Lycorine in the Living Room (revised)

New to poetry? Unsure about the quality of your work? Then why not post here to receive some gentle feedback.
Post Reply
Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 5901
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Lycorine in the Living Room (revised)

Post by Macavity » Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:47 am

revision

An April whim of snow
humbles and bows proud stems
until the spring bloom teases
uncut winter grass.

She sees them after parting curtains
in the master bedroom:
bold gold Narcissi and a slender Tulip
with pale pink petals.

Before making a black coffee
she finds kitchen scissors, not daring
the man-shed for secateurs,
and cuts each broken stem.

The frills of Daffodils flourish for a week
in an Anysley vase. A wedding gift
from her lover. The Tulip withers. The sap
of Narcissi is poisonous to some.

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

original

An April whim of snow
bows proud stems
until the spring bloom teases
uncut winter grass.

She sees them after parting curtains
in the master bedroom:
bold gold Narcissi and a slender Tulip
with pale pink petals.

Before making a black coffee
she finds kitchen scissors, not daring
the man-shed for secateurs,
and cuts each broken stem.

The frills of Daffodils flourish for a week
in an Anysley vase. A wedding gift
from her lover. The Tulip withers. The sap
of Narcissi is poisonous to some.
Last edited by Macavity on Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

Joao
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 126
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2016 1:12 pm

Re: Lycorine in the Living Room

Post by Joao » Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:12 pm

I really like the 'whim of April', mac. There's a Dutch saying: 'April doet wat hij wil' (April does what it wills). I might be way off, but I'm guessing the 'lover' is not the groom. I get the sense of a regretful bride (love the passing thrill of daffodils) contemplating murder (and worse, in S3). The 'whim of April' has now added significance. Enjoyed it very much.

User avatar
Perry
Preponderant Poster
Preponderant Poster
Posts: 1013
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:26 am

Re: Lycorine in the Living Room

Post by Perry » Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:30 pm

I can't find "lycorine" in the online dictionary I use. It sounds too unusual a word to be a name. (I just did a Google search. Lycorine is a chemical compound found in plants.)
Macavity wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:47 am
An April whim of snow
bows proud stems
until the spring bloom teases
uncut winter grass. [I'd like it if this stanza were a little fuller.]

A whim of April snow
humbles proud stems
until the spring blooms tease
uncut winter grass.


She sees them after parting curtains
in the master bedroom:
bold gold Narcissi and a slender Tulip [Narcissism -- a good allusion.]
with pale pink petals.

Before making a black coffee [Why "a"?]
she finds kitchen scissors, not daring
the man-shed for secateurs,
and cuts each broken stem.

The frills of Daffodils flourish for a week
in an Anysley vase. A wedding gift
from her lover. The Tulip withers. The sap
of Narcissi is poisonous to some. [Good ending.]
With you openly mentioning the lover, and then implying another man (with "man-shed" and possibly "master bedroom"), I think the woman is married. The reference to the lover, though, could be a little more subtle -- though I'm not sure how you'd do that.

Actually, the mention of both the wedding and the lover in the poem, makes me wonder what the relationships are. If you are mentioning the wedding, then it must not have happened that long ago. If so, does that mean she had a lover at the time she was married? Married people usually take lovers after a period of time, when the feelings have cooled. Perhap's Joao's interpretation is right.

This is a good poem. You should have put it on the Experienced board.

At times like this, I love the English language. Aren't you thankful that we have the word "secateurs", and that you didn't have to use "garden shears"?

Oh, I just picked up on another subtle meaning. You've got blooms inside (in the warmth) and outside (in the cold). It makes the reader wonder which of these men comes first in her heart.

My only objection to this poem -- and it is a political one -- is that the figure of a beautiful, narcissistic woman who has multiple men on a lead is a common cliché which doesn't represent most women -- but that won't bother the heterosexual men who subscribe to this stereotype. Men hold the power in most societies, and also most of the allure.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

User avatar
camus
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 5046
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2004 12:51 am
antispam: no
Location: Grimbia
Contact:

Re: Lycorine in the Living Room

Post by camus » Thu Apr 11, 2019 1:11 am

This poem has made me stop and try and work it out!

Initially i like the language and the intrigue, it reminds me of a good TV drama

I'll be back.
http://www.closetpoet.co.uk

User avatar
JJWilliamson
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 3297
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:20 am

Re: Lycorine in the Living Room

Post by JJWilliamson » Thu Apr 11, 2019 12:16 pm

Hi, mac

Some lovely turns of phrase and delightful sonics throughout this seemingly innocent poem,
that perhaps belie the speaker's deeper feelings.

Macavity wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:47 am
An April whim of snow
bows proud stems
until the spring bloom teases
uncut winter grass. ...Ha! I've just given my grass its first cut; yesterday evening, to be precise. Daff's are nowhere near, with the bluebells just showing their heads. We're high up.

She sees them after parting curtains
in the master bedroom:
bold gold Narcissi and a slender Tulip
with pale pink petals. ...Lovely details. Lots of pleasing sonics.

Before making a black coffee
she finds kitchen scissors, not daring
the man-shed for secateurs, ...A hint of unrest/caution. My interest is piqued.
and cuts each broken stem. ...In light of the previous line this could well stand for a delicious metaphor. I was dying to find "stir" or " stirring" in this strophe. "Before stirring a black coffee" perhaps. Stir, secateurs, scissors

The frills of Daffodils flourish for a week
in an Anysley vase. A wedding gift
from her lover. The Tulip withers. The sap
of Narcissi is poisonous to some. ...Ha! a sinister close, or is it? That's what intrigues me so much and actually puts a smile on my face. It could be something innocent, like mild regret or sadness at one and the same time. It's all there.
Enjoyed

Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

User avatar
Firebird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2313
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 9:46 pm

Re: Lycorine in the Living Room

Post by Firebird » Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:50 pm

Hi Mac,

I like it too. It’s full of sinister overtones. Some specific points below.

Cheers,

Tristan

Macavity wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:47 am
An April whim of snow (excellent opening line)
bows proud stems
until the spring bloom teases
uncut winter grass. (I really like the ‘uncut winter grass’ but agree with Perry that this stanza/line don’t quite seem full enough)

She sees them after parting curtains (The ‘parting curtains’ reminds me of the stepford wives. Nice touch.)
in the master bedroom:
bold gold Narcissi and a slender Tulip (‘not sure about the sonics of ‘bold gold’)
with pale pink petals. (I think the alliteration works here, even though at first I thought it was a bit too intrusive, but changed my mind.)

Before making a black coffee
she finds kitchen scissors, not daring
the man-shed for secateurs,
and cuts each broken stem.

The frills of Daffodils flourish for a week
in an Anysley vase. A wedding gift (the vase reminds me a bit of hyacinth bouquet I’m afraid. Probably just me though)
from her lover. The Tulip withers. The sap
of Narcissi is poisonous to some. (Yes, a very sinister end)

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 5901
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: Lycorine in the Living Room

Post by Macavity » Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:30 am

Thank you Joao, Perry, Camus, JJ and Tristan. Very helpful as usual.
I might be way off, but I'm guessing the 'lover' is not the groom.
No, you are spot on Joao. Love the Dutch saying.
A whim of April snow
humbles proud stems
until the spring blooms tease
uncut winter grass.
I like the physicality of bows, but I like the pointedness of your word choice Perry. I think it is a good opening steer.
I was dying to find "stir" or " stirring" in this strophe. "Before stirring a black coffee" perhaps. Stir, secateurs, scissors
Like the suggestion for sonics JJ, but I wanted to break her 'routine' rather than drift away from that routine. The poem started from learning of the effects of daffodil toxicity. I've had to dig up and replant since they 'poisoned' some tulips! They are even more lethal when cut and mixed with other flowers in a vase! Still love them though....
A wedding gift (the vase reminds me a bit of hyacinth bouquet I’m afraid. Probably just me though)
from her lover.
:lol: The cultural context Tristan! The vase choice was because Aynsley has flowered garden motifs.

all the best

mac

NotQuiteSure
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 2056
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:05 pm

Re: Lycorine in the Living Room (revised)

Post by NotQuiteSure » Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:02 am

.
Hi mac,
excellent title (and the poem's not bad either :) )

Minor nits:
If you can make 'bows proud' work, fair enough.
But is it bow (as in knot) or bow (as in -wow-wow) ?
For some reason 'bold gold' is less troublesome.

'teases', I get the scene but the word
doesn't seem to set up what follows.

maybe drop 'curtains' to the line below
(I just liked - 'curtains in the master bedroom') ?

'man-shed' is a bit light, perhaps?

Starting S3 with 'Before' doesn't quite work for me,
maybe
she finds kitchen scissors,
Before making a black coffee
not daring the man-shed for secateurs,
and cuts each broken stem
. ?

'to some' seems to weaken the ending, for me, I liked
the inference ending on 'poisonous' would allow.
(any way to avoid the repetition of both Narcissi and Tulip?
Use varietal names perhaps?)


Regards, Not


.

Charles
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
Posts: 276
Joined: Sat Dec 09, 2006 10:06 pm
Location: Reading, England

Re: Lycorine in the Living Room (revised)

Post by Charles » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:18 am

Hi Mac,

Really enjoyed this. Agree with camus about the underlying sinister feel about it which makes it very intriguing.

Really enjoyed the sonics and feel in S1 in particular.

As for the ending, well I love it because while it could be read as just adding to the sinister mood, what with the black coffee and infidelity (only psychopaths drink black coffee) it could just as easily be alluding to a real crime...

bjondon
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
Posts: 729
Joined: Wed May 10, 2017 5:04 pm

Re: Lycorine in the Living Room (revised)

Post by bjondon » Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:48 am

Hi mac, so many layers to this!
I am starting to recognize this garden - a sort of
troubled eden - but hopeful too - would make a great
mini collection.

My micro-niggle with 'bows' in V1 seems to have been
solved in V2 with the addition of 'humbles and'

Lycorine is an ugly word, but distinctive (hints of Werewolves).
It invites a google and what comes up is prostate cancer -
apparently this is a promising new treatment, though still
experimental. With all the teasing phallic references,
the 'whim of snow' could easily be this cancer that all
men fear, and 'in the Living Room' is too close to home.
So we have this complex and conflicted relationship -
but her tenderness and intervention leading perhaps
to a cure. There is a whole male/female matrix here that
I really like.

Jules

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 5901
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: Lycorine in the Living Room (revised)

Post by Macavity » Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:20 pm

Thank you Not., Charles and Jules. Pleased you enjoyed. I tried some of the suggestions, but for now the poem can live with some of its perceived imperfections. May change my mind in time.

For those that are interested, some wiki...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lycorine

thanks again

all the best

mac

HonourStedman
Productive Poster
Productive Poster
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2018 4:17 pm

Re: Lycorine in the Living Room (revised)

Post by HonourStedman » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:34 pm

I got to this one a bit late, dear Mac - some of the Forum "big hitters" have already given their lucid views and I find myself in general agreement with them. This poem is great stuff, and I love the slightly twisted symmetry between the sinister and the good. Before reading the reviews so far expressed, I did wonder if Lycorine was a poison. :)

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 5901
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: Lycorine in the Living Room (revised)

Post by Macavity » Fri Apr 19, 2019 4:04 am

Thank you very much Honour. I like that notion of twisted symmetry :) Yes, there are many types of 'poisons' in the world - found in nature and the nature of people!

best

mac

User avatar
riverrun
Productive Poster
Productive Poster
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:33 am
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Re: Lycorine in the Living Room (revised)

Post by riverrun » Sun Apr 21, 2019 7:17 am

I liked your and other coments about the clear intetion of symmetry (geometry/music). And right from start in your title: Lycorine - Living Room. You placed together two things perfectly distant (180°?) but with similar vocalization: 1: Lycorine couldn't be more rare as title (even more as first word of a title -- something Bukowski or beat generation would use) and 2: Living Room, the most common subject in almost all world poetry. The philosophical question is: which one will define the other, or if both can sustain a perfect equilibrium? You wrote a poem symmetrically, with four stanzas with alot ressonance and assonance, also playing with synonymy and syntax, giving even attention to the spatial presentation of the poem. Your poem shows us a wonderful problem, a philosophical problem about symmetry.

Many important writers and poets wrote about symmetry, be it western or eastern canon. Regarding composition we can't escape too much from Edgar Allan Poe, who wrote "Eureka" in 1848 to the polimath Alexander von Humboldt, probably because his masterpiece "Kosmos". Quoting him: "And now we have reached a point at which the intellect is forced, again, to struggle against its propensity for analogical inference -- against its monomaniac grasping at the infinite. Moons have been seen revolving about planets; planets about stars; and the poetical instinct of humanity -–its instinct of the symmetrical, if the symmetry be but a symmetry of surface: -–this instinct, which the Soul, not only of Man but of all created beings, took up, in the beginning, from the geometrical basis of the Universal irradiation -–impels us to the fancy of an endless extension of this system of cycles. [...] It is, perhaps, in no little degree, however, our propensity for the continuous -–for the analogical -–in the present case more particularly for the symmetrical which has been leading us astray. And, in fact, the sense of the symmetrical is an instinct which may be depended upon with an almost blindfold reliance. It is the poetical essence of the Universe -– which, in the supremeness of its symmetry, is but the most sublime of poems."

But poets usually don't go believing in anything (or perfect symmetries) so easy. On contrary, poets, generally, are masters of suspicion, even when they explicitly build a perfect linguistic cosmos. Then "Lycorine" (as poison) is maybe a reminder of that suspicion. We can't forget also what happened to Narcisus when he fell in love with his own mirroed image.

best regards

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 5901
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: Lycorine in the Living Room (revised)

Post by Macavity » Sun Apr 21, 2019 9:35 pm

Thank you very much riverrun. Pleased you picked up on the possibilities in the title. I enjoy a layered poem and it is always a plus when the reader peels the skin.

all the best

mac

Post Reply