Absolution published in Halloween Anthology

New to poetry? Unsure about the quality of your work? Then why not post here to receive some gentle feedback.
User avatar
Jackie
Preponderant Poster
Preponderant Poster
Posts: 1286
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:21 am
Contact:

Absolution published in Halloween Anthology

Post by Jackie » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:05 pm

The published version can be found in the ebook Lost Tales from the Mountain at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/372403

By Hallowe'en
the rains are driven into night.
The watchmen say that
evenings, a devil comes
and I scoff.
Time upon time, "Are the windows shut?" calls Grandma.
"Hold good dread of night air!"
"Soon," I say from the hammock where I read.
I lie listening.

Cries mount from our shed. In spirals,
ever higher and wilder,
howls rise from the dogs along the bay.
Then they peak and circle back.
The dogs pause and pace about,
handing back the night.

Leaves rustle off the porch,
and fall silent
and rustle
and fall
silent. I lie listening.
The air all about
is still.

My books lurch! A door slams.
I leap. The trees
reach with such swishing
you'd think they'd break.
I shout, "Night-sweeping throws your luck away!"
and flee for my billet. Fight the fury for it,
my fingers tight in the net-gaps!

At last, the torrent comes.
It hurls the tempests to the gravel.
Shamed, they seek space in gutters.
Spray in my face and half asleep then,
I lie listening.
Could the sparkling cascading past
reflecting our lights inside
be beings that hallow evenings
by Hallowe'en?
Last edited by Jackie on Thu Oct 31, 2013 7:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

David2
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
Posts: 499
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:54 pm

Re: Absolution

Post by David2 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:21 am

The link between the title and the poem is eluding me at the moment, Jackie, but I like the poem. I like the ghost story effect you achieve. There are hints of a fuller folklore than you give us here, which adds depth to the poem.

Perhaps "swishing" seems not quite in the same register as the rest, but I'm not sure what you'd use instead.
Jackie wrote:be beings that hallow evenings
by Hallowe'en?
Taken purely as a collection of words, and as an ending, that's beautifully musical.

Cheers

David

User avatar
Jackie
Preponderant Poster
Preponderant Poster
Posts: 1286
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:21 am
Contact:

Re: Absolution

Post by Jackie » Fri Aug 16, 2013 2:27 pm

Thank you for reading this, David. I guess the absolution is the transition from the state of guilt you feel if you don't buy into the barrage of folk admonishings that form part of a traditional society, to a state of peace with it, another consciousness where you can cohabit with those beliefs. Imparted by the "beings"?

I wasn't satisfied with "swishing" because I wanted something bigger and more profound, but it didn't occur to me that the register was off. Interesting.

Jackie

David2
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
Posts: 499
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:54 pm

Re: Absolution

Post by David2 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:12 pm

Jackie wrote:I wasn't satisfied with "swishing" because I wanted something bigger and more profound, but it didn't occur to me that the register was off. Interesting.
They both amount to pretty much the same thing, don't they? Anyway, I agree with you about "swishing".

KevJ
Preponderant Poster
Preponderant Poster
Posts: 825
Joined: Fri May 21, 2010 9:54 pm
Location: Birmingham

Re: Absolution

Post by KevJ » Sat Aug 17, 2013 2:27 am

I Love the atmosphere in this one Jackie. I too at first didn't get the title, thanks for the explanation, I get it now. :wink: The only thing I'm not sure about is the use of the word rustle twice in the same stanza. But enjoyed the story very much.

On reading again I now think the repetition of rustle and fall silent does work in fact. :o
I am not a number ... I am a FREE man!

Antcliff
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6599
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:35 am
Location: At the end of stanza 3

Re: Absolution

Post by Antcliff » Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:10 am

Hi Jackie!
like Daid, I did not understand the title...which seems a bit distant from the text.
I also liked that end.
And blend of theme/mood.
Thoughts (probably of no value) below..

Jackie wrote:By Hallowe'en
the rains are driven into night.
The watchmen say that
evenings, a devil comes
and I scoff.
Time upon time, "Are the windows shut?" calls Grandma......."Do you need "time upon time"?
"Hold good dread of night air!"
"Soon," I say from the hammock where I read.
I lie listening............"lie" is already implied by the fact you are in hammock? Something else slightly more engaging at the spot?

Cries mount from our shed. In spirals........The cries "mount"? Not sure I grasp that.
ever higher and wilder,
howls rise from the dogs along the bay.
Then they peak and circle back.
The dogs pause and pace about,
handing back the night.

Leaves rustle off the porch,
and fall silent
and rustle
and fall
silent. I lie listening.
The air all about
is still.

My books lurch! A door slams.
I leap. The trees
reach with such swishing
you'd think they'd break.
I shout, "Night-sweeping throws your luck away!"
and flee for my billet. Fight the fury for it,
my fingers tight in the net-gaps!

At last, the torrent comes.....do you need "at last"?
It hurls the tempests to the gravel.
Shamed, they seek space in gutters.
Spray in my face and half asleep then,
I lie listening...................................perhaps vary that line a bit? I see it is perhaps intended as something of a refrain.
Could the sparkling cascading past
reflecting our lights inside
be beings that hallow evenings
by Hallowe'en?
........................great.
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6200
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: Absolution

Post by Macavity » Sun Aug 18, 2013 12:46 pm

handing back the night.
I like that phrasing.
My books lurch! A door slams.
I leap.
The lurch was a bit melodramatic, and the door slamming is a bit genre cliche.
Leaves rustle off the porch,
and fall silent
and rustle
and fall
silent. I lie listening.
I thought the repetition was very affective.

mac

User avatar
Jackie
Preponderant Poster
Preponderant Poster
Posts: 1286
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:21 am
Contact:

Re: Absolution

Post by Jackie » Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:09 pm

Thank you, Kev. I appreciate your reading and thoughts.

Seth, your analysis is always of value! Funny how I thought the "time" phrase was essential to show that this happened over and over, but without it the poem seems more here and now, which is good. And it's true that I was trying to create a refrain, controlling the pace, imagining myself speaking this aloud.

Mac, thanks for questioning the "lurch" section. I've struggled over it and you have helped point out the problem.

Jackie

Elphin
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2947
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 4:10 pm

Re: Absolution

Post by Elphin » Mon Aug 19, 2013 6:45 pm

Hello Jackie

I have read a few of your pieces and not necessarily commented so I will firstly say that I think you are bringing something a little different to the board so more power to you.

I like the idea of this poem, especially once you explained it, however for this reader there aren't enough poetic devices to make this "story" a poem.

Just IMHO of course.

elph

User avatar
Jackie
Preponderant Poster
Preponderant Poster
Posts: 1286
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:21 am
Contact:

Re: Absolution

Post by Jackie » Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:22 pm

Thanks so much for reading it, Elph, and for your comments. I do see your point about this one and I might say the same thing if it were someone else's--I seem to develop fuzzy vision when considering my own!

Jackie

backinblack
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
Posts: 275
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:31 pm
antispam: no

Re: Absolution

Post by backinblack » Mon Sep 02, 2013 5:33 pm

Jackie Thank you! I really enjoyed this read, I got a real sense of the moment.
I'll leave the fine tuning advice to better sources than myself, it's a thumbs up from me :D


backinblack.
Poems everybody...poems.. the laddie fancies himself a poet!..Pink Floyd-The wall.

User avatar
Jackie
Preponderant Poster
Preponderant Poster
Posts: 1286
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:21 am
Contact:

Re: Absolution

Post by Jackie » Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:41 pm

Thank you, Backinblack! That gives me patience to work on the fine tuning.

Jackie

User avatar
Jackie
Preponderant Poster
Preponderant Poster
Posts: 1286
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:21 am
Contact:

Re: Absolution

Post by Jackie » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:17 pm

I'd really appreciate your feedback on whether this revision helps or hinders!

Absolution (revision)

By Hallowe'en
the rains are driven into night.
The watchmen say that
evenings, a devil comes
and I scoff.
"Are the windows shut?" calls Grandma.
"Dread the night air!"
"Soon," I say from the hammock where I read.

I lie listening. Cries
mount from our shed. In spirals,
ever higher and wilder,
howls rise from the dogs along the bay.
Then they peak and circle back.
The dogs pause and pace about,
handing back the night.

Leaves rustle off the porch,
and fall silent
and rustle
and fall
silent. I stand, listening.
The air
all about
is still.

My books heave. A crash. Opening the dark,
staunch leaves whirl gleaming,
their distended limbs
threshing
our floor. I flee
for my billet. I fight the fury
for it,
fingers grasping net-gaps.
"Night-sweeping
throws luck away!"

And the torrent comes, flailing
tempests to gravel where, shamed,
they seek space in gutters.

Spray in my face and half asleep then,
I lie knowing
the sparkling cascading past
reflecting our lights inside
to be beings
that hallow evenings
by Hallowe'en.

David2
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
Posts: 499
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:54 pm

Re: Absolution

Post by David2 » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:37 pm

I prefer the original, Jackie.

Cheers

David

Antcliff
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6599
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:35 am
Location: At the end of stanza 3

Re: Absolution

Post by Antcliff » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:54 pm

Hi Jackie

Hmm. I think rather prefer the old version..for this reason: the old version has you listening and asking a question, but the new one has you knowing. That makes for a very different mood of poem...from a transition to taking something as a possibility to taking it as a certainty. As it now stands the poem is more of a full conversion poem?

Seth
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

User avatar
Jackie
Preponderant Poster
Preponderant Poster
Posts: 1286
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:21 am
Contact:

Re: Absolution

Post by Jackie » Fri Sep 13, 2013 7:19 am

Thanks to both of you for reading through it! And Seth, it's true, the mood changed.

User avatar
Jackie
Preponderant Poster
Preponderant Poster
Posts: 1286
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:21 am
Contact:

Re: Absolution

Post by Jackie » Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:29 pm

I just got word this poem was accepted for a Halloween anthology being published by Mountain Springs House! Thanks to all for feedback!

Jackie

Antcliff
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6599
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:35 am
Location: At the end of stanza 3

Re: Absolution

Post by Antcliff » Mon Oct 21, 2013 4:31 pm

Well done, Jackie! Send us a link to the press when it comes out.

Seth
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

David2
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
Posts: 499
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:54 pm

Re: Absolution

Post by David2 » Mon Oct 21, 2013 4:41 pm

Yes indeed. Well done, Jackie. Which version did they take?

Arian
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 2718
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:41 am
antispam: no
Location: Hertfordshire, UK

Re: Absolution

Post by Arian » Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:33 pm

Jackie wrote:I just got word this poem was accepted for a Halloween anthology
Quite right, too. A lot to commend it. I particularly admired....

handing back the night.

and....

Leaves rustle off the porch,
and fall silent
and rustle
and fall
silent. I lie listening.
The air all about
is still.

Personally, I always think reported speech in a poem tends to create awkwardness, and I'm not sure you really get away with it here, either. It has a clunky feel to me.

Still, as I say, I think it's a strong piece, overall. And...
David2 wrote:
Jackie wrote:be beings that hallow evenings
by Hallowe'en?
Taken purely as a collection of words, and as an ending, that's beautifully musical.
Very true.

Cheers
peter

User avatar
Jackie
Preponderant Poster
Preponderant Poster
Posts: 1286
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:21 am
Contact:

Re: Absolution

Post by Jackie » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:42 am

Thank you for the detail, Peter. I agree with you about the reported speech but I couldn't find another way to introduce the folklore. I tried just using a different tense to set it apart, but it didn't seem to work.

Thanks to David and Seth for nice words. As to the version, I kept on revising it so I guess we'll all get a look at it when the link comes through!

Jackie

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6200
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: Absolution

Post by Macavity » Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:13 pm

Congratulations Jackie - well done for persevering1

cheers

mac

User avatar
Jackie
Preponderant Poster
Preponderant Poster
Posts: 1286
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:21 am
Contact:

Re: Absolution

Post by Jackie » Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:21 pm

It makes me appreciate this forum more, Mac. Have to keep at it.

Arian
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 2718
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:41 am
antispam: no
Location: Hertfordshire, UK

Re: Absolution

Post by Arian » Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:01 pm

Jackie wrote:I agree with you about the reported speech but I couldn't find another way to introduce the folklore.
I see your point. Perhaps a change of presentation would help - replace the visually awkward speechmarks with ordinary italics.

Time upon time, Are the windows shut? calls Grandma.
Hold good dread of night air!
Soon, I say from the hammock where I read.
I lie listening.

etc.

User avatar
Jackie
Preponderant Poster
Preponderant Poster
Posts: 1286
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:21 am
Contact:

Re: Absolution

Post by Jackie » Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:24 pm

Thank you, Peter. Does look better.

Post Reply