Passing Out (revision2)

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Macavity
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Passing Out (revision2)

Post by Macavity » Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:19 am

revision2

The crab apple trees provided the ammunition:
those bruises - your sniper aim
- darting, chasing, finding our defining joy.

After, once we washed our hands, Gran
made us sit at the table.
She treated us to Welsh cakes heaped
on a cracked plate.

Our faces flushed russet red with warfare.
The cakes tasted the best -
almost burnt. The bakestone glistened.

Keys turn beneath these leaves. I hear
a flight of wings, an emptying of nests.
You in that uniform.
Me clapping as loud as I could.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------




revision

The crab apple trees provided the ammunition:
those bruises of fun -
darting, chasing, finding a defining joy.

After, once we washed our hands, Gran
made us sit at the table.
She treated us to Welsh cakes heaped
on a cracked plate.

Our faces flushed russet red with adventure.
The cakes tasted the best -
almost burnt. The bakestone glistened.

Keys turn beneath these leaves. I hear
a flight of wings, an emptying of nests.
You in that uniform.
Me clapping as loud as I could.

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


original

The crab apple trees provide the ammunition:
those bruises of fun -
darting, chasing, finding a breathless joy.

After, once we washed our hands, Gran
made us sit at the table.
The freshly made Welsh cakes still warm
on a cracked plate.

Our faces glowed russet red with adventure.
The cakes tasted the best.
Almost burnt. The bakestone glistened.

Keys turn beneath these leaves. I hear
a flight of wings, an emptying of nests.
You in that uniform.
Me clapping as loud as I could.
Last edited by Macavity on Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:59 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Firebird
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Re: Passing Out

Post by Firebird » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:09 pm

Hi Mac,

It's an interesting poem, but I'm afraid your final stanza lost me. It's probably just me though being a bit thick. Maybe, the child has passed out under the crab apple tree (the bruises hint at this) and in s4 the child is waking up under the tree and leaves and the nests and birds are in the tree ... Some specific comments below.
Macavity wrote:The crab apple trees provide the ammunition:
those bruises of fun -
darting, chasing, finding a breathless joy. (Nice opening stanza)

After, once we washed our hands, Gran (Coundn't this line be made simplier? For instance: After we washed our hands, Gran', or Once, after we washed our hands, Gran')
made us sit at the table.
The freshly made Welsh cakes still warm ('freshly made' I don't like for two reasons: it's very telly, when it would be relatively easy to show this, and 'made' is used in the line before)
on a cracked plate. (I'm sure the cracked plate is symbolic, but I'm not totally sure why)

Our faces glowed russet red with adventure.(is 'glowed' needed?)
The cakes tasted the best. (Wouldn't a comma work better at the end of this line? Also, could another word be used instead of 'cakes'? It just sounds flat so close to the previous use of the word.)
Almost burnt. The bakestone glistened.

Keys turn beneath these leaves. I hear (Maybe I am being dumb, but this line has lost me. I'm guessing these are the leaves of the crab apple tree, but other than that I'm nowhere. Was it meant to be 'eaves' maybe instead of 'leaves'?)
a flight of wings, an emptying of nests. (Maybe entering a chicken coup and collecting eggs, entering a dovecot/pigeon shed. No, if it's under the eaves, these could be house-martins or swallows?)
You in that uniform. (Back from the war? Children evacuated to Grans?)
Me clapping as loud as I could. (Like the parallel between clapping of wings and hands, though I'm not sure what's it's meant to mean).
Maybe the final two lines are the voice of a child clapping at his father in uniform before he went off to war. I think I'm possibly getting there now. If the child has passed out under a tree, maybe the 'flight of wings and emptying of nests are a metaphor for the effect of the WW1 on families. Maybe, N has passed out under a tree as an wounded soldier who is dreaming about an apple fight as a child. It's the 'keys' which are confusing me. Sorry, there's a lot of maybes here.

Cheers,

Tristan

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Re: Passing Out

Post by David Smedley » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:39 pm

The "keys" could be memories unlocking. The whole piece could be memories coming back while "N" sits
beneath an (apple tree?) Interesting to reflect on why "N" is back where the tree grows.

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Re: Passing Out

Post by Jackie » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:35 pm

Hi Mac,

Because of the title, I assume one of these siblings is watching while the other graduates from a military academy, but “keys turn” eludes me. Maybe you’re saying they were turnkey from the time they were tumbling in leaves, their future roles in life already cut and dried?

I wonder why S2-3 are in the past tense and S1 and 4 are in the present. (Except for the last word, “could” which I would’ve made “can,” but this may be an American/British discrepancy.)

The entire S1 is composed of a single sentence, but the sentences steadily become shorter until they’re staccato fragments at the end. Is this another reflection of a military theme? Or does it represent an emotional tightness, a fear for what the future will bring?

“Gran made us sit” summarizes a bit too much for me. I’m wondering what that looked like.

I had trouble with “Our faces glowed russet” because to see them, I had to jump out of the children’s POV.

I loved reading this, Mac, and imagining myself in these people’s lives.

Jackie

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Re: Passing Out (revision)

Post by Macavity » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:17 pm

Thanks Tristan, David and Jackie. I've edited - as usual because readers have picked up some flaws! Appreciated!
The "keys" could be memories unlocking.
Yes, that was the intent.
Because of the title, I assume one of these siblings is watching while the other graduates from a military academy,
Again, this was the intention.
The entire S1 is composed of a single sentence, but the sentences steadily become shorter until they’re staccato fragments at the end. Is this another reflection of a military theme? Or does it represent an emotional tightness, a fear for what the future will bring?
Yes, childhood - or at least the nostalgia - spending time in reminiscence. (fair point about some of the tenses Jackie).
freshly made' I don't like for two reasons: it's very telly, when it would be relatively easy to show this, and 'made' is used in the line before)
I've edited that now and the made x2. The cracked plate was used to convey poverty and the best china is not used for kids.

all the best

mac

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Re: Passing Out (revision)

Post by oggiesnr » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:21 pm

I come from Lincolnshire, in those days a land of RAF bases, RAF Cranwell (just up the Cliff from our village), passing out parades and the Forces as a way out from a life on the farm. A world beyond the bus to school and the nearest market town. This speaks to the growing up of the village lads and the changing of ammunition from the semi-friendly (crab apples stung when thrown hard) to the deadly.

Love it.

As far as the revisions go, they sort out a couple of minor points and so improve the poem but the conception is great in both versions.

Steve

PS If I've got your intent totally wrong I apologise but that is how I read it. Do we all read poetry according to our history?

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Re: Passing Out (revision)

Post by Jackie » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:41 pm

Do we all read poetry according to our history?
Sometimes literature teachers ask, "What meaning do you make out of this?" rather than, "What does this mean?"

Jackie

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Re: Passing Out (revision)

Post by Macavity » Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:00 pm

Thanks Steve and Jackie.
Sometimes literature teachers ask, "What meaning do you make out of this?" rather than, "What does this mean?"
I would say that Steve and other readers picked up my intent. I don't believe a poem is a playground for 'creative' reading, and I do believe in communication, but I accept that I don't own the meaning of a poem.

best

mac

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Re: Passing Out (revision)

Post by JJWilliamson » Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:28 pm

I really enjoyed this one, mac, and yet I couldn't help but bring a touch of melancholy to the table.
This seemed to go beyond recollection. The title is everything btw.
Macavity wrote:revision

The crab apple trees provided the ammunition: ...Would a comma do the job?
those bruises of fun - ...I like the how the long 'bruises' extends the line.
darting, chasing, finding a breathless joy. ...Lovely opening strophe. Great rhythm.

After, once we washed our hands, Gran ...Sonically very pleasing line - one/wash and hand/gran
made us sit at the table. ...I smiled at 'made'. Nimble touch. Again, great sonics. Delightful alliteration on that 't'.
She treated us to Welsh cakes heaped
on a cracked plate. ...Again! these two lines are sonically very good. treat/heap - cake/crack - cake/plate

Our faces flushed russet red with adventure. ...Nice apple reference. Was that deliberate? Must've been. More sonics. This is impressive because they don't sound forced or strained.
The cakes tasted the best - ...cake/taste/best. You're on a run! :)
almost burnt. The bakestone glistened. ...Delightful sibilance and even MORE internals. You're just showing off now. :D

Keys turn beneath these leaves. I hear ...I read the unlocking of memories with this line. keys/these/leaves. Yip, you're showing off.
a flight of wings, an emptying of nests. ...Reads like the nest is empty of children and an oblique reference to the RAF. Passing out day/parade.
You in that uniform. ...This reads like a sibling. My sister was a captain in the Army Reserve (territorials) and because of this fact I felt you were referring to a sister, yet you make no reference to gender. I believe this was the speaker's brother.
Me clapping as loud as I could. ...An older brother? Could be either, come to think of it.


I prefer the revision, mainly because it tidies some of the loose ends.

Best

JJ
==============================================================================


original

The crab apple trees provide the ammunition:
those bruises of fun -
darting, chasing, finding a breathless joy.

After, once we washed our hands, Gran
made us sit at the table.
The freshly made Welsh cakes still warm
on a cracked plate.

Our faces glowed russet red with adventure.
The cakes tasted the best.
Almost burnt. The bakestone glistened.

Keys turn beneath these leaves. I hear
a flight of wings, an emptying of nests.
You in that uniform.
Me clapping as loud as I could.
Long time a child and still a child

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Re: Passing Out (revision)

Post by Joao » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:04 pm

Lovely poem, mac: sweet, light and evocative. A couple of observations:

The crab apple trees provided the ammunition:
those bruises of fun -
darting, chasing, finding a breathless joy. To my ear, 'breathless joy' sounds a bit ethereal for the dirty-nailed fun I see these kids having. You would have preferred simply 'those bruises of darting, chasing fun'

After, once we washed our hands, Gran
made us sit at the table.
She treated us to Welsh cakes heaped
on a cracked plate. Great image - says it all in a word

Our faces flushed russet red with adventure. I agree with Jackie, here, on the external PoV . Also, 'adventure' doesn't sound like the right word for this
The cakes tasted the best -
almost burnt. The bakestone glistened. Another beautiful choice of detail

Keys turn beneath these leaves. I hear
a flight of wings, an emptying of nests. Lovely dreamlike transition
You in that uniform.
Me clapping as loud as I could.

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Re: Passing Out (revision)

Post by Macavity » Sat Jan 20, 2018 6:19 am

Thanks JJ and Joao for your insights and helpful comments.
Our faces flushed russet red with adventure. ...Nice apple reference. Was that deliberate?
Yes, it was JJ :) As you know, sonics are consciously contrived, but also in the blood - I take credit for all :lol:
those bruises of fun -
darting, chasing, finding a breathless joy. To my ear, 'breathless joy' sounds a bit ethereal for the dirty-nailed fun I see these kids having. You would have preferred simply 'those bruises of darting, chasing fun'
Fair point Joao. I like your alternative. I've added a more adult realisation taking into account your comment on POV. Still thinking about 'adventure' - I want to thread the experience to the closing outcome.

best

mac

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Re: Passing Out (revision)

Post by David » Sat Jan 20, 2018 4:48 pm

Hi Mac.

I don't think I understand "those bruises of fun" - some sort of allusion to the apples, which can sometimes be bruised? And also, here, bruise?

Gran again! Your grey-haired Muse.

I think you should remove "russet" forthwith. Other than that, S3 is my favourite.

And these keys? Memory, eh?

I like the last two lines a lot.

Cheers

David

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Re: Passing Out (revision2)

Post by Macavity » Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:04 am

hi David

Shuffled and edited some. Thanks for commenting. Any walking plans? We've booked some walking time in March - West Wales coast again!

all the best

mac

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Re: Passing Out (revision2)

Post by David » Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:20 pm

Macavity wrote:Any walking plans? We've booked some walking time in March - West Wales coast again!
Funny you should ask, Mac. Big birthday for me this year, and - seeing we finished the English Coast To Coast (in three parts) last year (you can do the Manx one in a day, and it's a good walk too) - Tuscany beckons.

We should do West Wales some time, though.

Cheers

David

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Re: Passing Out (revision2)

Post by Macavity » Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:06 pm

Cheers FT. Pleased that ending struck a chord. Yes, the weight is there.

best

mac

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