Crossroads (I now realise posted in the wrong place...sorry)

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Antcliff
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Crossroads (I now realise posted in the wrong place...sorry)

Post by Antcliff » Mon Nov 11, 2013 12:42 pm

You can't turn back,
time's track is one way,
always leads to the three:

hell,
or purgatory,
or heaven.

But they're not marked.
Nobody returns to say.
And you can't wait--

robbers,
gaunt ghosts,
dancing demons

all linger, knowing that here
is the easy meet
of the easy meat,

the ditherers,
the still pathless,
the lost in indecision.
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

brianedwards
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Re: Crossroads (Exercise Poem)

Post by brianedwards » Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:37 pm

Interesting.
I like how s2, s4 and s6 align, but am troubled by the implication of "always" in line 3.

B.

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Re: Crossroads (I now realise posted in the wrong place...so

Post by 1lankest » Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:52 am

hi seth,

Mixed feelings on this one. The first three stanzas seem prosaic and unbecomingly dogmatic. Perhaps this was intended as parody but it didn't come across to me. However the final three stanzas I think are exceptional. Indeed the last line in particular prompts a further question about the possibility (indeed probability) of a 'fourth' option. Is there a more nuanced version of this poem out there waiting to be realised, exploring the implications of a 'fourth'? Perhaps the 'question begging' response it what you intended....

Cheers,

Luke

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Re: Crossroads (I now realise posted in the wrong place...so

Post by Antcliff » Tue Nov 12, 2013 2:59 pm

Thanks for calling by Brian,

well, it will be "always" if we slice the quality-of-life map up into the three traditional regions and accept there are degrees in quality. There is, for example, the slightly-short-of-heaven-but-in-the-better-part-of-purgatory. You can get there via a turn off on the Heaven Road, or via the Purgatory Road (just past the chippy). You can get there from Hell, but you need an off-road vehicle.

Thanks for calling by Luke,

glad to hear about later sections.

Start may be a bit prosaic, familiar. In fact I am quite tempted to cut it to the last 3 stanzas.

Although I can't see that the start is particularly dogmatic. I am happy enough for the poem to divide the quality of life up into three broad categories..although there are degrees of course. You could have more roads at the crossroads, for a finer grained slicing. Or even have second levels...a spaghetti junction even. We could ditch the dogma of the tri-partite qualitative division of the modes of life for the eightfold division..but I doubt whether you could get planning permission for the additional roads.
Is there a more nuanced version of this poem out there waiting to be realised, exploring the implications of a 'fourth'?
Sounds like you should give that a try, Luke!

Seth
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

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Re: Crossroads (I now realise posted in the wrong place...so

Post by 1lankest » Tue Nov 12, 2013 4:15 pm

'We could ditch the dogma of the tri-partite qualitative division of the modes of life for the eightfold division..but I doubt whether you could get planning permission for the additional roads.'

Haha, this tickled me. I guess your right, the Buddhist/existential approach would make for a far more convoluted piece, probably resulting in many more accidents!

I think your're onto something by ditching the first 3 stanzas, perhaps replacing them with something slightly less explicit. I love the themes of the poem, and some of the images/language are fab. Looking forward to seeing what you end up with up.

Luke

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Re: Crossroads (I now realise posted in the wrong place...so

Post by David2 » Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:39 pm

It's actually - and, I wouldn't be surprised to hear, intentionally so - a good summary of the opening of The Divine Comedy. Hell, Purgatory and Heaven, of course, but your fourth region, full of "the ditherers, / the still pathless, / the lost in indecision", is this: "Before entering Hell completely, Dante and his guide see the Uncommitted, souls of people who in life did nothing, neither for good nor evil".

Or not.

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Re: Crossroads (I now realise posted in the wrong place...so

Post by brianedwards » Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:16 am

Antcliff wrote:Thanks for calling by Brian,

well, it will be "always" if we slice the quality-of-life map up into the three traditional regions and accept there are degrees in quality
That's precisely what troubled me Seth.

B.

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