Warmth

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Perry
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Warmth

Post by Perry » Tue Apr 14, 2020 8:28 pm

The only warmth in my life right now
comes from a heating pipe.
It is a sad measure of my age
that I prefer it that way.

Love was a messy thing; I wasn’t
good at it. And sex was
even worse — all those bodily
fluids that had to be cleaned,

not to mention diseases, a few
of which might have killed me.
Love comes to me now as a check,
as chocolate toffee bars

and shepherd’s pie; in gratitude
I’ve grown to enormous size.
My point is that I’m still alive,
still writing. For me, that’s fine.

-end-

This poem is very simple and straightforward -- I'm not sure if that makes it good or bad. Also, I think the ending is trite -- I'm open to suggestions. The poem could probably use a better title.

This could easily be turned into a sonnet by eliminating lines 9 and 10:

The only warmth in my life right now
comes from a heating pipe.
It is a sad measure of my age
that I prefer it that way.

Love was a messy thing; I wasn’t
good at it. And sex was
even worse — all those bodily
fluids that had to be cleaned.

Love comes to me now as a check,
as chocolate toffee bars
and shepherd’s pie; in gratitude
I’ve grown to enormous size.
My point is that I’m still alive,
still writing. For me, that’s fine.

But the sonnet seems too refined a form to waste on a poem like this.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: Warmth

Post by Firebird » Tue Apr 14, 2020 10:19 pm

Perry wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 8:28 pm
The only warmth in my life right now
comes from a heating pipe.
It is a sad measure of my age
that I prefer it that way.
Hi Perry,

I love this opening stanza. It has something of Larkin about it. But I’m afraid, what follows, for me, doesn’t live up to this start (the bar is set far too high). If you could somehow write another couple of quatrains that continue in this tone, you’d have a cracking poem here. Or maybe make this the concluding stanza of a poem. Actually, I quite like these four opening lines as a poem, but I doubt others will agree with that.

Sorry to disappoint, but that’s my view.

Hope it helps.

Cheers,

Tristan

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Perry
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Re: Warmth

Post by Perry » Wed Apr 15, 2020 12:38 am

Thank you, Tristan.

To me, the first stanza isn't any better than the others, but I'll try to see what you see in it. If I can, perhaps I can spin it into something else.

Perry
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: Warmth

Post by ray miller » Wed Apr 15, 2020 10:51 pm

I like it. I think the 2nd stanza could be better

Love was a messy thing;
I wasn’t any good at it.
And sex was even worse —
all those bodily fluids,

not to mention diseases...

Also, I think you should end on "For me, that's more than enough." - a humorous nod at the enormous size.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Perry
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Re: Warmth

Post by Perry » Thu Apr 16, 2020 6:14 am

Thank you, Ray.

I also felt that the second stanza was the weakest, and I've been working on it. The poem's pattern, however, is:

4
3
4
3 (beats)

... and as good as your revision is, it doesn't fit the pattern. But I'll keep working on it.

I thought about ending with "enough", but I wanted to keep the vowel rhyme of "alive/fine". I try to end all my poems with a rhyme; and if I can't get a perfect one, I go for a vowel rhyme.

The fact that you like it helps me to see the poem as worthwhile. I wasn't sure if this one was a tosser.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: Warmth

Post by TrevorConway » Fri Apr 17, 2020 8:38 pm

Hi Perry,

Lots to like here, I thought. The ending is fine, though something better might present itself. I wouldn't worry too much about needing to change it. Similarly, maybe the ending could be improved, as you say, but it ain't bad. Some suggestions below for clarity. See what fits and what doesn't.

The only warmth in my life right now
comes from a heating pipe. [Maybe a more active verb than comes? "visits"? "blows"? "breathes"? "whispers"?]
It is [or "It's"?] a sad measure of my age
that I prefer it that way.

Love was a messy thing; I wasn’t adept.
And sex was worse — fluids of the flesh [I thought "bodily fluids" was too familiar a term]
had to be cleaned,
[Another line here, though I'm not sure what. Maybe still about the fluids or the feeling after orgasm? The phrase "afterglow" is coming to mind, for some reason]
not to mention [Add an adjective?] diseases;
a few of them might have killed me.

[It felt like a major shift here, so I've changed around the stanza structure]

Love comes to me now as a check, [Not sure what kind of check is being referred to. Medical? Money?]
as chocolate toffee bars
and shepherd’s pie.
In gratitude, I’ve grown
to enormous size. [Again, I'm not totally getting how the love comes from them. Just personal pleasure from food as a kind of love?]
To still be alive,
to be clutching a pen.
For me, that’s fuel enough. [Fuel came to mind because I was thinking of ideas connected with warmth. Something else might fit better]

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Re: Warmth

Post by JJWilliamson » Sat Apr 18, 2020 8:45 am

I also like it, Perry. True, it's simplistic but I don't mind that one bit. Horses for courses, I suppose.
Yip, I get the 4:3 rhythm, although I note you're not going for tight meter. No prob's.

Perry wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 8:28 pm
The only warmth in my life right now ...Good opening hook, and one that asks me to read on.
comes from a heating pipe.
It is a sad measure of my age
that I prefer it that way. ...Pleasantly melancholic or perhaps resigned feeling coming through here.

Love was a messy thing; I wasn’t
good at it. And sex was
even worse — all those bodily ...I like how you make the distinction between love and sex. You do, however, make it sound like there's a huge number of fluids. I suppose it depends. I can think of three, if the participants are particularly frenzied. :) I suppose there is a fourth but I won't dive in there.
fluids that had to be cleaned,

not to mention diseases, a few
of which might have killed me. ...Yes, very true. Another invisible killer.
Love comes to me now as a check,
as chocolate toffee bars ...Ha! Yes, I'm currently enjoying a love affair with peanut and caramel ice cream, topped with whipped cream. Easter, of course, brought its temptations in the way of chocolate.

and shepherd’s pie; in gratitude
I’ve grown to enormous size. ...Id be tempted to say "I've grown enormously fat". Don't shy away from it.
My point is that I’m still alive,
still writing. For me, that’s fine. ...Yes, we have much to be grateful for.

-end-

I enjoyed the easy flow and simple message of this, Perry.

Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

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Re: Warmth

Post by Perry » Sat Apr 18, 2020 8:24 pm

I thought that this poem had fallen off the bottom, but two more comments have come in. Thank you to Trevor and JJ.

I think you have both made some good suggestions, and I'll consider them. The poem is too plodding, too pedestrian. I think it would be improved by more lyrical language. But when I try to make it more lyrical, it starts to sound contrived.

I'm an over-eater, and the pleasure I get from food -- sweets in particular -- definitely feels like love to me. If you have a normal relationship with food, then you may never have experienced this; but to me, all it takes is a mint chocolate chip sundae or a slice of chocolate cream pie to make me feel like I'm in a relationship with the love of my life. (I'm single-handedly keeping those poor cocoa bean pickers in the Ivory Coast employed.)

I like your idea of "that's fuel enough" for the ending, but I might make it, "that's love enough".

The check that I was referring to was a pension check, or in this country a Social Security check.

JJ, I'm glad you like the poem overall. I'll probably be working on it for months trying to pretty up the language. This is a blunt poem, but being bunt doesn't mean that the language has to be ugly.

The body fluids I was thinking of are saliva, snot, sweat and semen. Sucking a cock brings out the saliva and snot, and fucking (which we do on the back end) brings out the sweat and semen. I can barely believe that I engaged in all that messy stuff now.

I see "enormously fat" as being unnecessarily literal, whereas "enormous size" strikes me as more poetic. By the way, I am probably not as fat as I make it sound; I exaggerate for poetic effect.

The ending certainly needs fixing.

Thanks again to both of you.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: Warmth

Post by ton321 » Wed Apr 22, 2020 12:51 am

I agree that the first stanza is the best. If you could keep to images that suggest/ emanate emotions, rather than explicitly state them,
Tony
Counting the beats,
Counting the slow heart beats,
The bleeding to death of time in slow heart beats,
Wakeful they lie.

Robert Graves

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