Astonishment

New to poetry? Unsure about the quality of your work? Then why not post here to receive some gentle feedback.

Astonishment

Postby Lou » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:25 am

Eyes dilated, glistening,
a face fixed in astonished stare,
black pupils round with puzzlement
****** at death appearing there.

I cover up the eyes, I cannot
bear to think of that last stare,
and that last breath, the wondering
****** at why I wasn’t there.
Lou
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 492
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 10:07 am

Re: Astonishment

Postby NotQuiteSure » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:45 pm

     
Lou,
a strong second stanza, not too sure about the first though.
Opening line grabs, but then it's a bit 'telly' (when would pupils not be round?),
plus 'astonished', echoing the title, doesn't add anything.
Do you really lose anything by not having S1?
A small suggestion, 'asking/questioning' for 'wondering' (to make use of 'breath')?

Regards, Not.
     
NotQuiteSure
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 477
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:05 pm

Re: Astonishment

Postby Lou » Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:03 am

Thanks Not,

All stories need some kind of exposition. The old canard of 'Show not tell' doesn't hold up any longer: try telling a child a bedtime story using only 'show' without the 'tell - you'll be up all night.
It's the enlarged black roundness of the pupil which gives the surprised look, I thought it important to state this.
I agree with you about the title - something else would be better.

Best,
Lou
Lou
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 492
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 10:07 am

Re: Astonishment

Postby Macavity » Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:06 am

hi Lou

You have a lean, unfussy writing style that is to my taste. Again 'enjoyed' the write. Obviously, the avoidance of gender is intentional, but maybe 'those eyes' would be more connective, though perhaps 'the eyes' is to establish distancing. The bind of repetitions was effective and relevant in the haunting context.

best

mac
Macavity
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
 
Posts: 4118
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: Astonishment

Postby Lou » Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:34 am

Thanks mac,

I'll think about 'those' eyes. I did want to distance myself from the corpse - it's no longer male or female, it's dead, the spirit has gone.

Best,
Lou
Lou
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 492
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 10:07 am

Re: Astonishment

Postby Luce » Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:59 pm

My condolences if this was a recent occurrence for you Lou. Not easy seeing a love one in this way.

Luce



Lou wrote:Eyes dilated, glistening,
a face fixed in astonished stare,
black pupils round with puzzlement
****** at death appearing there.

I think I would have liked to see other parts of the face showing puzzlement rather than concentrating on the eyes mainly.

I cover up the eyes, I cannot

Rather than saying "cover the eyes" describe what the N really did. Did the N actually close the eyelids, put a sheet over the face...?

bear to think of that last stare,
and that last breath, the wondering
****** at why I wasn’t there.

Was it the "stare" or the "last thought" of the loved one that the N couldn't bear?

Luce
"She acts like summer, walks like rain." - Train
User avatar
Luce
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 665
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 8:25 am
Location: Not so sunny Florida

Re: Astonishment

Postby Lou » Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:06 am

Thanks Luce,

Of course it's the relaxation of sinew in the eyes after death that causes pupils to widen and the face appear to wear an astonished expression. However feelings of guilt often accompany the death of a loved one, especially if we were absent at the time of death, and so it's easy for us to read that last stare as being an accusing one.

Best,
Lou
Lou
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 492
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 10:07 am

Re: Astonishment

Postby JJWilliamson » Sun Oct 01, 2017 6:55 pm

Beautifully understated, Lou

The rhythms and mood work very well together.

No nits, save the title. It does the poem a disservice.

One I would and will read again, for its applicability.
I wasn't there when my mam and dad died, even though
I witnessed their final hours; yet my sister was present
at both deaths. Strange how it works out sometimes.

Best

JJ



Lou wrote:Eyes dilated, glistening,
a face fixed in astonished stare,
black pupils round with puzzlement
****** at death appearing there.

I cover up the eyes, I cannot
bear to think of that last stare,
and that last breath, the wondering
****** at why I wasn’t there.
Long time a child and still a child
User avatar
JJWilliamson
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
 
Posts: 2171
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:20 am

Re: Astonishment

Postby Lou » Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:36 am

Thanks JJ,

I too missed my parents' deaths. I think the weeping round the bed bit is unnecessary, I shall want to die alone.
I'll fix that title.

Best,
Lou
Lou
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 492
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 10:07 am

Re: Astonishment

Postby the stranger » Sat Oct 21, 2017 1:00 am

I did appreciate the sentiment, but the repetition didn't work for me, not in that short space of time?

NO! perhaps it wasn't the rep, it was the meter, it wasn't consistent across both stanzas, it threw me.

NO! I no nothing of meter, I have no ear, but something wasn't right?

Liked it though.
User avatar
the stranger
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 266
Joined: Thu Aug 19, 2004 4:40 am

Re: Astonishment

Postby Lou » Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:46 pm

Thanks Stranger,

Yes, you're right, something's not right, but I don't know what it is either.

Best,
Lou
Lou
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 492
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 10:07 am

Re: Astonishment

Postby NotQuiteSure » Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:37 pm

     
Hi Lou,
not some much a crit, more a nudge to see if anything falls out.

glistening eyes dilated,
face fixed, astonished stare,
black pupils round with puzzlement
     at death appearing there.

I cover up the eyes, I cannot
bear to [look at] that last stare,
[to think of that] last breath, wondering
     why I wasn’t there.

I do wonder, having returned to read again, if part of the problem might be in
stare/there/bear/stare/there ?

Do you 'cover up' or 'close' the eyes? (Repeating Luce here).

I wonder if the title shouldn't be about what N is looking at, but how N is feeling/appearing.
(I'm tempted to suggest 'One Last Look', but I'm not convinced by it)

Regards, Not.
     
NotQuiteSure
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 477
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:05 pm

Re: Astonishment

Postby Lou » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:55 am

Thanks Not,

I think the repetition of this simple rhyme could well annoy, but it's how the piece came to me. 'Astonishment' while not necessarily being a good title does have the double meaning of the surprised look on the dead person's face and the astonishment of the N. at seeing this. I think the poem needs to be put in a drawer and looked at again in six months time.

Best,
Lou
Lou
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 492
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 10:07 am

Re: Astonishment

Postby NotQuiteSure » Thu Oct 26, 2017 3:43 pm

     
Apologies Lou,
should have been clearer.
It wasn't the stare/there rhymes, but the way 'bear' (sort of) disrupts them.
This is what I was trying to articulate.

Eyes dilated, glistening,
a face fixed in astonished stare,
black pupils round with puzzlement
     at death appearing there.

I cover up the eyes, I cannot
[stand] to think of that last stare,
and that last breath, the wondering
     at why I wasn’t there.

Regards, Not.
     
NotQuiteSure
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 477
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:05 pm

Re: Astonishment

Postby Macavity » Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:04 am

Lou wrote:
'Astonishment' while not necessarily being a good title does have the double meaning of the surprised look on the dead person's face and the astonishment of the N. at seeing this. I think the poem needs to be put in a drawer and looked at again in six months time.



As always Lou, well worth allowing a poem 'time', though I would say that the bold use of astonishment in the title and its meaning in the poem drew me into the write. As always, there will be many and opposite responses to word choices and structures.

best

mac
Macavity
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
 
Posts: 4118
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: Astonishment

Postby Lou » Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:02 am

Thanks again Not,

Sorry to be so dim - yes, I see that 'bear' is no good - I'll recast the line.

Best,
Lou

Thanks Mac,

Glad you like the title! I'll let this one sleep for a bit.

Best,
Lou
Lou
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 492
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 10:07 am

Re: Astonishment

Postby ton321 » Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:35 am

Eyes dilated, glistening,
a face fixed in astonished stare,
black pupils round with puzzlement
at death appearing there.

I cover up the eyes, I cannot
bear to think of that last stare,
and that last breath, the wondering
at why I wasn’t there.


Hi Lou,

i liked it, it reminded me of an Emily Dickinson poem, with the rhyme and meter.. the astonished stare, and ..of death appearing there. Is it lazy or clever repeating
"stare" and "there" in the second stanza, I don't know. By the repetition, you open up the possibility that its not just about the stare of the dead, but of the stare of the living, which is an ambiguity i like about this piece. Maybe you could change the word "bear" at the start of the sixth line, as you already have stare/there on lines 2,4,6,8 as a rhyme

Tony
Counting the beats,
Counting the slow heart beats,
The bleeding to death of time in slow heart beats,
Wakeful they lie.

Robert Graves
ton321
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
 
Posts: 213
Joined: Sat Feb 08, 2014 12:54 am

Re: Astonishment

Postby Lou » Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:46 am

Thanks Tony,

There's definitely an Emily influence here as I'm a big fan. Yes, 'bear' is one rhyme too many - I'll cut it out.

Best,
Lou
Lou
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 492
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 10:07 am

Re: Astonishment

Postby Firebird » Sat Nov 04, 2017 11:11 pm

I like it Lou. My only problem with it is the final line of the first stanza. It doesn't quite work for me, and destabilise what would be a strong piece.

Cheers,

Tristan


Lou wrote:Eyes dilated, glistening,
a face fixed in astonished stare,
black pupils round with puzzlement
****** at death appearing there.

I cover up the eyes, I cannot
bear to think of that last stare,
and that last breath, the wondering
****** at why I wasn’t there.
User avatar
Firebird
Preponderant Poster
Preponderant Poster
 
Posts: 1124
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 9:46 pm

Re: Astonishment

Postby Lou » Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:20 am

Thanks Tristan,

I'm sorry L4 in stanza 1 doesn't work for you. I imagined the last thing the dead person saw was the physical appearance of Death - hence the astonishment.

Best,
Lou
Lou
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 492
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 10:07 am


Return to Post-a-Poem (Beginners)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group