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  #1  
Unread 10-08-2019, 08:13 AM
Mary Meriam's Avatar
Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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revision:


The Rudiments of Ruby


Chartreuse Aura
Orb of Consequence

My abode of preference and address
Where I may amble with pride

Coincides with a quarry of fire ants
A sense of place is so very important

Oh so deadly and helpful, so you see
I could not have been at the crime scene

Come forth, as I like to say to the elders
My circle is the third turn in Vineyville

I am a Witch of the Fourth Square

I the witch that walks the earth
I the witch that bathes in water

I the witch of work of worth
I the witch that walks the earth

I the witch attending my birth
I the witch and wondering daughter

I the witch that walks the earth
I the witch that bathes in water

I live at leaves tree-side
My eyelids like the lake

Gaze at evening’s slide
To deeper greener leaves

Drift if you wish with me
The slightest breezes lift

The curtain of the heat
I see you rippling into bliss

This is my window into you
Raucous thrilling nights

Sleep and dreams dimmed
The darkness flies

Drawing feathered tree buds lightly
Falling and filling a wonder trunk of lives
The pink of cloudy dots paints evening brightly
No kidding how the hawk, a black dash, dives
To catch a creature from the forest floor
November, trilling still, glows golden gray

We could have been
The flames of forgetfulness
A history written somewhere uncertain
Those jars buried beneath the dead
Little children dead from neglect
Torn between evil and good
Sheets of paper to start a fire
Or flowers

Thursday evening, rainfall trickling
I have dinner, seeds and fresh apples after
On the lake a shadow alights, an ancient
Absence of knowledge
Scholars wonder who was her favorite lover
Lovely, ugly, women, or men, they argue
Phantom, mortal, suicide, teacher, goddess

Fool behind the moon and a mask of weather
Quick as lightning flashes across the treeline
Interstellar shock like the visions chanced on
Moment swinging tight like a trip to Venus
Saved in my hindsight
Held for the future

In my desert, you are rain
Replenishing wells in my hills

You teach me pool tongue
I had never spoken it before with a woman

My thirst wakes me and stays the night
You are the cool cup on the shelf

Is this moment one drop of water
Lost like the flowers between us?

Let me drink you
My earth cracks and waits

I have the schedule for the ferry
Wave to me soon



~~~~~


original:

The Rudiments of Ruby


Chartreuse Aura
Orb of Consequence

My abode of preference and address
Where I may amble with pride

Coincides with a quarry of fire ants
A sense of place is so very important

Oh so deadly and helpful, so you see
I could not have been at the crime scene

Come forth, as I like to say to the elders
My circle is the third turn in Vineyville

I am a Witch of the Fourth Square

I the witch that walks the earth
I the witch that bathes in water

I the witch of work of worth
I the witch that walks the earth

I the witch attending my birth
I the witch and wondering daughter

I the witch that walks the earth
I the witch that bathes in water

I live at leaves tree-side
My eyelids like the lake

Gaze at evening’s slide
To deeper greener leaves

Drift if you wish with me
The slightest breezes lift

The curtain of the heat
I see you rippling into bliss

This is my window into you
Raucous thrilling nights

Sleep and dreams dimmed
The darkness flies

Behind my cat there lurks a car
To strike her if she wanders far

She’s unaware of cars, though death
Is natural to her as breath

Who isn’t hungry for a bite?
No one in the day or night

A cat whose tail is quivering
Telling you what’s happening

A cat who could have run to you
If you were in a place she knew

So you could stroke her thick gray fur
And make her purr and purr and purr

Drawing feathered tree buds lightly
Falling and filling a wonder trunk of lives
The pink of cloudy dots paints evening brightly
No kidding how the hawk, a black dash, dives
To catch a creature from the forest floor
November, trilling still, glows golden gray

We could have been
The flames of forgetfulness
A history written somewhere uncertain
Those jars buried beneath the dead
Little children dead from neglect
Torn between evil and good
Sheets of paper to start a fire
Or flowers

Thursday evening, rainfall trickling
I have dinner, seeds and fresh apples after
On the lake a shadow alights, an ancient
Absence of knowledge
Scholars wonder who was her favorite lover
Lovely, ugly, women, or men, they argue
Phantom, mortal, suicide, teacher, goddess

Fool behind the moon and a mask of weather
Quick as lightning flashes across the treeline
Interstellar shock like the visions chanced on
Moment swinging tight like a trip to Venus
Saved in my hindsight
Held for the future

In my desert, you are rain
Replenishing wells in my hills

You teach me pool tongue
I had never spoken it before with a woman

My thirst wakes me and stays the night
You are the cool cup on the shelf

Is this moment one drop of water
Lost like the flowers between us?

Let me drink you
My earth cracks and waits

I have the schedule for the ferry
Wave to me soon

Last edited by Mary Meriam; 10-12-2019 at 02:07 PM.
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  #2  
Unread 10-09-2019, 02:00 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Mary,

I’m afraid I’ve only got through this once so far. Lots to like though - music, images. Your voice comes through pretty clearly as I know it.

Cheers,
John
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  #3  
Unread 10-10-2019, 07:24 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,208
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x
Hi Mary, Your spelling is excellent : ) You’ve cast one nicely over the season. I’m not sure if you are referencing anything throughout, but I feel a children’s story lurking. Maybe a Roald Dahl.

Who Ruby? I revel in disappearing rhymes and there’s so much of it in here beginning with the title. Ruby is one of my favorite names (as are all the gems and many of the flowers). To digress, I was on a ferry boat last weekend and a family with two young children were standing nearby. One's name was Rhythm, the other's name was Cadence. No kidding. I digress...

I don't quite know how much of this simply is you having fun with the season and words and spells and auras, but I like it even if it's only just that. Actually I like it especially if it is only that. But I concede you may be going for much more than just that. (You do "that" so well.)

I can’t crack through the aura that this creates and into what is going on -- if there is anything going on other than casting an aura as you conjure the season and your place in it (that the speaker co-exists with the fire ants is a favorite part). I’m not easily drawn in by witchery but, coincidentally, while in Mexico recently, browsing a shop of oddities, I came across a thick, big book called “Incantations”. Here it is. I was enthralled by it. I bought it for a lot of money -- for me at least. ($125. I don’t buy many books anymore unless they are in and of themselves works of art. This one is a treasure). I stood there and read a few passages and gasped and had to close it. (Gasping is not a good look in a public place.) I’ve yet to really dig into it. It sits on a shelf waiting for me. Actually, it is under my elbow as I write this. You’ve stirred me to open it again. So your poem feels like being drawn in a bit more to the power of the realm of witchcraft. I don't know much about witchcraft or incantations but I can feel the power they contain nonetheless.

Not much of a true critique. But I'll stay with this and see what others have to say.
x
x
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  #4  
Unread 10-10-2019, 02:09 PM
RCL's Avatar
RCL RCL is offline
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 5,410
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Mary,

Just in time for Halloween. I love spells, love that making words is spelling, sound magic, but the most successful spells are relatively brief. This one seems way too long to me.
__________________
Ralph
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  #5  
Unread 10-11-2019, 07:45 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Location: Lazio, Italy
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I’ve read this several times, Mary, always finding plenty of stuff to be excited about. The last 10 lines in particular are very beautiful, and the witch litany casts its spell.

For me, the length is not a problem but there's a sense that the text is cluttered or hard to navigate. So I think it might be worth moving the parts around. I’ve come up with an experimental order, cutting only the opening lines (which felt like warm-up to me), and putting parts into numbered sections. No other changes, just the reordering and the initial lines cut, to see if this helps open up the piece. This edit might be way off the mark, but hopefully it will suggest some possibilities.

I like the section numbered 4, though it might be cut and used in another poem.


1.

Who isn’t hungry for a bite?
No one in the day or night

A cat whose tail is quivering
Telling you what’s happening

A cat who could have run to you
If you were in a place she knew

So you could stroke her thick gray fur
And make her purr and purr and purr

2.

Come forth, as I like to say to the elders
My circle is the third turn in Vineyville

I am a Witch of the Fourth Square

I the witch that walks the earth
I the witch that bathes in water

I the witch of work of worth
I the witch that walks the earth

I the witch attending my birth
I the witch and wondering daughter

I the witch that walks the earth
I the witch that bathes in water

I live at leaves tree-side
My eyelids like the lake

Gaze at evening’s slide
To deeper greener leaves

Drift if you wish with me
The slightest breezes lift

The curtain of the heat
I see you rippling into bliss

This is my window into you
Raucous thrilling nights

Sleep and dreams dimmed
The darkness flies

Behind my cat there lurks a car
To strike her if she wanders far

She’s unaware of cars, though death
Is natural to her as breath

3.

In my desert, you are rain
Replenishing wells in my hills

You teach me pool tongue
I had never spoken it before with a woman

My thirst wakes me and stays the night
You are the cool cup on the shelf

Is this moment one drop of water
Lost like the flowers between us?

Let me drink you
My earth cracks and waits

4.
Drawing feathered tree buds lightly
Falling and filling a wonder trunk of lives
The pink of cloudy dots paints evening brightly
No kidding how the hawk, a black dash, dives
To catch a creature from the forest floor
November, trilling still, glows golden gray

We could have been
The flames of forgetfulness
A history written somewhere uncertain
Those jars buried beneath the dead
Little children dead from neglect
Torn between evil and good
Sheets of paper to start a fire
Or flowers

Thursday evening, rainfall trickling
I have dinner, seeds and fresh apples after
On the lake a shadow alights, an ancient
Absence of knowledge
Scholars wonder who was her favorite lover
Lovely, ugly, women, or men, they argue
Phantom, mortal, suicide, teacher, goddess

Fool behind the moon and a mask of weather
Quick as lightning flashes across the treeline
Interstellar shock like the visions chanced on
Moment swinging tight like a trip to Venus
Saved in my hindsight
Held for the future
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  #6  
Unread 10-12-2019, 02:19 PM
Mary Meriam's Avatar
Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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Posts: 7,243
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Thanks, John, Jim, Ralph, and Andrew.

John - I'm imagining Ruby's voice, but I'm glad you recognized something.

Another great story, Jim! Love those names, and I want to read that book (the Kindle version). You absolutely captured what I think and hope about this poem: "So your poem feels like being drawn in a bit more to the power of the realm of witchcraft. I don't know much about witchcraft or incantations but I can feel the power they contain nonetheless." I don't know anything about witchcraft, but I'm drawn to the witch concept in general lately.

I made it shorter, Ralph! Maybe not short enough for you though.

Your reordering was very helpful, Andrew. I realized that cutting the cat couplets would be a good idea. I'm hoping it all flows better, and without sections or moving it around. Did you cut this couplet by accident or on purpose?
I have the schedule for the ferry
Wave to me soon


So: the cat is gone.
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  #7  
Unread 10-14-2019, 03:48 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Location: Lazio, Italy
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It's way better without the cat part, Mary. It coheres nicely now, and the numbers aren't necessary (I didn't think they were earlier either, but put them for the sake of rethinking things).

And the two lines you mention, I did leave out in my rearrangement, because with that placement it felt more suspenseful to end with the previous couplet. But with the ordering you have now, it fits in fine.

This one's a beauty. I imagine that the slow pace of commenting has to do with its length and the general slowness on the boards of late.

Andrew
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  #8  
Unread 10-14-2019, 05:34 AM
Mary Meriam's Avatar
Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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Wow. Thanks so much, Andrew!!!!!
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  #9  
Unread 10-14-2019, 09:39 PM
Mark Stone Mark Stone is offline
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Location: Ohio
Posts: 332
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Mary, Hi.

I read through the poem, and it was a colorful, interesting and enjoyable journey. I have two comments. The first relates to this line:

I the witch that walks the earth

Since a witch is a person, I would change “what” to “who.” I would also put a comma after “I.” Hence:

I, the witch who walks the earth

The second relates to the stanza that begins with “Drawing.” The first line is a wonderful sounding trochaic tetrameter. Given that the poem is described as a “mix of met and non-met,” I think that a consistent metrical pattern throughout the stanza would add to the reader’s enjoyment. Perhaps something like the following (i.e., each couplet having seven trochees followed by a single closing syllable):

Drawing feathered tree buds lightly
Filling wonder trunks of lives
Cloudy dots paint evenings brightly
How the hawk, a black dash, dives
Catching creatures from the forest
Trilling still, November glows

Best wishes,

Mark
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