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Old 08-22-2018, 04:50 PM
Jan Iwaszkiewicz's Avatar
Jan Iwaszkiewicz Jan Iwaszkiewicz is offline
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Default The Widow of the Fisherman

The Widow of the Fisherman


clouds, scudding in the raven road,
the chains cshudder and shred on the edge of the cliffs

clad with a ragged litter of terns
the chains ctrawlers butt through bitter water

clewed, the sodden sails drip
the chains csalt into holds of living silver

cloaked by steel sheets of rain
the chains cthe stacks of wicker baskets wait

cleaned by grit and elbow grease
the chains cnaked knives ache to begin

clawed out by a raw curse of gulls
the chains cthe chains chatter the anchors down

clasped hard her hands hold
the chains cthe wool her fingers will not knit

clutched by pain, her heart’s away
the chains cwasted and wailing on a tainted sea

claimed by the shore, the sullen waves
the chains csob on pebble and polished bone

clenched to his chest the cables of love
the chains cpurled in the geansai are gaffed by his bones


EDITS

clouds, scudding in the crow path,
the chains cshudder and shred on the cliff’s edge

I have removed the two clashing stresses which I feel improves the read although I may still go back to crow path.

cleaned by grit and elbow grease
the chains cnaked knives are aching to begin

Thank you Aaron.

clawed out raw by a curse of gulls
the chains cthe chains clatter the anchors down

I think the play on raucous need to be brought to the fore.

clenched to his chest the chains of love
the chains cpurled in the geansai are gaffed by his bones

Thank you Ann and John J

Last edited by Jan Iwaszkiewicz; 09-13-2018 at 07:34 PM.
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Old 08-22-2018, 07:38 PM
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RCL RCL is offline
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It’s refreshing to ride the alliterative OE rhythms and dark mood of that form—and I admire your modern take on the cesura.
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Ralph
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Old 08-23-2018, 07:59 AM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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Jan, this is a really powerful poem. A couple small suggestions:


For S5L2, I suggest:
naked knives ache to begin
For a few reasons. One is that, while it's true that the line has only four strong beats, there's at least some impulse to promote the "to". This revision eliminates that. Second is that "are aching" holds the reader at more of a distance from the knives' feeling than "ache", which goes there directly. (You don't use "are ----ing" constructions anywhere else, for good reason.) Third is that I just think it sounds better.


In S7L1, you need a comma after "clasped hard". Same for S10L1 after "clenched to his chest".
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Old 08-30-2018, 07:20 AM
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Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
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A random entry into this moving poem: I really liked the cl...cl...cl... the grief of it reminded me of Apocalypse Now (Kurtz speaking... and I cried, I wept... like some... Grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out. ...). I've said that divorce can be like amputating your body away from your soul and this captures a pain at that level to me.
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Old 09-03-2018, 02:53 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is online now
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The widow is drawn back to the widowmaker each time the fishing fleet comes in. Where else can she go? The fishwives are ready to do what she did when her status was as theirs, but now she is a symbol of what they may become.

I took from the last stanza the sense of her having been widowed for some time. Although the process is quicker than on land, it still takes a while for a body to rot, for the bones to protrude, spearing their way through the oiled geansai whose knitted twists are the individual dogtag of the fisherman.
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Old 09-03-2018, 10:36 AM
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Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
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Jan,
I have nothing to offer but my admiration. A powerful poem.

Thank you for the read!
Martin
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Old 09-03-2018, 12:47 PM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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I like this and don't have any suggestions except maybe don't mess with it anymore.

John
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Old 09-03-2018, 09:48 PM
John Jeffrey John Jeffrey is offline
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I like the poem. I have a few minor quibbles, but they're probably just differences in preference. On the other hand, I have two bigger issues that cause me to grimace in an otherwise fine poem.

In S8, I don't like "her heart's away." Don't like the contraction and don't like "away," which is vague and gives me nuttin'. I'm not a fan of "cloven by pain," either. And since this is a crucial stanza where the reader realizes what has happened and the depth of it, it needs more popping imagery, more understated pain. The rest of the poem has so many wild word choices and imagery. In this stanza, "her heart's away" doesn't rise to that.

Also, it's confusing to read "chains" twice within 7 lines when each instance refers to such different things. When I hit "chains" in the final stanza, I immediately thought of the previous use of chains (in the wonderful "chains clatter the anchors down" line). I then had to back up and re-read the last stanza a few times. Maybe you could find a stitch other than the chain stitch? Besides, "chains of love" is a bit of a cliche, and the second to the last line should be as good as the last.

Nice work!

-- John J
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Old 09-04-2018, 01:14 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is online now
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I could see the knitted chains quite clearly, but I was reading as one who has practised such craft. Incidentally, knitters (here) call them "cables" which also has possibilities in the context. Even with that knowledge, though, the description of them as "chains" pleases me more, because of that double use within the poem.
.

Last edited by Ann Drysdale; 09-04-2018 at 01:46 AM. Reason: added, then deleted, a bit of irrelevant terminological "information".
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Old 09-04-2018, 07:57 AM
John Jeffrey John Jeffrey is offline
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That is interesting. And I thought that someone who knits, or has knowledge of it, might pick it up more easily. Not me, though. I actually pulled my daughter (who's visiting from south Wales) into the fray. Jessie, what do think is going on here in this last stanza? I suppose I'll chalk up that confusion to my own lack of experience and knowledge in all things knitting, though I stand by my dislike of "her heart's away."
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