” erases any connection to the idiom while still retaining the crucial sense of time in order to bring the reader to the proper place and time to experience what the rest of the poem reveals so gorgeously. Watercolor in its depiction, as Andrew said.
My hunch is the opening line may not sit as well with some (a hunch born mostly from my awareness that I often miss something because I am a reader first and a critic second) -- Maybe someone will have an issue with the first line's bold wrangling of an idiomatic phrase and restoring it to mean a simple time and place. Personally, I thank you for that rescue. The cows are now home again.
The lovely mixture of rhymes echo the blur of mist rising throughout the poem and are so pleasant to the ear, the sounds so gentle, the thin veil of mist so ethereal that there is a stillness to the whole that remains even now.

Sorry for the effusiveness of this. I tried to tone it down.
Thanks.
x
x

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 10-08-2019 at 10:57 AM.
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  #5  
Unread 10-08-2019, 08:09 AM
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Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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Hi Nemo, I didn't hear the meter at first, because L1 trips over it. I think it would be wonderful to say "the" instead of "real." Then the meter makes the poem a wonderful song. Likewise, I found the punctuation excessive, as if you're trying to hide the meter. I'd delete the dashes - totally unnecessary. I agree that "yes it's true" is filler. Your "home" rhymes are so good - there must be something better to rhyme with "subdued." There's a wind in the blue (?) I'd also delete the commas around "subdued." Also "that" in S3L2 seems too heavy - why not: but it fades as it swells (?) I love this one!
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  #6  
Unread 10-08-2019, 09:06 AM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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Mary's comments totally read my mind. I second everything she said (most of which I was thinking before she commented).
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  #7  
Unread 10-08-2019, 09:10 AM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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I may agree about the punctuation, but I want to stick up for "real" in L1. That word is doing a lot for you, and the line becomes much weaker if you change it to "the".
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Unread 10-08-2019, 09:37 AM
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Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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So it could be: When the real cows come home.
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  #9  
Unread 10-08-2019, 10:55 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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x
Mary: "I didn't hear the meter at first, because L1 trips over it."

One person's trip is another person's soft-shoe. I hadn't recognized the slight dissonance of that line against the rest of the poem -- but had noticed the line itself as being both a necessary dispelling of the idiomatic "until the cows come home" and a brilliant way to set the poem in its time and place; the cows acting as a harbinger that precipitates the transformation taking place in the rest of the poem. Without "real" some of that imagery slips away, IMO.

There are two points in the poem where the speaker is careful to be absolutely certain he is not misunderstood. First, in the opening line when he makes it abundantly clear that "real" cows are trudging through the pasture on their way back home -- and not to be mistaken as the idiom that the line might teeter on if “real” were omitted. Second, in S3, when he reveals that, in spite of the wind that momentarily picks up, it, too, fades as a kind of final brush stroke that explains why the mist remains (and is not lifted away by the breeze) and silence arrives with the oncoming darkness.

These are all things I want the poem to say -- so it does. My interpretation maybe missing a detail or two, perhaps skimming over a thing or two...

(Mary: Maybe your suggestion to add "the" and remove "have" does make for a smoother line. I do think the dashes could go.)
x
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  #10  
Unread 10-09-2019, 10:45 AM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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My favorite of your most recent poems. I kept going over the cloud/stone bit as if I didn't get it. When I knew that I did. I like the first line as is, though Mary's last suggestion is appealing. One thing I've always been jealous of re meter is that you can break it. There's a faint swell about the whole poem. Imaginary pastures with real cows in them. Love it, Nemo
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