Rocks - edit

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barrie
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Rocks - edit

Post by barrie » Sun Oct 26, 2008 3:36 pm

The crag looks in
through the leaded window.
Mourners whisper reminders,
smile at recollections
and quietly cough.

Your chair still faces the scar,
hung with mist
clinging like a disease:
no sharp wind
to cut it from the rocks,
no sun
to burn up
every last frond
that licks and invades.

You were
stoic as the rocks,
yet I could see
how sorrow ploughed
your brow,
how worry
rumpled your mouth.

The leaded window, still holding
your reflection,
superimposes your face
on the limestone scar.
...............

Original V1

The crag looks in
through the leaded window.
Your best china chinks
and clinks above subdued murmurs.
Mourners quietly cough,
whisper reminders,
smile at recollections.
After letting go of branches and walking through the ape gait, we managed to grasp what hands were really for......

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Re: Tea & Sandwiches

Post by juliadebeauvoir » Sun Oct 26, 2008 5:23 pm

Sentimental and lovely without being over done. The first verse does a great deal to set the stage. Throws you into the scene immediately and creates a universal feeling. Everyone knows what a wake feels and sounds like. The only crit I have is to switch some of the verses around. Here is a suggestion, although I think it stands pretty strong on its own without help from me.

The crag looks in
through the leaded window.
Your best china chinks
and clinks above subdued murmurs.
Mourners quietly cough,
whisper reminders,
smile at recollections.

You were
stoic as the rocks,
yet I could see
how sorrow ploughed
your brow,
how worry
rumpled your mouth.

Your chair still faces the crag,
hung with mist
clinging like a disease:
no sharp wind
to cut it from the rocks,
no sun
to burn up
every last frond
that licks and invades.
I think describing the smiles of recollection contrast nicely in the next verse of the worry she felt about her own life, 'how worry rumpled your mouth.' That was a favorite line.

I like the idea of you ending on 'that licks and invades' because it is so ominous, so threatening. There is no pat answer. No cure. The poem can abruptly halt without a tied up ending. Much like death and disease.

Cheers,
Kim
"Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you."

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Re: Tea & Sandwiches

Post by Elphin » Sun Oct 26, 2008 8:36 pm

Tea and sandwiches - I have always thought thats the point in a funeral when people become less sad and start looking forward. We have never really called it a wake here - it was always the purvey and usually involved the local Labour Club or some such venue.

Anyway, to the poem. I deliberately didnt read Kims crit before forming my own thoughts and strangely I came to a very similar conclusion with one difference being that I wonder if the introduction of the crag could be kept until s3. I think recollections leads easily into you were stoic etc

I am a little troubled by our thoughts though because that leaded window is in your s1 and s4 and therefore probably has more importance than I am crediting it with by removing it. So my suggestion would look like this (I changed subdued to the as I thought the beat was out and the feeling of subdued runs through the whispers and the coughs etc anyway.)

Your best china chinks
and clinks above the murmurs.
Mourners quietly cough,
whisper reminders,
smile at recollections.

You were
stoic as the rocks,
yet I could see
how sorrow ploughed
your brow,
how worry
rumpled your mouth.

Your chair still faces the crag,
hung with mist
clinging like a disease:
no sharp wind
to cut it from the rocks,
no sun
to burn up
every last frond
that licks and invades.


Nice one .

elph

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Re: Tea & Sandwiches

Post by Sulpicia » Mon Oct 27, 2008 12:15 pm

I really liked this. Especially the crag looking in at the beginning. It's a sort of bemused and personified observer of humans, a reversed 'stoic as the rocks'. No quibbles really; just wanted to say how much I enjoyed it.
Helen

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Re: Rocks (originally Tea & Sandwiches)

Post by barrie » Mon Oct 27, 2008 5:03 pm

Thanks Helen - 'a reversed 'stoic as the rocks'', is quite accurate really. I have tried to write another poem from the crag's point of view, unsuccessfully.

Elph - I can see what you're getting at here, but the gathering after the burial is just a backdrop. The main theme of the poem is the comparison of the old lady and the crag. That's why the poem starts off with the crag looking in, a reversal of roles: she used to spend her days looking out - that's also why the chair's still facing the window. The description of the mist on the rocks is supposed to mirror her cancer; the sharp wind - a surgeon, the warm sun - radiation therapy, Finally, in death, the superimposition of her face on the crag.
Maybe what does need changing is the title - that's enough to suggest that the main theme is a funeral. What do you think about 'Rocks' (as a title I mean, not geologically speaking - that's k-j's forte).

Thanks Kim - I see what you mean about ending on 'every last frond that licks and invades', but the last verse is quite important, the superimposition is a sort of moving on.

Thanks all

Barrie
After letting go of branches and walking through the ape gait, we managed to grasp what hands were really for......

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Re: Tea & Sandwiches

Post by Danté » Mon Oct 27, 2008 5:18 pm

Lovely read Barrie,

Glad I waited for the accompanying info, it adds a little something to the read, not that it needed it.
How about a specific type of rock for the title?
Just a collision of brain cells, that might help you find a better one.

Well crafted

thanks

Tim
to anticipate touching what is unseen seems far more interesting than seeing what the hand can not touch

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Re: Tea & Sandwiches

Post by David » Mon Oct 27, 2008 7:19 pm

The crag looks in
through the leaded window.


You make it sound as though the crag's come to the funeral. Maybe that's right.

Your best china chinks

Racism!

Your chair still faces the crag,
hung with mist
clinging like a disease:


I don't really like "like a disease", although I think I understand its relevance. I'd go for something like "like an old ailment", but that might not be right, especially as

no sharp wind
to cut it from the rocks,
no sun
to burn up
every last frond
that licks and invades


is so very good, and much more appropriate to "disease" than "ailment".

You were
stoic as the rocks,


Not sure about this, especially as rocks aren't that ploughable.

The leaded window, still holding
your reflection,
superimposes your face
on the limestone scar.


Again, that's really good, but I don't understand how the leaded window is still holding the reflection.

Just some thoughts there, on a very nice piece of work.

Cheers

David

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Re: Tea & Sandwiches

Post by Elphin » Mon Oct 27, 2008 8:22 pm

Barrie

I think you may have had too many images going on here. That made me as a reader go off on tangents - the title was one of these tangents, so I do think Rocks is better.

Having removed tea and sandwiches as the title though, what do you think to also removing them from s1 - remove any possibility of a tangent and concentrate on the the central theme of the crag, the old lady, her disease and death. My question is - does the backdrop add anything?.

The middle two stanzas are really good and now I get it a bit better the idea in the last stanza of her reflection still being held by the window is a poignant touch but do you think remembering your reflection might be a more accurate and effective phrase than holding your reflection though to make it all a bit sharper.

Just thoughts as always - I think what I am trying to say is not to stray too far from the crag, the chair and the window.

Incidentally, I am seeing a lot of the Lake District in this

elphin

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Re: Tea & Sandwiches

Post by stuartryder » Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:22 pm

Hi Barrie

I think chinks *and* clinks was too much. I think just "clinks" is better. More subdued. More artful.

Cheers

Stuart

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Re: Tea & Sandwiches

Post by Lake » Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:29 am

David wrote: Your best china chinks

Racism!
Spot on, David. :D

Barrie,

I like the way you string crag, rocks and limestone together. That leaded window sounds old fashioned (now we have bay window) and works well with the backdrop. Thanks for the explanation on the disease, that helps me further understand that stanza. I like the whole thing, and the middle two verses are even more moving.

Great write.

Lake

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Re: Rocks ( formerly Tea & Sandwiches)

Post by oranggunung » Tue Oct 28, 2008 1:25 pm

Barrie

I enjoyed this when I first read it, but wasn't sure if i had anything to add. The new title seems to give a better focus of the setting, but I still don't think it's very clear how the narrator felt about the dead woman.

Now I feel like something of a cheat, as I know how I should be looking at the piece. I’m afraid I didn’t manage to make the connection between the mist and the cancer on my own, despite the directional use of ‘disease’.


Mourners quietly cough,
whisper reminders,
smile at recollections.


The three actions of the mourners all seem important, but I wonder if they’re in the right order.


Mourners whisper reminders,
smile at recollections
and quietly cough.

If the coughing came at the end, perhaps it would be reminiscent of breaking voices. That might be too pat, but don’t the tears come after the smiles?


hung with mist
clinging like a disease:



This was the signpost that I failed to heed. Perhaps the direct nature of the word threw me. I’d like to think I was looking for more subtlety. Is there a way of avoiding the direct without being too oblique?

hung
with intimate,
intricate mist.


The death/disease image could echo in ‘hung’.


every last frond

When I first read this, I was sure I hadn’t understood your intention. Now I know why. However, that knowledge still doesn’t help me read this smoothly. I wonder if you're trying to convey too much information here. Would something simpler, along the lines of ...

those fronds
that lick and invade.

[tab][/tab] [tab][/tab] [tab][/tab]... work?


S3 addresses stoicism, but suggests the mask was not complete. In that case, it seems odd not to mention pain. ‘Sorrow’ and ‘worry’ seem to be moderating the extent of the stoicism, rather than accentuating it.


S4 relies on the inanimate to do all of the work. I wondered if this was a point where the poem could become more personal. Could the narrator superimpose the face, rather than the window? This is the point where I expected some statement of the relationship between the narrator and the dead woman, but nothing came.


I'm very glad I didn't try to comment any earlier, as I'd have made a complete fool of myself. Still, I might be doing that anyway.


with 20/20 hindsight

og

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Re: Rocks ( formerly Tea & Sandwiches)

Post by Arcadian » Tue Oct 28, 2008 1:45 pm

Barrie,

I don't think the last stanza does justice to your poem. In fact remove it, it is not needed, to me it detracts from the potency of the wake.

At the beginning we have a crag looking in through the window. Then miraculously in the last stanza it becomes transformed into a mirror ? -- by what means ? -- metaphysical ; magical. I don't think you intend this, and as a consequence it weakens the poem I feel

The woman is dead no longer there, it is a stretch for her imprint to be there. Are you aiming for magical realism perhaps ?


cheers
Arco

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Re: Tea & Sandwiches

Post by David » Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:24 pm

Lake wrote:
David wrote: Your best china chinks

Racism!
Spot on, David. :D
Lake, I realise now that my remark could itself be regarded as racist. It wasn't meant that way, you know - just me being silly. I hope you spotted that. I think you did!

Cheers

David

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Re: Rocks ( formerly Tea & Sandwiches)

Post by barrie » Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:25 pm

Thanks for the reply Tim - cheers

Thanks David -
David wrote:rocks aren't that ploughable
- There a lots of 'ploughed' rocks around here, the glaciers had a right go at 'em in the last Ice Age.
David wrote:I don't understand how the leaded window is still holding the reflection
The window is just a medium, the reflection of her face is a memory. Walking into the room, the first thing I would see was her reflection in the window, mingled with the crag outside.

Thanks Elph - Yes, you're right about removing some bits from this. Stuart mentioned chinks and clinks being too much, so I'll get rid of this section ( Racism sorted David).
stuartryder wrote:I think chinks *and* clinks was too much. I think just "clinks" is better. More subdued. More artful.
- All the 'inks' have gone, you helped me make my mind up - thanks for that.


Thanks Lake - Glad you enjoyed it.

Thanks og -

'Mourners whisper reminders,
smile at recollections
and quietly cough.' ...I think I'll go with that - cheers.
oranggunung wrote:S3 addresses stoicism, but suggests the mask was not complete. In that case, it seems odd not to mention pain. ‘Sorrow’ and ‘worry’ seem to be moderating the extent of the stoicism, rather than accentuating it.
I would disagree here, I think that stoicism means accepting sorrow and pain without complaining about it, not being oblivious to it.

'Could the narrator superimpose the face, rather than the window' - Not really, the window is the link between the old lady and the crag. It always was.

The old lady - my mother's sister.

Thanks Arco.

Was I aiming for magical realism? - No.

As I explained earlier in this post, I always saw her face refelected in the window each time I walked into that room, as she stared out at the hills, the angle and position were such that her face appeared as part of the limestone scar, the crag. It's a memory, that's all, nothing magical - a mental image, like a photograph.

Thanks again everyone

Barrie
After letting go of branches and walking through the ape gait, we managed to grasp what hands were really for......

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Re: Rocks - edit

Post by Danté » Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:09 pm

Barrie,

I like the revision to the poem, and the revised S1 is doing what it should for me.
The original S1 is for me, is a jaw dropper. I read stuff here all the time, and admire lots of work, but that original stanza just blows me away in a manner that the new one doesn't quite.
If it were not quoted in the thread, I would have been gutted, as I could read that verse over, it's like working a slab of butter with those wooden thingys, as I read through it. I try not to be overly subjective when looking at anyones work, I can't help it with that verse it just connects with my brain so well.
I think somehow the structure of the I, and U, vowell sounds in the order you put them, creates something special. Personally I'd go for for the final stanza and have something along the lines of the reflection prompting a recollection of the face. And perhaps have some mechanism in the stanza to hint a little more strongly to enable the reader to grasp the lovely way in which you have shown the demise.
Reading a poem like this and being armed with all the info, makes really objective readings there after, nigh on impossible. I think you need fresh eyes on this, ones without the luxury of the text in this thread.
As you know, this is a little wordy for me; I think it's justified.
A wink from the floral eye, enjoyed that poem too.

Thank you

Tim
to anticipate touching what is unseen seems far more interesting than seeing what the hand can not touch

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Re: Rocks - edit

Post by oranggunung » Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:13 pm

Barrie

I hope I haven't been insensitive here.
Elph - I can see what you're getting at here, but the gathering after the burial is just a backdrop. The main theme of the poem is the comparison of the old lady and the crag.
You were being quite cryptic, so I didn't guess that the subject of the poem was someone so near to you. My condolences.


og

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Re: Rocks - edit

Post by barrie » Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:50 pm

Thanks again Tim,

I think the first verse did need a trim - a cutting back of the undergrowth so to speak. After all, it's not about a funeral. I don't like discarding what I've written but there you go, just a shame it was something you liked. Wouldn't it be nice to write a poem with universal appeal - a Holy Grail of poetry, something that doesn't exist.
oranggunung wrote:I hope I haven't been insensitive here.
- Not at all - You commented truthfully on what I wrote. There was nothing at all that could be labelled insensitive - That wouldn't be your style anyway.

Thanks both

Barrie
After letting go of branches and walking through the ape gait, we managed to grasp what hands were really for......

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