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Unread 02-16-2021, 11:29 AM
David Callin David Callin is offline
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Ellan Vannin
Posts: 2,252
Default Cabbal Pherick

Snow on Cabbal Pherick,
which is the Chapel of Patrick,
where still, perhaps, the first priest sleeps;
snow on the uneven steps
that drop down to Spooyt Vane;
snow in the glen,
like peace in the valley -
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Unread 02-18-2021, 07:12 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is online now
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,897

Hi David,

  • The short lines and uneven metrics give this an arresting, trance-like feel.
  • It is a poem of time and place.
  • It has a distinct Manxian vibe that that I suspected immediately, knowing your whereabouts, but had to surf Google Earth to hone in on the location and then do some googling of Cabbal Pherick and Spooyt Vane. I wonder if they should both be in italics?
  • A peace-filled interlude of time and place under the thrall of snowfall.
I like it very much for its brevity and it's portraiture of a Manxian moment in time and space. It is not a still-life — but maybe frozen-life?
This could find it's way into the collection of Manx poetry anthology that you might very well edit someday : )

I found this, too, and wonder if you've got a photograph that reflects your own poem that you might photoshop to become a portrait. I think every good poem creates a landscape in the imagination. Just thinking... : )


Last edited by Jim Moonan; 02-18-2021 at 05:43 PM.
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Unread 02-18-2021, 07:50 AM
John Riley John Riley is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 4,653

David, this is nice. My only suggestion is to consider cutting the last two lines. For me, it works better without the comment.

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Unread 02-18-2021, 03:41 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: *
Posts: 2,184

Snow on Cabbal Pherick,
the Chapel of Patrick, where
the first priest still sleeps... etc

For such a short poem that's my instinct, for better or worse. Probably worse. I like the steps and somehow feel this is a sketch for something longer?
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Unread 02-19-2021, 02:12 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Lazio, Italy
Posts: 5,325

I really like short contemplative lyrics, and enjoy this one. The sonics are lovely, especially with the wordplay off-rhymes, very fun to look at and pronounce, as well as the colorful proper place names.

The mood of the poem reminds me of Goethe's famous Wandrers Nachtlied, Wanderers Nightsong, translated a gazillion times and easily found online. Both create a sense of peace and stillness that is also shadowed by endings.

One question I have in this is the sense of "perhaps" in line 3. I am guessing that the first priest is buried there, so "sleeping," but wouldn't that be a definite yes?

Also, glen and valley are more or less synonymous, so the closing simile does not really work: a thing can't be like something if it already is it. One solution would be to adopt John's edit, but I myself like that turn to existential shadow at the end. "Valley" could be substituted with something less expected, a sudden leap as in the Goethe poem.
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Unread 02-19-2021, 06:33 AM
W T Clark W T Clark is offline
Join Date: May 2020
Location: England
Posts: 339

I think this is "there". One suggestion, would you at all consider expanding the last line by two words, to echo l2, thereby making it "that is [or "which is"] temporary". I have no other complaints, and much appreciated it how it is, currently.

Hope this helps,

Last edited by W T Clark; 02-19-2021 at 06:36 AM.
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Unread 02-19-2021, 12:05 PM
David Callin David Callin is offline
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Ellan Vannin
Posts: 2,252

Thank you for the thoughts, Jim. They are typically thoughtful and simpatico (simpatici, to be grammatical?). And you found it! Good hunting. I did wonder about the italics.

And you found John 'Dog' too. Very much a local character, and, as they say there, the second living Manx Bard. ((One of his specialities is the making, and the showing children how to make, bumbee cages. I know him, slightly. We are on nodding terms. He is a friend of a friend, both of whom frequent the same pubs as me on Friday nights. I am on much closer terms with the first and fifth living Manx Bards. Yes, that is a thing. They get their own special Bardic cloak and hat. And a stipend. It is all very Hogwarts.

It has occurred to me that it is a very lazy title. I have been thinking that I could instead call it Japonaiserie in Glen Mooar. That would convey the sort of mood I am trying to achieve, even if the poem doesn't.

Thanks John. Glad you enjoyed it. The last two lines were supposed to be a geopolitical comment - perhaps unwisely. I do think the comparison works, though. (It does also work for lockdown too, of course. And that may be a better interpretation - as, I think, Cameron has divined.)

And thanks James. I know what you mean about it being, perhaps, the start of something bigger. But what? I'm not sure at present. Maybe it is already the size it wants to be. I'm still wondering about that.

Hi Andrew. I'm delighted with the comparison to the Wandrers Nachtlied. You made me go back and read it again. And to listen to it too. The closing mood of it does make me want to adopt that here. In my ending, though - apologies, of course, if I have misunderstood what you are saying - I am not so much saying that a glen is like a valley as that snow in the glen is like peace in the valley - transient. (I also have this in mind, of course ...

And I am hedging my bets here. I am not sure whether the first priest is sleeping here or not. I am allowing myself some poetical speculation.

And thank you Cameron. I don't think our paths have crossed before, have they? Oh, that is an interesting idea about the last line. It would make it less abrupt, certainly. Will think about that. I'm glad it works for you anyway.

Thanks all.

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Unread 02-22-2021, 08:30 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Staffordshire, England
Posts: 4,043

David, when I read this I immediately hear it in the voice of Oliver Postgate. Which makes me conclude that there’s nothing I would change here.
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Unread 02-22-2021, 11:39 AM
David Callin David Callin is offline
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Ellan Vannin
Posts: 2,252

Oh! That would be perfect, Mark. Thank you.

Noggin of the Nogs ... was that before your time? It goes back to my fairly early childhood. So, unless you were watching later repeats ...

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Unread 02-22-2021, 12:04 PM
Simon Hunt Simon Hunt is offline
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Monterey, CA USA
Posts: 2,197

Oh, I do love a Manx subject. And I have been to this place and can see it in my mind (although it was sunny and warm when I was there).

Unfortunately, I've not much more to say than that. Lovely. On first read, I wondered if broadening out to the near-cliche peace in the valley wasn't a false move. On second read, I didn't have an issue with it...
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