A Millennial's Torch Song Ver. 2

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Charles
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A Millennial's Torch Song Ver. 2

Post by Charles » Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:37 am

Revision 1

When I first met you it was an age ago, my love
requited only for a certain length of time.
You moved on - but you promised to be friends.

Lived memories burn, as your promise is forgotten,
but how much is there that’s new to see!
Dead snapshots, true, but proof of life at least:

Here, you settled down with that finance director,
and bought your first home, clutching keys excitedly.
There is that loyal friend of yours, stiff and old,

far removed from the skittish puppy that ran round,
And left that mess in our dorm. And (in this one)
you wear that same silly woolly hat you wore

that cold November night. This, the centrepiece,
you looking so beautiful in your wedding dress -
that shy smile peeking out from dimpled cheeks.

I only wish that I could have been there
as I bathe in your digital shadow and reflect
that we haven’t spoken in ten years.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter -
there is so little left now, just proofs
that life has carried you away from me.

And that I am ever hiding in your shadow.




Original

When I first met you it was an age ago, my love
requited only for a certain length of time.
You moved on - but you promised to be friends.

I'm glad you settled down with a finance director,
became a schoolteacher, bought your first home,
keep your figure trim and still wear woolly hats.

You looked beautiful in your wedding dress
That shy smile peeking out from dimpled cheeks.
I only wish that I could have been there.

You lost your mother to the big “C”,
only two years ago. Your sister emigrated to Australia,
you holidayed with her last summer, in Brisbane.

We haven’t spoken in ten years,
but I need not wonder what became of you -
we’re still friends - it’s facebook official.
Last edited by Charles on Tue Oct 30, 2018 12:48 am, edited 3 times in total.

1lankest
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Re: A Millennial's Torch Song

Post by 1lankest » Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:38 pm

Seeking, but not finding the poetry in this, Charles, sorry. Pleasant enough reading but there’s nothing enlightening or illuminating here. The title is the best bit - like the play on old flame.

L

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Binz
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Re: A Millennial's Torch Song

Post by Binz » Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:42 am

I like the idea of this one. It has potential but it feels like the words are getting in the way of the poetry. Not sure if that makes sense, I think you are telling what happened to the extent that the reader doesn't need to fill in any gaps or interpret. It would be interesting to read a version of this where you describe feelings, details from memories, etc and left some space for the reader to work out the what/why, then confirmed it later in the poem.

A couple of lines in this that I liked are:
"When I first met you it was an age ago, my love" I read that at first with a full stop, being addressed to 'my love.' before its meaning changed with line 2.
and
"That shy smile peeking out from dimpled cheeks." Nice image, captures beauty and personality.
If you want to fly, you must first spread your wings.

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Perry
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Re: A Millennial's Torch Song

Post by Perry » Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:41 am

It's pretty clear that you have a lot of feeling (or perhaps nostalgia) for this person, but I don't think you've written the poem in a way that allows the reader to feel what you are feeling. You do give some information about the person in the poem, but not quite enough to make her real for me -- not quite enough to make me understand why she means so much to you.

The secret of a good poem seems to be in describing a person, event or situation in such a way that it reminds the reader of his own experience, and I don't think you've accomplished that here. There's too much of a generic quality to this poem, both in the description of the subject and the unfolding of events, to grab me.

I went looking in my archive for an example of a poem about an old love, and I found "Hearing Again, After a Lapse of Years" by Rhina Espaillat. I posted it on the "Poems That you Love" thread in the Poetry Discussion forum (at the end of the thread, of course). I'm not suggesting that you write anything like that. I just want you to see an example of how someone else handled the same subject.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

Charles
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Re: A Millennial's Torch Song

Post by Charles » Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:18 pm

Thanks all.

Agree this isn't my best effort, but thank you for the comments. Thanks, Binz, for saying it has potential. Give me enough hope to set to work on a revision. I think S4 is particularly weak - thank you for picking out the lines you liked.

Perry, I did look at that poem you posted - thanks for posting, it's a very good one - one I can only hope to aspire to!

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Re: A Millennial's Torch Song

Post by Perry » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:24 am

The more I read your poem, the more I hear the feeling in it. Clearly, you feel a lot for this person. However, you still need to find a way to convey your feelings so that the reader can feel it too. The way to do that seems to be to say things in a way that the reader can identify with. These two lines from the Espaillat poem illustrate that:

I think of seventeen, the salt of tears
and the long silence after sorrow ends.

We have all wept and tasted our own tears and noticed they were salty, so we all have that in common. And we have all had a painful separation which was followed by a long silence, so we can all relate to that. I suggest you look for the universal experience in the individual experience; doing that will allow your readers to feel what you are feeling. Alternatively, if that is hard to do in a specific poem, you can make a poem appeal to the reader/listener just by writing in a beautiful, lyrical style. Espaillat managed to do both in her poem.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: A Millennial's Torch Song

Post by JJWilliamson » Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:20 am

These are so tough to write, Charles, but bravo for a valiant effort.

If you were telling me this in the pub I would be all ears so you've definitely hit the right note.
However, at times, it feels just like that, where the conversational side seems a little too prosaic.
I do the same thing myself on a regular basis and keep doing it. :)

Could you identify one moment that conveys how you felt/feel and expand upon the unrequited love.
It's a big ask, I know, but as it stands it reads like,

"I knew this girl once, and fancied her like mad, but she married someone else,
moved away, and I haven't seen her for years. We still write, though".

It's quite a common theme, if you see what I mean, so something special would help to give this a lift.
Please don't misunderstand me, btw, because the story is interesting and honest and well worth the telling.

Hope some of this helps.

Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

Charles
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Re: A Millennial's Torch Song

Post by Charles » Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:23 pm

Thanks for taking the time JJ and I'm really glad you asked that question, because (like a few of my poems actually) I feel I'm throwing a few of our older members off by bringing in social media. It's an interesting one because the whole social media thing was just kicking off when I was in my teens and I'm almost 30 now - so in this poem I'm exploring a phenomenon that I suspect is fairly common in my generation but would be quite alien to pre-millennials. But then that means I just have to make my imagery clearer really... As it is quite a novel twist I'm keen to post another revision soon and do it justice.

The twist is the sentimental imagery throughout the poem is supposed to be undercut at the end - "we're still friends it's facebook official". It's actually meant to be a bit creepy/sad - N. was rejected by the woman - but has kept up with her life over the past ten years because they're still friends on facebook. Despite the woman never really keeping her promise to remain friends - they don't write or speak or have any interaction beyond him looking through her facebook profile.

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Re: A Millennial's Torch Song

Post by David » Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:33 pm

Charles wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:23 pm
Thanks for taking the time JJ and I'm really glad you asked that question, because (like a few of my poems actually) I feel I'm throwing a few of our older members off by bringing in social media.
I'm okay with Facebook, Charles. Carry on.

I draw the line at Twitter, though.

Cheers

David

Charles
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Re: A Millennial's Torch Song

Post by Charles » Tue Oct 30, 2018 12:44 am

David wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:33 pm
Charles wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:23 pm
Thanks for taking the time JJ and I'm really glad you asked that question, because (like a few of my poems actually) I feel I'm throwing a few of our older members off by bringing in social media.
I'm okay with Facebook, Charles. Carry on.

I draw the line at Twitter, though.

Cheers

David
Haha, thanks David. :P Apologies, I'm young enough to presume that people I talk to online are older than me, but old enough for that not necessarily to be the case. :lol: And to clarify, I meant the phenomenon of having one's whole adolescence and adulthood documented on social media. I know many people much older that I who are avid users of social media, but only my generation and younger can go back and cringe at what they and their friends were up to when we were 16 through facebook or instagram.


Anyway, ended up forgetting about this poem for a bit but, belatedly, revision up.

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Re: A Millennial's Torch Song Ver. 2

Post by NotQuiteSure » Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:32 pm

.
Hi Charles,
I'm basically in agreement with 1lankest, Binz and JJ
but thought I'd suggest this alternative take:

I'm glad you settled down with a finance director,
became a schoolteacher, bought your first home,
ke
[pt] your figure and still wear woolly hats.

You look beautiful in your wedding dress:
shy smile peeking out from dimpled cheeks.
I only wish that I could have been there.


[I'm sorry that] You lost your mother to the big “C”,
two years ago. {that][maybe use a name here] emigrated to Australia,
[but] you holidayed with her last summer, in Brisbane.

When I first met you it was an age ago, my love
requited
[, briefly. And though] we haven’t spoken in years,
I need not wonder what became of you

Liked the 'dead snapshots...proof of life' line

Regards, Not.
.

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Re: A Millennial's Torch Song Ver. 2

Post by Jackie » Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:43 pm

The revision works much better for me than the original, Charles. The photos are coming alive. I especially like the line
proofs
that life has carried you away from me
, I think because it’s unexpected. Perhaps you could do with more unexpected language here—I must have said “an age ago” hundreds of times in my life, and what skittish puppy doesn’t run around?

Few people might admit to it but I suspect this is one of the most common uses of social media!

Jackie

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