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    dots Submission Name: The Other Side of Springdots

    Author: TD
    ASL Info:    34/f/Aust
    Elite Ratio:    8 - 92/81/21
    Words: 359
    Class/Type: Poetry/Misc
    Total Views: 997
    Average Vote:    No vote yet.
    Bytes: 2366

       This is (as most poems are) kind of personal to me. I am featured in the first, second and last parts of the poem (that is, my voice is), but I have tried to create a general mood as well as personal images (ie in the middle parts) - I don't know if this is a mistake and would like to hear your thoughts. Given that it is quite personal, you should know that I suspect that I feel more empathy for the 'man' and I am concerned that I do not do the 'woman' justice (perhaps it is that I do not fully understand her yet). I am also concerned that my last stanza may be a little 'obvious', and therefore unnecessary. Please be honest. It is a first draft, but I am interested to hear comments before exploring it further and redrafting (and basically, whether it is worth a redraft or the discarded pile).

    Make the font bigger!! Double Spacing Back to recent posts.

    dotsThe Other Side of Springdots

    The aged summer breeze lightens its load
    With the scent of lingering jasmine.
    Evening comes;
    The heavy washed-out prelude to wanderings.
    Now, a stirring in the crisp air is breaking
    The stifled aches
    Of grandmother's weathered bones
    And the blue tom's languid rest.
    The west rider roams
    Roof tops and fig trees abreast,
    And beyond the windows of our homes
    A boy scampers to end his own masquerade.

    I lower the worn, tattered shade.

    The morning yawns its stale shock of breath
    As a hound shakes off sleep
    From its corner of dust and moth-eaten rugs,
    With a wet muzzle it sniffs dawn's death
    And an empty bowl.

    In other rooms where blankets rise
    To fall away,
    I pause to ponder the role
    Other's will try on for size
    In the coming of the day.

    She rummages in her teak dresser
    For her pink cotton blouse with lace ends,
    And sighs as she pulls out her blue singlet.
    She tramps to join
    Those to whom she pretends,
    And weeps for her soul trapped in a net.
    And the bustle fades away
    And the ticking clock is all she hears
    And the sun, so long above, no longer peers in;
    She spys for a moment
    An image of her winter to come;
    Gripping the coffee cup, contents laced,
    She rubs the deep lines on her face,
    Or balls her hands into fists at all she resents,
    All she feels that's not what she meant.

    His heart rumpled and discarded with the trash cans
    That clutter the dusty street,
    Or beaten by the stampede
    Of purposeful and preoccupied feet;
    Tired eyes read another day's hard work,
    And pills that dull his mind. And hands;
    Hard and grooved with memories;
    The boy's voice rings out to plead,
    But he is too broken to hear.

    We gather the strings that whip
    Wildly around us, and cling tightly:
    To lose them would be easier;
    We could walk carefree, and blindly.

    Cover his hand with yours,
    Let her see your cheeks streaked and wet;
    Linger where the world cares not
    For that's where they live, in their regret.

    Submitted on 2005-05-09 09:50:31     Terms of Service / Copyright Rules
    Submissions: [ Previous ] [ Next ]

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    ||| Comments |||
      This is as you have stated, a work in progress.
    I especially like the imagery and juxtaposition in

    The morning yawns its stale shock of breath
    As a hound shakes off sleep
    From its corner of dust and moth-eaten rugs,
    With a wet muzzle it sniffs dawn's death
    And an empty bowl.

    However, I would only use capital letters where they are neccesary to commence the lines. Also I think I would change 'it' to 'that' in:

    with a wet muzzle that sniffs dawn's death
    and an empty bowl.

    I am looking forward to seeing this poem again when you have finished it. I won't include too much here as shatteredroses has done such a fine critique.
    | Posted on 2005-05-23 00:00:00 | by comradenessie | [ Reply to This ]
      I don’t think the last stanza is too obvious at all, and I’m quite pleased that this poem doesn’t distance the reader like a lot of ‘personal’ poems tend to. A personal poem can be emotionally relevant to others, beautiful and enrapturing as well a long stream of mindless hate and drivel, and I’m quite happy to say that this one sits quite solidly in the former category.
    I’d make a few suggestions as to how to improve it; first off, I don’t know whether it’s the way you phrase things, or in the way you punctuate your verse, but a lot of the lines are very confusing, and I personally had to read over them three or four times to understand what they meant before I could move on. I mean, it’s fine for a line of poetry to be a little confusing in a way that makes the reader go back and read it all over again when they’re finished to try and understand it a little better, but the sentences at least should be grammatically correct and make sense with regards to the language.
    Let me just find you a couple of examples;
    Ok, let’s start with the first two lines:

    “The aged summer breeze lightens its load
    With the scent of jasmine lingering.”
    This one would make much more sense to me if it read: “With the scent of lingering jasmine”, it just makes the meaning far more apparent and easy to grasp.

    “The heavy washed out prelude to a wandering.”
    If I’m understanding this right, I like the sentiment behind it, but that’s just my point, the sentiment behind it is really hard to discern, and even now I’m a little confused about what it’s getting at. ‘Who’s doing the wandering?’ I think is the question that needs to be answered here. Also, you’re lacking punctuation here that further confuses the meaning. I personally would word it something like: “The heavy, washed-our prelude to my wanderings.”, that’s assuming that it’s you that’s doing the wandering, ‘his’ or ‘her’ or ‘their’ or just dropping the personal pronoun entirely works well too.

    “And now a stir of crisp air breaks”
    Again, the meaning is pretty diffuse in this one. And again you’re lacking proper punctuation. Something I always suggest to people is to pull the line breaks out of their poetry and punctuate it as prose before putting the line breaks back in. It’s not a flawless rule, but it works well for people that are struggling with it. Also, you’ve begun a sentence with ‘And’ which immediately makes me read back to check that you did put a full stop at the end of the line before. Again, if you’d like advice on how I’d do it, then I’d write it as: “Now, a stirring in the crisp air is breaking”

    “And the blue tom's languid rest;”
    You’d be better with a full stop at the end of that line and not a semi-colon as the next line doesn’t really run on from it, and a period would give the reader space to breathe. Especially for people like me who always read a poem twice, once in their head and once out loud :D

    “Along figtree tops and rooves abreast,
    And beyond the windows of our homes”
    ‘fig tree’ (it’s two words) and ‘roofs’ (spelling error), also, I’d drop the ‘And’ from the beginning of that second line, you already have one ‘and’ in the line before it, and dropping that second one would improve the way it reads.

    “And I lower the worn, tattered shade.”
    I was about to tell you to drop this line all together, but I just went back and read it again, and I think all you need to do is drop that ‘And’ at the beginning. Try to write succinctly, the style you have here is very ‘And then, and then, and then’

    “that other's try on for size
    In the coming of the day.”
    Don’t forget to capitalise that first letter there! Also, I’d throw another word in there to clear up the meaning, something like; “That other’s will try on for size”

    “Those to whom she pretends”
    You could do with a comma at the end of this line, again, it’s about time for us readers to breathe. :)

    “And weeps for her soul trapped in a net.
    And the bustle fades away
    And the ticking clock is all she hears
    And the sun long above no longer peers;”
    You thought I was going to pick up on all those ‘And’s’ right? Wrong. They’re great hear. The echoing is just perfect. The one thing I would say is that the last line there has a bit of a confused meaning. I’d clarify it by saying something like: “And the sun, so long above, no longer peers in;”

    “She spied for a moment”
    I’d personally use the word ‘sees’, ‘spied’ is a little long on the tongue and adds to the confusing meaning problem you’ve having here.

    “Or balls her fists for all she resents
    All she feels is not what she meant.”
    I’d write this as:
    “Or balls her hands into fists at all she resents,
    All she feels that’s not what she meant”
    This is assuming I’m reading the meaning right, which I’m not sure I am. Either way, it could do with a little clarification here.

    “His heart rumpled and discarded with the trash cans
    That clutter the city street,”
    You really need a semi-colon at the end of that first line there.

    “And tired eyes read another day's work,
    And pills that dull his mind, and hands
    Hard and grooved with memories;”
    Try this section a little like this:
    “Tired eyes read another day’s hard work,
    And pills that dull his mind. And hands;
    Hard and grooved with memories.”
    Try reading that out loud. You see how much clearer it makes it?

    “The boy's voice rings out to plead
    But he is too broken to hear.”
    You’re going to want a comma at the end of that first line.

    “To lose them would be easier
    And I could walk carefree, and blindly.”
    I’d either put a comma at the end of that first line, or use a semi-colon and drop the ‘And’ at the beginning of the line after.

    “Linger where the world bothers not
    For that's where they live, in regret.”
    The meaning here is fine. The point I have to make about these last two lines is a purely aesthetic one that I think would improve the quality of the poem.
    Try something like:
    “Linger where the world cares not,
    For that’s where they live, in their regret.”
    See, that personally reads a lot better to me, and really gives the poem a final sting in the tail while you’re reading it.

    This is turning into a very long critique . . .

    Incidentally, don’t think I don’t like this, I think it’s great. I wouldn’t bother picking up on all these little things with a poem I didn’t think much of, because it wouldn’t be worth changing all these little things when the poem as a whole is never going to be great. This poem can be great, which is why I’m going into such insane detail.

    The only other point I have to make is that there’s a real jarring in the poem about half way through, at the beginning of the stanza that starts “His heart rumpled and discarded with the trash cans…”, there’s a really jarring in there because up until that point, this poem has been very pastoral, it’s had a timeless, countryside quality to it that could put it at any point in time, and this stanza drags us right up to the present, and it’s a bit of a shock. It would be more of a shock, but the line “Gripping the coffee cup, contents laced” in the previous stanza has given us some idea that you’re going to drag us kicking and screaming into the present day. It’s not a critisism against the poem, just an observation. Because if you intended to have a jarring effect, then you succeeded, and if you didn’t, then maybe you need to rethink either this stanza or the rest of the poem a little.

    Right, on to things I really like about this.

    “Evening comes;
    The heavy washed out prelude to a wandering.”
    I really, really love those two lines. It’s so rich and vivid without actually describing anything physically. That’s the kind of thing I strive to achieve in my work. It’s a bloody hard thing to achieve, and my hats off to you for a great example of condensed metaphor here.

    “The morning yawns its stale shock of breath
    As a hound shakes off sleep
    From its corner of dust and moth-eaten rugs,
    With a wet muzzle it sniffs dawn's death
    And an empty bowl.”
    This whole stanza is just great. I love the ‘stale shock of breath’ bit, though personally I’d reword it as ‘shock of stale breath’, either way it’s still great. And that last line gives the poem a moment of very stark Modernism. A moment when it’s not taking itself to seriously, a moment that relates all these grand poetical statements to something simple and mundane and makes us shiver and feel empty inside. Great work.

    “In other rooms where blankets rise”
    That’s a great way of phrasing people getting up in the morning. It’s nice to see a really original approach to something so simple.

    “And weeps for her soul trapped in a net.
    And the bustle fades away
    And the ticking clock is all she hears”
    The first and last lines of this section are great. Again bringing in this really hollow echo that ripples throughout the poem.

    Overall, it has a hazy summer feel to it. A kind of feeling that’s sad on the inside because it knows it’s fading. That’s hollow because it knows it won’t last. It’s also the kind of hazy summer feel of trash left out in the street and the air smelling thick and heavy with it.
    I hope all this rambling’s of some use to you anyway :)
    | Posted on 2005-05-09 00:00:00 | by shatteredroses | [ Reply to This ]
      TD - I just want you to know how much I'm enjoying reading what you have written. Your descriptions are fantastic and your use of language is tremendous. Maybe it's my age, but when I read your poems I feel as though you are saying things that seem familiar to me. It may just be the tone of your poems, or your observations, but to me they speak the truth.
    You write some beautiful phrases, rich in color and originality.

    I get a feel of nostagia in this poem, a very reflective mood, and wonder if she and the narrator are one. It seems they both share a "regret"ful sense of wasted lives, He wishes to be that boy again, and she wishes for a better station in life. Perhaps this is just a sign of aging. I think we all feel this way as we get older, regardless of how rich or full our lives have been.

    Here are a few suggestions to hopefully be of help:

    S1 - L2 Change "with" to "leaving" L5 - Drop "and now". It's not needed. L10 - "Along roof tops and fig trees abreast". To get rid of "rooves" or "roofs" which are so hard to say. L11 - Shouldn't it be "home" L13 - "worn and tattered". I think it flows better because it takes away the break of the comma.

    S2 - L7 change "to" to "and". Minor.

    S3 - L9 Drop "long". The "sun" being "above" is enough and without "long" it seems to flow better. L10 - Change "spied" to "spys", to correct the tense.

    S4 - Where it begins "his heart" it never gets a predicate (verb), leaving it as just a series of phrases with no meaning. You could use "is" or "was" as the verb. "his heart (is) (was)... L6 - Drop "that", Say what the "pills" do.

    S5 - Last four lines, the voice is off, meaning, the narrator speaks to her, to him, and to both. and then refers to "they", when it should be you, because the narrator is speaking directly to them. Two ways to fix it: 1) Change "they" to "we" if that sits well with you. OR 2) (She) "covers his...hers / (sees) his cheeks... / (they) linger...

    This is a very beautiful poem, and very intense from an emotional sense. There is a lot of "regret" built up as you describe the inner longings of this couple, even the dog found his bowl "empty". I think the first stanza is my favorite. It sets the mood and tone for the rest of the poem, and by itself is gorgeous and melancholy. A sadness pervades the otherwise idyllic scene.

    Maybe you should review this and look for conflict on verb tenses and for unfinished sentences. By its nature and the style you have chosen, this poem lends itself to verb tense problems, ( going back and forward in time ) and being descriptive and reflective at the same time.

    When I read This I see an older woman looking back at her life and marriage and showing signs of regret, and that is sad, but natural. You have presented this in a very creative way. Reading this I thought, "Gee, this is original." A nice concluding stanza as well. Just loved reading this.

    | Posted on 2005-06-01 00:00:00 | by phil askew | [ Reply to This ]

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