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Old 08-28-2018, 05:19 AM
John Riley John Riley is online now
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Default New Bird

Revision

Inside

I came here from outside
where I strolled
along the river
that moves slowly
until the falls drop it
up around the bend,
one hand holding the other
the way a child
may hold a bird's egg
waiting for the hatchling.

***

Inside

I came here from outside
where I held one hand
in my other
as I strolled
along the river
that moves slowly
until the falls drop it
up around the bend,
one hand holding the other
the way a child
will hold a bird's egg
waiting for the hatchling.

Last edited by John Riley; 09-08-2018 at 08:06 AM. Reason: cut "appearance" in the last line.
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Old 08-28-2018, 11:34 AM
Jason Ringler Jason Ringler is offline
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Maybe there's a darker meaning to it with the waterfall image but it gave me a positive feeling and it doesn't get too complicated. Nice little egg you wrote. If the egg is dropped and splattered it's still very nice.
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Old 08-29-2018, 01:53 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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John,

I take this as a metaphor of thought or contemplation (exploring the "Inside" as an "Outsider" as you will), and as such find the metaphors compelling. There is something foreign and wild in our deepest, unexplored mind. Even if that's not your intention, I find the sparsity of language both coherent and opening itself up to a variety of readings.

That said, I find the "hatchling's appearance" clunky, particularly the sudden latinate polysyllabic "appearance" after so much simpler language. Two thoughts: just delete "appearance," which in context is superfluous anyway, or break at "hatchling" and give us something more engaging than "appearance" as a final line.
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Old 08-30-2018, 09:06 AM
John Riley John Riley is online now
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Thanks, Jason and Andrew. Cutting "appearance" is a good idea.
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Old 08-30-2018, 11:49 AM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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Hey John- I really like the waterfall/holding hands image, if I'm reading that correctly. That's just fantastic. So much going on there, for me, that it smothers the close. Which isn't bad at all, but I just can't get over the previous image. I also wonder about the title~ I think you need both inside and outside, but the title puts it a little over the top, imo. I think I'd prefer the heading you put on the thread. Anyway, I do like it and was surprised it didn't get more comments right off the bat.

JB
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Old 08-30-2018, 05:08 PM
John Riley John Riley is online now
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Thanks, James
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Old 09-07-2018, 04:59 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Hi John,

I really like this John, I love the images here and the simplicity of the language.

Here's my read: it's as if he were holding something precious and easily broken, something were about to come to fruition in wondrous or magical way ('child' suggests this wonder). The river/waterfall imagery seems to echo and add to this, or counterpoint it. The river moves slowly and quietly (the patiently waiting for the hatching), but soon (ahead, round the bend) will become a thing of speed, power, noise and beauty. This is what may be up ahead. I can read it as simply that, which gives the poem a sense of hope. But the fall of it, over against the delicate egg, sets up some sort of background tension, the possibility of the egg being broken, a fear of change, of transformation perhaps.

I wondered about the title. At first I thought it a little redundant. "I came here from outside" already tells us that the N is inside. I guess "inside" can mean something like: this is what is going on inside the egg, inside the N, this sense of an imminent hatching/change/transformation. So, the N has come inside, entered his interior world. Either from elsewhere (a period in his life) where he didn't have that sense of potential hatching, or the N has come inside, entered his interior world, as a result of walking along the river, holding his hands as if holding an egg.

But I can also read "I came here (inside) from" seems also suggest that the N has now retreated inside, come away from his watching, the process of possible transformation, due perhaps a the fear of change. And this undercuts the hopefulness, suggests a bleakness. withdrawal. In which case "Back inside" maybe? It might make this clearer, if that's what you're after. Or maybe it's good to have the ambiguity.

So the main nit I have relates to the repetition of the N's hand position, especially in the space of a single sentence? Could it not just be:

I came here from outside
where I strolled
along the river
that moves slowly
until the falls drop it
up around the bend,
one hand holding the other
the way a child
will hold a bird's egg
waiting for the hatchling.


A tiny nit. I take "up around the bend" to mean "up ahead, around the bend", but it did also suggest to me vertically up, especially as it follows "drop", or at least there's something slightly odd about "drop it up". Though it wasn't really a problem on subsequent reads, so quite possibly nothing to worry about.

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 09-07-2018 at 06:35 AM.
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Old 09-07-2018, 10:26 AM
John Riley John Riley is online now
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Matt,

I adopted your rewrite suggestion almost immediately. I had tried it without the repetition but decided I'd lose something. When I saw it after you had done it I knew it was better without it. That is the sort of thing that makes getting outside help valuable.

Thanks very much for that and your other ideas. I will wait a bit before acting on them. I'm not rejecting them. I need to let them settle into my mind and the poem.

Your notes are always so helpful.

John

P.S. What about calling it "Hatchling"?

Last edited by John Riley; 09-07-2018 at 10:29 AM.
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Old 09-07-2018, 12:10 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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It is a pleasantly curious little poem, I think. I wonder if you need to tell the reader you have come inside. I wonder if you might find another angle into the poem...

The only issue I have -- and it's significant -- is that my image of the N's "one hand holding the other" is different than the way I think a child would hold/cup their hands with their elbows flexed 90 degrees and held tight to their bodies.
x

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 09-07-2018 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 09-07-2018, 12:23 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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I wasn't thinking this with my first comment, but this might really benefit from flipping those images. The egg thing is a little worn, but but, certainly not out of bounds. "drop" would also have more impact there, imo.

Added: New Bird would really be a fantastic title. If not for this poem, maybe another.

Last edited by James Brancheau; 09-08-2018 at 12:59 AM. Reason: Small stuff
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