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calico
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Post by calico » Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:47 am

version 2
His face is set up to fall as if created in a fit
of pointillism, in oils already starting to slide although he insists

with all his resources (squirrel grip, quivering eye). My role
is clearly defined, as gilt signifies goddess, and foal, faith - I weep, rend

express milk from my breasts, see through walls
and right now I summon an archetypal gesture of wrath;

eyes cast down, arm curled in reserve I eject him (falling -)
to study the scratch he has made on his brother’s spine bowed in reflection:

a fine toothed zip through flesh, and blood
just starting to bead through the tracks.



version the first

His face is set up to fall as if created in a fit of pointillism,
in oils already starting to slide as he insists with all his resources
(eye contact, squirrel sheathed grip) and my duty,
as clearly defined as gilt means goddess, as youth means fawn
and a broken violin signifies an empty shoe, is to weep, rend. Express
milk from my breasts, board boats, see through walls
and right now to summon an archetypal gesture of wrath;
eyes cast down, arm curled in reserve I eject him (falling -)
to study the scratch on his brother’s spine,
bowed in reflection:
a fine toothed zip through flesh, and blood
just starting to bead through the tracks.


EDIT last line replaced 'seep' with 'bead'
Last edited by calico on Fri Nov 25, 2011 10:51 am, edited 6 times in total.

k-j
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Re: icon

Post by k-j » Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:27 pm

Sorry calico, I can't make head nor tail of this. It seems to be a mother trying to say something about her child(ren), but beyond that I'm lost. A few comments for what they're worth:

- Squirrel grip is good, I think.
- Don't like "a fit of pointilism". Pointilism being such a methodical, precise style. A fit of action painting, perhaps. But in general I don't like it when people's faces are compared to paintings.
- "insists" on what?
- "as gilt means goddess, as foal means faith / and a broken violin signifies an empty shoe" - completely opaque, sorry.
- the description of the scratched spine I like, taking it by itself. By what does it mean? No idea.

I assume this poem is about something, rather than nothing. I'm fairly intelligent, but I've read it three times, and critiqued it, without grasping more than the merest hint of what that something is. So I think you need to be a bit more objective, put yourself in the reader's place, and ask honestly "can I tell what this is about?"
fine words butter no parsnips

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Re: icon

Post by calico » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:22 pm

Thanks k-j. The problem is not a lack of objectivity but the fact that, as a reader I personally don't mind not knowing what something is about. Having said that, I do care that the reader doesn't know what I'm trying to say, but I don't seem to be able to break the mould. Attitude problem. As soon as I feel like I'm 'telling' something stops me - I want to question what I'm writing about and not tell a story that I've planned out in advance - which might be more worthwhile for the reader but boring for me. I'm sorry about this.

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Post by Arian » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:14 pm

Well, it’s quite nice to read, so I guess – to some extent – it’s Job Done. Narrative meaning isn’t everything.
On the other hand, it’s something. And I agree with k-j that the piece tends toward impenetrability. Which is a pity, because I get the feeling that it could be very good.
I really like the squirrel grip thing, and a few other images.
as gilt means goddess, as foal means faith
and a broken violin signifies an empty shoe,
I see where you’re coming from here, and I like the intention. But despite the brave attempt to symbolise, it sounds contrived, too deliberately “poetic”.

One minor point – I think there’s a punctuation problem. Personally, I think this makes more sense:

and a broken violin signifies an empty shoe, I weep, rend - express
milk from my breasts, board boats, see through walls.

And right now I summon an archetypal gesture of wrath.


(wouldn't archetypal be better as universal?)

Cheers
peter

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Post by twoleftfeet » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:40 pm

I'm afraid I am utterly baffled by this, calico.
I thought perhaps N was going into a Kali-esque rage, but then.. the violin.

:? :? :?

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Re: icon

Post by camus » Sat Nov 19, 2011 12:12 am

I read the poem as Dorian Gray coupled with Leonard Cohen and Salvador Dali.

Well, they were my reference points, cause there needed to be some.

Enigmatic and probably unpublishable.

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Post by calico » Sat Nov 19, 2011 8:35 am

Thanks for the punctuation notes Peters, amending.....
I am slightly baffled in return.
Every time I re-read it is crystal clear. Definitely an objectivity problem then, as k-j suggested. I'll give it a week's rest. And then be horrified, I'm sure, and rend things in earnest.

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Re: iconography (was icon)

Post by calico » Sat Nov 19, 2011 9:51 am

*shudder* at Salvador Dali = violin, gone.

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Re: iconography (was icon)

Post by JohnLott » Sat Nov 19, 2011 12:45 pm

I do agree strange words in strange places but I do get the story.
How can you say:
'....My role is clearly defined, as gilt signifies goddess, and foal...'
when you are a mother?

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Re: iconography (was icon)

Post by twoleftfeet » Sat Nov 19, 2011 12:54 pm

JohnLott wrote:I do agree strange words in strange places but I do get the story.
J.
I'm glad someone does.
Despite the fresh clues I'm still none the wiser.
Do you need to have a grounding in Bible-bashing to get this?
Instead of just sitting on the fence - why not stand in the middle of the road?

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Re: iconography (was icon)

Post by David » Thu Nov 24, 2011 7:43 pm

I like this a lot, Megan, but maybe because I'm imposing some sort of meaning on it that just isn't there. For me, anyway, it's you, the White Goddess, chastising your Cain while your Abel emotes melodramatically just out of the frame. I like that idea of you as the implacable - no, all too placable - deity, and your children as your devotees (sometimes disobedient).

I also think that, in that light, you've got the language - a combination of objet d'art and cult object - just right.

Well, how wrong am I?

Cheers

David

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Post by calico » Fri Nov 25, 2011 10:58 am

David - thanks for that. I've re-read it again now myself and can't see how it could be about anything other than the mother/child and sibling relationship treated as archetypes. And having to reject one child that you love to defend another. But again, treated archetypally. And maybe when you treat things as archetypes you neuter them, take out the emotional sting, leaving the reader thinking......."so what."
I agree that the use of language is appropriate.
I also think that the couplets, with the long first/short second lines vying for supremacy before coming together as a zip in the final couplet - united but wounded - is rather jolly.
Thanks again for your comment.

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Post by David » Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:16 pm

calico wrote:I've re-read it again now myself and can't see how it could be about anything other than the mother/child and sibling relationship treated as archetypes.
That's what I was trying to say! Pretty much. Did I say it? Sometimes I don't express myself sufficiently clearly. Speaking of which ...
calico wrote:I also think that the couplets, with the long first/short second lines vying for supremacy before coming together as a zip in the final couplet - united but wounded - is rather jolly.
I'm not sure I follow that.

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Post by calico » Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:39 pm

Yes. No. Yes, I was agreeing with you in a way that sounded argumentative, just to add to the confusion. And to pile it on, here goes, re: the couplets, I had a vague understanding that in the classic elegiac couplet the first line is longer than the second. So reversing that symbolised the role reversal between older and younger sibling. I didn't expect this to be apparent in any way to the reader but it gave me selfish pleasure. And in the final one the length evens out like a zip, you got that? I should stop now.

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Re: icon

Post by David » Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:03 pm

Ah, now I get you, and I remember having read something similar myself somewhere ... "the traditional form of the elegy, the elegiac distich that consists of a line of dactylic hexameter followed by a line of essentially dactylic pentameter."

It's pretty obscure, though - especially applying it to the siblings! But where would we all be without a bit of selfish pleasure?

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Re: icon

Post by k-j » Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:34 pm

calico wrote:I had a vague understanding that in the classic elegiac couplet the first line is longer than the second. So reversing that symbolised the role reversal between older and younger sibling.
Peter Reading (RIP) reversed the lines of the elegiac distich to write, for once, of hope and happiness (as opposed to elegy) in one of his angry mid-80's works, I forget which. But even he had to announce it to make sure people noticed!
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