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  #11  
Old 08-15-2018, 01:33 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Hi Andrew,

I really love the image at the close of this. As a result, though I do find myself wondering if more could be done with imagery, with what's seen in the clouds -- some less expected somehow -- though I've no suggestions as to what. I do like the holding / holding repetition, the nesting of the cloud images.

On the tense issue, given "lay" the present tense of "points" seemed a little odd. If you stick with "lay", shouldn't that be "pointed"? For what it's worth, I didn't have a problem with the day/lay rhyme.

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 08-19-2018 at 08:28 AM. Reason: fixing grammar
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  #12  
Old 08-15-2018, 03:03 PM
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Woody Long Woody Long is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Q View Post
On the tense issue, given "lay" the present tense of "points" seemed a little odd. If you stick with "lay", shouldn't that be "pointed"?
Another possibility is pointing.

Woody
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  #13  
Old 08-15-2018, 04:36 PM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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Nice one. I have nothing to add to the comments.
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  #14  
Old 08-15-2018, 06:27 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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Hi all,

You're point on the tense shift is fair. I hate to lose the internal rhyme (sorry Edward but I did like the assonance), but the new opening line makes up for what it loses in acoustic charm (to me) with the new semantic resonances.

Jim: I'm glad you like it! At the moment, I like "eased" both for sonic reasons (needle/eased) and semantic (I find the idea of a needle eased into an eye much more terrifying and painful).

Indeed--the clouds have been wonderful.

John I.: I'm glad you like it. Does the tense shift of the opening line work for your?

Edward: I took your lead on the opening line. Thank you.

Matt: I took care of the tense; I'll think about the images. What if I simply inverted the child and the bear?

Woody: Thanks for coming back. Does the opening tense-shift work for you?

John R.: I'm glad you like it; I always think you do such a nice job with FV (like others in this thread!). I hope the shift works for you.
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  #15  
Old 08-15-2018, 08:38 PM
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Woody Long Woody Long is offline
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Andrew —

The poem as it is now:

All day I lie
looking at clouds—

a dragon then a mother
holding a toddler

holding a bear
who points to dark skies

and the storm’s cry
like a needle

eased into the fat
blackberry of my eye.


Regarding the tense inconsistencies:

When I first read the poem, I thought it one complete sentence, & I still think it should be treated as such. For that to be so there must be a verb after the and beginning S4. (The only alternative to that would be that the bear is pointing at both the dark skies and the storm's cry, which seems to me a very implausible reading.)

As of now you have lie (S1) and points (S3), both present tense. But what then is to made of eased in S5? If it is a verb, then it is in the past tense and is inconsistent with the already established present tense. If it is a past participle (see the discussion here under "Past participles") used as an adjective phrase modifying needle, then there is no verb following the and in S4 & the poem is therefore not an English sentence.

One solution is to go back to lay in S1 & use pointing (a participle) in S3, so you would have looking/holding/holding/pointing in parallel construction and eased is a plausible verb. A possible drawback to this is that there may be some ambiguity as to who is doing the pointing. I think this is not a problem. The poem already depends on the reader understanding that each of the -ing participles belongs to the preceding noun.

Another possible solution is to keep the present tense and change eased to eases to conform, & also pinning it down as a verb.

A third possibility is to replace eased with a suitable verb in the present tense, e.g. slips. Personally, I prefer plain language here (like eased). I think a more dramatic verb here, like jabbed, loses some of the poetic effect.

Of the alternative general approaches, I like pointing or some other -ing participle. I think the parallel -ings is a plus & it allows you to go back to lay & the internal rhyme (which I also liked) & clarifies eased, which then does its work as a verb.

I didn't read the poem & get out a rule book trying to find grammatical nits. After the tense inconsistency was pointed out by other critters, I reread the poem & saw that it didn't bear up under close reading for sense.

— Woody

Last edited by Woody Long; 08-15-2018 at 08:47 PM. Reason: corrected the link, clarification
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  #16  
Old 08-17-2018, 09:23 AM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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New revision up.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Woody: I took pointing and went back to lay.

Also, thinking on Matt's point, I reversed bear and toddler to try to make it a little more strange. Curious as to thoughts on this.
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  #17  
Old 08-17-2018, 09:36 AM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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I think "who pointed" would be better than "pointing" if you stick with the past tense throughout. But you might consider putting the whole second portion of the poem into the present tense:
All day I lay
looking at clouds—

a dragon then a mother
holding a bear

holding a toddler
who points to dark skies

and the storm’s cry
like a needle

eases into the fat
blackberry of my eye.
I think the em-dash gives you the space you need to make the tense shift. And I think the immediacy of the present tense serves you well.
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  #18  
Old 08-17-2018, 10:11 AM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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Reversing the bear and the toddler makes a BIG difference. I'm not sure about the title, but I like the revision very much.

JB
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  #19  
Old 08-17-2018, 10:13 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Andrew,

I also think "who points/pointed" is better, because it clearly disambiguates the actor. Otherwise, "I lay ... pointing" is a possible reading, or at least a momentary distraction.

I don't see a need for "eased" to be changed if the poem is present tense. I don't think it's in the past tense anyway. I read it more like: "Like a needle (being) eased into my fat blackberry eye" than "like a needle (that has been) eased into my fat blackberry eye". Plus the sonics much more satisfying with a 'd' on the end, playing off both "needle"and "fat". These are lost with "eases".

In terms of ordering the images, I guess there's also this:

a dragon then a toddler
holding its mother

holding a bear
pointing to dark skies

I guess you also have the option of something like "clawing at dark skies" / "who claws at dark skies". Though maybe not. I guess "points" has meanings you might like to keep. A sense of what's coming.

Actually, this reminds me: I can read that the pointing (finger) is what's like a needle. In fact it seems the natural reading. Is that your intention?

-- Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 08-17-2018 at 10:19 AM.
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  #20  
Old 08-17-2018, 11:29 AM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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Thanks all,

I've been struggling with the tense issue because I'm not seeing it as much; Matt nails it with parsing it as "Like a needle (being) eased into my fat blackberry eye," which is how I've read that particular line.

Aaron, I agree with you on "points." I'm going to stick with "who points." I'm also going to stick with "eased" for the reasons Matt lays out.

James, I'm glad the revision works, and that the reversal of the image is a large part of the reason why. I'm also ambivalent about the title, TBH.

Matt, thank you for accurately laying out why I should stick with "eased" and why it isn't necessarily a grammatical problem. I'm pretty okay with the images as they are now, though I do owe you thanks for pushing me to reorder them.

I like "points" because it catches up with needles. What is easing into the eye? I don't mean this to be flip, but I have no flipping idea. Intent on this poem didn't play a large role: the image of something being jammed like a needle into the "blackberry of my eye" came first, and I played around with it from there ("eased" came later). So, frankly, I don't know what eases in; I think grammatically it can be the storm or the finger pointing, and I'm okay with that.
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