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Old 07-29-2018, 08:38 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Default Memento Mori

Memento Mori

Death to the lawman, vow the five assassins,
death to the bastard though we all die soon.

In Rattletrail the beardless hero fastens
his white cloak, whistles, and the last saloon

dissolves behind his bootprints. Fear’s pariah,
he trots through sand astraddle his companion

Appaloosa, and the daze of playa
darkens to rock; rock frays into a canyon

known as Abaddon. Since he is alive,
the vultures waiting...they and snakes, a gecko,

gape, then, at gunmen—one, two, three, four, five—
broaching the gap neck. Lord, how lead can echo!

In equine innocence (we all die soon)
Appy arises, frisks from dune to dune.

. . . . .

L5: "Fear's" for "Dread's" for "Fear's"

. . . . .

(Original)

Memento Mori

Death to the lawman, vow the five assassins,
death to the bastard though we all die soon.

In Rattletrail the beardless hero fastens
his white cloak, whistles,
his white cloak, whistles, and the last saloon
dissolves behind his bootprints.
dissolves behind his bootprints. Fear’s pariah,
he trots through sand astraddle his companion
Appaloosa,
Appaloosa, and the daze of playa
darkens to rock; rock frays into a canyon
known as Abaddon.
known as Abaddon. Since he is alive,
the vultures waiting...
the vultures waiting...they and snakes, a gecko,
gape, then, at gunmen—one, two, three, four, five—
broaching the gap neck.
slink through the gap neLord, how lead can echo!

In equine innocence (we all die soon)
Appy arises, frisks from dune to dune.

. . . . .

L3: "Rattletrail" for "Shadowridge" for "Rattletrail"
L5: "fades out" for "dissolves"
L6: "trots" for "lopes"/"grit" for "sand"
L8: "frays" for "cracks"
L10: "you" for "the"/"you" for "they"
L11: "gape, then, at" for "watch, then"
L12: "broaching" for "slink through"
L13: "equine" for "bestial" for "equine"

Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 08-01-2018 at 07:36 PM.
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Old 07-29-2018, 10:22 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Aaron,

I like it, as per usual. :-)
The equine innocence of course reminds me of Auden's
Musee des Beaux Arts, with its innocent behind:


About suffering they were never wrong,
The old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position: how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.


Cheers,
John
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Old 07-29-2018, 03:49 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Thanks, John. That's praise indeed--a comparison to Auden's Musee! I hadn't thought of that poem but now I can't but see it.

Best,

Aaron
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Old 07-29-2018, 04:19 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Aaron,

Yup, I continue to like it. I kind of like equine instead of bestial, it's got good sounds. Here's wikipedia on the well-named Abaddon:

Abaddon - Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abaddon
In the New Testament Book of Revelation, an angel called Abaddon is described as the king of an army of locusts; his name is first transcribed in Greek (Revelation 9:11—"whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, The Angel of Death." (Ἀβαδδὼν), and then translated ("which in Greek means the Destroyer" (Ἀπολλύων, Apollyon)).

Cheers,
John
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Old 07-29-2018, 07:20 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Thank you, John. Yes, "Abaddon" is also used in the Bible to mean "a place of destruction" or just general "destruction." Good ol' Hebrew.

What do we think, people, of the formatting? I tried a bunch of things, and the current arrangement seemed best to me.

Would you prefer something more traditional?

Memento Mori

Death to the lawman, vow the five assassins,
death to the bastard though we all die soon.

In Rattletrail the beardless hero fastens
his white cloak, whistles, and the last saloon
dissolves behind his bootprints. Dread’s pariah,
he trots through grit astraddle his companion
Appaloosa, and the daze of playa
darkens to rock; rock frays into a canyon
known as Abaddon. Since he is alive,
you vultures waiting...you there (and a gecko)
gape, then, at gunmen—one, two, three, four, five—
broaching the gap neck. Lord, how lead can echo!

In equine innocence (we all die soon)
Appy emerges, frisks from dune to dune.

Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 07-29-2018 at 10:03 PM.
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Old 07-29-2018, 09:33 PM
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Edward Zuk Edward Zuk is offline
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Hi Aaron,

I like the current, spaced-out format to hide the fact that this is an English sonnet, and I’m glad you decided to go back to “equine innocence.” I like it overall and would see it as a nice change of pace if I were to find it in one of your collections.

A suggestion: “the vultures waiting there . . . / they and a gecko” to avoid the awkward “they there.” Also, to my ear "Shadowridge" sounds a little less western than “Rattletrail” (or maybe “Rattle Trail”).

It’s interesting to see you tackle the Western. The diction throughout is a touch more latinate than I’d expect for the genre, though.
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Old 07-29-2018, 09:57 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Thank you, Edward,

I have revised the vulture-line to the second person--I really want it to pop.

I will look at the diction again--I fear that, if I went for Western twang, too much comedy would be introduced.

Thank you--I am still considering your comments.

[The only Latinate words that stand out for me are "dissolves" and then "equine innocence." I'm wedded to the latter, I think. The former "dissolves" can go. I just can't find anything better. I'm open to suggestions.]

Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 07-29-2018 at 10:04 PM.
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Old 07-30-2018, 03:08 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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I was smiling gently at this, seeing it as an archetypal Western, so "dissolve" seems too right, in cinematographical parlance, to be bettered.
.

Last edited by Ann Drysdale; 07-30-2018 at 03:51 AM. Reason: to put it better.
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Old 07-30-2018, 03:31 AM
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Edward Zuk Edward Zuk is offline
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Aaron, I take back what I said about the Latinate diction. On second thought, it's much better that you refuse to do the obvious thing.

I agree with Ann that "dissolves" is lovely and should be put back in.
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Old 07-30-2018, 04:14 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Aaron,

Yes to dissolves. I also like sand, which you removed and which prepares the dunes. I feel you may be editing this poem more quickly than you need to into something different.... :-)

Cheers,
John
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