Snowball

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k-j
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Snowball

Post by k-j » Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:09 pm

Come, tell us of your travels.
The Oort Cloud, overlooking
an ample river, and a bright boil
exerting the merest pull.

Boys who’ve played marbles
know the inordinate, shocking
doings of spin and gravity.
Some unsuspected lesser deity

dealt you the fateful shove.
You were to visit the Capital,
peopled thickly with chimeras:
rocks, gas, and cameras.

Henceforth an outcast of
your realm, companions, map. It all
materialised: the swollen Kuiper Belt,
Pluto’s six moons, the gilt

surface of Haumea, the deep
and dauntless emptinesses where
time treads reluctantly,
dissembles like a truant or escapee.

If you could sleep,
what dreams you could dream there:
what permutations, acts
of rude geometry; what facts

your dreams might bear out or rewrite.
Gas giants looming like aunts
at the wedding of a far cousin;
moons and rings carousing,

dispersing any-coloured light
awry and askance,
kneaded and woven and skewed,
as you too start to come unglued,

careening sunward, shedding
your shell with increasing speed,
downy pelt chafed by the solar wind.
Pinned

to a wheel, locked onto a heading
entirely daring, utterly decreed.
You lose more skin
to asteroids, then Mars hoves in-

to view, no people yet.
Earth simmering.
Earth’s moon, one of the dullest,
but still among the fullest,

refulgent, swollen with a vague threat
as you pass glimmering
16,000,000 kilometers away.
The kind of thing people say,

no meaning to it.
Venus approaches; the star
begins to burn your face. Fire
is something one ought to admire

from afar (this you intuit,
diminishing, uttering an au revoir
to every planetoid you’ve passed).
Rope yourself to the mast!

Mercury is gone, the last world!
Charged particles sizzle and spark!
Is this not how all things come forth?
In a fiery birth

like a capsule hurled
in a terminal arc
into an unready soup?

As I fledge and swoop,

I’m inclined to agree,
coming embarrassingly undone,
my wake
a lambent quavering streak

etching itself across your sky.
For you I have only just begun;
but I have seen people kissing,
sticking knives into each other, wishing

upon me errantly,
calling me a portent, telling their young,
calling me a god,
allowing themselves to be overcome and awed

by my happening by. Apparently
a snowball flung
by a snowman in a snowfield has meaning.
Don’t wait up for our next convening.
fine words butter no parsnips

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Re: Snowball

Post by bodkin » Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:56 pm

I may need to read it again, but on a first pass loving it :-)
http://www.ianbadcoe.uk/

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Re: Snowball

Post by brianedwards » Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:18 am

Love the idea behind this k-j, and the curve-ball (pun intended) title, but on the whole I think it's quite overwritten, and parts of it don't stand up to scrutiny.
Come, tell us of your travels.
There's a latin term for this rhetorical device of inviting "someone" to speak and then doing the speaking for them, but it escapes me at the moment. I'm personally not a fan of the device, but taste aside "travels" seems the wrong word, suggesting, to me at least, something that is done voluntarily.
a bright boil
exerting the merest pull.
I'm curious as to what this is referring to. Not a criticism, more a question.
Boys who’ve played marbles
know the inordinate, shocking
doings of spin and gravity.
Some unsuspected lesser deity

dealt you the fateful shove.
You were to visit the Capital,
peopled thickly with chimeras:
rocks, gas, and cameras.
My least favourite section. "shocking" may have a meaning that is lost on me, but it seems it's been tagged on for the rhyme. Similarly "Capital" but I apologise in advance for my own ignorance if that's the case. Deities and fate? Well, you can probably imagine my problems there.
Henceforth an outcast of
your realm, companions, map. It all
materialised: the swollen Kuiper Belt,
Pluto’s six moons, the gilt
"outcast . . . realm . . . companions" - I know the poem is projecting human concerns onto its subject (inevitably, of course) as part of its idiom, but there are a few places, this being one, where it seems overcooked. Again, this could well be a taste thing, and I suspect I'll once again be the "contrary bastard" on this point, but I thought it warranted being flagged up.
surface of Haumea, the deep
and dauntless emptinesses where
time treads reluctantly,
dissembles like a truant or escapee.
Time treading reluctantly? Struggling with that. Is it time that dissembles like a truant or escapee? Struggling again.
If you could sleep,
what dreams you could dream there:
what permutations, acts
of rude geometry; what facts

your dreams might bear out or rewrite.
Gas giants looming like aunts
at the wedding of a far cousin;
moons and rings carousing,

dispersing any-coloured light
awry and askance,
kneaded and woven and skewed,
as you too start to come unglued,
Favourite section. Lovely rhythm and rhyme throughout, excellent imagery and description, and those gas giant aunts at a wedding are truly inspired. Excellent.
careening sunward, shedding
your shell with increasing speed,
downy pelt chafed by the solar wind.
Pinned

to a wheel, locked onto a heading
entirely daring, utterly decreed.
You lose more skin
"shell", "downy pelt", "skin" -- really?
Not especially keen on "entirely" and "utterly". Personally.
to asteroids, then Mars hoves in-

to view, no people yet.
Earth simmering.
Earth’s moon, one of the dullest,
but still among the fullest,
Like the use of "hoves" - a much underused word. "simmering" confuses me a bit. The Earth is simmering because it's cooling? If so, where do the people come into it that the rock claims to have seen kissing and stabbing etc? Oh dear, time travel eh???
refulgent, swollen with a vague threat
as you pass glimmering
16,000,000 kilometers away.
The kind of thing people say,

no meaning to it.
Venus approaches; the star
begins to burn your face.
Like the suggestion of threat. "glimmering" -- from whose perspective?
Again, "face" jars for me, though I accept there can be other meanings.
Fire
is something one ought to admire

from afar (this you intuit,
diminishing, uttering an au revoir
to every planetoid you’ve passed).
Intuiting, uttering and speaking French are all a bridge too far for this here unimaginative space cowboy.
Rope yourself to the mast!

Mercury is gone, the last world!
Charged particles sizzle and spark!
Is this not how all things come forth?
In a fiery birth

like a capsule hurled
in a terminal arc
into an unready soup?
Strong finish to this section, but "terminal" trips me up. Need to think about that more to get your meaning. Terminal as in it is destroyed once it impacts with the sun, but how does that tie back in with things coming forth? Something about all things coming from fire and returning to that state? I feel like I'm on the cusp of comprehension.
As I fledge and swoop,

I’m inclined to agree,
coming embarrassingly undone,
my wake
a lambent quavering streak

etching itself across your sky.
For you I have only just begun;
but I have seen people kissing,
sticking knives into each other, wishing

upon me errantly,
calling me a portent, telling their young,
calling me a god,
allowing themselves to be overcome and awed

by my happening by. Apparently
a snowball flung
by a snowman in a snowfield has meaning.
Don’t wait up for our next convening.
Like this pretty much in its entirety, but can't help wondering if this shouldn't be the main thrust of the poem. If we are to accept the personification of this fiery bit of space debris, then why not go the whole hog and make it the main speaker? Just throwing that out there for your consideration.

Overall, skillfully crafted, very ambitious, and worthy of applause for that. I suspect there's a better, more honed poem in all of this, and I am certain that you're more than capable of finding it if it's there.

Apologies again for the obvious cosmological ignorance that has undoubtedly affected my reading of your poem.

B.

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Re: Snowball

Post by Antcliff » Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:45 pm

Rather missed this.
Noting some splendid sections...

e.g.

If you could sleep,
what dreams you could dream there:
what permutations, acts
of rude geometry; what facts

your dreams might bear out or rewrite.
Gas giants looming like aunts
at the wedding of a far cousin;
moons and rings carousing,

dispersing any-coloured light
awry and askance,
kneaded and woven and skewed,
as you too start to come unglued,

careening sunward, shedding
your shell with increasing speed,
downy pelt chafed by the solar wind.
Pinned
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

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Re: Snowball

Post by David2 » Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:33 pm

Wow. Cosmically overblown, but sometimes that's a good thing.

At first - on just one reading so far, sorry about that, I know it deserves more - I thought it was erudite fun with planets (and marbles), then I thought it was a massive metaphor for a doomed relationship, finally it appeared to be an enormous sort of riddle about a comet.

I don't think it's over-written - well, not very over-written. It's an epic treatment, and some things just demand epic treatment. (I thought your Planets poem was over-written, but never got around to saying so.)

Going back for another reading now, although when I was reading this
k-j wrote:Gas giants looming like aunts
at the wedding of a far cousin

I thought I was reading one of my own poems. Except, I realise, that I would have done it the other way around, likening aunts to the gas giants. And believe me, I wish I had.

Cheers

David

k-j
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Re: Snowball

Post by k-j » Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:37 pm

Brian, thank you. I'm glad to hear there's a latin word for that device... I can see why "travels" suggests something voluntary, but I think there are enough usages to the contrary to sustain it here. The bright boil is our sun, ditto the Capital (probably shouldn't be capitalised, ha ha). The deities and fate aren't here in a reverent way; the former are just heavenly bodies and the latter a manner of speaking.

I do think you have a point about over-anthropomorphising. I'm not 100% happy with how I've spoken for the comet. I feel I'm halfway between having a proper character, and simply speaking as a writer on behalf of a dumb object.

Yes, treads reluctantly, i.e. with great caution in the manner of either a truant or escapee.

Shell, pelt and skin are too much, you're right there. "Entirely" and "utterly" were originally a double-utterly... not sure what to do here.

Hoves is a nice word but I wish it were used sometimes without "into view" directly proceeding. I've shied away here.

"Terminal" just refers to the impact. The things coming forth is a reference to the fringe theory of panspermia, that life on earth was seeded by asteroids or comets. I recently read "Frankenstein" (long after I wrote this poem however) and was surprised that in the novel there is no mention of lightning. In fact Shelley is very coy on the precise means of generation, saying only it involved advanced chemistry and alluding strongly also to alchemy... But I think it makes sense that the lightning bolt image, a life force coming from the sky, was taken up so soon after the novel's publication and remains the thing most people will associate with the animation of the creature. It ties right in with sky-gods etc, and I rather think comets and the idea of, and desire to believe in, panspermia are an expression of the same idea.

Seth and Bodkin thanks for stopping by.

David, yes, overblown sounds fair! Doomed relationship eh, - you could probably read most poems that way if you wanted! It's about a comet. A travelogue more or less.
fine words butter no parsnips

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