Page 1 of 1

Invasive (with apologies to JJ - was Immigration)

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:43 pm
by Joao
*Added 3 more parts. Part 1 still unchanged.

Pinus

‘All through the Patagonian steppe, a mosaic of big, small and smaller pine trees is developing, turning the open landscape into a conifer forest’.
The pine tree invasion of South America, A photoessay by Jonas Lembrechts

We woke up late, so we jumped up and ran
and ran, all day, all agog for south and sun
and jostled our way through the damp shrubs.
All day, we ran; until night;
until our muddy feet sunk down
on dried-up sand and the sudden rift --
Gondwanaland! -- appeared and stopped us.
Pushing our backs against the gathering crowd,
we watched our promised raft already at sea,
drifting away towards the Southern Cross.

But here we stand, at last: settlers in our destined land.
The jaundiced races sprawl over the dawning plain
and shiver, undeserving, in the rough Pampero,
waiting to be trampled.

Eichhornia crassipes

Thinking of Ardenois meadows and lilac frocks,
you hatched me in your sultry garden ponds.

My glossy scales will have you stunned
while I coil and eye my prey:

unsuspecting, plump Nyanza draws in its last lungful,
soon, in my embrace.

Lythrum salicaria

The vulgate mistake us for another tribe,
with the name of defeat.

Our real name is anointed with gore.
We shall march across the plains like loose fire.

Hedera helix

Who is he? What's this, your sudden preening
at the first trill of birdsong?

Listen, now, bear me up, I entreat you,
wringing your coat with my hairy fingers,
my hands reaching behind your nape.

Clenching, now, hush, he can't see you:
I have draped ourselves in tender night.

Re: Immigration (Part 1 - Pinus)

Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 5:38 am
by Macavity
hi Joao,
Interesting topic. Invasive species are a problem, especially in recent centuries, but I didn't know about the problem of pines in Patagonia. The mention of Gondwanaland confused me in terms of timescale, but this maybe because I'm unclear about some of the writing. Are the jaundiced races a reference to another plant or humans? Why are they undeserving? I did like the sense of freedom in the running and the change of terrain.

hope that helps some

mac

Re: Immigration (Part 1 - Pinus)

Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:22 pm
by Joao
Thanks, Mac, it does help very much, as usual. I was fearing that times and places wouldn’t be easy to establish. Sounds like I need to make it clearer. The story is that there are virtually no native pines in the Southern Hemisphere. They emerged just after (a few million years after, that is) the break-up of Pangea. That’s S1. S2 is the present. The jaundiced races are the straw-coloured shrubs and grasses characteristic of the Patagonian steppe, which are threatened by the pine invasion. They are undeserving of their land in the eye of the invader, who wants take it away from them.

Re: Immigration (Part 1 - Pinus)

Posted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 4:43 am
by JJWilliamson
Hi, Joao

Thoroughly enjoyed this personalisation of the pine invasion of the South American Continent, Patagonia in particular.

I'm immediately reminded of the colonization of the Americas (southern), but by humans. As the narrative progressed
the deeper meaning became apparent, but I can't help thinking the similarities are deliberate. The preface/intro' clarifies
your intent. However, I wondered if the premise would be just as apparent without it, so I looked again. S1 definitely keeps me
grounded in the human, YET there are undercurrents that suggest otherwise, EG the sunken feet.

I was, incidentally, absorbed by the unfolding. The threat and eventual extinction of native species/tribes is succinctly implied
and the voracious nature of the "conquerors" seems passive, yet absolute. The slow and ruthless invasion is upon us, which is hinted at
though the enormous timescale you've employed. There is an inevitability about it all, which is often the way of events, when geological
spans are employed. Change IS inevitable.

So, can mankind eradicate this threat, as he/she perceives things. We think in very small units of time, applying a significance to ourselves
beyond our importance. I suspect that when we eventually extinguish ourselves, through delusional self-importance, the world won't miss us one bit. :)

My only suggestion, and it is only that, is to give the reader a bigger clue, with one of the potential areas being that of the 'jaundiced races'.
Why not just drop a hint into the mix. EG "Jaundiced grasses". Something along those lines.

Good stuff, IMHO, and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

Best

JJ
Joao wrote:Pinus

‘All through the Patagonian steppe, a mosaic of big, small and smaller pine trees is developing, turning the open landscape into a conifer forest’. The pine tree invasion of South America, A photoessay by Jonas Lembrechts

We woke up late, so we jumped up and ran,
and ran, all day, all agog for south and sun,
and jostled our way through the damp shrubs.
All day, we ran; until night; until our muddy feet sunk down
on dried-up sand and the sudden rift --
Gondwanaland! -- appeared and stopped us.
Pushing our backs against the gathering crowd,
we watched our promised raft already at sea,
drifting away towards the Southern Cross.

But here we stand, at last: settlers in our destined land.
The jaundiced races sprawl over the dawning plain
and shiver undeserving in the rough Pampero,
waiting to be trampled.

*I’m planning to write additional sections, each with a different migrant species, but I'm lacking in inspiration at the moment. Any advice, much appreciated.

Re: Invasive (with apologies to JJ - was Immigration)

Posted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 12:32 pm
by Joao
JJ, I'm so sorry for missing your comments! I don't know what happened! You paraphrase the poem much more eloquently than I could hope to myself. I'll think about dropping another hint in S2: 'grasses' would break with the anthropomorphism I'm aiming for. Again, apologies, and thanks!

Re: Invasive (with apologies to JJ - was Immigration)

Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:07 pm
by bjondon
Hi Joao -an excellent and well crafted piece.
There was a flavour of mystery in your Pinus anthropomorphisation, that also gave it a non-committal air but both are now changed with this more dramatic and pointed augmentation.
Now we have four 'we's, effectively 'shelved' and arrayed in a sequence.
I like the italicised latin names - they have a curly plantlike quality, both 'other' and speaking of human taxonomy.
The voices are each distinct and all utterly confident in their unquestionable 'deserving' status, their centrality as 'the people'. And of course the subtext is that we are the most invasive species of all.
We can poetically name these our faint echoes - in itself a further statement of mastery and ownership.

Eichhornia- this introduces a 'you', is full of disdain and mockery.
Some seriously snakey misdirection going on here, sinister and fun. It definitely foregrounds the poet's hand - not sure if that's a plus or a minus (sorry!).
The voice is all knowing and effectively toying with it's human audience. Does the hyacinth die when the lake dies? Presumably it would know that too, though perhaps there is hubris and blind over-confidence here.

Purple Loosestrife! - a phrase I picked up from Wiki checking this guy was 'a sharp decline in bio-diversity' - that seems to be the common theme for all of these.
From slimey sinister to fierce and ruthless. I didn't get all the horticultural references here (even with wiki/rhs) but I enjoyed this section the most (perhaps the obscurities helped . . . the idiom is of unearthed documents from distant unknowable cultures).

Hedera - no wiki required! - this our most familiar - and the scorn is more intimate now, like an abusive lover. I like the gothic, Dickensian styling, and is that a Nightingale reference?
The ivy distinguishes between a 'he' and a 'you' - it's quite disconcerting, the most threatening of the four. Nodoubt intended to get under our skin. No actual 'we' here. 'I have draped ourselves in tender night' . . . Still pondering the effectiveness of that last line.
Hedera will certainly be the first to colonize our fallen citadels..

So, four dramatic tableaux - the last three seem to complement each other more stylistically ; the first one stands apart perhaps unbalancing the whole.
The twomiddle ones seem quite similar in biological terms.
But I'm being picky. I like this.

Jules

Re: Invasive (with apologies to JJ - was Immigration)

Posted: Mon Sep 23, 2019 10:59 am
by Joao
Jules, thanks so much for this thoughtful and detailed crit. I've responded below.
bjondon wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:07 pm
Hi Joao -an excellent and well crafted piece.
There was a flavour of mystery in your Pinus anthropomorphisation, that also gave it a non-committal air but both are now changed with this more dramatic and pointed augmentation.
Now we have four 'we's, effectively 'shelved' and arrayed in a sequence.
I like the italicised latin names - they have a curly plantlike quality, both 'other' and speaking of human taxonomy.
The voices are each distinct and all utterly confident in their unquestionable 'deserving' status, their centrality as 'the people'. And of course the subtext is that we are the most invasive species of all. That's exactly the effect I was hoping for
We can poetically name these our faint echoes - in itself a further statement of mastery and ownership.

Eichhornia- this introduces a 'you', is full of disdain and mockery.
Some seriously snakey misdirection going on here, sinister and fun. It definitely foregrounds the poet's hand - not sure if that's a plus or a minus (sorry!).
The voice is all knowing and effectively toying with it's human audience. Does the hyacinth die when the lake dies? Presumably it would know that too, though perhaps there is hubris and blind over-confidence here. I know your question is rhetorical here, but as matter of trivia, it does not die with the lake

Purple Loosestrife! - a phrase I picked up from Wiki checking this guy was 'a sharp decline in bio-diversity' - that seems to be the common theme for all of these.
From slimey sinister to fierce and ruthless. I didn't get all the horticultural references here (even with wiki/rhs) but I enjoyed this section the most (perhaps the obscurities helped . . . the idiom is of unearthed documents from distant unknowable cultures). I think this one probably asks too much of the reader's Google. There's an unrelated species also called Loosestrife: 'defeat' and 'loose fire' are just a play on 'Loosestrife'. Lythrum comes from the Greek for 'gore'.

Hedera - no wiki required! - this our most familiar - and the scorn is more intimate now, like an abusive lover. I like the gothic, Dickensian styling, and is that a Nightingale reference? Not a Nightingale but the Sun and the arrival of Spring
The ivy distinguishes between a 'he' and a 'you' - it's quite disconcerting, the most threatening of the four. Nodoubt intended to get under our skin. No actual 'we' here. 'I have draped ourselves in tender night' . . . Still pondering the effectiveness of that last line.
Hedera will certainly be the first to colonize our fallen citadels.. Indeed :D

So, four dramatic tableaux - the last three seem to complement each other more stylistically ; the first one stands apart perhaps unbalancing the whole. Yes, you're quite right: I think I either need to trim the first or extend the others
The twomiddle ones seem quite similar in biological terms.
But I'm being picky. I like this. Thanks again, Jules, very helpful!

Jules