Mirage

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HenryBones
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Mirage

Post by HenryBones » Sun May 31, 2015 10:20 pm

Mirage

At such a distance, the whitewash
of the walls shines as brightly
as the surrounding desert,
and the orchid's queer green flash
winks in and out of existence
like lighthouses strobing the sea.

Sound, too, refuses to carry
in this kind of heat, water
running down to a trickle
and the caustic edge of childless
parents blunting to a flat silence.
So when Sarah started to laugh -

a wild, extravagant affair
that left her on her back
and breathless - Abraham quit
ploughing his field of sand, his far
minded treaties and covenants,
and cradled her in his arms

as though they'd come past the ebb
of all the intervening years
to love again like newly weds.

Ros
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Re: Mirage

Post by Ros » Mon Jun 01, 2015 11:20 am

Enjoyed this, Henry. Not sure you need two qualifiers on the orchid - and queer is a difficult word to use in its earlier meaning nowadays... Not sure also about the break on far. You're assuming a certain amount of biblical knowledge with this one. Why mirage? She did have a son, didn't she?

Ros
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ray miller
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Re: Mirage

Post by ray miller » Thu Jun 04, 2015 1:42 pm

I think it's a well written poem that I don't really follow the gist of and would like to. I'm vaguely aware of the story, but I still find it puzzling, the first verse in particular.

Abraham quit
ploughing his field of sand - that I understand, very nice.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

Suzanne
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Re: Mirage

Post by Suzanne » Sat Jun 06, 2015 2:27 pm

Well HenryBones,

I am envious of this. Fantastic poem. Yep. I saw it vividly but i did not like the newlywed line. Only nit. I think newlywed love is not as profound as what you want to describe.... Anymore than a preschool vocabulary can describe something on an adult level. Time enriches many things beyond what we think at the time to be fully formed.


Now, that being said, if you ARE a newlywed, ignore me and carry on.
If you are not a newlywed, i say aim for a richer image of love.


Suzanne the Passionate

brianedwards
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Re: Mirage

Post by brianedwards » Tue Jun 09, 2015 8:03 am

Hi Henry,

I too am very taken with this poem. It tugs at the senses like an old song might shake loose a memory. The segue from S2 to S3 is skilfully handled, really made me sit up and take notice after a fairly languid opening. That said, I have a few caveats, particularly with that 2nd stanza. I'm not convinced "refuses to carry" can't be written better and I think the grammar could be amended to lose the ~ings. I'm also in agreement with Ros about the adjectives for orchids.
Suzanne raises interesting points about "newlyweds" but I'd understood the word "love" as a euphemism, so although it could be read as slightly twee, the message is conveyed.

Thanks for the read. Take of my notes as you will.

B.

(Interesting name btw. Am I right to assume an allusion to JB?)

HenryBones
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Re: Mirage

Post by HenryBones » Tue Jun 09, 2015 5:49 pm

Thanks for the comments all.

Ros - Sarah did have a son, Isaac, when she was a very old woman (in her eighties I think). I went for 'Mirage' as a title because I wanted to try and get across the sense of how unlikely it was that she would conceive, or more broadly of how insubstantial strongly desired things can seem in their absence. I suppose the poem is perhaps more tethered to the OT narrative than is healthy, I'll have a re-think, which hopefully will answer some of Ray's and Brian's questions as well.

Suzanne - As it happens I am fairly recently married (last year) but I was hoping for a line that would stop just short of full-blown love, because the last stanza is conditional. The ending is cautious, 'as though they had come past the ebb / of all the intervening years' - it's debateable whether that is ever actually possible, in a marriage or anywhere else.

Brian - Busted! Henry Bones is indeed an homage to John Berryman.

Thanks again

cynwulf
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Re: Mirage

Post by cynwulf » Sat Jun 13, 2015 12:44 pm

My apologies for missing this earlier, I didn't find the title compelling and so missed a first rate poem. You have put the scene across very effectively.
regards, c.

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Re: Mirage

Post by David » Sat Jun 13, 2015 1:33 pm

ray miller wrote:I think it's a well written poem that I don't really follow the gist of and would like to. I'm vaguely aware of the story, but I still find it puzzling, the first verse in particular.
Yep, them's my sentiments too. Such details as I can recognise don't really seem to cohere, and I don't recognise the orchid at all. My ignorance, no doubt. Still, its "queer green flash" gives S1 a weirdly Gatsbyesque effect. I'm trying to decide whether that's intentional or not.

I do think the ending is very nice.

Cheers

David

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