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  #11  
Unread 01-15-2021, 07:59 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is online now
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Martin, I think the meter could be clearer in spots. In S1L2, there are two pronunciations of "extant" in my dictionary. The one I tend to use has the stress on the first syllable, which wrecks your rhyme and the meter. You could use something like "no proof he's in existence" and "our own resistence" if you wanted clearer meter. I would strongly suggest a comma at the end of S1L3. I also think "a modern specimen" would have a clearer rhythm in S3L2. I agree with Jim that it would not be thrilling to watch another species go extinct again. But it would be very likely that it would turn out that way. Perhaps you can rethink that conclusion, to bring along the resisting reader.

Susan
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  #12  
Unread 01-15-2021, 10:40 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is online now
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Accidentally double-posted. (Please see next post.)

Last edited by Martin Elster; 01-15-2021 at 11:11 PM.
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  #13  
Unread 01-15-2021, 10:50 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is online now
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Hi Susan,

Thank you for your feedback, comments, and suggestions.

I have always pronounced “extant” with the accent on the second syllable (ex-TANT), though I know that the dictionary has it also on the first. I don’t know why I pronounce it that way, since it’s more of a UK pronunciation.

Your suggestion of “no proof he’s in existence” and “our own resistance” is very good, but I’m resistant to change the rhyme. The reason is because “extant” is an adjective while “can’t” is a verb, which I feel is more interesting than having two nouns rhyme with each other (existence/resistance). So I’m tempted to keep “extant/can’t.” But I could try to think of something else.

Thanks for suggesting the comma at the end of S1L3. I’ve put it in.

You are right about “modern specimen” being better for the rhyme than “museum specimen.” I thought museum would be good, since that’s the only place where thylacine fossils are kept, but I’ll change it to “modern specimen,” since it makes the reading smoother.

Regarding the last two lines (as I said to Jim), I was going for irony, and hoped the reader would see it, namely that we don’t want the creature to go extinct again. But the irony doesn’t seem to be coming off as much as I had hoped, so I’m going to try this tweak below, keeping the anaphora. The original was “wouldn’t it be grand to clone,” but I’ll change it to “it would be marvelous to clone” / “but not so marvelous to see ...”

So I’ve changed the interrogative sentences to exclamatory ones. Although I’ve perhaps lost the ironic tone, the intended meaning comes across clearly.

It would marvelous to clone
**a modern specimen—
yet not so marvelous to see
**him go extinct again!


Or perhaps:

How awesome it would be to clone
**a modern specimen!
How awful it would be to see
**him go extinct again!


I think I like the second one better. Do you agree?

Added in: I came up with another version. I've lost the anaphora, but I think I like it.

Wouldn’t it be grand to clone
**a modern specimen?
Yet who, I ask, would wish to see
**him go extinct again?

The only thing I wonder is whether the word “modern” is too much of an echo of W. S. Gilbert’s “A Modern Major General.”

Revision posted.

Last edited by Martin Elster; 01-15-2021 at 11:27 PM.
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  #14  
Unread 01-15-2021, 11:37 PM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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For more than eighty years, what hope
**there is he is is scant.

(or similar)

I like the latest ending. No pun intended.
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  #15  
Unread 01-16-2021, 12:37 AM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is online now
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Thanks, Julie.

"The latest ending?" LOL.

Your suggestion for L2 is clever. At first, it threw me, and I was going to say that I didn't quite get what you were getting at. But after looking at it more closely, I understand it and like it, though it's a bit of a mouthful. It does, however, rhyme with my original word, which is great. I think I'll try it out.
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  #16  
Unread 01-16-2021, 10:55 AM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Hi, Martin. Not so sure about the Cosmic Microwave Background in that link, which sounds like pretty standard DX noise for modest reception.

Re the fact that the CMB is part of the noise detectable on AM radios of various sorts and old broadcast TVs tuned between stations. Tuning that way for the radios and the TV audio subcarrier (which is AM) opens wide their automatic volume control to the max. That can be very sensitive.

Best, Allen

Last edited by Allen Tice; 01-16-2021 at 06:26 PM. Reason: lack of coffee, eppur si muove
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  #17  
Unread 01-16-2021, 11:02 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Martin, I like this very much for its concision and clarity.
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  #18  
Unread 01-16-2021, 12:00 PM
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Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is offline
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I dunno, Martin. I think the body of the poem is wasted on uninteresting elements like sports mascots and coats of arms. The real hole the species leaves is in what it did in the biome or even its relation to more indigenous peoples than colonialists. Was it part of any totemic system? Even more tantalizing bits about the recent claimed sightings would be less trivializing to the loss than some of these details. I think any of the above could be transformed into the light-ish tone of the work and remain less off putting over here.
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  #19  
Unread 01-16-2021, 05:34 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is online now
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Thanks, Aaron!

Allen - you’re probably right that the static has no trace of the CMB. I just said it does to be witty.

Old TV’s and radios, however, when tuned between stations do, indeed, have a certain percentage of the CMB. It’s the most precisely measured black body spectrum in nature and its temperature is around 2.726 K. (But I’m sure you know all this.)

Andrew - Thanks for your feedback. You got me thinking about some interesting ideas and prompted me to do some more research. I found some interesting articles about the thylacine.

Some of what you suggest is already touched on, alluded to, or hinted at in my original version of the poem (below the revisions at the top of the thread). That draft mentions the fact that the Tasmanian colonists were eager to kill as many thylacines as they could, due to their unfounded fear that the creatures were killing their sheep and misinformation and rumors about a marsupial carnivore they didn’t know much about. (I just read that people even thought it was a blood-drinking vampire dog!) It was untrue and unfortunate for a species that was already in trouble due to the dingo, habitat loss, logging and mining, and the numbers of humans coming into Tasmania.

I think the mascot and coat of arms is significant because it shows how modern Australian society thinks of the thylacine. They hate the idea that this amazing marsupial, which was the top predator of the region, is now extinct. It’s also considered to be one of the most spectacular examples of parallel evolution to be found in mammals. The creature is important in contemporary culture. The original version also mentions that people are desperately looking for signs that the creature is still alive somewhere. There are many, many people looking for it and trying to capture it with cameras. But so far there is no hard evidence that the thylacine is still around.

In the first version, I also alluded to “Benjamin,” the last living thylacine (who died in the Hobart Zoo because he was locked out of his enclosure during a very cold night.)

I can’t find much information about the indigenous people (Aborigines) and how they interacted with thylacines, other than the fact that there are numerous cave and rock paintings of the creature.

As a top predator, it kept down wallaby numbers and other smaller animals. One article I read stated that among the thylacine’s native prey were wallabies, potoroos, and bettongs.

So the question I have is, should I completely rewrite the latest draft, or add other stanzas to give it a bit more depth? I’m not sure. The consensus here is to keep the poem very short. If I start writing about all these things, instead of a poem, it will end up being a science article for National Geographic or a documentary for Nova.

Last edited by Martin Elster; 01-16-2021 at 05:42 PM.
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  #20  
Unread 01-16-2021, 06:14 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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I'd put a comma between the two examples of "is" in the first stanza.
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