Second Hand revised

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dafra
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Second Hand revised

Post by dafra » Fri Sep 05, 2014 6:15 pm

REVISION 2 (10/9/14)

Two weeks ago, in Memory Lane,
A shop for used and second hand,
I chanced upon a Pifco reel-to-reel.

Five years that Mum had passed away,
The box of tapes had lain unused
Without the means to play them through.
The labels, curled, had quit their posts,
Described our Yuletide parties from the past.

I wound the first historic spool
And pulled the player's lever down.
The leader hissed before a voice,
Forgotten but familiar once again,
Had broken into present day
And pulled me back to fifty five
A year when all my dead had been alive.

That Christmas day and after tea,
Our company had settled down.
It was tradition for each group
To carry out a party piece alone.
The youngest there would man the tape
And I remember very well
As each performance went ahead
In secret in the living room beyond.
So cousin Hal and auntie Eth
Duetted hell from 'Love's Sweet Song'
While uncle Edward's fiddle scraped along.

The rest made just as big a mess
But that was not the point of it.
The fun was later when we sat
Together creased with laughing tears
To jibe and jeer at one another's tries.

So now the laughter's drained away
And in its stead a longing heart
To live again those careless days
When grown-up kin protected me
From that relentless ruthless second hand.


REVISION 1

Two weeks ago, in Memory Lane,
A shop for used and second hand,
I bought a Pifco reel-to-reel.

Five years that Mum had passed away,
The box of tapes had lain unused
Without the means to play them through.
The labels, curled, had quit their posts
Describing parties long ago.

I wound the first historic spool
And pulled the player's lever down.
The leader hissed before a voice
From decades long ago, deceased,
Had broken into present day
And pulled me back to fifty five
When all the dead had been alive.

That Christmas day and after tea,
Our company had settled down.
It was tradition for each guest
To carry out a party piece.
The youngest there would man the tape
And I remember very well
As each performance went ahead
In secret in the living room.
So cousin Hal and auntie Eth
Duetted hell from 'Love's Sweet Song'
While Edward's fiddle scraped along.

The rest made just as big a mess
But that was not the point of it.
The fun was later when we sat
Together creased with taunting jibes
To laugh at one another's tries.

So now the laughter's drained away
And in its stead a longing heart
To live again those carefree days
When grown-up kin protected me
From that relentless second hand.

ORIGINAL

Two weeks ago, in Memory Lane,
A shop for used and second hand,
I bought a Pifco reel-to-reel.

Five years that Mum had passed away,
The box of tapes had lain unused
Without the means to play them through.
The labels, curled, had quit their posts
Describing parties long ago.

I wound the first historic spool
And pulled the player's lever down.
The leader hissed before a voice
From decades long ago, deceased,
Had broken into present day
And pulled me back to fifty five
When all the dead had been alive.

That Christmas day and after tea,
Our company had settled down.
Tradition was for party piece
From every able family guest.

The youngest there would man the tape
And I remember very well
As each performance went ahead
In secret room at back of house.
So cousin Hal and auntie Eth
Duetted hell from 'Love's Sweet Song'
While Edward's fiddle scraped along.

The rest made just as big a mess
But that was not the point of it.
The fun was later when we sat
Together creased with taunting jibes
To laugh at one another's tries.

So now the laughter's drained away
And in its stead a longing heart
To live again those carefree days
When grown-up kin protected me
From that relentless second hand.
Last edited by dafra on Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.

David
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Re: Second Hand

Post by David » Fri Sep 05, 2014 6:55 pm

I like this story, dafra. I read it all the way through with interest and enjoyment. I think the rhythm becomes a bit monotonous - always a danger with the old tetrameter - and I couldn't decide whether you were trying to make it a rhyming poem or not, but in the end the detail and the warmth carried the day.

I see you have that slightly annoying habit of dropping definite article -

Had broken into present day

Tradition was for party piece

In secret room at back of house

- and so on. I don't know why people do this. Perhaps they think it's more poetical, but I don't believe it is.

Nice piece of family memories, though.

Cheers

David

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dafra
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Re: Second Hand

Post by dafra » Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:02 pm

Thanks David

I wasn't trying to be poetic, just preserving the tetrameter. Sort of dashed it off and any rhymes were accidental.

Please suggest methods of varying the meter to make it less boring.

dafra

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Re: Second Hand

Post by KevJ » Sat Sep 06, 2014 10:35 am

I found this very moving Dafra and it conjured up my own child hood memories of my Dad and his reel to reel. He loved singing (In the crooning style).
So thanks for that. Enjoyed the narrative very much. :)

Kev
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dafra
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Second Hand (revision 1)

Post by dafra » Sat Sep 06, 2014 1:30 pm

David I've taken on board a little and I've altered some of the lines which I had shoehorned in by avoiding articles just to preserve the tetrameter. I considered putting in a section of pentameter to vary the timing but it started to get even clumsier with lost words. I remember my original reasoning for maintaining a steady meter was to reflect the constant rotation of a spool.
Oh and thanks Kev, my dad was definitely not musical but told a good story.
Last edited by dafra on Sun Sep 07, 2014 5:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Second Hand

Post by David » Sat Sep 06, 2014 6:16 pm

Hi, dafra. I've rejigged your original post to include the revision there, for ease of reference. Hope you don't mind.

I think those little changes you've made are improvements.

Hopefully you'll get a bit more feedback on this, but if you don't I have a couple of thoughts that I'll try to come back with later.

Cheers

David

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Re: Second Hand revised

Post by Antcliff » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:17 pm

Hi Dafra,

reminded me of a tape I have of my mother singing in the sixties.

Enjoyed this, but I wonder about that last stanza, whether you needed this bit?
So now the laughter's drained away
And in its stead a longing heart
To live again those carefree days
If the poem works I suspect that this sense of longing would come through without explicit statement? Anyway, just a thought. ("Carefree" as a description of a younger condition does feel very familiar.)

Seth
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

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Re: Second Hand revised

Post by dafra » Wed Sep 10, 2014 5:54 pm

Thanks for reading Seth.

Maybe you're right but..
I'm sure by now that you will see the shallowness of the language of my poems. They don't have many layers of meaning. This one essentially was about that second hand recorder I bought just to listen to those old tapes. I chose the rhythm to reflect the constant rotation of the spools and that was the deepest thought I had about the form. The first stanzas were purely the story. I actually thought more about the last one as I wanted to summarise my feelings after the tape ran out and enclose the whole poem with the two meanings of 'second hand' rather like the two different coloured leaders at each end of the spool. This feeling of loss was residual after the event. During listening I was so transported and delighted.

It may not be a very poetic device but it better described for me the whole process. I suppose my thoughts are more for my own consumption but I did want to share them as a universal regret for times past.

I'm just getting to grips with the type of poetry that mainly features here. I find it very difficult to understand many of the meanings and nuances. I fear that a lot may be Google generation poetry. I certainly have to resort to that for interpretation. I'm often a little disappointed to find obscurity or learnedness just for their own sake (my lack of learning I suppose is the reason). I'm also a bit lazy and don't want to work too hard. This may account for my style of poetry, a bit simple.

All the comments I get are much appreciated. When I get round to writing after this busy but lean poetical time, I may be able to layer and polish my pieces more.

In the meantime I think I might post another simple lighthearted ode to a friend just to see the comments.

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Re: Second Hand revised

Post by David » Wed Sep 10, 2014 6:28 pm

dafra wrote: I suppose my thoughts are more for my own consumption but I did want to share them as a universal regret for times past.
I recognise that compulsion, dafra. It plays a big part in my motivation for writing poems too.

I think you handled this material really well, but the tetrameter did become a bit relentless in the end. If you had some lines that, without being totally arrhythmic, didn't hit that four beat thing quite so metronomically, I think it would freshen the poems up.

Still, I look forward to reading more of your remembrances of times past.

Cheers

David

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Re: Second Hand revised

Post by Antcliff » Wed Sep 10, 2014 7:08 pm

Hi Dafra
I'm sure by now that you will see the shallowness of the language of my poems
O no, I have not seen that at all. Your language does not seem shallow to me! I just wondered about one word....that is all...one word in a long poem is a very small thing to wonder about. I liked the poem and the structuring idea/two meanings/poetic device that you well describe..
I actually thought more about the last one as I wanted to summarise my feelings after the tape ran out and enclose the whole poem with the two meanings of 'second hand' rather like the two different coloured leaders at each end of the spool. This feeling of loss was residual after the event. During listening I was so transported and delighted.
Nice to have you here, Dafra.

Seth
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

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Re: Second Hand revised

Post by dafra » Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:33 pm

Hi Seth, David

Made an attempt to take your points on board and I like it better for your suggestions. Thank you very much.

dafra

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Re: Second Hand revised

Post by Ros » Thu Sep 11, 2014 7:50 am

I think

A year when all my dead had been alive.

is a very powerful line - compresses so much into one thought.

Ros
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