Kate

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David
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Kate

Post by David » Sat Jul 23, 2016 10:39 pm

REVISION

That God hath fixed His canon 'gainst self-slaughter
she would have known, if not in just those words.
German was her thing, but even if
she never knew the Tieck and Schlegel version,
as one who promulgated Christian Knowledge
it must - you'd think - be in her job description.

What happened, then? What fail-safe routine failed
to trigger at the proper moment?
She set great store by propriety. For her
it was a rigour mixed with daintiness,
as though the ways of samurai and geisha merged
in a fierce code of little graceful steps.

An only child in houses full of cousins,
she looked to cousins for a fixity
of affection that we could not manage,
quite. If never one of her
fast friends from Wittenberg, I was perhaps
a pale Horatio, too much off-stage.

When she went, it was not messily,
of course. Decorum was maintained, or so
we heard at our safe distance. It seemed
both inexplicable and unsurprising;
the play - including my small part in it -
had proved unsatisfactory, on the whole.

Her room at Queen's looks out onto the quad.
It is her first September.
Her mother is helping with soft furnishings.
Outside, on the flagged staircase,
her father ponders alumni, and hums
a verse or two of "Li'l Liza Jane".


After her mother's funeral, years later,
after the hymns, the tea, the healing cakes,
I drove my mother home, where she examined
the celebrated life, the photograph
in glowing black and white. They were
a nice family
, she said. All gone now.

ORIGINAL

That God hath fixed His canon 'gainst self-slaughter
she would have known, if not in just those words.
German was her thing, but even if
she never knew the Tieck and Schlegel version,
in the employ of the SPCK
it must - you'd think - be in her job description.

What happened, then? What fail-safe routine failed
to trigger at the proper moment? She
set great store by propriety. For her
it was a rigour mixed with daintiness,
as though the ways of samurai and geisha merged
in a fierce code of little graceful steps.

An only child adrift in shoals of cousins,
she looked to cousins for a fixity
of affection that we could not manage,
quite. If never one of her
fast friends from Wittenberg, I was perhaps
a pale Horatio, too much off-stage.

When she went, it was not messily,
of course. Everything was arranged
and nothing disarranged, except the lives
of those she left to make provision for
such skimped and straitened rites as
the church, in its forgiveness, could afford.

Her room at Queen's looks out onto the quad.
It is her first September.
Her mother is helping with soft furnishings.
Outside, on the flagged staircase,
her father wonders about queens and hums
a verse or two of "Li'l Liza Jane".


After her mother's funeral, years later,
after the hymns, the tea, the healing cakes,
I drove my mother home, where she examined
the printed order of service, that photo
of three smiling faces in black and white. They were
a nice family
, she said. All gone now.

Ros
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Re: Kate

Post by Ros » Sun Jul 24, 2016 10:47 am

A sad story carefully told. The first verse is perhaps a little inaccessible for those not familiar with the terms used. I don't get the significance of

she never knew the Tieck and Schlegel version,

possibly if I knew the reference I'd get it, but at present I'm assuming some version of the bible, and I'm not sure why one would be more against suicide than another.

Ros
Rosencrantz: What are you playing at? Guildenstern: Words. Words. They're all we have to go on.
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Re: Kate

Post by Antcliff » Sun Jul 24, 2016 11:38 am

Touching indeed.

This bit is super...
For her
it was a rigour mixed with daintiness,
as though the ways of samurai and geisha merged
in a fierce code of little graceful steps.
That is not to say there not other super bits elsewhere. There are.

I liked the opening stanza very much. But it is a bold poet whose opening stanza mentions the SPCK.

This bit...
of those she left to make provision for
read slightly awkwardly at first...as if it was she who left them IN ORDER to make provision for something?


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

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Re: Kate

Post by Ros » Sun Jul 24, 2016 11:47 am

OK, I'm just getting the Hamlet references. Clever.

Ros
Rosencrantz: What are you playing at? Guildenstern: Words. Words. They're all we have to go on.
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k-j
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Re: Kate

Post by k-j » Mon Jul 25, 2016 3:41 pm

Nicely paced and weighted. Line 5 in S4 sticks out as missing a foot or feet (you need a longer word than "rites" I think).

Not sure about the repetition of "cousins".

Basically very good.
fine words butter no parsnips

ray miller
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Re: Kate

Post by ray miller » Mon Jul 25, 2016 3:44 pm

The impression that strikes most is there's 36 lines but I'm no wiser as to why she committed suicide. Unless the 3rd stanza is meant to supply enough information. Not that I didn't enjoy the poem, just seems there's quite a hole missing.

German was her thing, but even if
she never knew the Tieck and Schlegel version,
in the employ of the SPCK
it must - you'd think - be in her job description. - have been in her job description?
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: Kate

Post by Basnik » Mon Jul 25, 2016 7:50 pm

Hi David,

Here are my thoughts for what they are worth:

That God hath fixed His canon 'gainst self-slaughter
she would have known, if not in just those words.
German was her thing, but even if
she never knew the Tieck and Schlegel version,
in the employ of the SPCK
it must - you'd think - be in her job description. German translators of Shakespeare can be googled but it is quite obscure
Do you risk losing readers here? Is that important?


What happened, then? What fail-safe routine failed
to trigger at the proper moment? She Weak line ending
set great store by propriety. For her
it was a rigour mixed with daintiness,
as though the ways of samurai and geisha merged
in a fierce code of little graceful steps. Great line but too many adjectives? lose little perhaps or find a more precise word for graceful?

An only child adrift in shoals of cousins,
she looked to cousins for a fixity Could there be a synonym for cousins?
of affection that we could not manage,
quite. If never one of her
fast friends from Wittenberg, I was perhaps
a pale Horatio, too much off-stage.

When she went, it was not messily,
of course. Everything was arranged
and nothing disarranged, except the lives Do you need a comma here?
of those she left to make provision for
such skimped and straitened rites as
the church, in its forgiveness, could afford. This is a really wonderful passage - reminders of Ophelia

Her room at Queen's looks out onto the quad.
It is her first September. Time scale is quite confusing
Her mother is helping with soft furnishings.
Outside, on the flagged staircase,
her father wonders about queens and hums
a verse or two of "Li'l Liza Jane".

After her mother's funeral, years later,
after the hymns, the tea, the healing cakes,
I drove my mother home, where she examined
the printed order of service, that photo
of three smiling faces in black and white. They were
a nice family, she said. All gone now. Does this displace your own emotion too conveniently, make it too obvious somehow?



I think there is a wonderful poem in here but it feels like it needs more editing. I wonder about the consistency and coherence of the Hamlet allusions and how effective they are at the moment. The passage about the church's response is almost a perfect poem in itself though.
bez prace, nejsou kolaci - without work, there are no cakes (Czech proverb)

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Re: Kate

Post by David » Fri Jul 29, 2016 4:28 pm

Thanks, Ros. I see you did a bit of googling after your initial post. I suspect it's a bad thing that a poem requires googling. I have seen a saw to that effect somewhere, I'm sure.
Antcliff wrote:But it is a bold poet whose opening stanza mentions the SPCK.
Thanks, Seth. I think I'll tweak that.
Antcliff wrote:This bit...

of those she left to make provision for



read slightly awkwardly at first...as if it was she who left them IN ORDER to make provision for something?
And that.
Ros wrote:OK, I'm just getting the Hamlet references. Clever.
I think I've overdone them. Or, possibly, muddied the water (no pun intended) with Ophelia.
k-j wrote: Line 5 in S4 sticks out as missing a foot or feet (you need a longer word than "rites" I think).
Thanks, k-j. I confess, I'm feeling a bit cavalier about getting five feet in every line.
ray miller wrote:The impression that strikes most is there's 36 lines but I'm no wiser as to why she committed suicide. Unless the 3rd stanza is meant to supply enough information. Not that I didn't enjoy the poem, just seems there's quite a hole missing.
Thanks, Ray. I think you're right, but I wonder if I can leave it like that. In a way, we're not sure why. I'm going to post a revision which, while (probably) being equally evasive, may (I hope) be better.
ray miller wrote:it must - you'd think - be in her job description. - have been in her job description?
Ah, you're right. It's a funny verb, though - be. I might just try and brazen that one out.

Rich, that's a great crit. Thank you. I think you might be right about it needing more editing. It is a bit of a baggy monster, but it might just be the baggy monster I want. Anyway, I've looked at your detailed suggestions and have taken those into account - even when I've ignored them! - in my revision. I really appreciate your comments, adopted or not.

Cheers all

David

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Re: Kate

Post by Macavity » Sat Jul 30, 2016 7:43 pm

That God hath fixed His canon 'gainst self-slaughter
she would have known, if not in just those words.
The kind of poem that plays on the mind long after the reading. Perhaps it is the considered tone that is the hook.

best

mac

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Re: Kate

Post by David » Sun Jul 31, 2016 8:49 am

Macavity wrote:
That God hath fixed His canon 'gainst self-slaughter
she would have known, if not in just those words.
The kind of poem that plays on the mind long after the reading. Perhaps it is the considered tone that is the hook.

best

mac
Thanks, Mac. I think I'll post that revision now.

Cheers

David

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Re: Kate

Post by Antcliff » Sun Jul 31, 2016 12:39 pm

An ordering possibility. I like the first stanza, but I wonder if it is an opener? How about making the second stanza the first stanza and then re-jigging the stanza a little? (See below). This would retain Tieck and Schlegel and the references of that stanza, but give more of her at the start?


She set great store by propriety. For her
it was a rigour mixed with daintiness,
as though the ways of samurai and geisha merged
in a fierce code of little graceful steps.
What happened, then? What fail-safe routine failed
to trigger at the proper moment?

That God hath fixed His canon 'gainst self-slaughter
she would have known, if not in just those words.
German was her thing, but even if
she never knew the Tieck and Schlegel version,
as one who promulgated Christian Knowledge
it must - you'd think - be in her job description.
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

Macavity
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Re: Kate

Post by Macavity » Sun Jul 31, 2016 1:44 pm

Hi David,

Some thoughts...
That God hath fixed His canon 'gainst self-slaughter
she would have known, if not in just those words.
German was her thing, but even if
she never knew the Tieck and Schlegel version,
as one who promulgated Christian Knowledge.................not sure if the verb is a bit of mouthful?
it must - you'd think - be in her job description.

What happened, then? What fail-safe routine failed
to trigger at the proper moment?...........................lost the pause/emphasis on she, understand the edit,but...?
She set great store by propriety. For her
it was a rigour mixed with daintiness,
as though the ways of samurai and geisha merged
in a fierce code of little graceful steps.

An only child in houses full of cousins,.......................the poetic to plain works for me
she looked to cousins for a fixity.............................them rather than cousins?
of affection that we could not manage,
quite. If never one of her
fast friends from Wittenberg, I was perhaps
a pale Horatio, too much off-stage.

When she went, it was not messily,
of course. Decorum was maintained, or so.........................like decorum
we heard at our safe distance. It seemed
both inexplicable and unsurprising;................I felt the the lives/provision line had more impact/connection
the play - including my small part in it -
had proved unsatisfactory, on the whole.

Her room at Queen's looks out onto the quad.
It is her first September.
Her mother is helping with soft furnishings.
Outside, on the flagged staircase,
her father ponders alumni, and hums......................like the sounds of alumni/hums
a verse or two of "Li'l Liza Jane".

After her mother's funeral, years later,
after the hymns, the tea, the healing cakes,
I drove my mother home, where she examined
the celebrated life, the photograph
in glowing black and white. They were..........................I don't get glowing, I got the smiling faces contrast
a nice family, she said. All gone now.

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