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  #21  
Old 08-13-2018, 06:03 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Revision to the ending lines posted.

David, Thanks for the nudge that broke the camel's back.

I finally allowed myself to explore alternate endings and came up with one that is closer to what I wanted to say. In a word, trauma is what I felt. I just couldn’t find a way to say it without first letting go of the choking image. Thank you to those who thoughtfully urged me away from it.

I would like to know what others think of the revision.
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  #22  
Old 08-13-2018, 06:54 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Jim,

I like your revision. I think "tattooed" carries a lot of weight here, which is as it should be. It does duty for the lines you've cut. OTOH, "rendered" feels wrong to me at least, for various reasons. How about "offered"?

Cheers,
John

Update: OK, here I'm afraid is part of my objection to "rendered": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Render...nimal_products)

Last edited by John Isbell; 08-13-2018 at 07:01 AM. Reason: rendering
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  #23  
Old 08-13-2018, 07:23 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Hmmm... where does one draw the line? Now that you've brought it to my attention it leaves me wondering, too. Would "surrender" work?

of tortured souls whose faces
surrender us, with no real escape.


or something along those lines?

----------
Coming back to say that, as ugly an implication "render" (not "rendered") might imply, it is certainly not intended. That the latent meaning evokes such ugliness could also be interpreted as the depth to which the atrocity infiltrated our thinking; a manifestation of the perverted power and inescapable harm caused by the atrocities -- The reader knows it is not intended to be read in that way, but can't help but think of it's "other" meaning.
Can the use of the word "render" be seen as a double entendre representing the depth to which the harm done reverberates still? I don't know.

"Surrender" may not fit grammatically -- though I like the word in this context and think I can get it to work...

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 08-13-2018 at 07:52 AM.
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  #24  
Old 08-13-2018, 07:59 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Jim,

I like the reflecting you're doing. Yup, rendered. Sorry, I'm a guy who hears lots of echoes in words, even unintended ones as you note. But it is buried in that word and I think wanted spelling out at the end of the day. Maybe something with surrendered would work, as you suggest.

Cheers,
John
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  #25  
Old 08-14-2018, 07:40 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Again, changes to the final four lines.The blatancy of the original last two lines is gone and I feel much more comfortable with a (somewhat) more subtle indication of the horror. I hope it sits better on the palate of the reader. Now, I'm just going for a disturbing feeling of indefinite uneasiness to end.

For those who are still following, I would like any and all hard criticism on the impact-fulness of this ending. Then it can sink.

And thanks, Phil, for your attention to the phrasing of the final lines. It spurred me to look again.
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Last edited by Jim Moonan; 08-14-2018 at 07:43 AM.
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  #26  
Old 08-14-2018, 09:10 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Jim,

I think this ending near-perfectly fulfills the poem's promise. If anything warranted a look, at might be "that permits" - perhaps just "permitting"?

carrying with us fugitive thoughts
tattooed beneath our skin
of the noxious whispering
surrender, surrender
that permits us no real escape.

In any case, I like the revision.

Cheers,
John

Update: I myself love noxious. You've given life to the word.
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  #27  
Old 08-14-2018, 10:53 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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John -- Yes, "permitting" -- thanks once again for the "fine print" reading of this.
Glad, too, that "noxious" works for you. I am hoping noxious fits without being offensive. It works for me...

Best,
Jim
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  #28  
Old 08-15-2018, 08:10 AM
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Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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I realize a lot of effort as been spent on critting and revising, but for me, it ruined a perfectly fine poem. There's a big difference between "trashed" and "set fire to" - with the former, the effect is immediate and visceral. The latter sounds weak, and too much forward momentum is lost at a crucial point in the poem. The revised ending veers into melodrama, perhaps because of the shortened lines and italics. You need those longer lines at the end as a crescendo, and if you're going to say "tattooed" why not say "gassed" and "millions." The revision completely destroys the devastating emotional impact of the original. The lines are too cerebral, tentative, apologetic - "whispering." If you were a conductor and the poem was an orchestra, there would be a huge sound in the last few lines, with this completely comprehensible last line of well-deserved and effective abstractions:

and the memories weighted our future with the past.

The "weight" is so important - it brings the abstractions alive. From one poet of the emotions to another, Jim, I hope you stand by your original versions.
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  #29  
Old 08-16-2018, 01:23 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Thanks Mary.
This is a place where criticism is the primary -- almost exclusive - reason for posting a poem. Every poem I've posted here I've done with confidence that it is essentially "whole" in it's emotion. Yet I often (and quickly) abandon that conviction when the crits begin to roll in.

It is good to have allies that have kindred thoughts and who seem to understand intrinsically where a poem came from and help it shine more brightly. I am fortunate to have found some here on the Sphere.
Mary, I breathe a sigh of relief whenever I read your ferocious defense of my originals (I also hold my breath : ). You have shook me up and what I’m beginning to find is the courage of my convictions. I will always welcome crits that improve upon my skills/craft. I am inspired by crits that offer perspectives I hadn’t considered. But I am still learning how to resist those that, however well-intentioned, want the poem’s heart/wholeness to change. My poems -- or anyone's who writes poetry to express something deeply felt -- are worth defending from being changed in response to a well-intentioned crit that is unable to see through to the heart. I hope that doesn't turn-off anyone from commenting on my poems or questioning the veracity of their thoughts or that I don't need suggestions about the myriad ways a poem can be workshopped to polish it to a shining state. It’s me that must learn to 1.) tell which crits offer improvement and which do not 2.) revise without doing damage to the heart.

So I’m going back again to what felt right. After some initial blow back from some that the ending was not fitting, and after I dutifully tried to re-imagine the gut-wrenching feeling that spurred the poem and how it sparked an uncharacteristically aggressive poetic voice, I strayed from the emotion in the original that, to me, was so integral to it.

FYI, I don’t consider any of my poems “done” -- as in “etched in stone” -- until I publish them. There have been just a few of those, so I have a large body of work in progress : )

Thanks for everyone’s input on this. If I underestimated anything (I almost always do) it was the degree of sensitivity that still cloaks the holocaust. Ironically it was why I wrote it in the first place. My sensibilities where turned upside down and inside out and I just had to let it out.

It's an education. I'm a student first.
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  #30  
Old 08-16-2018, 02:48 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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I think I'm sympathetic with Mary's view in that I tend to go emotional too. Re Pound blah blah. But it's true that, more often than not, I'll know a poem will be finished based on feeling. Just with this topic, it's quite a hill to climb.
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