Wakefulness

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cynwulf
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Wakefulness

Post by cynwulf » Thu Nov 24, 2016 11:43 am

Wakefulness

The monotonous clock ticks on.
I watch the sallow moon invade the house
millimetre by millimetre,
fall onto the window sill
pool on the carpet
crawl over the duvet
idle along the skirting on the wall
dawdle through the doorway
micrometre by micrometre,
and withdraw.
The clock ticks on
clicking its asymptotic way
towards the longed for light of dawn.

Lou
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Re: Wakefulness

Post by Lou » Fri Nov 25, 2016 7:45 am

Nicely done, c! You capture well the extreme boredom of insomnia. My advice is to get up and write a poem - nice and quiet at 3,00 am!

Best,
Lou

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Re: Wakefulness

Post by ray miller » Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:56 am

Enjoyed. I don't think you need monotonous, though, almost tautological. I like the descriptions of the moon's movement, especially pool on the carpet.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: Wakefulness

Post by JJWilliamson » Fri Nov 25, 2016 6:57 pm

You could have, "The monotony ticks on".

Great example of a sleepless night with the tiniest of changes registering the monotonous progression.

Enjoyed

Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

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Re: Wakefulness

Post by Macavity » Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:09 pm

Like it too C. Some pleasing sound plays.

best

mac

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Re: Wakefulness

Post by Grace » Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:47 pm

Hi Cynwulf,

I'm a fan of this one, too. I like the sharp observations packed into a short poem.

The only lines that I might suggest a little change are L3 and L9. The poem is so efficient, and "millimetre by millimetre" and "micrometre by micrometre" are not spectacular in a sonic way, so I'm wondering if you might try,

"by millimetres" and "by micrometres."

Just a personal preference, I think, because the way you have it down now adds to the sense of the night's monotony.

Grace

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Re: Wakefulness

Post by ton321 » Sat Nov 26, 2016 2:07 am

like the way you parallel insomnia with repetition and dulling, measured detail, hypnotic in its own way.
Cheers Tony.
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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Re: Wakefulness

Post by TonyMac » Mon Nov 28, 2016 4:20 pm

One feature that I like is the use of alliteration. Perhaps the moonlight might creep across the carpet, although I can see you might not like it so near "crawl".?
All that I had I brought,
Little enough I know;
A poor rhyme roughly wrought,
A rose to match thy snow:
All that I had I brought.
(Ernest Dowson 1867 - 1900)

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Re: Wakefulness

Post by cynwulf » Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:36 pm

Thank you all for reading this and for your comments.

Lou -excellent suggestion, tho' my subconscious works best in the half aware time around waking up

I think JJ may have solved this tautology, ray-so my thanks JJ

Thanks for that observation mac, not too much alliteration I hope

Grateful for your suggestion Grace- I wanted to use the m's to add to the sense of boredom, and was trying to suggest the increasing psychological longeurs by slowing the moon a thousand times with the micrometres

another nice observation Tony

Interesting that you should suggest that TonyMac- my first draft had the light seeping over the sill and creeping over the carpet, but I preferred the 'aw' sounds in the end as being more atmospheric than the 'ee's.

Best wishes, c.

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Re: Wakefulness

Post by Antcliff » Tue Nov 29, 2016 5:08 pm

I liked it, C, but wondered if that first line might go? Come in with the moon, the star of the show?

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

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Re: Wakefulness

Post by Crayon » Tue Nov 29, 2016 9:15 pm

cynwulf wrote:Wakefulness

The monotonous clock ticks on.
I watch the sallow moon invade the house
millimetre by millimetre,
fall onto the window sill
pool on the carpet
crawl over the duvet
idle along the skirting on the wall
dawdle through the doorway
micrometre by micrometre,
and withdraw.
The clock ticks on
clicking its asymptotic way
towards the longed for light of dawn.

cynwulf - In what sense is the clock's clicking way asymptotic? And why have the reader reach for a dictionary? (And, in my case, in this case, be none the wiser.)

Nanometre may sound better than micrometre, and less computery.
wisteria
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sleepless dawn

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Re: Wakefulness

Post by Namyh » Wed Nov 30, 2016 2:02 pm

cynwolf - I liked the way this was constructed with visual impact. Very Nice. Namyh

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Re: Wakefulness

Post by bodkin » Thu Dec 01, 2016 10:59 am

What Ray said about "monotonous" in L1 -- this is the point of the whole poem, no need to lay it out in advance.

At first I found the repetitive structure:

VERBs PROPOSITION the THING

intrusive, but with re-reading this is echoing the monotony, so nicely done!

Ian
http://www.ianbadcoe.uk/

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Re: Wakefulness

Post by cynwulf » Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:34 pm

Seth, Thank you for your suggestion; the first line will go -I was striving for some symmetry, but overdid it.

Crayon, I was using metaphor-the asymptote here is no more mathematical than a blanket of snow is woollen, the ticking time-line moving towards, but never seeming to reach, the dawn I hoped had some essential similarity to the line in a graph (eg a hyperbola) approaching an axis but meeting it only at infinity.
I have no idea, except the vaguest, of the vocabulary of all those who read what I write, I do not (usually) strive for wilful obscurity. The contents of the vocabulary will vary with the varying experiences of each person.
I can't see any problem in looking up the occasional word that may be new to you. I have no formal literary education beyond O Level, my education was in the sciences. I am currently reading Hill's 'Triumph of Love'. I open a page and read phrases with words that are new to me: '.stumbled on dharma; cess-pit of leaking Sheol; the déracinés granted the Leviathan...' Is Hill a poor writer because he uses such a vocabulary? Hill has extended my experience and I have learnt something new.

Namyh,Thank you for reading and commenting, much appreciated. Unusual nom de plume you have there, or is it your given name?

Bodkin, Thank you for commenting so kindly. I will remove the redundant line in any final version.

Best wishes, c.

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Re: Wakefulness

Post by Crayon » Fri Dec 02, 2016 7:05 pm

cynwulf wrote:Crayon, I was using metaphor-the asymptote here is no more mathematical than a blanket of snow is woollen, the ticking time-line moving towards, but never seeming to reach, the dawn I hoped had some essential similarity to the line in a graph (eg a hyperbola) approaching an axis but meeting it only at infinity.
I have no idea, except the vaguest, of the vocabulary of all those who read what I write, I do not (usually) strive for wilful obscurity. The contents of the vocabulary will vary with the varying experiences of each person.
I can't see any problem in looking up the occasional word that may be new to you. I have no formal literary education beyond O Level, my education was in the sciences. I am currently reading Hill's 'Triumph of Love'. I open a page and read phrases with words that are new to me: '.stumbled on dharma; cess-pit of leaking Sheol; the déracinés granted the Leviathan...' Is Hill a poor writer because he uses such a vocabulary? Hill has extended my experience and I have learnt something new.
cynwulf - I commented because I think the poem is accessible to everyone, except for that one word, which will probably cause the 'average' reader to spend more time reading a dictionary definition than the poem itself; and so you may want to reconsider if that distraction is worth it.

There are several tangents [ :D ] in your reply. I'm not sure how to respond. Chronologically, I guess.

I read "its asymptotic way" as an adjective for the clock, rather than a metaphor.

Asymptotic only has a mathematical definition, so it's definitely a maths metaphor. A "blanket of snow" isn't a metaphor, because 'blanket' isn't only defined as a cloth covering.

I don't see how a "ticking time-line" has an "essential similarity" to an asymptote. They're essentially dissimilar because a time-line does reach future points, and its ticking is an audio signal of that. Saying "but never seeming to reach, the dawn" highlights the difference. The clock only SEEMS like it's asymptotic from the narrator's impatient viewpoint, but in the poem it's not written as a singular point of view simile.

I would guess that 'asymptotic' is not in most people's vocabulary. I did maths up to 'O' Level, and the word was unknown to me. Or maybe I'd forgotten it.

Comparing poems to books is odd. Linguistic hurdles in books are much less of a spoiler than in short poems.

I like learning new words, too; but I'm not sure that the merits of educational content is relevant here.

I suppose I could well be wrong about 'asymptotic' being a difficult word, or a spoiler, because no-one else has mentioned it. Maybe I'm just bottom of the class. I'll put the hat on.
wisteria
glares mauve ~
sleepless dawn

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Re: Wakefulness

Post by Firebird » Fri Dec 02, 2016 11:21 pm

I like it but think it might be stronger without the final two lines.

Cheers,

Tristan

cynwulf wrote:Wakefulness

The monotonous clock ticks on.
I watch the sallow moon invade the house
millimetre by millimetre,
fall onto the window sill
pool on the carpet
crawl over the duvet
idle along the skirting on the wall
dawdle through the doorway
micrometre by micrometre,
and withdraw.
The clock ticks on
clicking its asymptotic way
towards the longed for light of dawn.

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Re: Wakefulness

Post by cynwulf » Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:58 pm

Crayon, thanks for the comments. Liked tangents touched my humerus; metaphor/essential- perhaps you wd accept analogyanalogous, to me the seeming was the point of the comparison (narrator's point of view).
I was introduced to asymptotes and other delights such as abscissae when we were taught elementary co-ordinate geometry as part of the Maths O Level course, but that was over 6 decades ago and syllabuses may well changed over that time I imagine. Perhaps I shd retrieve my ulster.

Tristan, I agree and will omit these lines.

Regards,c.

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Re: Wakefulness

Post by NotQuiteSure » Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:48 pm

Enjoyed the atmosphere created.

L2
'sallow'
Feels close to cliche, and doesn't add to the piece.

L3
'fall'; rather passive after 'invade' in L1

L7
'on the wall'; unnecessary

L8
'dawdle'; not sure about this, so close to 'idle'. Reads like it's just there for the alliteration

L12
'clicking...'; confused by how asymptotic relates to clock
(is this a Zeno's Paradox thing?)

Was left wondering about the state of the narrator by the end, and really curious about the clock.

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Re: Wakefulness

Post by VintagePoetess » Wed Feb 01, 2017 3:43 pm

Lovely poem. It sums up the image of white moon light slowly moving through a house beautifully. The only thing I think could be tightened is the 'skirting the walls line'. It feels a tad to long compared to the other lines. Just a tad, but it loses a little of the rhythm that gains in the middle. I personally think that shorting in the middle works nicely. That way you start with a longer beginning, then have a middle of regular shorter beats as moonlight moves bit by bit, then a lengthening out again as you return to the narrators thoughts. It would look visually symmetrical too, which might be quite nice. :) Just some thoughts!

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Re: Wakefulness

Post by cynwulf » Thu Feb 02, 2017 12:02 pm

Thank you both for your comments.
Not Quite Sure-I used sallow to indicate the watcher is in a dis-eased state of mind which makes the moon appear unhealthy; 'nvade'-perhaps 'pervade' less active might fit,I was using invade in the sense of intruding, encroaching rather than militarily. 'Idle skirting the wall'-might do, I want to retain as many long vowels as posible for effect. Similar but not quite Zeno: there the tortoise is actively moving as well as Achilles, in the piece the target (dawn) is not moving hence idea of asymptote used.

Vintage poetess- pleased you liked it.Your thoughts are helpful to me, I need to think about that line a bit more.

Best wishes, c.

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