Eratosphere Forums - Metrical Poetry, Free Verse, Fiction, Art, Critique, Discussions Able Muse - a review of poetry, prose and art

Forum Left Top

Notices

Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Unread 04-09-2021, 08:17 AM
John Riley John Riley is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 4,653
Default Turns

Turns

Cinching my coat, full of sleephopefulness,
carrying turns to spin out as I study the sky
cracks and devise a strategy, a turn will
be needed here, optional there, always
ready for the luxury of a turn unseen,
today will be a day of many turns, a rich day,
my mind is not pushing oh there's a turn
an unexpected near spin and the joy is fleeting
I must not waste my turns and go quickly on
to where I may be going I am lucky to be alive
men I know tell me gathered in our secret knots,
years falling back, wheat down a chute,
the way silage fell from the silo, fifty cents
not safe in my pocket and there were turns
back to the home I never reached and now
I have turns to shield and use and count
as the years gather and turn to stare and stare
and turn and turn and fade into the morning sun
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Unread 04-10-2021, 07:18 AM
Bill Dyes Bill Dyes is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Centennial, Colorado
Posts: 531
Default Turns

John;

This poem works particularly well with your all encompasing, ever inclusive, single sentence style.
At the beginning there is determination and bravery in the "sleephopefulless" mustered
for a long journey through a single night to explore a threat; the cracks in the sky.
The threat seems personal and shared by all at the same time,
a feeling of community grows throughout.
Yet this single sinuous line moves masterfully through the past and out to the future.
The movement is so artfuly controlled, moving through 'a rich day', yielding to joy and fading nto fate.
It is a map of a mind defending itself against threats of harm, of danger.
This is a wandering toward a goal that was somehow set years back.
At the beginning I was glad to be an accompanyist and then
became apphensive as I followed but somehow my courage was never allowed to leave me.

Thanks for posting this John.

Bill
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Unread 04-10-2021, 09:08 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Staffordshire, England
Posts: 4,043
Default

I think this is brilliant. I'll be back to try to articulate why.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Unread 04-10-2021, 09:11 AM
Mary Meriam's Avatar
Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: usa
Posts: 7,575
Default

Hi John, I love the repetition of "turn" and your L1 neologism. You've turned "turn" into something pretty amazing. It's almost like a new form, the turn poem. Of course I think of the sonnet volta, and this does have a sonnet feel to it, but to use so many turns is new.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Unread 04-10-2021, 06:15 PM
Cally Conan-Davies Cally Conan-Davies is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 4,334
Default

It's positively Joycean, that "sleephopefulness", John!

I'm reading it as insomnia, and the turns as 'toss and turns' -- the mind as it moves through the turns of half-wakefulness. But it is so much more than this, and cannot be contained by it. It's completely unparaphraseable and wonderful, and as a reader I am completely with you in the movement of the poem. I feel like I'm a bird, the way birds turn in flight, and I feel like I'm flying through the poem, with all these sudden turns, the way birds can do it. And there is so much to think about, at the end of it all, about the many ways that 'turn' can be read, and how it functions in the poem.

I never get tired of reading this, John. I'm always glimpsing something new!

Cally
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Unread 04-10-2021, 09:07 PM
Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Brooklyn, NY USA
Posts: 5,368
Default

Not quite sure how to respond. Lots of good stuff. Maybe I should walk with you in some of these turns.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Unread 04-12-2021, 03:11 PM
John Riley John Riley is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 4,653
Default

I know that my single-sentence poems appear often and may become repetitive. All I can say in my defense is the long line has been a love of mine since I first starting reading "serious" literature, be it prose or poetry. The thing I liked about Hemingway at sixteen were those long, loping lines and all the ands. Also, it fits my personality if you knew me in the real world. So there's that but with this poem, I was up late and wanted to write and had an image of me walking through a city much like John Travolta in "Saturday Night Fever" and instead of dancing, I had a pocket full of turns to use. It's sort of funny, really. I'm so lazy that instead of working on my turns like Travolta I had them in my pocket. That is everything though, this idea of having a limited supply of turns to use. Turns as nouns. That's it. I do like what has been shared with me. How this has affected the poem structure. I hadn't thought of that though I should have. I do think Cally may have put her finger on it though. I couldn't sleep and this is probably a consequence of insomnia.

Thanks to each of you for commenting. I'm glad you like it.

Best
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Unread 04-13-2021, 08:11 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Staffordshire, England
Posts: 4,043
Default

These "turns" read to me as decisions or ideas. Not the big ones (should I take that job? should I get married?) that we retrospectively tell ourselves were the life-changing ones, but those that are constantly, imperceptibly going on in the working, churning mind. And could be more accurately described as life-changing because our inner lives are our real lives and they are changing all the time, independent of obvious, external circumstance. The voice here brilliantly inhabits this sense of the continually chattering mind. Sometimes it feels in charge: “devise a strategy, a turn will / be needed here, optional there” and sometimes it relinquishes control and seems acted upon: “my mind is not pushing oh there's a turn / an unexpected near spin and the joy is fleeting”. “Sleephopefulness” is a great coining, seeming to describe a state of passively pure optimism or acceptance. It’s very Buddhist. We were talking about meditation recently, were we not?

The last seven lines, from “years falling back”, seem to subtly move from the speaker’s past, through the present to the future:
Quote:
years falling back, wheat down a chute,
the way silage fell from the silo, fifty cents
not safe in my pocket and there were turns
back to the home I never reached
I love this. Glimpsed details that sketch a vivid boyhood biography in three and a bit lines. Then

Quote:
I have turns to shield and use and count
brings the awareness of time running out, of the once seemingly endless turns diminishing until they can be counted. And the ending has that extraordinary sequence of words like a slowing heartbeat: “and turn to stare and stare / and turn and turn and fade”.

And how easy it would have been to end on an image of the setting sun. But the “fade into the morning sun” is a final great “turn”. A rebirth, not an ending.

On first reading, the line “today will be a day of many turns, a rich day” hit me so hard that my only suggestion, or wondering really, is if the poem might start with it. Like this:

Quote:
Today will be a day of many turns, a rich day,
cinching my coat, full of sleephopefulness,
carrying turns to spin out as I study the sky
cracks and devise a strategy, a turn will
be needed here, optional there, always
ready for the luxury of a turn unseen,
my mind is not pushing oh there's a turn...
As I said, I think it’s a brilliant poem John.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Unread 04-14-2021, 04:36 PM
John Riley John Riley is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 4,653
Default

Thank you, Mark. I think what you say about the poem is closer to what I was doing than what I realize. It is an in-depth reading that is sort like good therapy to me. I know how silly and bullshitty that sounds but the "sleephopefulness" (which is my attempt to create something in Zen talk although I am certainly not Thay) juxtaposed to what my mind is actually like. Whether that makes for a great poem I don't know--it would be cool if it did--but it is more actual than writing it straight because straight ahead is a blur. Thank you again for reading so deeply and sympathetically. Much lovingkindness.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Unread 04-15-2021, 05:13 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Staffordshire, England
Posts: 4,043
Default

The same to you, John.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Forum Right Top
Forum Left Bottom Forum Right Bottom
 
Right Left
Member Login
Forgot password?
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Statistics:
Forum Members: 8,168
Total Threads: 20,593
Total Posts: 261,336
There are 175 users
currently browsing forums.
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Sponsor:
Donate & Support Able Muse / Eratosphere
Forum LeftForum Right
Right Right
Right Bottom Left Right Bottom Right

Hosted by ApplauZ Online