Anglesey birds in mystery mass death (revision4)

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Macavity
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Anglesey birds in mystery mass death (revision4)

Post by Macavity » Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:07 pm

revision 4

She wakes for dusting stuff -
owls and cats and frogs,
a joy of bric-a-brac.
And later some chit-chat -
pegging the washing line
with sensible semaphore.

Once bravado flourished
a bucket list of gliders,
balloons, parachute jumps -
any harum-scarum flight.
The murmuration deaths
were the end of all that.

A sunny wet road, they said.
She wakes in a cul-de-sac.



=====================================================

revision3

She wakes for dusting stuff -
owls and cats and frogs,
a joy of bric-a-brac.
And later some chit-chat -
pegging the washing line,
her semaphore for the starlings.

Once bravado flourished
a bucket list of flight:
gliders, balloons, and perhaps
a parachute jump.
The murmuration deaths
were the end of all that.

A sunny wet road, they said.
She lives in a cul-de-sac.

=====================================================


revision2

She wakes for dusting stuff -
owls and cats and frogs,
a joy of bric-a-brac.
And later some chit-chat -
pegging the washing line,
her semaphore for the starlings.

But once her lips boasted
as red as a robin's breast.
Pride spat the roll of dice -
a parachute jump.
The murmuration deaths
were the end of all that.

A sunny wet road, they said.
She irons a cul-de-sac.


============================================================================

revision

She wakes for dusting stuff -
owls and cats and frogs,
a joy of bric-a-brac.
And later some chit-chat -
pegging the washing line,
her semaphore for the starlings.
She irons her dying days.

But once her lips boasted
as red as a Robin's breast.
Pride spat the roll of dice -
a parachute jump.
The murmuration deaths
were the end of all that.
A sunny wet road, they said.


original

She wakes for dusting stuff,
lifeless bric-a-brac -
owls and cats and frogs.
And later some chit-chat,
pegging the washing line,
her semaphore for starlings.
She irons her dying days.

But once her lips boasted
as red as a Robin's breast.
Life spat the roll of dice -
a parachute jump,
but a murmuration
was the end of all that.
Last edited by Macavity on Wed Mar 04, 2020 10:14 am, edited 15 times in total.

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Perry
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Re: Anglesey birds in mystery mass death

Post by Perry » Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:38 am

My first reaction to the poem is that some lines sound a little dull. I've learned over the years that every line of a poem has to have original language, or an original thought -- something cogent to the mind -- for the poem to be successful. Lines like these are as boring as the tedium they convey:

lifeless bric-a-brac -
owls and cats and frogs.
And later some chit-chat,
pegging the washing line,

Somehow you need to put a little wit into the language. An example of a line with wit is "She irons her dying days." This line also isn't bad, as it sets the tone/premise of the poem pretty clearly: "She wakes for dusting stuff".

In the second stanza, I'm not sure how you can compare the youth of a woman to dying starlings. Also, the significance of a parachute jump escapes me. (Is the roll of the dice being compared to a parachute jump?) The word "murmuration" can refer to a group of starlings or to murmurs or murmurings. In neither case do I see how murmuration is the end of the woman's youth, which is what you seem to be saying.

Of course, as I've said many times, I can be dense, and I may have missed an obvious connection.
Macavity wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:07 pm
She wakes for dusting stuff,
lifeless bric-a-brac -
owls and cats and frogs.
And later some chit-chat,
pegging the washing line,
her semaphore for starlings.
She irons her dying days.

But once her lips boasted
as red as a Robin's breast.
Life spat the roll of dice -
a parachute jump,
but a murmuration
was the end of all that.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

Macavity
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Re: Anglesey birds in mystery mass death

Post by Macavity » Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:37 am

Thank you for your response Perry. In particular, I feel your point about
to put a little wit into the language.
is a valid one. I will have a think.

all the best

mac

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Re: Anglesey birds in mystery mass death (revision)

Post by NotQuiteSure » Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:55 pm

.
Hi mac,
enjoyed the character study (and the rhymes), but not making the connection to the title (or its story) - it feels a bit tacked on. S2 seems, to me, to rush the progression from lips to dice to parachute to road (and why a Robin?).

One 'as' too many, L9? Should the first be 'a'?

If a 'semaphore for the starlings' - what's the message? Clearly not a warning about the sunny wet road :)

Just a thought ...

She lives for dusting - stuff,
owls, frogs, her many cats
the uncluttered joy
of brick-a-brac.
later, perhaps, a chin-wag
while pegging washing
on the line, a semaphore
for starlings. A linen warning
as she irons out her dying days.

(Might it be worth starting with S2? The end line of S1 is so much stronger and satisfying.)


Regards, Not

.

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Re: Anglesey birds in mystery mass death (revision)

Post by Jackie » Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:01 pm

I find this captivating, Mac. She seems to have lived a life of enabling birds. And it seems her life took an abrupt turn from risk-taking to safe, apparently at the moment so many starlings fatally mistook a shiny, wet path for a lake.

Making her the topic of the poem forefronts the shock people felt at hearing about this incident. It's hard to write about shock. I think this could use some smoothing out, but it made me feel it.

Thanks,
Jackie

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Re: Anglesey birds in mystery mass death (revision2)

Post by Macavity » Sat Jan 25, 2020 7:25 am

The end line of S1 is so much stronger and satisfying.
I think you have a point there Not. I have relocated!

cheers

mac

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Re: Anglesey birds in mystery mass death (revision2)

Post by Macavity » Sat Jan 25, 2020 7:30 am

And it seems her life took an abrupt turn from risk-taking to safe, apparently at the moment so many starlings fatally mistook a shiny, wet path
Exactly Jackie! Moments that define the roads we take.

all the best

mac

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Re: Anglesey birds in mystery mass death (revision2)

Post by Firebird » Sun Jan 26, 2020 10:25 am

Hi Mac,

I enjoyed. Some specific comments below.

Hope they help.

Cheers,

Tristan

Macavity wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:07 pm
revision2

She wakes for dusting stuff -
owls and cats and frogs, (these must be pottery figures)
a joy of bric-a-brac.
And later some chit-chat -
pegging the washing line,
her semaphore for the starlings. (Not sure this image works that well - it’s a size and shape issue for me, and I think it’s been used before, but not for leading birds in to land, just the clothes on the washing line as semaphore. I do like the implications though these two lines create. I know I’m not helping much here. Sorry.)

But once her lips boasted
as red as a robin's breast. (Lovely two lines)
Pride spat the roll of dice - (Good line)
a parachute jump. (Is this line needed, considering the previous one?)
The murmuration deaths (the use of ‘murmuration’ is too in your face to be honest. Can ‘murmuration’ be implied somehow?)
were the end of all that.

A sunny wet road, they said.
She irons her dying days. (Strong close)


============================================================================

revision

She wakes for dusting stuff -
owls and cats and frogs,
a joy of bric-a-brac.
And later some chit-chat -
pegging the washing line,
her semaphore for the starlings.
She irons her dying days.

But once her lips boasted
as red as a Robin's breast.
Pride spat the roll of dice -
a parachute jump.
The murmuration deaths
were the end of all that.
A sunny wet road, they said.


original

She wakes for dusting stuff,
lifeless bric-a-brac -
owls and cats and frogs.
And later some chit-chat,
pegging the washing line,
her semaphore for starlings.
She irons her dying days.

But once her lips boasted
as red as a Robin's breast.
Life spat the roll of dice -
a parachute jump,
but a murmuration
was the end of all that.

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Re: Anglesey birds in mystery mass death (revision2)

Post by Macavity » Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:26 am

Thanks Tristan. Always helpful! I often find myself on the wrong side of that line between oblique/obscure. Translating the monologue to a dialogue as it were. I've edited the original ending because it was too 'telly' for me and gone for an oblique option :)
a parachute jump. (Is this line needed, considering the previous one?)
This line was intended to thread to the experience of being in the sky and landing (a parallel to the birdy narrative).

I will have a think about your other points.

cheers

mac

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Re: Anglesey birds in mystery mass death (revision2)

Post by JJWilliamson » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:44 pm

Hi, mac

A very interesting news snippet and one that I enjoyed reading, especially as it is so believable.
I've seen this sort of thing before, where birds are fooled by optical illusions.

S1 was easy to follow with its delightful insights but S2 saw me struggling. The title helped me out, as did L's 11 & 13.
L14 was a puzzle, though, if I'm honest.

Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

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Re: Anglesey birds in mystery mass death (revision3)

Post by Macavity » Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:25 pm

Thanks JJ. I have revisited S2 and L14.

all the best

mac

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Re: Anglesey birds in mystery mass death (revision3)

Post by JJWilliamson » Wed Jan 29, 2020 7:34 am

Perfectly clear now, mac. The close explains a lot in its present form AND helps the mind to conjure the image.
I looked this up, via Google, and was amazed to see the scene. Glare from the road indeed. (perhaps :) )

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

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Re: Anglesey birds in mystery mass death (revision3)

Post by Macavity » Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:22 am

Thanks for the thumbs up JJ. Pleased it makes more sense and the poem has 'landed! :) I'm leaning towards the glare on the road theory instead of the raptor panic one.

cheers

mac

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Re: Anglesey birds in mystery mass death (revision3)

Post by ray miller » Thu Jan 30, 2020 8:30 am

This version is certainly clearer. Love the first 3 lines and the new ending. Do you need "and perhaps"? You've stuck with boasted all the way through, but I wonder if that's the right word. Do you boast of aspirations?
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: Anglesey birds in mystery mass death (revision3)

Post by Macavity » Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:54 pm

Do you boast of aspirations?
I don't, but I've known those that do...it colours their grey reality. Anyway toned the alliteration down a notch and edited.

cheers

mac

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Re: Anglesey birds in mystery mass death (revision3)

Post by NotQuiteSure » Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:27 pm

.
Hi Mac,
another improvement.

Like ray, I'm not sold on the 'and perhaps' at the end of the line (and two items hardly seem like a list :) )
If a parachute jump is 'flight' might she not want to bungee (for more 'bs')?
I thought 'boasted' worked, but I think a you need a reference to 'She' in the first line of S2.

Might be worth switching the order of the final couplet, I think
She lives in a cul-de-sac.
A sunny wet road, they said.
has more implications.

Regards, Not


.

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Re: Anglesey birds in mystery mass death (revision3)

Post by bjondon » Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:40 pm

Hi mac - great poem and some interesting revisions.
The marriage of bric-a-brac and cul-de-sac is gorgeous but in the end I think it draws too much of the spotlight - and it still doesn't sit right (ironing it too Dada/comic, living in it too gratuitous, telling us what we already know). … I think the symbolism of 'a sunny wet road' makes the better ending (hope, ambition as danger).

L9 - I'd separate the two 'igh' sounds and drop the 'and':
'balloons, gliders, perhaps'
- the 'aps' rings more and the word 'perhaps' briefly functions as a noun.

Jules

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Re: Anglesey birds in mystery mass death (revision3)

Post by Macavity » Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:01 pm

Thanks Jules and for coming back Not. Interesting what you both say about reordering the end, but the road Image was directed at the demise of the birds and implied for N. One threads to the other. I've tweaked the concluding line for now.

I'll have a think about perhaps...I'm conservative on line breaks, but thought I'd experiment with a staged pause (been debating with Americans on how they snap lines). Probably axe it at some point.

cheers

mac

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Re: Anglesey birds in mystery mass death (revision4)

Post by bjondon » Fri Feb 28, 2020 10:02 pm

The latest revision has resolved a number of problems.
Returning to this reminds me how much I like the opening four lines.
The one word tweak on the end line makes a big difference, gives it a much safer landing.
I also like all the changes in S2, though I'd be tempted to substitute 'put an end to all that'.
I'm thoroughly mystified by 'with startling semaphores'… startling for who?
It did make me think how birds might 'read' that particular activity. In fact it would be the unpegging that would signify, since people who feed their birds usually wait until the washing is out of the way before putting fresh food out.

Jules

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Re: Anglesey birds in mystery mass death (revision4)

Post by Macavity » Sat Feb 29, 2020 7:22 am

I'm thoroughly mystified by 'with startling semaphores'… startling for who?
For the starlings...my attempt at a pun Jules :D

unpegging is an interesting option. I'll have a think about that as a communication.

cheers

mac

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