Mermaid (revision)

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Macavity
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Mermaid (revision)

Post by Macavity » Tue Jul 26, 2016 3:33 am

revision

Her lips became as dry as pebbles
without their sea-salt kiss.
Along the shore the familiar froth
of ifs and buts,
my voice echoed a rust of prayer -
the gulls screeched.
I lowered her into the waves
as if a baptism.
The shimmer of silver scales in moonlight
breathed life -
the frame of our goodbye.

==================================================================

original

Her lips became as dry as pebbles
without their sea-salt kiss. My voice
echoed a rust of song, that spray of gulls.
I lifted her like a baptism into the waves.
The shimmer of silver scales in moonlight
breathed life, the frame of our goodbye.
Along the shore the familiar froth
of ifs and buts, a thirst for dreamers.
Last edited by Macavity on Sat Jul 30, 2016 5:03 am, edited 2 times in total.

trobbo44
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Re: Mermaid

Post by trobbo44 » Tue Jul 26, 2016 8:20 am

Great poem. Maybe could have withstood being broken down into stanzas. Out of interest, why didn't you? Every word has a nuance that makes the whole. Well done, very readable. I shall reread it a few times

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Re: Mermaid

Post by Macavity » Tue Jul 26, 2016 8:24 pm

Thank you very much trobbo. Will have a ponder about the stanza break. The poem just evolved without one, but if it helps a reading....

all the best

mac

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Re: Mermaid

Post by Lou » Tue Jul 26, 2016 8:43 pm

Gorgeous. The linking of baptism with the mermaid is a wonderful image. Definitely a keeper.

Best,
Lou

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Re: Mermaid

Post by ton321 » Tue Jul 26, 2016 11:17 pm

Hi Mac,

I too liked this piece.


Her lips became as dry as pebbles
without their sea-salt kiss. My voice
echoed a rust of song, that spray of gulls.
I lifted her like a baptism into the waves.
The shimmer of silver scales in moonlight
breathed life, the frame of our goodbye.
Along the shore the familiar froth
of ifs and buts, a thirst for dreamers.

One minor gripe is the last two lines, do you really need them? They seem a bit out of synch compared to whats gone before. Apart from that everything seems to fit like a finished jigsaw of images, a sea-puzzle, solved.
Counting the beats,
Counting the slow heart beats,
The bleeding to death of time in slow heart beats,
Wakeful they lie.

Robert Graves

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the stranger
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Re: Mermaid

Post by the stranger » Wed Jul 27, 2016 3:05 am

Some lovely lines in this, but perhaps doesn't hold up as a whole?

It seems to be crying out for rhyme, and as previously mentioned, might benefit from being broken into stanzas.

Definitely one to work on though.

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Re: Mermaid

Post by JJWilliamson » Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:48 pm

Hi, Mac

You could have a stanza breaks in a number of places or you could leave it as is. The octave isn't cumbersome or difficult to follow.
Here's one possibility among many. I'd be tempted to drop a full stop or two and let the sentences run on a bit. The lines are rhythmic without being perfectly metered and that could well influence your thinking and ultimately your decisions.

The sibilant 'S' dominates and I think that's perfect for this poem. The froth hisses as it dissipates. Might come in handy. Just thought I'd mention it. :)

The content is beautiful on a literal level and that's as far as I got. I didn't need any more.
Macavity wrote:Her lips became
as dry as pebbles
without their sea-salt kiss. ...That sea-salt kiss is brilliant.

My voice echoed a rust of song,
that spray of gulls. ...This could do with some clarification. Some gulls have glands for ridding themselves of salt (EG the fulmar sprays salt from its nose). I believe the small kittiwake secretes and sprays an obnoxious oily substance from its rear end to ward off predators. So, are you referring to sea spray?

I lifted her like a baptism ...Can you lift a baptism? Lifted her like a Baptist? OR as in baptism
into the waves.

The shimmer of silver scales
in moonlight breathed life,
the frame of our goodbye. ...Loved this bit.

Along the shore
the familiar froth
of ifs and buts. ...Not sure you need the last few words. The poem could end here.
Lovely poem, Mac, wherever you take it.

Best

Bri
Macavity wrote:Her lips became as dry as pebbles
without their sea-salt kiss. My voice
echoed a rust of song, that spray of gulls.
I lifted her like a baptism into the waves.
The shimmer of silver scales in moonlight
breathed life, the frame of our goodbye.
Along the shore the familiar froth
of ifs and buts, a thirst for dreamers.
Long time a child and still a child

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Re: Mermaid (revision)

Post by Macavity » Wed Jul 27, 2016 2:59 pm

Thanks Lou. I think Gorgeous is a first for me! :)
One minor gripe are the last two lines, do you really need them?
Cheers Ton. Not sure about the answer. They were a later addition.
...but perhaps doesn't hold up as a whole?
I think you said once that an occasional decent line in a year is an ambition - I'm of the same view :wink:

Thanks JJ. Always helpful. I've got some spare crit time next week - any chance of some WW/Lake district influenced stanzas to share :)

all the best

mac

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Re: Mermaid (revision)

Post by Joao » Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:30 pm

Lovely work, Mac. The uplifted body, the moonlight shimmer of the scales -- very good! I'd argue you should end with this image. I thought 'frame of our goodbye' weakened the poem. Can a shimmer serve as a frame?

Did you mean to say 'I lifted her as IN a baptism'?

I wasn't sure what you meant by 'familiar': I'd have assumed their union too short-lived to already fall back on familiar excuses/illusions.

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Re: Mermaid (revision)

Post by ray miller » Fri Jul 29, 2016 12:02 pm

I prefer the original. It flows better, there seems a lot of stops and starts now. All I think wants altering is line 4, to

I lifted her as if a baptism.

You don't need into the waves, it speaks for itself and the line is made too long.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: Mermaid (revision)

Post by JJWilliamson » Fri Jul 29, 2016 12:11 pm

I like where this is going, Mac. The revision tightens the original and maintains that beautiful
dreamlike quality.
Macavity wrote:revision

Her lips became as dry as pebbles
without their sea-salt kiss.
Along the shore the familiar froth ...Can't get my mind away from "hissing froth". I remember the froth hissing on the sand just before the wave swashed back to the sea. The hiss could still represent the 'ifs' and 'buts'. It's only one gerund. :) Mind you, there are different types of sea froth. One is dirty and ugly whereas the other is clean and scintillating.
of ifs and buts,
my voice echoed a rust of prayer -
the gulls screeched.
I lifted her as if a baptism ...A thought just cropped up. Would you lift her into the waves or out of them? Is the baptism a metaphor for rebirthing? Perhaps, "placed/lowered her, as if a baptism, into the waves". That action would imply he'd already lifted her.
into the waves.
The shimmer of silver scales in moonlight
breathed life -
the frame of our goodbye. ...Haunting close.
Still enjoying

Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

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Re: Mermaid (revision)

Post by Macavity » Sat Jul 30, 2016 5:12 am

Thanks Joao, Ray, and JJ.
I wasn't sure what you meant by 'familiar': I'd have assumed their union too short-lived to already fall back on familiar excuses/illusions
Fair point Joao. The jaded aspect was intended to relate to dreams.
I prefer the original. It flows better, there seems a lot of stops and starts now. All I think wants altering is line 4, to
May go back Ray. PGers help me in the writing process - not necessarily a specific poem - that's why I linger and learn (hopefully).
A thought just cropped up. Would you lift her into the waves or out of them? Is the baptism a metaphor for rebirthing? Perhaps, "placed/lowered her, as if a baptism, into the waves". That action would imply he'd already lifted her.
Good point JJ. I'll edit that line and use lowered.

all the best

mac

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Re: Mermaid (revision)

Post by Boat » Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:11 am

Hello, Mac.

Can you explain the meaning for me of 'the frame of our goodbye'?

I'm not sure what you actually mean by this line.

Thanks.

Pat.
What the hell do I know about poetry?

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Re: Mermaid (revision)

Post by Macavity » Sat Jul 30, 2016 10:01 am

Boat wrote:Hello, Mac.

Can you explain the meaning for me of 'the frame of our goodbye'?

I'm not sure what you actually mean by this line.

Thanks.

Pat.
:lol: You're not suppose to ask that question Pat - how could I possibly reduce the poetry to prose :)

Just this once - and only part of the intended meaning - which is not definitive - within the memory picture goes the various memories, but it is that particular image that defines the parameters - alternatively it is the frame on which the various memories are fixed - either way it defines the overall memory and sucks in the other memories.

best

mac

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Re: Mermaid (revision)

Post by Boat » Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:25 pm

Macavity wrote:
Boat wrote:Hello, Mac.

Can you explain the meaning for me of 'the frame of our goodbye'?

I'm not sure what you actually mean by this line.

Thanks.

Pat.
:lol: You're not suppose to ask that question Pat - how could I possibly reduce the poetry to prose :)

Just this once - and only part of the intended meaning - which is not definitive - within the memory picture goes the various memories, but it is that particular image that defines the parameters - alternatively it is the frame on which the various memories are fixed - either way it defines the overall memory and sucks in the other memories.

best

mac
Thanks for reply, Mac.

Yeah, that's what I thought... :lol: I was just checking that you knew why you wrote it, wink. Well done, you're explanation is correct.

Pat.
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Re: Mermaid (revision)

Post by Macavity » Sun Jul 31, 2016 2:34 am

Yes, but ...what about the Intentional Fallacy Pat? This article may be of interest:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/beardsley-aesthetics/

A section from that article:
5. The Intentions of the Artist

Despite his many books and articles, Beardsley is probably best known for his very first article in aesthetics. In “The Intentional Fallacy,” a paper co-written with William K. Wimsatt and published in 1946 (and widely re-printed, e.g., in Joseph Margolis, ed., Philosophy Looks at the Arts, 3rd edition, 1987), he argued against the neo-Romantic view that a work of art means what the artist says it means, or what he intends it to mean. More precisely, the issue can put in terms of the relation between

The artist intended x to mean p in work w

and

x means p in work w.

According to E.D. Hirsch, (1) entails (2), at least if w is a literary work, because the meaning of ‘x’ simply is what the writer meant or intended by ‘x.’ Knowing the artist's intention is thus knowing the work's meaning. That's one end of the spectrum on the relation between (1) and (2).

Beardsley sits at the other end. He holds that the intentions of the artist aren't relevant to the interpretation of a work of art at all. (1) not only doesn't entail (2); in and of itself, it provides no direct evidential support for (2). An artist's intentions have nothing to do with what a work means.

Beardsley was in fact more than consistent on the issue of the intentional fallacy; he also held that

The artist intended w to have descriptive property p

provides no direct evidential support for

W has descriptive property p,

and that

The artist intended w to have evaluative property e

provides no direct evidential support for

W has evaluative property e.

An artist's intentions are utterly irrelevant to the descriptive, interpretive, and evaluative properties of his work.

And in addition to “The Intentional Fallacy,” there's also “The Affective Fallacy.” In a paper bearing that name, and also co-written with William Wimsatt, Beardsley argues that a person's affective responses to a work of art are irrelevant to its descriptive, interpretive, and evaluative properties.

Beardsley's arguments against intentionalism in interpretation are of a variety of sorts. In “The Intentional Fallacy,” he says that the intentions of the artist are neither “available nor desirable” (p. 367), with this meaning that such intentions aren't always available and are never desirable. Since we frequently can and do correctly interpret a work of art with little or no knowledge about the artist, the fact that the artist's intentions aren't always available is enough to show that Hirsch's position is wrong.

“Judging a poem is like judging a pudding or a machine,” according to Beardsley. “One demands that it work. It is only because an artifact works that we infer the intention of the artificer …. A poem can be only through its meaning … yet it is, simply is, in the sense that we have no excuse for inquiring what part is intended or meant” (p. 368). In other words, a poem or other work of art is independent of its creator, just as any other artifact—a pudding or a washing machine—is. A pudding consists of milk, eggs, and other ingredients, a washing machine of a metal drum, rubber gaskets, and other parts, and a poem of words. In all three cases, the parts exist and are what they are independently of the artificers, and the artifacts are to be judged—and interpreted—on the basis of their properties. There's no need to bring in the artificer.

In Aesthetics, the attack is a little different. “We must distinguish between the aesthetic object and the intention in the mind of its creator,” Beardsley says, and the irrelevance of the latter to interpretation can be shown if we consider a certain sculpture, “a large, twisted, cruller-shaped object of polished teak, mounted at an oblique angle to the floor.” The creator of the sculpture intends it to “symbolize … Human Destiny.” Try as we might, however, we “see in it no such symbolic meaning.” The philosophical question then is, “Should we say that we have simply missed the symbolism, but that it must be there, since what a statue symbolizes is precisely what its maker makes it symbolize? Or should we say, in the spirit of Alice confronting the extreme semantic conventionalism [intentionalism] of Humpty Dumpty, that the question is whether that object can be made to mean Human Destiny?” Obviously the latter, Beardsley thinks, for the former entails that “anyone can make anything symbolize anything just by saying it does, for another sculptor could copy the same object and label it ‘Spirit of Palm Beach, 1938’” (Aesthetics, pp. 18–19, 21).

In addition to sculpture, the irrelevance of the author to the meaning of his text is also argued for by Beardsley, though only partly by counterexample. “Suppose someone utters a sentence,” he says. “We can [then] ask two questions: (1) What does the speaker mean? (2) What does the sentence mean?” Although answers to the two questions usually coincide, they can diverge; people can mean one thing and say another. The reason that's possible is that “what a sentence means depends not on the whim of the individual, and his mental vagaries, but upon public conventions of usage that are tied up with habit patterns in the whole speaking community.” Sentence meaning—that is, textual meaning—is thus one thing, and is anchored in “the whole speaking community,” while speaker meaning—what the author meant—is quite another, and is anchored in his own, quite possibly idiosyncratic intentions. Thus an author can be wrong about what his own work means. A.E. Housman, for example, was probably wrong in claiming that his poem “1887” wasn't ironic (pp. 25–26).

In The Possibility of Criticism, three arguments are offered against intentionalism, which is again taken to be the view that the meaning of a work of art is what the artist intends it to mean. The first is that “some texts that have been formed without the agency of an author, and hence without authorial meaning, nevertheless have a meaning and can be interpreted” (p. 18). What Beardsley has in mind is the kind of verbal mistake made at a publishing house, or by a computer in scanning a document. He cites the sentence “Jensen argued like a man filled with righteous indigestion” as an example of a text that can be read and interpreted, yet no agency, a fortiori no author's intention, stands behind it. “Indignation” became “indigestion” at the printer's, by mechanical error.

The second argument is that “the meaning of a text can change after its author has died. But the author cannot change his meaning after he has died. Therefore, textual meaning is not identical to the authorial meaning.” Bolstering this argument is the fact that “the OED furnishes abundant evidence that individual words and idioms acquire new meanings and lose old meanings as time passes; these changes can in turn produce changes of the meaning in sentences in which the words appear.” As an example, Beardsley cites a line from a poem written in 1744, “He raised his plastic arm,” and notes that “plastic arm” has “acquired a new meaning in the twentieth century.” Thus the line “in which it occurs has also acquired a new meaning” (p. 19).

The third argument is the familiar one that “a text can have meanings that its author is not aware of. Therefore, it can have meanings that its author did not intend. Therefore, textual meaning is not identical to authorial meaning” (p. 20).

More than this, what's really needed to decide whether there's an intentional fallacy is a theory of meaning. A theory of meaning is a theory of what it is for w (some object, in the broad sense of the term) to mean p. Beardsley was always aware of the need for a theory of meaning, and in Aesthetics he proposed one, a complicated theory which he later rejected. A few years later, however, he embraced a speech-act theory based on the work of William Alston, and used it to defend the intentional fallacy in his final paper on the topic.

Alston believes that the meaning of a sentence is the sentence's speech act potential, its potential for performing all of the various speech acts it can be used to perform. In effect, this is to take the slogan “Meaning is use” very seriously, and to cash in “use” in terms of the performance of speech acts. Sentence meaning is primary on this theory, and word meaning secondary and derivative, since it's defined in terms of a word's contribution to the speech act potential of the sentences into which it can figure. Beardsley thought this theory correct and used it to argue that the intentional fallacy is indeed a fallacy.

In “Intentions and Interpretations” (The Aesthetic Point of View), he claims that in composing a poem the poet doesn't perform a speech act, but rather represents the performance of a speech act or acts. When Wordsworth writes,

Milton! Thous shouldst be living at this hour:

England hath need of thee—

his words are ostensibly addressed to a long-dead poet, but to perform an illocutionary, any illocutionary action, a person must believe that he can or will “secure uptake,” that is, secure understanding of his sentence and the speech act performed. Wordsworth, however, knew that Milton was long dead, and had no such belief. He thus didn't perform the illocutionary act of addressing Milton, or stating that England needs him. He does represent the performance of those illocutionary acts, though. What poets and other authors of literary works do, Beardsley thinks, is represent the performance of illocutionary acts, not perform illocutionary acts themselves.

Beardsley's complete argument is basically:

The meaning of a sentence ‘S’ is its total illocutionary act potential, that is, its capacity to perform the speech acts, I, J, and K.
The performance of speech acts I, J, K in using ‘S’ does not require the corresponding intentions to perform speech acts I, J, and K in using ‘S.’
Thus, the meaning of ‘S’ is independent of the intentions of the speaker to perform the speech acts that constitute, as potentially performable acts, the meaning of ‘S.’
Differently put, the meaning of ‘S’ is logically independent of the speaker's intention to mean what ‘S’ does in fact mean.
Therefore, a speaker's intention that sentence ‘S’ mean p is logically irrelevant to whether it does mean p.
But even if (4) were false, and the meaning, M, of a non-literary sentence—a sentence not in a work of literature—were partly a function of the speaker's intention that it mean M, the same wouldn't be true of a literary sentence.

The proof of (6) is that

An author does not perform illocutionary acts, I, J, and K in uttering (writing, dictating, signing, etc.) ‘S.’
Rather, he represents the performance of illocutionary acts I, J, and K in uttering ‘S.’
Representing an illocutionary act involves renouncing, withholding, or suspending the performance of that act.
Thus, representing the performance of I, J, and K doesn't require the intention to perform I, J, and K.
Consequently, even if (4) were false as far as non-literary sentences were concerned, it would be true as far as literary sentences were concerned, for the meaning of ‘S’ is logically independent of the speaker's intention to mean what ‘S’ in fact does mean.
best

mac

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Re: Mermaid (revision)

Post by Boat » Sun Jul 31, 2016 3:15 am

Hello, Mac.

You know I was kidding, right?

Pat.
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Re: Mermaid (revision)

Post by Macavity » Sun Jul 31, 2016 3:41 am

hi Pat,

Yes, but...I was just raising the point. Forums allow questions about author intentions. The answers may be misleading. The theory on Intentional Fallacy would argue that author intention is not relevant.

Perhaps poetry posted on internet forums brings a platform for author intention to become more relevant.

Either way, for me. the text and reader are also in the meaning bed.

A reader will bring the filters of gender/age/class/education/religion/morality and the baggage of experience to the reading.

The text survives at particular times, in particular cultural identities, in the fluidity of society...meaning is not fixed. The consensus around what is being communicated will change.

best

mac

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Re: Mermaid (revision)

Post by Boat » Sun Jul 31, 2016 7:43 pm

Thanks for reply, Mac.

Mac, surely you have a meaning in mind when you write your piece? It is your meaning/interpretation of what you write that I want, not mine or anyone elses.

Remember, I'm new to poetry so I'm not arguing any intellectual point, rather trying to understand the genre.

Anyway you have gone to some length to try to help in that regard.

Appreciated.

Pat.
What the hell do I know about poetry?

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