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  #1  
Unread 03-04-2021, 01:30 PM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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Default Night Flares

Revision

Night Flares

I rise from the bed,
ignore the window.
I turn there too often.
See birds. Days boom.
Salve is not what I need.
I shut my eyes and dance
a fullness around the room.
Spin blood inside the skin
that holds me captive
until a fire erupts
from a sidereal spark.
Listen for the voice to say:
Without rage the world is sodden.


***

Night Flares

I rose from the bed,
ignored the window.
I turn there too often.
See birds. Days boom.
Salve is not what I need.
I shut my eyes and danced
a fullness around the room.
Spun blood inside the skin
that holds me captive
until a fire erupted
from a sidereal spark.
Listened for the voice to say:
Without rage the world is sodden.

Last edited by John Riley; 03-05-2021 at 04:40 PM.
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  #2  
Unread 03-04-2021, 03:09 PM
Cally Conan-Davies Cally Conan-Davies is offline
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John, I love it. It has visionary quality, it's electrifying, and inspired in the greatest sense of the word.

My only thought -- after the deep breath upon reading it -- is whether present tense might work?

I rise from the bed,
ignore the window . . . (etc)

The last line is archetypal. An invocation of Mars. Yes.

Cally
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  #3  
Unread 03-05-2021, 12:46 PM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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A revision in the first person posted.
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  #4  
Unread 03-05-2021, 12:55 PM
Jane Crowson's Avatar
Jane Crowson Jane Crowson is offline
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Hi,

I like the revision - the move to first person, for me, bounces the poem into something more immediate, more powerful. It’s interesting how seemingly tiny word choices can make such a different to the impact of a poem.

Now, the poem, for me, describes a visceral moment - it lets me in to the narration of the moment, and the feelings of the narrator.

I miss the italicised lines, though. I preferred those in the first version.

On a word level, I love L3, and ‘sidereal spark’. I read the poem as the narrator not looking for the positive/the bright side/the outside/external world. Instead they self-reflect, allow themselves to feel powerful anger, embody that anger, work within their body and feel alive. At the end a reflective external voice enables the power of this action, points out that without anger and passion our lives are not so full.

That might not be the reading you’re after, but I hope it is - it’s an important message, I think - and the embodied action - the narrator dancing/ material - is something I’d be afraid to lose my sense of, despite all the pain it can bring.

I enjoy reading your work. I don’t post much on it because I don’t like to just post, ‘oh, this is really good', as it doesn’t seem helpful or appropriate in a workshop, but your revision gave me the chance to jump in to this one.

Sarah-Jane
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  #5  
Unread 03-05-2021, 01:07 PM
W T Clark W T Clark is offline
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Talking

Hello,


I like this very much. It is strange, gnomic, somewhat timeless, and yet very of our time. I am quasi-reminded of Blake's "I rose up at the dawn of day":
https://www.bartleby.com/235/121.html
Is the voice to be heeded? No, it says something original, but whether it is benign, is less clear. That is not a fault. It is like Eros, or Mars: deep-throated and gravelly.

Your revision seems well considered. I might add that in such a short poem you start one too many sentences with a similar "I do this" type opening. "I rise from the bed" "I turn" "I shut my eyes", in such a short text, I might find some way to rewrite "I shut my eyes", since for me it is too close to your opening line. Do you need "the" in line 1? Since the poem doesn't move into much character specifics, "the bed" instead of a general "bed" seems against the tone. I am undecided on "boom". I'd would rather a more violent term, but that is up to you. (Like everything else isn't!) You may, for instance, wish to preserve the rhyme with "boom" and "room".

Hope this helps.

Last edited by W T Clark; 03-05-2021 at 01:14 PM.
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  #6  
Unread 03-05-2021, 04:11 PM
Coleman Glenn Coleman Glenn is offline
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Hi John,

This is excellent, for all the reasons others have pointed out. The one thing I have to offer is that I have a slight preference for the past tense version. The present tense version does make it more immediate, but I think the past tense better emphasizes the singularity of the event, in contrast to all the tones the window was turned to. Just a slight preference, though - I like both versions a lot.
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  #7  
Unread 03-05-2021, 04:41 PM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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I fixed the italics on the last line. I forgot to do it when I posted the revision. I will come back to address the comments ASAP.

Thanks
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  #8  
Unread 03-06-2021, 11:57 AM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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Cally, first, it's great to hear from you. I am glad you like this little poem and that you say it has a visionary quality. Part of the impetus for it was my long-term interest in early astronomers and I hoped the little hints in language--"fullness" which is a word one used for planetary orbits and "sidereal"--would be able to tap that. I'm thrilled it worked for you. Thanks for suggesting the present tense. That now seems so obvious.

Jane, I'm glad you like it. Cally's revision suggestion was right on. Thanks for pointing out I'd forgot to italicize the last line in the revision. It's necessary. I think your reading is just fine. I'm glad you enjoy reading my work and please don't hesitate to comment. Being told you like one of my poems will always lighten my step.

W.T., wow! A Blake comparison. I'll take that any day. I didn't think of it while writing. He naturally turns to his Manichean world-view, though. I sometimes wish he had been an atheist. Wicked me. I don't see a way around the "I do this" structure on this one. Maybe in prose but not in a poem. I'm considering what you say about "the" in L1. I'm a little hung up because to me "the bed" makes a lounder gong than just "bed." "Bed" can be a generic bed. "The bed" is "the bed." But I'll wonder about it.

Coleman, interesting you like the past tense. I can see what you mean. I remember when present tense was all the rage in novels and how I grew to hate it. But I think here Cally is right. It needs the immediacy.

Thanks to each of you for reading and commenting. It helps so much.

Best
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  #9  
Unread 03-07-2021, 09:26 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hi John,

This reminded me happily of William Carlos Williams' Danse Russe. I don't know if you know it. Though his poem is ostensibly lighter, both have that sense of dancing alone as elemental and transformative. I like his poem and I like yours too.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poe...83/danse-russe

Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 03-07-2021 at 09:28 AM.
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  #10  
Unread 03-08-2021, 07:56 AM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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Mark, thanks for the comparison. WCW was a great poet. I know the poem but didn't think of it until you mentioned it. His poem is much more joyful, I think. He seems to have had a great deal of self-confidence. I envy him. I'm please you like this little poem.

Best
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