Adrift

This is a serious poetry forum not a "love-in". Post here for more detailed, constructive criticism.
Post Reply
TrevorConway
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 146
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:09 am

Adrift

Post by TrevorConway » Fri May 01, 2020 7:32 am

The weeks were watercolour,
every boisterous act drained of vigour.
I ran and swam, like before,
all feeling
forced
a fathom beneath.

Great, sudden shrugs of spirit,
as brief as the writhings of a dying fish,
were all I could give
to hold my head afloat
and steer my hollow anger,
clawing at tasks to call myself a father.

Logic?
Nonsense.
This mood was a creature
immune to explanation,
born from the womb of sleep deprivation,
which somehow crystallised to an anxious lament,
and left me wallowing like water in a well.

Mothers exude invisible glue
that binds all elements in place.
Some fathers have it, too.
Not me.
I was tempted to wreck it,
buoyed with the guilt of duties imbalanced.

And through those dingy days,
I watched her work,
tending our child, serene and patient,
while I was running adrift.
I would come to view her
as an anchor.


The main things I'm wondering here is whether the theme/idea/motivation for writing the poem is clear. I intended to write a poem about depression caused by sleep deprivation due to a child waking lots at night over a period. All other comments on weak lines, words, etc. always appreciated, too, as well as the title (a previous title was "Lullaby") and whether the poem "works" for you overall or might be one to leave out of a collection of poems. Thanks very much.

NotQuiteSure
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 2006
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:05 pm

Re: Adrift

Post by NotQuiteSure » Fri May 01, 2020 12:45 pm

.
Hi Trevor,
as with the Cottage Pie, some great lines made to suffer for a lack of editing.
It meanders a bit too much for me, but then that might suit the topic/experience
and in that sense the title works. I particularly like the two metaphors of
'watercolour' and 'a dying fish' (which I don't think is the same as the 'creature'
in S3, or is it?) but then I get confused by the 'well water' the 'invisible glue' and
the 'anchor'. It's one thing after another, without connection or satisfactory
conclusion.

Just a thought ...

Sleep Deprivation

Those weeks were watercolour
in which I swam like before
but fathoms deep.

the thrashing of a dying fish
great, sudden shrugs of spirit
were all I could give.



Regards, Not



.

User avatar
JJWilliamson
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 3299
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:20 am

Re: Adrift

Post by JJWilliamson » Sat May 02, 2020 9:07 am

I can totally sympathise with the speaker, having experienced this first hand.
A friend of mine once said "Don't worry, it'll pass" and it did. Hang in there if this is current.

I wonder if I would have picked up on the content without your explanation. I think
I would, given the references. Personally speaking, I like this very much.
TrevorConway wrote:
Fri May 01, 2020 7:32 am
The weeks were watercolour,
every boisterous act drained of vigour.
I ran and swam, like before,
all feeling
forced
a fathom beneath. ...Not sure what's happening with "all feeling forced a fathom breath".

Great, sudden shrugs of spirit,
as brief as the writhings of a dying fish, ...Does writhing need to be pluralised?
were all I could give
to hold my head afloat
and steer my hollow anger, ...Not sure if "hollow anger" is too oblique. Would "exhaustion" steer the reader in the right direction. OR "pointless anger"
clawing at tasks to call myself a father.

Logic?
Nonsense.
This mood was a creature
immune to explanation,
born from the womb of sleep deprivation, ...Ah, the speaker is bushed, knackered, at his wits end.
which somehow crystallised to an anxious lament,
and left me wallowing like water in a well. ...Is 'wallowing' the right word? Wells tend to be still. Maybe some thing like "cold and deep".

Mothers exude invisible glue ...Clever metaphor. The bond that holds everything together.
that binds all elements in place. ...Yes!
Some fathers have it, too. ...Yes again. It's true. :)
Not me.
I was tempted to wreck it,
buoyed with the guilt of duties imbalanced.

And through those dingy days, ...Again, is 'dingy' the right word?
I watched her work,
tending our child, serene and patient, ...Sounds too good to be true. :lol:
while I was running adrift.
I would come to view her
as an anchor. ...Another lovely allusion/metaphor.


One or two changes would help direct the reader to the central premise but I don't think you need anything drastic.

Much enjoyed

Best

JJ



The main things I'm wondering here is whether the theme/idea/motivation for writing the poem is clear. I intended to write a poem about depression caused by sleep deprivation due to a child waking lots at night over a period. All other comments on weak lines, words, etc. always appreciated, too, as well as the title (a previous title was "Lullaby") and whether the poem "works" for you overall or might be one to leave out of a collection of poems. Thanks very much.
Long time a child and still a child

TrevorConway
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 146
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:09 am

Re: Adrift

Post by TrevorConway » Sun May 03, 2020 11:13 am

Thanks for all the feedback, Not. Very helpful, as usual. Re the connection of the images, do you feel a poem should have a continuous vein of imagery from a certain field (like many of Emily Dickinson's poems), or is it okay to draw various images from totally different fields in one poem? And if you think it's okay to do so, was there something specific about my images or the delivery of them that made them not work here (e.g. too many too close together, or anything else)?

And on the anchor image, is the idea of someone being an anchor for someone else, does that feel derivative/unoriginal? I have a vague feeling I've heard it before, but not sure.

Thanks again, Not.

T
NotQuiteSure wrote:
Fri May 01, 2020 12:45 pm
.
Hi Trevor,
as with the Cottage Pie, some great lines made to suffer for a lack of editing.
It meanders a bit too much for me, but then that might suit the topic/experience
and in that sense the title works. I particularly like the two metaphors of
'watercolour' and 'a dying fish' (which I don't think is the same as the 'creature'
in S3, or is it?) but then I get confused by the 'well water' the 'invisible glue' and
the 'anchor'. It's one thing after another, without connection or satisfactory
conclusion.

Just a thought ...

Sleep Deprivation

Those weeks were watercolour
in which I swam like before
but fathoms deep.

the thrashing of a dying fish
great, sudden shrugs of spirit
were all I could give.



Regards, Not



.

TrevorConway
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 146
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:09 am

Re: Adrift

Post by TrevorConway » Sun May 03, 2020 11:16 am

Many thanks, JJ. Yes, we are thankfully out of the bad sleep deprivation phase. I think you're right about a few little touches directing the reader a bit better. The all feeling forced a fathom beneath referred to not enjoying anything - all colour/feeling/joy drained from previously joyful acts such as running, swimming, etc. You think that phrase needs a bit of revision?

Thanks again, JJ.

T
JJWilliamson wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 9:07 am
I can totally sympathise with the speaker, having experienced this first hand.
A friend of mine once said "Don't worry, it'll pass" and it did. Hang in there if this is current.

I wonder if I would have picked up on the content without your explanation. I think
I would, given the references. Personally speaking, I like this very much.
TrevorConway wrote:
Fri May 01, 2020 7:32 am
The weeks were watercolour,
every boisterous act drained of vigour.
I ran and swam, like before,
all feeling
forced
a fathom beneath. ...Not sure what's happening with "all feeling forced a fathom breath".

Great, sudden shrugs of spirit,
as brief as the writhings of a dying fish, ...Does writhing need to be pluralised?
were all I could give
to hold my head afloat
and steer my hollow anger, ...Not sure if "hollow anger" is too oblique. Would "exhaustion" steer the reader in the right direction. OR "pointless anger"
clawing at tasks to call myself a father.

Logic?
Nonsense.
This mood was a creature
immune to explanation,
born from the womb of sleep deprivation, ...Ah, the speaker is bushed, knackered, at his wits end.
which somehow crystallised to an anxious lament,
and left me wallowing like water in a well. ...Is 'wallowing' the right word? Wells tend to be still. Maybe some thing like "cold and deep".

Mothers exude invisible glue ...Clever metaphor. The bond that holds everything together.
that binds all elements in place. ...Yes!
Some fathers have it, too. ...Yes again. It's true. :)
Not me.
I was tempted to wreck it,
buoyed with the guilt of duties imbalanced.

And through those dingy days, ...Again, is 'dingy' the right word?
I watched her work,
tending our child, serene and patient, ...Sounds too good to be true. :lol:
while I was running adrift.
I would come to view her
as an anchor. ...Another lovely allusion/metaphor.


One or two changes would help direct the reader to the central premise but I don't think you need anything drastic.

Much enjoyed

Best

JJ



The main things I'm wondering here is whether the theme/idea/motivation for writing the poem is clear. I intended to write a poem about depression caused by sleep deprivation due to a child waking lots at night over a period. All other comments on weak lines, words, etc. always appreciated, too, as well as the title (a previous title was "Lullaby") and whether the poem "works" for you overall or might be one to leave out of a collection of poems. Thanks very much.

User avatar
JJWilliamson
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 3299
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:20 am

Re: Adrift

Post by JJWilliamson » Sun May 03, 2020 12:24 pm

No, I think I need to learn how to read. :)
TrevorConway wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 11:16 am
You think that phrase needs a bit of revision?
JJ
Long time a child and still a child

TrevorConway
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 146
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:09 am

Re: Adrift

Post by TrevorConway » Sun May 03, 2020 12:32 pm

Okay! Well, poems shouldn't require too much explanation, so simplification is needed sometimes, while being too direct ain't great either, so I gotta decide on a balance. Thanks for the follow-up, JJ.

T
JJWilliamson wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 12:24 pm
No, I think I need to learn how to read. :)
TrevorConway wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 11:16 am
You think that phrase needs a bit of revision?
JJ

NotQuiteSure
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 2006
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:05 pm

Re: Adrift

Post by NotQuiteSure » Sun May 03, 2020 1:40 pm

.
Hi T.
I think it's mainly a case of 'too many too close together' for me. The strong images get a bit lost/diluted among the weaker ones. For instance, you start with the terrific 'the weeks were watercolour' but then end with the, really quite boring, 'dingy days'. (days could have sent you back to the original image, instead you added a new one, to no great benefit, I think). The crowding makes the piece feel rushed (from one idea to the next), whereas, I imagine, being sleep deprived tends to make one/things rather sluggish. Perhaps playing with the format might 'slow' the piece down a bit,
for instance

The weeks were watercolour,

every boisterous act
drained

of vigour. like before,

I ran and swam,
all feeling forced

a fathom beneath.



Or you could extend the 'watercolour' idea a bit


The weeks were watercolour,
every act drained
of hue, of vigour
more edges lost
than found


(isn't 'a fathom beneath' essentially the same idea as 'watercolour'?)


Also, might the piece be stronger if the 'her' in the final stanza was 'you'?


Regards, Not


.

TrevorConway
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 146
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:09 am

Re: Adrift

Post by TrevorConway » Sun May 03, 2020 8:17 pm

Great to get your clarification on that, Not. Much appreciated. You may well be onto something about slowing the piece down in that way. I'll give it a serious think.

T
NotQuiteSure wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 1:40 pm
.
Hi T.
I think it's mainly a case of 'too many too close together' for me. The strong images get a bit lost/diluted among the weaker ones. For instance, you start with the terrific 'the weeks were watercolour' but then end with the, really quite boring, 'dingy days'. (days could have sent you back to the original image, instead you added a new one, to no great benefit, I think). The crowding makes the piece feel rushed (from one idea to the next), whereas, I imagine, being sleep deprived tends to make one/things rather sluggish. Perhaps playing with the format might 'slow' the piece down a bit,
for instance

The weeks were watercolour,

every boisterous act
drained

of vigour. like before,

I ran and swam,
all feeling forced

a fathom beneath.



Or you could extend the 'watercolour' idea a bit


The weeks were watercolour,
every act drained
of hue, of vigour
more edges lost
than found


(isn't 'a fathom beneath' essentially the same idea as 'watercolour'?)


Also, might the piece be stronger if the 'her' in the final stanza was 'you'?


Regards, Not


.

Post Reply