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  #11  
Old 08-08-2018, 06:34 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is online now
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Impressionistic… Hmmm… I think, then, you should make more of an effort to make that apparent in your phrasing and your (il)logic and with more surrealist imagery.
Though now that you’ve identified it as being impressionist it allows me to relax and let the images wash over me. I like it more with repeated readings. I don’t like worms. Though I understand and appreciate their value and significance : ) I dare you to eat one, said the boy in me.

The title "No Way" along with the other title "Secrets and Worms" are both intriguing but I don't know why.
x

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 08-08-2018 at 06:55 PM.
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  #12  
Old 08-09-2018, 05:13 AM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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Bill and Jim, thanks for coming back. We are in agreement that the purpose of the poem should be made clearer somehow. I don't know how to do that and maintain the integrity of the poem. That's a next level skill and maybe now is when I learn it. Time will tell. Thanks again.
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  #13  
Old 08-09-2018, 07:55 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is online now
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Hi John,

The metaphor/symbolism here reads to me as an allegory, something like this: whilst worms may be different one place to another, when the giant oppressor tramples on the small people like worms, they are all the same. The close, with even the tallest worker bending (uncomfortably) low in labour, seems to support this reading, though perhaps the N being unable to "make commerce" might work against it, but "commerce" still keeps us in the same ballpark. I guess I could read the giant as a multi-national corporation or big government, and the N as a small-time farmer/businessman, say. I could also see the giant as God (or a god): disease, natural disaster, death. The N does not want to break this news to the woman for some reason, to avoid disillusioning/depressing her perhaps. The N does not want to break this news to the woman for some reason, to avoid disillusioning her perhaps.

If you want this to be an impressionistic/surreal piece, perhaps there's a way to make it read less like it has (this) meaning -- if that makes sense?

"I also could not tell her ..." strikes me as a little awkward/prosy. "Nor could I tell her" or "Neither could I tell her" maybe?

best,

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 08-10-2018 at 06:09 AM.
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  #14  
Old 08-09-2018, 01:57 PM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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That's a good point, Matt. I need to move it away from seeming like an allegory. I didn't see that before I posted.
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  #15  
Old 08-09-2018, 02:41 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is online now
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Just poking my head back in because I found by accident today a great quote from Pushkin on obscurity and poetry:

"One of our poets used to say proudly, 'Though some of my verses may be obscure they are never prosaic.' There are two kinds of obscurity; one arises from a lack of feelings and thoughts, which have been replaced by words; the other from an abundance of feelings and thoughts, and the inadequacy of words to express them."
—Alexander Pushkin

I think this is apropos not just with regard to this poem, but any poem identified as obscure.

Best,
Jim
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  #16  
Old 08-09-2018, 05:19 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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John, I think you should cut "about" and "how" from the opening two lines.

I think the poem would begin more crisply and arrestingly this way:

I had no way to tell her
the worm population is different
in Massachusetts than in the open fields
outside of Longmont, Colorado,
how they grow thick and lazy here
in the South, always moving
in the handfuls of black earth
scooped from the topsoil.

. . . . .

I don't think of Colorado as "the South."
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  #17  
Old 08-09-2018, 06:39 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hmm. I thought of this poem as having three locations - CO, MA, and the South - and that contributed to my disorientation here...

Cheers,
John
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  #18  
Old 08-09-2018, 09:10 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Oh, I could be mistaken. Call me disoriented.
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  #19  
Old 08-10-2018, 10:09 AM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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Thanks to each one of you. I'd like to think I have an exuberance of feelings and words, John.

Aaron, I cut the opening as you suggested. The South is intended to be the third location. Where he is now. Perhaps it isn't clear.

Thanks again for all the help.
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  #20  
Old 08-10-2018, 11:20 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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John. I got it. "or how" took care of my confusion. Thank you.
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