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  #1  
Unread 06-17-2021, 09:33 AM
Bill Marsh Bill Marsh is offline
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Default The Antipathies

The Antipathies

He knew before he was four feet tall
many more antipathies than he did adults.
If, for instance, someone drop the ball
he became an athlete of insults;
school, tediously as its clocks,
perpetually delivered the orthodox.

He had seen antipathies at family dinners
in guerrilla war upon the table,
hidden among the china. The winners
yodeled from the candle tops,
losers retreated up shirt sleeves, disabled
and driven from even the coffee cups.

Soon antipathies were all he could see.
Before he knew they were the enemy,
they'd won a battle in his memory;
left without a verb to plot with, he
bought sanity insurance, as is sensible.
But all his precautions were ostensible.

Now asphyxia sends him a Valentine
every February and all his rage is kept
livid at the end of his cigarettes.
His days are a maze of no entrance signs.
Anger and grief, the alkaline and acid,
react to render his demeanor placid.
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  #2  
Unread 06-17-2021, 08:36 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Bill,

Basically, I like this and think it works. Let me see if I have anything more substantive to add though. I think it's your first post, so welcome.

S1: very nice, the last couplet in particular. I'd make someone drop an imperfect subjunctive, the present looks odd to me.

S2: I'd tend to avoid guerilla war and just go with war and extra syllables to fill. Yodeled? I guess. It's quite mouvemente, as the French say - busy. But there's surely room for that.

S3: I'd rework this. I don't like the four rhymes on -y, an easy rhyme in the first place, and i don't much like the closing couplet at the end stops. Maybe something other can be done here? My 2c.

S4: Maybe there's more to be done with the space for demeanor. I like the potential of acid-placid. I like this stanza, but find the very close a bit flat. Demeanor takes up space and lacks punch IMO.

So, just to repeat that I enjoyed this plenty. Antipathies is a bit of an odd word - might it sustain an initial uppercase throughout?

Regards,
John
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  #3  
Unread 06-17-2021, 11:02 PM
Mark Stone Mark Stone is offline
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Bill,

1. Hi and welcome!

2. This is an interesting poem.

3. I would have the same number of poetic feet in each line. Most lines appear to have five, but S2L4 appears to have four.

4. The first poetic foot in each line seems to randomly alternate between iambs and trochees. I would try to have one and stay with it as much as possible through the poem.

5. I would change the word order in some places to make the meter more consistent. Here are examples. Change "He had seen..." to "He saw..." Change "from even" to "even from." Change the line to "Antipathies were soon..." Change the line to "Asphyxia now sends..." Change "every February" to "each February" and delete "all" in that line. Change the line to something like: Grief and anger--alkaline and acid-- Of course, there is nothing wrong with occasional metrical substitutions.

6. "someone drop" doesn't sound grammatically correct. So I would change "drop" to "dropped"

7. "Adults" is emphasized on the second syllable. "Insults" (the noun) is emphasized on the first syllable. So they don't rhyme.

8. If I have an internal rhyme (such as "-fore" and "four" in S1L1), I often try to make the two rhyming syllables be accented syllables, since that brings out the rhyme. For example: He knew before he grew to four feet tall...

9. Sometimes you can drop words that you would say in conversation, and it works fine in the poem. For example, you could delete "in" in S2L2. I might put a comma after "dinners" and change S2L2 to read "guerrilla war across the kitchen table..." Also, in S4L4, you could delete "are" and change the line to something like: His days--a maze of stern no entrance signs.

10. There's a lot of great imagery in the poem.

Best, Mark
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  #4  
Unread 06-18-2021, 12:03 AM
R. S. Gwynn's Avatar
R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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"dropped" in l. 3.

The character seems to have retreated into a world where all his antipathies are inner.
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Unread 06-23-2021, 03:23 PM
Bill Marsh Bill Marsh is offline
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Thanks to all for the comments.

"drop" instead of "dropped" is a typo.

The original title and topic word was "attitudes" not "antipathies". I changed it because a friend suggested that "attitudes" was too weak a word for the weight it carries. But I think I will change it back. Part of the world of the poem is that attitudes are pervasive and insidious. What do you think?

Mark, to your comment that "demeanor" lacks punch and takes up space, I'd say this describes the protagonist in the poem as well. Also, I hope the connection of "demeanor" and "demean" is not lost - the protagonist is demeaned.

Also, Mark, as regards "insult" and "adult" not being a full rhyme, that is true. But I think full rhymes, slant rhymes, repeated rhymes, near rhymes, partial rhymes and any kind of rhymes we can think are equally legitimate poetic devices. This is not to say I claim to use them effectively. This discussion would be interesting but doesn't belong in this thread. Just to say the a rhyme not being full is not in itself a problem.
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Unread 06-23-2021, 10:40 PM
Mark Stone Mark Stone is offline
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Bill, The fact that a rhyme is not a full rhyme is not in itself a problem. Yes, I agree with your point, and I think I was a little too forward when I made that comment. I stand admonished! Best, Mark
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