The Bath Water

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ray miller
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The Bath Water

Post by ray miller » Wed Feb 26, 2020 3:23 pm

Revision

Here below it is narrow,
but the world remains shallow;

an occasional trickle
has no time to settle.

Too briefly we wallow
and splash a faint shadow

that fashions a tableau
we cannot quite swallow

in which God and the Devil
by turns pull and tug:

a perpetual struggle
for control of the plug.

Original

Though below it is narrow,
this world remains shallow;

an irregular trickle
without time to settle.

Too briefly we wallow
and splash a faint shadow

that fashions a tableau
we cannot quite swallow

in which God and the Devil
by turns pull and tug:

a perpetual struggle
for control of the plug
Last edited by ray miller on Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Firebird
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Re: The Bath Water

Post by Firebird » Wed Feb 26, 2020 4:08 pm

Hi Ray,

Not sure this is really working for me. Overall, I thought this poem was guided too much by words that rhyme rather than making clear sense. The final two stanzas are the best for me. If this were mine, I would cut the first two stanzas and start with stanza 3. I think it works a lot better like that and the hub of the idea is clearly communicated.


Some specific comment below.

Cheers,

Tristan
ray miller wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 3:23 pm
Though below it is narrow, (Is ‘it’ the waste pipe, below the bath?)
this world remains shallow; (Why does narrow imply deep? Surely the opposite of shallow is deep not narrow. Do narrow waters run deep? Or is this the world of a bath that is shallow, shallow water?)

an irregular trickle (why irregular? My bath water normally goes down the plug hole at a fairly regular rate, although it seems to speed up towards the end. Oh the bath must be filling up with bad flow)
without time to settle. (Most bath water settles very quickly and isn’t really that unsettled anyway)

Too briefly we wallow
and splash a faint shadow (what shadow is this? I’m assuming this is meant to refer to laughing at our darker sides. Maybe?)

that fashions a tableau (Literally, how can a shadow fashion a tableau. Although I understand what you are getting at: our demons/dark side presenting us with a side of ourselves we don’t like when considered. Perhaps insert ‘can’ or ‘may’ between ‘that’ and ‘fashion’.)
we cannot quite swallow

in which God and the Devil (Maybe ‘of which’ instead of ‘in which’?)
by turns pull and tug:

a perpetual struggle
for control of the plug (made me smile. I like the end. The idea comes through clearly)

ray miller
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Re: The Bath Water

Post by ray miller » Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:24 am

Thanks, Tristan. I didn't pass Metaphysics O Level and I ain't improved, I suppose. What's narrow is the bath itself and the more confined the space a body of water inhabits, the deeper it appears. The faint shadow is meant to be our impact upon the world. The ending is best, yeah, and you may well be right about starting at the 3rd couplet, but I haven't given up on the beginning just yet.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Firebird
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Re: The Bath Water

Post by Firebird » Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:51 am

Don’t think I passed my O level in metaphysic too :) . By the looks of it you did get your O level in Physics though.

The start is less misleading now with ‘here’ rather than ‘though’, but it’s still a hard concept to open a poem with. Not sure I would have got there without your explanation. It’s a hurdle from the off. I’m staying with cutting the first two stanzas. I think the title could do more too.

Cheers,

Tristan

Macavity
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Re: Bath Water Perspectives

Post by Macavity » Fri Feb 28, 2020 2:58 am

I’m staying with cutting the first two stanzas.
At present, I agree with that, though the opening viewpoint could be rescued with more transparency/elaboration. The lucidity of the ending provides the impact/resonance.
What's narrow is the bath itself and the more confined the space a body of water inhabits, the deeper it appears.
An interesting fact to know, one that I didn't know and wouldn't have got from the poem's opening.

best

mac

ray miller
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Re: The Bath Water

Post by ray miller » Fri Feb 28, 2020 10:06 am

Thanks, mac. I'm wondering if just removing the 2nd couplet might improve it. Mostly because I'm a lazy bastard.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: The Bath Water

Post by NotQuiteSure » Fri Feb 28, 2020 12:00 pm

.
Hi ray,
I'm rather with Tristan and Mac when it comes to the first two verses. I can't see how the 'it' in line one has any other referent than the bathwater of the title.

Probably not the answer (and the rhymes ... !) but ...

Here in the narrow/Narrows
too briefly we wallow

where the World remains shallow
a splash, a faint shadow

... Plug


(Not convinced by the 'cannot quite swallow' as rather a lot seems quite capable. and 'wallow'? Seems a bit at odds with 'briefly')


Regards, Not


.

Macavity
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Re: The Bath Water

Post by Macavity » Fri Feb 28, 2020 12:25 pm

That would be like Grealish giving up on Villa.

A nudge...

Here below it is narrow,
displacement gives depths;

but the world remains shallow,
though just enough to vex;

an occasional trickle
has no time to settle. /quote]

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Re: The Bath Water

Post by ton321 » Sat Feb 29, 2020 12:21 am

Hi Ray

I think cutting the second stanza makes it read better,
Tony
Counting the beats,
Counting the slow heart beats,
The bleeding to death of time in slow heart beats,
Wakeful they lie.

Robert Graves

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