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Old 09-03-2018, 01:25 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Default Beginnings (Ovillejo)

Revision 3

Booms and Blooms


Our universe from a dense, hot
==dot?
Astonishing phenomenon!
==My lawn
is graced with greater superpowers—
==with flowers
shooting up from August showers.
Great stars explode. I’m thoroughly wowed.
But then I watch a common cloud
dot my lawn with flowers!


L7: "shooting up from August showers" was, temporarily, "that trump Creation’s stellar towers."
L8: "I’m thoroughly" was "I should be?"



Revision 2 (Title change)

Booms and Blooms

Our universe from a dense, hot
==dot?
Astonishing phenomenon!
==My lawn
is graced with greater superpowers—
==with flowers
shooting up from August showers.
Great stars explode. I should be wowed.
But then I watch a common cloud
dot my lawn with flowers!


L1 was "We’ve come, they say, from a boiling hot / dot."
later: "We’ve come from a dense and hugely hot / dot."
L3 was "Implausible phenomenon!"



Revision 1

Lawns and Laws


We’ve come, you say, from a boiling hot
==dot?
Implausible phenomenon!
==My lawn
is likewise graced with superpowers,
==with flowers
shooting up from August showers.
Even as worlds take shape from grains
of space dust, a common cloud’s fresh rains
dot my lawn with flowers.



Lines 8-9 were

Whilst worlds take shape from specks and grains
in space, a common cloud’s fresh rains



How Did it All Begin?

Can a cosmos come from a hot
==dot?
Implausible phenomenon!
==My lawn
also has superpowers,
==with flowers
that have sprung from August showers.
Can worlds arise from dust?
Who cares, so long as raindrops just
dot my lawn with flowers!

Last edited by Martin Elster; 09-06-2018 at 10:51 AM.
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  #2  
Old 09-03-2018, 02:13 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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Hi Martin,

Ovillejos are hard. Like, holy crap hard.

A few things on this piece:

- I think you can do better with your title. It feels a little flat.
- "just" in L9 feels forced; it's only there to get the rhyme with dust, and the poem is better, as a poem, without it, so I think you should very seriously consider replacing it.
- There seems to be too many metrical hiccups in the longer lines. I want it to be Trimeter, but a line like "Implausible phenomenon" is hard to read that way. I'd like it to read a little smoother.
- I like the ending of the poem (sans "just"):
Who cares, so long as raindrops
dot my lawn with flowers!
But to me, the solution seems odd given that it is the narrator that is asking the opening questions. It makes me look at those early lines and feel like they're set up for a joke, but I don't think those last lines have to be a joke, or are even meant to. A thought: What if you had a back and forth with a neighbor while you're gardening or something?

Conversation With A Neighbor While Gardening

Martin, where's all this from? A thought?
==A dot.
Implausible phenomenon!
==My lawn
also has superpowers,
==with flowers
that have sprung from August showers.
etc. etc.

(You can do better, just a thought).
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Old 09-03-2018, 03:50 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Andrew, thanks very much for your very good comments. I fiddled with the poem a bit just now based on all your thoughts, and posted a revision.

I changed the title (though that’s tentative). I regularized the meter to make all the long lines tetrameter, and attempted to strengthen each line with alliteration and other things.

I like your dialogue suggestion, but I can’t use “a dot” because it would mess up the refrain. As a compromise, L1 alludes to “they” voicing a certain theory or explanation about our origins. The skeptical N then questions it.

I agree that ovillejos are thorny, which is what I like about them.

Added in: I think, instead of "they say," I'm going to try "you say" (in L1), to make it a bit more personal, like two neighbors talking (as you suggested).

Last edited by Martin Elster; 09-03-2018 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 09-03-2018, 11:48 PM
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RCL RCL is offline
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Nice one, Martin. I like the tidy macrocosm / microcosm comparison. I only pause at August showers. April is more likely, but might seem cliché. Maybe summer?
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Old 09-04-2018, 12:51 AM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Thank you, Ralph.

I really was thinking of August, because I've been studying the amazing variety wildflowers in my area blooming the last few weeks: yellow, white, purple, blue, and in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Truly remarkable.

I agree that April showers would be a bit cliche. Your suggestion of summer showers could work. I wonder if "dog day showers" might be interesting, though it sounds a bit zany.
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Old 09-04-2018, 10:07 AM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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'Whilst' is kind of a gross word—maybe 'as'?
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Old 09-04-2018, 12:19 PM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Admittedly I’m ignorant about the form. I think of the ovillejo as something out of Mexican cuisine, though I know I’ve seen them on the Sphere (notably, from Ralph). It’s an interesting form and I can see why you’d be drawn to it.

But having done this sort of thing with fixed forms myself, I don’t think this one goes beyond a finger exercise in the form. Though of course there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just not the same thing as finding poetry that goes into it.

The wordplay is good and skill is evident. There’s some nice back-and-forth between cosmic scale and homely scale, and the connections between them.

I’m just not getting much beyond that. The old “As above so below formula” of the hermetic philosophers and alchemists also pointed out correspondences between microcosm and macrocosm, but they did it with a sense of ontological analogy that this lacks.

Sorry I can’t be more positive, Martin, though I did enjoy the frisson of the language itself.

Andrew
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Old 09-04-2018, 01:41 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Thanks, Aaron and Andrew.

Aaron - I agree that “whilst” is a somewhat yucky word. I tried it, but now that you pointed it out, I could change it to “as” (as you suggested). But I’ve made a detour around the issue by changing the whole line and part of the next (Lines 8-9).

Andrew - Thanks for saying you like “the wordplay and skill,” and for letting me know you understanding the theme. It’s difficult to explore such a theme in 10 lines, 4 of which are repeated. I don’t yet know myself whether this is merely an exercise or something at least slightly more entertaining. An ovillejo is a little knot, which seems to resist the imbuing of emotion or much development.

In any case, for whatever it’s worth, I’ve made a revision of lines 8-9.

PS - I think I have lost something from the original in my revisions, namely the tongue-in-cheekiness of the penultimate line: “Who cares ...” I think I’m going to try to find a way to put that in again.

PPS - I posted a new revision with a different ending (Rev. 2), trying to magnify the contrast of the cosmic and personal worlds.

Last edited by Martin Elster; 09-04-2018 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 09-04-2018, 02:51 PM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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I don't know the first thing about the form. I'll educate myself. I do like the poem. Its jauntiness is attractive.
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Old 09-04-2018, 05:03 PM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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I like the revision at lot. You've nailed the ending. One nit: I don't like "they say" in L1. It's filler.

Keep searching for the right title—"Lawns and Laws" isn't it.
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