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Old 06-19-2018, 06:39 AM
Jan Iwaszkiewicz's Avatar
Jan Iwaszkiewicz Jan Iwaszkiewicz is offline
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Default What a Holy Show

What a Holy Show
and her all pregnant with death
and the fool full of laughter
with his snot like ropes
and her mother in bed
with the pains in her head
and the blankets pulled up to her chin


What a Holy Show
a chook’s in the kitchen
with a snake and a squawk
and the pig’s got the shits
and her Dad's dead drunk
and the drought goes on
and the duck’s done a runner
and trees are chasing the dog.


What a Holy Show
with the wind from the west
and the dust in her mouth
and the lump in her breast
and the letter like a stone
a sharp edged stone
cutting through her fist.

This is accentual nonce.

A chook in Ausspeak is a chicken.

Last edited by Jan Iwaszkiewicz; 06-19-2018 at 06:47 AM.
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Old 06-19-2018, 08:24 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Hello, Jan. This poem is a mess. It's just a bunch of random observations with hints here and there of something more serious ("her mother in bed. . ."/". . . the lump in her breast. . .") It comes off as something you wrote in five minutes.

Furthermore, line two scans as having three stresses "and HER all PREG-nant with DEATH" whereas you clearly intend your stanzas to be six lines of two-stress and one of three-stress.

I am excited that you have posted at the deep end. This board is for late drafts, however. This poem, with little to no development, is mostly still gobbledygook.

Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 06-19-2018 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 06-19-2018, 01:16 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hi Jan,

I really like it.

I knew 'chook'! I take it 'Holy Show' is a colloquialism for a situation that's become a bit of a mess. Or a disgraceful spectacle. It sounds Irish, as in someone 'making a holy show of themselves'. I like the poem's colloquial tone – 'done a runner/got the shits' etc. I like the blending of the comically, sometimes surreally (trees/dog) chaotic with the tragic. Life can be like that.

I take 'pregnant with death' to be either the breast cancer or that the poem is written with hindsight and N knows 'she' is going to miscarry. The letter is bad news from the hospital I think. It ends the poem with a powerful thud. I'm not clear who the 'fool' is, and I'd quite like more of a clue.

I don't think it's too facile to say that a somewhat disjointed, messy tone is appropriate here. I think the poem would suffer from too much polish. I disagree with Aaron's 'bunch of random observations': they add up to more than the sum of their parts, a portrait of a domestic situation out of control. I think he's probably right about the metre of L2. But that's all.

Cheers.

Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 06-19-2018 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 06-19-2018, 01:49 PM
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R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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I absolutely love this, Jan. The chaos it grabs after the details of is the brutal pole that holds the whole tent up after one has let go and thrown one's arms up in the air beyond despair. This is the exact moment when, through detachment, tragedy slides toward comedy. Such a surrender also gives the word holy the added, devotionally ironic dimension of a control beyond our control. It's the Book of Job via the vaudeville stage. And it seems to dispense with time as well, or to condense it, with everything bad happening at once.

Thus if it is a "mess", that mess is a test.

I think a few more judiciously placed rhymes would give it added punch.
Still, I find it not a first draft, but a tragi-comic tour-de-force.
On my first read-through, I didn't know quite how to react, but the bad news kept coming so relentlessly that it tumbled me along with it. There seemed to be light dancing on the surface of this dark water—and though I was soon submerged, I gasped like a drowning man breaking the surface when I finished, when time returned to its accustomed pace, and at that moment I couldn't tell if I was smiling or in anguish.

Nemo
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Old 06-19-2018, 02:24 PM
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RCL RCL is offline
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Love it! And Holy Moly, if God is dead I'm glad. Finally. Just struck me: the fool tarot card?
__________________
Ralph

Last edited by RCL; 06-19-2018 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 06-19-2018, 04:19 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Yep, that's 'bout what I expected. Good luck with this masterpiece, Jan!
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Old 06-19-2018, 04:51 PM
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R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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Are you over here on the Deep End so you can be as rude as possible, Aaron? That's OK with me, but I like to think I have an unpredictable streak, and am not just 'bout what you expected.

Nemo
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Old 06-19-2018, 05:27 PM
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Jan Iwaszkiewicz Jan Iwaszkiewicz is offline
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Aaron,

We are shaped by many experiences, this, in part, is one of mine. The register is exact.

There is a country outlook that differs from its city counterpart, as it does in the States.

I am pleased that you think so much of my ability that you consider I was able to write this in five minutes, I am sorry to say it took a wee bit longer than that.

You said "whereas you clearly intend your stanzas to be six lines of two-stress and one of three-stress. No, I can count and I do understand stress, as I wrote at the the bottom the form is nonce.

I am glad that your reading and understanding is not universal.

I know the criteria for the The Deep End quite well and posted here for years starting when EfH was still with us.

I am surprised at your vehemence.

Mark,

Thank you.

"Chook" I am told comes from the Gaelic "tiuc" used to call the chooks in. "Holy Show" is probably Irish in origin, given our white ethnic roots. I first heard of it from Les Murray and he has written a poem with that name.

Yes this is tragi-comic as is life. On the land one tends to laugh at far more than in the city. Laughter is all there is.When you can laugh at misfortune you will never have an unhappy day as our honoured Dame Edna tells us.

We are all quickened by death at birth but yes here I used it to presage doom.

The fool? Every village used to have one and his/her origins were often relative ones.

As I said to Aaron it is nonce and the scansion here is known and is meant.

Nemo,

Your reading is spot on. You have picked this up exactly even to the extent of it "tumbling" you along.

I think I would lose what I have gained here with more rhyme. As you have said this mirrors the chaotic realities of life.

On many occasions Nemo, you have given me intense pleasure with the accuracy of your readings. Thank you.

Ralph,

More the Village Idiot. I am glad that you liked it.

Aaron,

I do not know why you keep that burr under your blanket. There are more things in heaven and earth"...

Thank you and regards,

Jan

Last edited by Jan Iwaszkiewicz; 06-19-2018 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 06-19-2018, 08:58 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Jan,

I basically like this, and there are bits I like a good deal. One thing I might do is remove the moments of rhyme:

and her mother in bed
with the pains in her head

To me, they play comically, which I don't think is what you want. I'd consider removing them and keeping the whole thing kind of bleak and menacing, despite the sing-song beat.

Cheers,
John
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Old 06-20-2018, 01:36 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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(Forget it...)

Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 06-21-2018 at 12:55 PM.
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