Extracts from an Unwritten Journal

New to poetry? Unsure about the quality of your work? Then why not post here to receive some gentle feedback.
Post Reply
Moth
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
Posts: 494
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 4:33 am

Extracts from an Unwritten Journal

Post by Moth » Tue Oct 25, 2016 2:22 pm

V2 - minor revision:

Twenty-sixteen: one wedding, four funerals, no Hugh Grant.
You smile. And if you can...

I'll keep the glitter-ink doodles in my own book of revelations
unbound between Tolstoy and a child's bedtime tale:
that high everlasting sky into which we float
memorial balloons, muddy puddles and golden boots.
Skip to a miniature footprint on the sketch of a bridal train.

Thought:

You lay your bouquet at your baby's grave, only ever shrinking
from uninvited hugs which darken your view.
And, oh, for the love of death,
the ground doesn't look any worse
when covered in confetti.

Hearts made from tissue dissolve as we look elsewhere;
to snowflakes, stars and feathers. We listen out
for children, hearing them greet invisible friends
with whom they'd once been photographed.

You draw the line at angels; all are depicted too young
and only one could have sat on your shoulder.

So on days you wear black, you do not speak of heaven,
nor enhance worldly visions with halos and wings.
Instead you convey what those who have lived
long and died would have told us:

Plump up your duvet
if you wish to see feathers,
open your curtains, make light.

As you do.

***

Original

Twenty-sixteen: one wedding, four funerals, no Hugh Grant.
You smile. And if you can...

I'll keep the glitter-ink doodles in my own book of revelations
unbound between Tolstoy and a child's bedtime tale:
that high everlasting sky into which we float
memorial balloons, muddy puddles and golden boots.
Skip on to a miniature footprint, the sketch of a bridal train.

Thought:

You lay your bouquet at your baby's grave, only ever shrinking
from uninvited hugs which darken your view.
And, oh, for the love of death,
the ground doesn't look any worse
when covered in confetti.

Hearts made from tissue dissolve as we look elsewhere;
to snowflakes, stars and feathers. We listen out
for children, hearing them greet invisible friends
with whom they'd once been photographed.

You draw the line at angels; all are depicted too young
and only one ever sat on your shoulder.

So on days you wear black, you do not speak of heaven,
nor paint worldly visions with halos and wings,
but you are the one who gives comforting hugs,
aiding solid belief
in what those who have lived long and died
would have told us:

Plump up your duvet
if you wish to see feathers,
open your curtains, make light.

As you do.
Last edited by Moth on Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:52 pm, edited 4 times in total.
to be totally honest... whenever you feel you really shouldn't write that, that's exactly what you should write.

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6282
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: Extracts from an Unwritten Journal

Post by Macavity » Wed Oct 26, 2016 6:17 pm

The title caught my eye Moth. The hook in the poem for me was a sense of outward resilience despite the loss and terrible pain within.
So on days you wear black, you do not speak of heaven,
nor paint worldly visions with halos and wings,
but you are the one who gives comforting hugs,
aiding solid belief
in what those who have lived long and died
would have told us:
I was wondering if L4-L6 are needed above, that there is more emotional impact in L1-L3?

A heart-rending write.

Especially in -

the ground doesn't look any worse
when covered in confetti


best

mac

User avatar
JJWilliamson
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 3302
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:20 am

Re: Extracts from an Unwritten Journal

Post by JJWilliamson » Wed Oct 26, 2016 6:34 pm

This is a beautifully haunting poem, Moth

It's a tricky one to crit' because I don't know whose unwritten journal this is. I like the idea of our deepest, most secret feelings
being truly hidden in the unwritten archives of our mind.
Moth wrote:Twenty-sixteen: one wedding, four funerals, no Hugh Grant.
You smile. And if you can... ...Like the break here. Clever concealment.

I'll keep the glitter-ink doodles in my own book of revelations
unbound between Tolstoy and a child's bedtime tale: ...Great juxtaposition.
that high everlasting sky into which we float
memorial balloons, muddy puddles and golden boots.
Skip on to a miniature footprint, the sketch of a bridal train. ...I'm assuming these are day dreams or the hopes and wishes of the diarist.

Thought:

You lay your bouquet at your baby's grave, only ever shrinking ...That's one hell of a turn and quite a shock. If this is real life my heart goes out to you.
from uninvited hugs which darken your view.
And, oh, for the love of death,
the ground doesn't look any worse
when covered in confetti. ...I was a bit puzzled by this bit, not being sure why you chose 'worse'. Is it saying, it couldn't get any worse, so the confetti has little impact?

Hearts made from tissue dissolve as we look elsewhere; ...Cracking line.
to snowflakes, stars and feathers. We listen out
for children, hearing them greet invisible friends
with whom they'd once been photographed. ...This feels very sad and lonely. There's a torment coming through.

You draw the line at angels; all are depicted too young
and only one ever sat on your shoulder. ...Struggling a bit here. Reads very well but I'm not sure if I'm making the right connections. I thought of guardian angel. Ah! the devil and angel sitting on the shoulder. Got it.

So on days you wear black, you do not speak of heaven,
nor paint worldly visions with halos and wings, ...Sounds like the speaker is rejecting these notions as pointless imagery, because nothing can help.
but you are the one who gives comforting hugs,
aiding solid belief
in what those who have lived long and died ...Would 'to' work instead of 'in'?
would have told us: ...Haunting stuff. I'm not sure if you're referencing platitudes as a kind of relief as you comfort others, or if it's a defence mechanism. Possibly both. Still, it had an effect on me.

Plump up your duvet
if you wish to see feathers,
open your curtains, make light.

As you do. ...Yes, you eventually just have to get on with things. It's one heck of a fight, though.
I apologise if I'm missing the plot completely but that's how your poem struck me. Haunting.

Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

Moth
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
Posts: 494
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 4:33 am

Re: Extracts from an Unwritten Journal

Post by Moth » Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:22 pm

Thanks Mac - you know what this is about and you've read it as intended, so I'm happy with that. You're so right about that verse as well. I had trouble with that - still not quite there I don't think but I feel it's closer.

Thank you so much JJ. This is indeed heavily based on fact, the subject of the poem being my daughter whose baby son died early this year. She and her husband got married a few months later, so the verse about the confetti in part relates to how some people might have taken the view that a celebration was unseemly given the circumstances. The other deaths were older relatives on both sides, all but one were at the wedding - and all were happy they lived to see it. I didn't want to refer to this word for word in the poem, rather the general idea. I've made a couple of changes along the way to (hopefully!) clarify the parts you weren't sure of but I'm pleased you got as much from this as you did. I doubted I'd get away with combining War and Peace with Peppa Pig but simply couldn't resist trying. Both books are on my bedside table right now, so I think this says quite a lot about me as well.
to be totally honest... whenever you feel you really shouldn't write that, that's exactly what you should write.

User avatar
Luce
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
Posts: 739
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 8:25 am

Re: Extracts from an Unwritten Journal

Post by Luce » Thu Oct 27, 2016 2:01 am

Wonderful poem Moth. It moved me deeply and I'm seldom deeply moved by much of late. My only three nits. Yes, I have only three.

1. Lose the opening two lines. It takes away from the deep emotions of the poem. I immediately think of the movie with
Hugh Grant which almost made me think this was going to be a light weight poem.
2. Don't know if the gold boots refer to a child's boot but would love to see lemon, red or lime instead. Would be a better contrast than gold.
3.Maybe put ellipses after "As you do.: like so "As you do..."instead of ending it with a period. After all, it's not a complete sentence really.

Beyond the above, I wouldn't change a thing. It's near perfect. Wonderful imagery and very real as grief can be

I'm sorry to hear of your family's losses, especially your daughter's.

Luce
"She acts like summer, walks like rain." - Train

Grace
Productive Poster
Productive Poster
Posts: 57
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2016 4:15 pm

Re: Extracts from an Unwritten Journal

Post by Grace » Thu Oct 27, 2016 2:19 am

Moth wrote:V2 - minor revision:

Twenty-sixteen: one wedding, four funerals, no Hugh Grant.
You smile. And if you can....................................................I am missing something here.

I'll keep the glitter-ink doodles in my own book of revelations
unbound between Tolstoy and a child's bedtime tale:...................Is this where the journal is shelved?
that high everlasting sky into which we float
memorial balloons, muddy puddles and golden boots.
Skip to a miniature footprint on the sketch of a bridal train................skip a page in the journal?

Thought:

You lay your bouquet at your baby's grave, only ever shrinking ..............sonically great.
from uninvited hugs which darken your view.
And, oh, for the love of death,
the ground doesn't look any worse
when covered in confetti..........................................................poignant and true.

Hearts made from tissue dissolve as we look elsewhere; .....................good description of their reality.
to snowflakes, stars and feathers. We listen out
for children, hearing them greet invisible friends
with whom they'd once been photographed......................................true to life, solid example.

You draw the line at angels; all are depicted too young
and only one could have sat on your shoulder.

So on days you wear black, you do not speak of heaven,
nor enhance worldly visions with halos and wings.
Instead you convey what those who have lived
long and died would have told us:

Plump up your duvet
if you wish to see feathers,
open your curtains, make light.......................this stanza is especially strong.

As you do.

***

Original

Twenty-sixteen: one wedding, four funerals, no Hugh Grant.
You smile. And if you can...

I'll keep the glitter-ink doodles in my own book of revelations
unbound between Tolstoy and a child's bedtime tale:
that high everlasting sky into which we float
memorial balloons, muddy puddles and golden boots.
Skip on to a miniature footprint, the sketch of a bridal train.

Thought:

You lay your bouquet at your baby's grave, only ever shrinking
from uninvited hugs which darken your view.
And, oh, for the love of death,
the ground doesn't look any worse
when covered in confetti.

Hearts made from tissue dissolve as we look elsewhere;
to snowflakes, stars and feathers. We listen out
for children, hearing them greet invisible friends
with whom they'd once been photographed.

You draw the line at angels; all are depicted too young
and only one ever sat on your shoulder.

So on days you wear black, you do not speak of heaven,
nor paint worldly visions with halos and wings,
but you are the one who gives comforting hugs,
aiding solid belief
in what those who have lived long and died
would have told us:

Plump up your duvet
if you wish to see feathers,
open your curtains, make light.

As you do.
Moth,

This poem contains lovely, intimate details on the experience of losing a child. I didn't fully enter in to the narrative until stanza 3.
I am not really understanding the "extracts" part. I can't tell if any of these are separate musings, and they don't feel so much like a journal, written or unwritten.

The poem stands on its own without the idea of the journal writings in my opinion.

Very well written and touching. Thanks.

penguin
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 241
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:17 pm

Re: Extracts from an Unwritten Journal

Post by penguin » Thu Oct 27, 2016 7:51 am

Very moving. The opening couple of lines are unnecessary, I think. I'd go for Peppa Pig, though.I feel very stupid saying this, but I don't get this plump up your duvet stuff.

Post Reply