I have such powers...

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I have such powers...

Post by bodkin » Sun Jan 11, 2009 9:45 pm

I have such powers as you would never guess. I can
have my cake, eat it, and sell it at the same time.
I can arrange three points as neither triangle nor line;
and reconcile my roller-blades with the wisdom of my age.

I can know what can't be known, and I can fly with wasps,
protect tomato vines from frost, and legislate for love.
I can move the mountain three feet and seven inches
closer to Mohamed. There is no limit to what I can do.

I can be early in the morning, and also late at night,
quote temperatures in Celsius, Fahrenheit and gold doubloons.
I can tie a knot in the moon, and walk shorter routes
than the simple straight line. All of these powers are mine.

I can talk to people so they think they understand;
and I can hold your hand, and drive, and make noodles
while signalling to ships. I can see things as they really are,
from the electron to the star; and I can kill a rhino --

in forty-seven ways -- with a toothpick. The wonder of my days
is finding things I cannot do. I can out-manoeuvre you
on any day or week, but I cannot make your life less bleak,
or find the things you seek, before you ruin them.
http://www.ianbadcoe.uk/

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Re: I have such powers...

Post by ray miller » Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:48 pm

I don't know quite what to make of this. Sounds like the Genie of the Lamp, the accomplishments and tricks seem to be random i.e. I can't discern a general purpose. There does seem to be a moral to the story judging by the last two lines but its meaning is elusive. Three feet and seven inches is very precise!
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: I have such powers...

Post by Nigel » Mon Jan 12, 2009 5:19 pm

Things you can do are too ingenious for their own good - tie a knot in the moon ? How does that work exactly ? It doesn't. An image overworked. The idea behind the poem's fine but the construction is all to pot. It would have been better if the things you can do were more feasible. Then the last stanza might work. As it stands you've allowed the poem to run away with itself. The metre's good though.

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Re: I have such powers...

Post by Ros » Mon Jan 12, 2009 6:57 pm

Surely the point is that the powers are random and obviously impossible - and yet the narrator cannot, as we all cannot, ultimately save someone from themselves. I liked this, all of it,
bodkin wrote:I can hold your hand, and drive, and make noodles
while signalling to ships
some wonderful images - and good internal rhymes.
Rosencrantz: What are you playing at? Guildenstern: Words. Words. They're all we have to go on.
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Re: I have such powers...

Post by David » Mon Jan 12, 2009 7:17 pm

I liked this, Ian. Some of your great achievements made me laugh. Three feet seven inches, indeed.

I would have preferred a different ending. There's a wonderful tone of comic bravado right to the last stanza, when - in my view - you go and spoil it with an unduly unkind direct address to your imagined addressee. Why? Instead of disappearing in a puff of glorious smoke, you shuffle off with a mean-spirited whimper.

SWALK

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Re: I have such powers...

Post by bodkin » Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:14 pm

Hi all,

Ray -- the underlying point is no pattern, except they are all impossible, superhuman even. But in spite of all that the narrator cannot help the addressee with his (your gender may vary) down-to-earth everyday just-getting-by problems.

David -- I have thought the ending to be weak myself. But other critters said they like that bit best, so I guess it is a matter of taste. It's not supposed to be mean BTW but rather a pragmatic assessment of the other person's personal problems. I think I saw the narrator as the addressee's long-suffering best friend at that point.

Nigel -- well first you have to decide what sort of knot, I wouldn't recommend a sheepshank. Seriously though, I can't see any point in listing feasible accomplishments, they wouldn't really be "powers" would they? They'd be more like my CV. The whole idea, really, was to be totally over the top, to provide a strong contrast to the more serious ending. Possibly this sort of thing never will be to everybody's taste...

Ros -- Thank you, who doesn't like internal rhymes? The trick with the noodles is to loop one end around the steering wheel and tie the other to the handle on the Aldis Lamp...

ROTFL and thanks all!

Ian


BTW -> (British Thermal Woolys)
ROTFL -> (Rhubarb of the Fast Lane)
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Re: I have such powers...

Post by Cat_Brenners » Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:58 am

Maybe, if this is a friend talking to another, it should be shown to us. And, why mix the impossible powers with ordinary things like driving? That's not a power. But, in all I think you have a good idea here and with some work this could be a good poem. Good luck,
Hugs, Cat
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Re: I have such powers...

Post by bodkin » Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:27 pm

Hi Cat,

the comment about two friends was just me responding to David, it's not part of the poem. I guess by saying that, I was just probing to see whether anybody said "No, no, your text cannot mean that"... It wouldn't be legitimate for me to insist that things I mention after the event really are in the poem, but it seems fair enough to suggest an interpretation and see if anybody objects...

The point about driving was doing it while simultaneously holding someone's hand, making noodles and signalling to ships... generally only an octopus can do that (and obviously they dislike noodles as too octopomorphic.) Maybe I needed less punctuation around there, to make the activities seem more linked:

"and I can hold your hand and drive and make noodles
while signalling to ships."

Or with the commas but without the "and"s:

"and I can hold your hand, drive, and make noodles
while signalling a ship."

I think the latter preserves the pace better. Will think about it, what do you think?

Regards and thanks!

Ian
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