First Language V2

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First Language V2

Post by twoleftfeet » Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:35 pm

First Language ..v2
++++++++++++

As I clunked the window open
wingbeats thrummed the summer air
the thwarted moggy in the yard
enthralled me in his mesmer-stare,
a tabby mini-tiger glare,
and pretty soon it came to me:
if i were only 1 foot 3
he'd surely have me for his tea.

Slinky feline thoughts and sounds
snuck through catflaps in my eyes,
all sibilance and soft meows -
a proto-speech I recognised:
it told of stalking,violent kills,
sharpened eyes and well-honed ears,
of game,of death,scent on the breeze,
false refuge tempting from the trees.

This prima lingua still survives -
it's been around since teeth and claws,
the urge to live,to flee or fight
extant before the dinosaurs.

It's telegraphed among the boughs
by skittering monkeys,scattering birds.
A large ape on the forest floor
screams a warning - too late now,
the grass erupts! -
a shriek,
a roar -
his mate limp in the Big Cat's jaws.




First Language v1
+++++++++++++


As I clunked the window open
startled birds took to the air
the tabby stalking in the garden
fixed me with his moga-stare,

a yellowish mini-tiger glare,
and pretty soon it came to me:
if i were only one foot three
he'd surely have me for his tea.

Slinky feline thoughts and sounds
snuck through the cat flaps in my eyes,
all sibilance and soft meows -
an ancient tongue I recognised:

it spoke of ever-present dangers,
sharpened eyes and well-honed ears,
the scent of death upon the breeze,
the hope of safety in the trees

This prima lingua still survives -
it's been around since teeth and claws,
the urge to live,to flee or fight
more cogent than these feeble words.

It's telegraphed among the boughs
by skittering monkeys,scattering birds,
and down upon the forest floor
by warning screams,and lunging roars -

the prey limp in the hunter's jaws.
Last edited by twoleftfeet on Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:15 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Lingua Prima

Post by NotQuiteSure » Tue Jul 02, 2019 3:45 pm

.
Hi T.

Enjoyable read, delightfully deceptive opening. 'Clunked' is just perfect.

A few nits, but all minor.

S1. 'birds' - given this is better used in S6, is there an alternative? Having trouble not reading 'moga-stare'
as mogg-ish stare :) (without apologies to JRM).

S2. 'yellowish' - unless this is vital (I know, colour of a tiger's eye) I'd suggest tabby as an alternative.
('one foot three' - still sounds rather large, but maybe the comedy makes it ok.)

S3. I think, for the rhythm, you could cut the 'the' before 'cat flaps'.

S4. 'it spoke of ever-present dangers,' just seems weak to me. Sorry can't be more specific. Just a suggestion
it told/spoke of dangers, constant, mortal,
sharpened eyes, attentive ears


S5. 'more cogent than these feeble words.' Not sold on 'cogent', perhaps some variation on
a primal power more than words ?
or
a language without need of words ?

S6. Also not convinced by 'telegraphed'. Maybe transmitted ? Are there 'lunging roars'? Genuine question.
Seems unlikely, wouldn't it startle the prey?
Perhaps,
by warning screams of stalking paws - ?

To me it feels a line short.

the prey limp in the hunter's jaws.
The hunter with the hunt's reward.


Regards, ¬


.

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Re: First Language

Post by Macavity » Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:24 am

Hi Geoff,
The original title caught my eye, but I presume you wanted to be more pointed or preferred not to repeat the phrase in the poem? Depends how you want to pitch the register for the poem. The original title played with the leaden 'clunked'.


twoleftfeet wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:35 pm
First Language
+++++++++++++


As I clunked the window open..............translates the clumsy noise
startled birds took to the air
the tabby stalking in the garden
fixed me with his moga-stare,.................nailed an option

a yellowish mini-tiger glare,........................like the play moga-stare/ mini-tiger glare
and pretty soon it came to me:
if I were only one foot three.......capitalise
he'd surely have me for his tea.

Slinky feline thoughts and sounds
snuck through the cat flaps in my eyes,........like the image, not sure about the rhythm
all sibilance and soft meows -
an ancient tongue I recognised:..............primal an option?

it spoke of ever-present dangers,...................would threat give more edge?
sharpened eyes and well-honed ears,
the scent of death upon the breeze,
the hope of safety in the trees......................full-stop

This prima lingua still survives -
it's been around since teeth and claws,
the urge to live,to flee or fight
more cogent than these feeble words.....does this feel right for the poem's voice

It's telegraphed among the boughs......made me picture the height
by skittering monkeys,scattering birds,
and down upon the forest floor
by warning screams,and lunging roars -......definitely witnessed in wild life films

the prey limp in the hunter's jaws.
muchly enjoyed

mac

cogent...could raid some Blake...burning/fearful...'frighted'...though the alliteration may be an issue
Last edited by Macavity on Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: First Language

Post by Poet » Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:41 pm

This is some beautiful work but I am left wondering was it all worth the wait reading and finding out that it was all the hunters jaws?

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Re: First Language

Post by bjondon » Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:36 pm

A couple of typos mac picked up on, though i guess
L16 could also be an ellipsis.
Maybe 'danger' singular
'yellowish' strikes me as a little off, maybe yellowing, yellowed or just yellow?
Spelling of moga-stare . . . edges towards a long 'o' … retrospectively it seems ok, an appropriate shimmer of disconcertion, but maybe 'mogger-stare' might be an option.
Otherwise perfect!
- from the nursery to the jungle Jules
p.s. just thinking about Poet's point . . . this is a pretty original piece
but that is quite an ordinary line to end with . . more of the same in a way.
It's certainly in keeping but something punchier could work . . . since you are returning to the cat
it could either go ludicrously cute or vicious (the cat or the N) . . . or maybe just name the prey.
Last edited by bjondon on Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: First Language

Post by David » Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:34 pm

I wondered about “lunging roars” too – especially due to the potential reading of something to do with lungs – but I suppose it’s probably okay. Conveys the sense very neatly, anyway.

And quite a solemn ending to what was almost a jolly romp up to there. Works well, though.

Enjoyed it. Have you seen The Incredible Shrinking Man? Good film. And very apt.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnDfrveCADo

Cheers

David

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Re: Lingua Prima

Post by twoleftfeet » Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:52 am

Thanks for the detailed crit, ¬ (and the heads-up on prima lingua/lingua prima)
NotQuiteSure wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 3:45 pm
.
Hi T.

Enjoyable read, delightfully deceptive opening. 'Clunked' is just perfect.

A few nits, but all minor.

S1. 'birds' - given this is better used in S6, is there an alternative? Having trouble not reading 'moga-stare'
as mogg-ish stare :) (without apologies to JRM).
yes,I need to kill ..err 1 bird with one ..err. pun?
I was going for a play on mega/moga,but no one likes it - so it's going.


S2. 'yellowish' - unless this is vital (I know, colour of a tiger's eye) I'd suggest tabby as an alternative.
('one foot three' - still sounds rather large, but maybe the comedy makes it ok.)
agreed about "yellowish",but I've seen a big tomcat intimidate an alsatian.
:)

S3. I think, for the rhythm, you could cut the 'the' before 'cat flaps'.
Mac agrees with you,so I'll bin it.

S4. 'it spoke of ever-present dangers,' just seems weak to me. Sorry can't be more specific. Just a suggestion
it told/spoke of dangers, constant, mortal,
yes,I'll be changing it to something with "violence"

sharpened eyes, attentive ears

- it occurred to me that strictly speaking you can sharpen eyesight and have sharp eyes but not "sharpened eyes"
but I liked the sound of it. Similarly with "well honed ears".I suppose that you could think of eyes and ears as
weapons too,albeit passive ones unlike say blades which would fit my usage. Yes,I am a bit crazy..


S5. 'more cogent than these feeble words.' Not sold on 'cogent',
- I was hoping to imply "forcefully/intimidatingly persuasive" as well as effective logic but clearly that's not working
I'll probably go with "forceful"


perhaps some variation on
a primal power more than words ?
or
a language without need of words ?
- Curses! I'm not sure I know myself.I think I'm hoping that the rewrite will imply to the reader that my prima lingua did not have words per se but it was the precursor to what apes (us) evolved it into.


S6. Also not convinced by 'telegraphed'. Maybe transmitted ?
- I had "bush telegraph" in mind.

Are there 'lunging roars'?
..errmm NO :oops:
Genuine question.
Seems unlikely, wouldn't it startle the prey?
- Genuine answer - the noise and the sudden movement does seem to startle the prey so that it is rooted to the spot for a split second.(imho).

To me it feels a line short.
- I agree



Regards, ¬


.
All the best
Geoff
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Re: First Language

Post by twoleftfeet » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:47 pm

Thank you,Mac - much appreciated.
Macavity wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:24 am
Hi Geoff,
The original title caught my eye, but I presume you wanted to be more pointed or preferred not to repeat the phrase in the poem? Depends how you want to pitch the register for the poem. The original title played with the leaden 'clunked'.
[quote}

I now think "prima lingua" is the correct latin,but anyone googling that will get hits for language courses!
Additionally,a dictionary hit shows it as "the first language you learn as a child".So I changed to the english title..
the tabby stalking in the garden
fixed me with his moga-stare,.................nailed an option
-I'm leaning towards nailed/ninja stare
an ancient tongue I recognised:..............primal an option?
- yes, .. if I don't use "primal stare".
it spoke of ever-present dangers,...................would threat give more edge?
- I'll change the whole line.
more cogent than these feeble words.....does this feel right for the poem's voice
- does it work if I change cogent to forceful?
(as in the pen is mightier than the sword,but not in a dark alleyway :evil: )

Regards
Geoff
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Re: First Language

Post by twoleftfeet » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:49 pm

Poet wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:41 pm
This is some beautiful work but I am left wondering was it all worth the wait reading and finding out that it was all the hunters jaws?
Poet,I genuinely don't understand what you are trying to say.
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Re: First Language

Post by NotQuiteSure » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:58 pm

.
Hi Geoff,

just passing.

- I was going for a play on mega/moga,but no one likes it - so it's going.
I got the play, it's just the way it's written doesn't immediately invite the pronunciation you're after
(at least it didn't to me). Other than that, I thought it worked. 'Mogga-stare' would get you the sound,
I think, but perhaps at the expense of the visual.

- I've seen a big tomcat intimidate an alsatian. :)
Sure, but big difference between intimidation and having for tea :)

sharpened eyes, attentive ears
- it occurred to me that strictly speaking you can sharpen eyesight and have sharp eyes but not "sharpened eyes" but I liked the sound
of it. Similarly with "well honed ears".I suppose that you could think of eyes and ears as weapons too,albeit passive ones unlike say blades
which would fit my usage. Yes,I am a bit crazy..

I like the 'weapons' idea, missed it by being distracted by 'honed' and 'sharpened' as synonyms.
Don't know if it would work but...
sharpened eyes, sentinel ears

- Curses! I'm not sure I know myself.I think I'm hoping that the rewrite will imply to the reader that my prima lingua did not have words per se
but it was the precursor to what apes (us) evolved it into.

Perhaps the issue is having 'language' in the title, when what you're describing hasn't developed to that stage yet. Perhaps 'Reading the Signs' ?

- I had "bush telegraph" in mind.
And there I was being sidetracked by 'grapevine' :)


Regards, ¬


.
Last edited by NotQuiteSure on Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: First Language

Post by twoleftfeet » Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:01 pm

bjondon wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:36 pm

Maybe 'danger' singular
'yellowish' strikes me as a little off, maybe yellowing, yellowed or just yellow?
Spelling of moga-stare . . . edges towards a long 'o' … retrospectively it seems ok, an appropriate shimmer of disconcertion, but maybe 'mogger-stare' might be an option.
- I know when I'm beaten :) These bits have got the general thumbs down,so I'll have another go.
bjondon wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:36 pm
p.s. just thinking about Poet's point . . . this is a pretty original piece
but that is quite an ordinary line to end with . . more of the same in a way.
It's certainly in keeping but something punchier could work . . . since you are returning to the cat
it could either go ludicrously cute or vicious (the cat or the N) . . . or maybe just name the prey.
- the predator is the cat's ancestor and the prey is an ape (ours). That's not clear at all,is it.. :oops:
Will try to do better.

Cheers
Geoff
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Re: First Language

Post by twoleftfeet » Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:12 pm

David wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:34 pm
I wondered about “lunging roars” too – especially due to the potential reading of something to do with lungs – but I suppose it’s probably okay. Conveys the sense very neatly, anyway.
Yes, it's strange that I'm perfectly OK with a comic (I hope) "sharpened eyes",yet "lunging roars" despite the visual image being right sounds naff..
And quite a solemn ending to what was almost a jolly romp up to there. Works well, though.
- thanks for that,David
Enjoyed it. Have you seen The Incredible Shrinking Man? Good film. And very apt.
- yes indeed. The spider scenes!!


Regards
Geoff
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Re: First Language

Post by Macavity » Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:33 am

ancient tongue
triggered thoughts of ancient civilizations...the Greeks etc

I'm a lone voice on the 'moga stare' but thought it apt and fun (but then I was fine with lunging roars :) )
(as in the pen is mightier than the sword,but not in a dark alleyway :evil: )
Depends how pointed the quill is...and how dark is dark!

cheers

mac

ps I think forceful is a bit limp and the Blake options are worth plundering...

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Re: First Language

Post by twoleftfeet » Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:09 am

Thanks for coming back,¬

sharpened eyes, sentinel ears
I suppose "sentinelled" might work (I needed the hint of a verb),but leading on from that,I can go with
"sharpened eyeballs,lookout ears" !
[/quote]
Perhaps the issue is having 'language' in the title, when what you're describing hasn't developed to that stage yet. Perhaps 'Reading the Signs' ?
Probably true,but my poor little conceit definitely won't withstand any in-depth analysis (although I love to discuss
such topics)
This is a fascinating article and not as boring as the title suggests:
https://www.sapiens.org/language/primate-vocalizations/

Regards
T
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Re: First Language

Post by Perry » Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:15 am

I'm sorry that I don't have a critique, but there is too much of the poem that I don't understand. I think I know what you are getting at, but I'm not sure enough to take a stab at it. (I selected my avatar for times just like this.)

I do like that you seem to have written it in meter and rhyme, although the rhymes aren't consistent.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: First Language

Post by NotQuiteSure » Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:15 pm

.
Hi T,
thanks for the link. Been a while since ...

Made me wonder about 'Vocalisation' as a title, or, given the ending, Miscommunication.

It also made me wonder whether you run into a spot of difficulty in the 'telegraph' verse.
"The best interpretation is that the leopard alarm call means “leopard.” Whenever a
monkey hears this call, it thinks of a leopard and runs up a tree" - So what is your primate
doing when the alarm is being sounded?
(And, given how it's currently structured, how do 'lunging roars' relate to 'telegraphed'?)

Just a thought:

It's telegraphed among the boughs
by chattering apes and scattering birds.
While down upon the forest floor
a hesitation/oblivious, a lunging roar -

a simian snatched by a carnivore
(or worse
a simian lunch/feast for a carnivore :) )


As to 'lookout ears', it just sounds like an injunction :)
sharpened eyeballs, searching ears ?


Regards, ¬.


.

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Re: First Language

Post by twoleftfeet » Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:19 pm

Thanks for revisiting,Mac
Macavity wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:33 am
ancient tongue
triggered thoughts of ancient civilizations...the Greeks etc
Damn&blast - I should have thought of that!
There seems to be an expression "proto-speech" which describes exactly what I want,whereas "proto language" is a
minefield of competing theories.

I'm a lone voice on the 'moga stare' but thought it apt and fun (but then I was fine with lunging roars :) )
- whatever I choose it's not going to gel with everyone,alas.

ps I think forceful is a bit limp and the Blake options are worth plundering...
I can only see burning/fearful/dreadful, tbh.
The first might get me some brownie points from other poets :)
Fearful/dreadful -to modern ears might imply the opposite to what I want.
I suppose I could have "burning/bleating" - but "bleating" might suggest additional ideas to some,in a reference to a poem that mentions the "Lamb of God". I'd rather steer clear.

Would "wanton/wimpish words" work?
Or maybe "superior/weakling"?

Regards
Geoff
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Re: First Language

Post by twoleftfeet » Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:47 pm

Perry wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:15 am
I'm sorry that I don't have a critique, but there is too much of the poem that I don't understand. I think I know what you are getting at, but I'm not sure enough to take a stab at it. (I selected my avatar for times just like this.)

I do like that you seem to have written it in meter and rhyme, although the rhymes aren't consistent.
Thanks for taking a look,Perry.
Don't worry,the poem is not at all focussed - it's just meant to be (a)fun and (b) to get you speculating about language.

I pride myself on being consistently inconsistent.

Regards
Geoff
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Re: First Language

Post by twoleftfeet » Sun Jul 07, 2019 1:04 pm

Thanks for coming back so quickly, ¬

I'm working on version 2. The scenario at the end still might not stand up to too much scrutiny,though.
It's got an implied group of apes and I've uncoupled lunge and roar and the telegraph.
Good suggestions for a humorous ending,but I'd like to keep the tone as it is.
NotQuiteSure wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:15 pm
.
As to 'lookout ears', it just sounds like an injunction :)

.
And that's one of the reasons I love it! :D
(It's your own fault for suggesting "sentinel"..)

T
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Re: First Language

Post by Macavity » Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:28 pm

feral?

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Re: First Language

Post by twoleftfeet » Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:13 pm

Macavity wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:28 pm
feral?
Thanks,Mac
I've chickened out of that line altogether,and hoped the link between sounds/screams/words is now implied in the last stanza.

Revision posted.
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Re: First Language V2

Post by Macavity » Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:02 am

hi Geoff,

Thumbs up and thumbs down, but then I had few qualms about the original.
I'm missing the visual symmetry, though the rhythms of V1 are smoother in my read.
As I clunked the window open
wingbeats thrummed the summer air
the thwarted moggy in the yard
enthralled me in his mesmer-stare,
The mesmer-stare works, and overall these lines have more life: I like the wingbeats, usually I have a bias against any thrum - but like the 'm' sounds in that line :)
the scent of death upon the breeze,
the hope of safety in the trees
I prefer the regular tetrameter of those lines, more fluid, the revision is more start/stop...
of game,of death,scent on the breeze,
false refuge tempting from the trees.
extant before the dinosaurs.
Sorry Geoff the 'telly' line is still not working for me, though the claws/dinosaurs is a fun rhyme, but then I suppose it threads with 'proto-speech'.

Making the prey specific does improve the ending.

Hope that helps some.

cheers

mac

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Re: First Language V2

Post by NotQuiteSure » Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:23 pm

.
Hi T.

Afraid I agree with mac about the revision, some good hits and some not so good misses.
(Still not sure about the title, Vocalisations?)

After the gloriously unapologetic 'thunked' 'thrummed' seems far too poetic (drummed might
work ... maybe).

Maybe 'slipped' for 'snuck' ?

As a radical suggestion you might consider cutting S4 entirely.

It reads to me like there's a step/verse missing between S5 and S6. Maybe part of the problem is
that you describing a scene that is both contemporary and from N's evolutionary past.


Alternatively, and with a little light butchery ...



As I clunked the window open
startled wings took to the air.
The moggy, thwarted, in my garden
caught me in his mesmer-stare,

a mini-tiger's wrathful glare.

Slinky feline thoughts and sounds
snuck through cat-flaps in my eyes,
all sibilance and soft meows:
not speech, but still I recognised

echoes of the Prima Lingua,
predating predators, teeth and claws,
the urge to live, to flee, to fight
evolved long before the dinosaurs.

And pretty soon it came to me,
a dreadful age-old certainty: ?
that were only 1 foot 3
he'd surely have me for his tea.

Telegraphed among the boughs
by chattering simians, scattering birds.
oblivious, on the forest floor,
to warning calls, to lunging roars:

an ape dies in the Big Cat's jaws.


Regards, ¬.


.
Last edited by NotQuiteSure on Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: First Language V2

Post by twoleftfeet » Mon Jul 08, 2019 4:11 pm

Thanks for the positives,Mac.

Re: S1
I know what you mean by "smooth" - but I've only changed "gard/en" to "yard/en" - it's the "en" appearing on the next line that is the problem,of course.

I deliberately stymied the cat - I doubt if that is any clearer now.
My first thought was to have "grateful wingbeats" but in the end I opted for those "m" and "th" sounds.

Re: the negatives.

I plead GUILTY,but with a plea for clemency. :)

The "telly line" is at least vaguely accurate though,and I do feel a need for a spot of clarification.
If I can think of a decent alternative for "forceful/feeble" I'll change it.

There is a problem with the "hope of safety in the trees" line now that I've named Big Cats
- tigers can climb trees! hence "false".

"of game,of death,scent on the breeze"
- I want it to be confusing for the reader as it sounds.Ideally I'd like to be able to put "of" on the preceding line
suggesting "game of death sent on the breeze","game of death,scent on the breeze","game,of death's scent on the breeze"
etc.
I'm overcooking it :oops:

Thanks for your time and help on this
Geoff
Instead of just sitting on the fence - why not stand in the middle of the road?

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riverrun
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Re: First Language V2

Post by riverrun » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:21 pm

Strangely I liked more the first draft (V1), more elliptical. The last verse " the prey limp in the hunter's jaws" remebered in some sense the Songs of Innocence and Experience of William Blake -- the verse separated from the other stanzas gives a feeling of cutting.

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