I grew up on this little island (revised)

This is a serious poetry forum not a "love-in". Post here for more detailed, constructive criticism.
Post Reply
User avatar
tatterdemalion
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2019 6:34 pm
Location: North Wales

I grew up on this little island (revised)

Post by tatterdemalion » Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:29 am

Revised version

It rains almost every day—
umbrellas unfurl like mushrooms
dancing around puddles on human legs;
ravens wear raindrops like pearl buttons
stitched to feather overcoats.

No one complains about the weather,
but a rise in the price of postage stamps
will start a riot. Newcomers are warned
not to badmouth the monarchy: royalty
there is descended from cut-throats,
and horrible things happen to rabble rousers:
a poet was made to eat his seditious words.

Ages ago, the island was inhabited by wild men.
Before there were palaces and parliaments
lions raised our women, and boys rode
on the backs of whales. Fish, it is said,
were thanked before being eaten.

Some of us like to remember the past.
Once a year we gather along the shore to call
over white waves to wandering whales,
our young men swim naked in the ocean
while our daughters roar like lionesses.


First version

It rains there almost every day.
Umbrellas are giant mushrooms with human legs
dancing around puddles; ravens wear raindrops
like pearl buttons stitched to feather overcoats.

Unusually, no one complains about the weather,
but a rise in the price of postage stamps will start a riot.
Newcomers are warned not to badmouth the monarchy:
royalty there is descended from cut-throats, and horrible
things happen to rabble-rousers: a poet was made to eat
his own seditious words.

Ages ago, the island’s only inhabitants were wild men.
Before there were palaces, parliaments and pagodas,
women were raised by lions, and men rode on the backs
of whales. Fish were thanked before they were eaten.

Some of us like to remember the past. Once a year
we gather near the ocean and we call to the whales,
while our daughters roar like lionesses.
Last edited by tatterdemalion on Fri Jan 31, 2020 4:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Macavity
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 5856
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: I grew up on this little island

Post by Macavity » Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:40 am

Hi

Title got my attention and the poem does deliver in parts. Enjoyed the ambitious imagery in S1.The majority of your verbs are passive (you use were five times in S3). This dulls the write. I don't associate lions/islands.

cheers

mac
tatterdemalion wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:29 am
It rains there almost every day.
Umbrellas are giant mushrooms with human legs
dancing around puddles; ravens wear raindrops
like pearl buttons stitched to feather overcoats.

Unusually, No one complains about the weather,
but a rise in the price of postage stamps will start a riot.
Newcomers are warned not to badmouth the monarchy:
royalty there is descended from cut-throats, and horrible
things happen to rabble-rousers: a poet was made to eat
his own seditious words.

Ages ago, the island’s only inhabitants were wild men.
Before there were palaces, parliaments and pagodas,
women were raised by lions, and men rode on the backs
of whales. Fish were thanked before they were eaten.

Some of us like to remember the past. Once a year
we gather near the ocean and we call to the whales,
while our daughters roar like lionesses.

NotQuiteSure
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 2008
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:05 pm

Re: I grew up on this little island

Post by NotQuiteSure » Sun Jan 26, 2020 1:13 pm

.
Hi Tatter,
title appealed to me too, though I'd be tempted to change the opening
so it flows more directly from the it.

I think you could have a bit more fun with enjambments, as in ...


Where it rains almost every day
umbrellas are giant mushrooms
with human legs dancing around puddles;
ravens wear raindrops like pearl buttons
stitched neatly to black feather overcoats.

There no one complains about the weather,
but a rise in the price of postage stamps
will start rioting. Newcomers are warned
not to badmouth the monarchy: royalty
there is descended from cut-throats,
and horrible things have happened
to rabble-rousers (and republicans)
- I'm not sure you need the next line, it's a bit
anticlimactic after 'horrible things happen'

a poet was made to eat his own seditious words.

Before the palaces, parliaments pagodas,
this island's inhabitants roamed wild
the women raised by lions, and men
rode on the backs of whales. Fish, it is said,
were thanked before being eaten.

Some of us like to remember the past.
Yearly we gather along the shore to call
to the waves and the broad backed whales,
while our daughters roar like lionesses.
- wonder if there should be a mention of sons
to compliment the daughters in this verse?



(I'm less troubled by 'lions' than I am by 'pagodas', :)
though I appreciate the alliteration).


Regards, Not


.

User avatar
tatterdemalion
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2019 6:34 pm
Location: North Wales

Re: I grew up on this little island

Post by tatterdemalion » Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:27 pm

Thanks Macavity and Not, lots of good suggestions. Will settle down and have a think.

ray miller
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 6535
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:23 am

Re: I grew up on this little island

Post by ray miller » Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:26 am

The poem is pretty fantastical, apart from stanza 2, which sounds like a place I know. I prefer stanza 2. You don't "own" before seditious and the rhythm seems better without it.

Ages ago, the island’s only inhabitants were wild men.
Before there were palaces, parliaments and pagodas,
women were raised by lions, and men rode on the backs
of whales. Fish were thanked before they were eaten.

I found it slightly confusing, the palaces etc. came before the wild men? I do like the fish line.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

NotQuiteSure
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 2008
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:05 pm

Re: I grew up on this little island (revised)

Post by NotQuiteSure » Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:04 pm

.
Hi Tatter,
better for the revisions I think,
though the first verse is looking comparatively weak now.
(Or, more likely, I didn't notice before :) )


[Where] It rains [there] almost every day—
umbrellas unfurl like mushrooms

- think I preferred the original formulation
(though it could be because I dislike the repetition of 'like')
and the umbrellas are giant mushrooms?
dancing around puddles on human legs;
ravens wear raindrops like pearl buttons

- might this 'like' be an 'as'?
stitched to feather overcoats.
- Not sure these last three lines work that well, they
seem to be of a different category of 'nonsense' to the rest.

...
a poet was made to eat his seditious words.

- Don't think you need 'words' but I do think you need something
ridiculous to finish this thought off.
a poet was made to eat his sedition
with vinegar and an invisible spoon
?

Ages ago, the island was inhabited by wild men.
- Perhaps,
In ages past, the island was inhabited
by [huge/great/tall/?] wild men. Before there were palaces
and parliaments, lions raised our women
and boys rode on the backs of whales. Fish
it is said, were thanked before being eaten.


Some of us like to remember the past,
- is this about 'remembering' or 'reliving'?
[and so] once a year we gather along the shore
to call over white waves to wandering whales,
[as] our [sons] swim naked in the ocean
[and] our daughters roar like lionesses.


Regards, Not



.

User avatar
Poet
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 230
Joined: Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:50 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: I grew up on this little island (revised)

Post by Poet » Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:47 am

tatterdemalion wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:29 am
Revised version

It rains almost every day—
umbrellas unfurl like mushrooms
dancing around puddles on human legs;
ravens wear raindrops like pearl buttons
stitched to feather overcoats.

No one complains about the weather,
but a rise in the price of postage stamps
will start a riot. Newcomers are warned
not to badmouth the monarchy: royalty
there is descended from cut-throats,
and horrible things happen to rabble rousers:
a poet was made to eat his seditious words.

Ages ago, the island was inhabited by wild men.
Before there were palaces and parliaments
lions raised our women, and boys rode
on the backs of whales. Fish, it is said,
were thanked before being eaten.

Some of us like to remember the past.
Once a year we gather along the shore to call
over white waves to wandering whales,
our young men swim naked in the ocean
while our daughters roar like lionesses.


First version

It rains there almost every day.
Umbrellas are giant mushrooms with human legs
dancing around puddles; ravens wear raindrops
like pearl buttons stitched to feather overcoats.

Unusually, no one complains about the weather,
but a rise in the price of postage stamps will start a riot.
Newcomers are warned not to badmouth the monarchy:
royalty there is descended from cut-throats, and horrible
things happen to rabble-rousers: a poet was made to eat
his own seditious words.

Ages ago, the island’s only inhabitants were wild men.
Before there were palaces, parliaments and pagodas,
women were raised by lions, and men rode on the backs
of whales. Fish were thanked before they were eaten.

Some of us like to remember the past. Once a year
we gather near the ocean and we call to the whales,
while our daughters roar like lionesses.
Interesting poem, I prefer your revised version, also I think there doesn't really need a critique other than the mentioned critiques above me, anyway thanks for sharing. You did a great job on it.

Post Reply