Impressions of a Friend (revision 2)

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JJWilliamson
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Impressions of a Friend (revision 2)

Post by JJWilliamson » Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:47 am

Mucus bubbles erupt
from nostril and mouth.
The siren of death works
her power through
a failing vein.
The moment is brief.

Seeds spin to the ground,
settle on a grave, freed
by the mother tree;
there are dragonflies
over the church pond,
like Monet’s water lilies.


Revision

Mucus bubbles erupt
from nostril and mouth.
The siren of death works
her power through
a failing vein.
The moment is brief.

Seeds spin to the ground,
settle by a grave, lost
to the mother tree.
There are dragonflies
over the church pond,
like Monet’s water lilies.


Original

Mucus bubbles erupt
from nostril and mouth.
The siren of death works
her power through
a failing vein.
The moment is brief.

A seed spins to the ground,
takes root by a grave, lost
to the scavenging birds.
There are dragonflies
over the church pond,
like Monet’s water lilies.
Long time a child and still a child

NotQuiteSure
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Re: Impressions of a Friend

Post by NotQuiteSure » Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:48 am

.
Hi JJ,
like it, and the title.

Comma after 'erupt'/cut 'from' ?

Not sure S1/L5 is pulling it's weight
(likewise, S2/L3).

I think you might rephrase
There are dragonflies
... pond

(apart from a slight 'Here be Dragons'
nod, it's a bit bland.)

Good close.

Regards, Not


.
Last edited by NotQuiteSure on Wed Aug 28, 2019 12:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Perry
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Re: Impressions of a Friend

Post by Perry » Sun Aug 04, 2019 1:02 pm

Your poem creates a very clear mood. Despite my literal mind, I do understand the poem. You are jumping from one scene to another, each scene embodying a similar feeling of fate or destiny or perhaps unalterable reality. But my literal mind also wants answers. It was slightly jarring to me to jump right from the death bed to the grave. Then I found myself wondering, where did that seed come from? What's the significance of the seed? (Rebirth?) Then I thought, doesn't it take time for a seed to root? How long is this moment? I have no such concerns, however, about the final three lines, which don't generate any questions. But that's what happened in my mind as I read the poem. The question is, does a good poem leave questions in the mind of the reader? I honestly don't know. They feel like loose ends to me.

Have you ever noticed how your thoughts change when you are falling asleep? When sleeping, the human mind turns into something very different. It follows links of association and jumps from one object or event to another. Logic and reasoning are completely lost. This poem is written in "dream thought". Poems written in "dream thought" can be very intuitive and profound -- unless, of course, the reader doesn't have the same mental associations that you do. I don't think this poem has that problem simply because it is so short, but it's something to think about if you write a "dream" poem which is longer.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: Impressions

Post by Macavity » Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:18 am

Mucus bubbles erupt

An ugly image JJ, and dying can leave lasting images that scar memories of friends or love ones, though as an opening line I find it disconnects my empathy and 'browns' the poem. But then the elevated personification of siren of death switches the dial to a poetic, and therefore, distancing effect.

A seed spins to the ground,
takes root by a grave, lost
to the scavenging birds.


The grave is lost to the birds, but the seed roots? Not sure what is going on there?

I thought of names for the birds, but then that slant becomes cliche gothic.

I do like the spinning seed, though I don't see how you'd know it 'takes root' in a literal sense.

All of which sounds critical, but the poem has a hook in the impressionism/brevity thread.

hope that helps some

best

mac

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Re: Impressions of a Friend

Post by JJWilliamson » Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:47 pm

Thank you very much, Not, Perry and mac, for the thoughtful comments. Appreciated.
NotQuiteSure wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:48 am
.
Hi JJ,
like it, and the title.

Comma after 'erupt'/cut 'from' ? ...Not sure if it's necessary.

Not sure S1/L5 is pulling it's weight ...Through a pulsing vein? was one of my options.
(likewise, S2/L3).

I think you might rephrase
There are dragonflies
... pond

(apart from a slight 'Here be Dragons'
nod, it's a bit bland.) ...Yes, maybe I should rethink that section. Hmmm.

Good close.

Regards, Not


.
Perry wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 1:02 pm
JJWilliamson wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:47 am
Mucus bubbles erupt
from nostril and mouth.
The siren of death works
her power through
a failing vein.
The moment is brief.

A seed spins to the ground,
takes root by a grave, lost
to the scavenging birds.
There are dragonflies
over the church pond,
like Monet’s water lilies.
Your poem creates a very clear mood. Despite my literal mind, I do understand the poem. You are jumping from one scene to another, each scene embodying a similar feeling of fate or destiny or perhaps unalterable reality. But my literal mind also wants answers. It was slightly jarring to me to jump right from the death bed to the grave. Then I found myself wondering, where did that seed come from? What's the significance of the seed? (Rebirth?) Then I thought, doesn't it take time for a seed to root? How long is this moment? I have no such concerns, however, about the final three lines, which don't generate any questions. But that's what happened in my mind as I read the poem. The question is, does a good poem leave questions in the mind of the reader? I honestly don't know. They feel like loose ends to me. ...I'm looking at impressions over time, eventually referencing Monet's water lilies to cover loss and peace. There IS a disjointed feel in places and I'll look closely at everything before revisions. I'll keep this crit close as a reference. Thanks!

Have you ever noticed how your thoughts change when you are falling asleep? When sleeping, the human mind turns into something very different. It follows links of association and jumps from one object or event to another. Logic and reasoning are completely lost. This poem is written in "dream thought". Poems written in "dream thought" can be very intuitive and profound -- unless, of course, the reader doesn't have the same mental associations that you do. I don't think this poem has that problem simply because it is so short, but it's something to think about if you write a "dream" poem which is longer. ...Yes, stream of thought/consciousness poems create a similar effect, where one thought quickly follows another.
Macavity wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:18 am
Mucus bubbles erupt

An ugly image JJ, and dying can leave lasting images that scar memories of friends or love ones, though as an opening line I find it disconnects my empathy and 'browns' the poem. But then the elevated personification of siren of death switches the dial to a poetic, and therefore, distancing effect. ...It most certainly is a disquieting image and one I nearly ditched. Still might, actually. :)

A seed spins to the ground,
takes root by a grave, lost
to the scavenging birds.


The grave is lost to the birds, but the seed roots? Not sure what is going on there? ...Over time the impressions change.

I thought of names for the birds, but then that slant becomes cliche gothic. ...I thought the exact same thing. Honestly. One to mull over.

I do like the spinning seed, though I don't see how you'd know it 'takes root' in a literal sense. ...Well, I am dealing with metaphors but perhaps this is too obtuse.

All of which sounds critical, but the poem has a hook in the impressionism/brevity thread. ...Overall, I thought there was enough for the reader to reach out to, even though I had reservations about the accessibility of certain sections. I really am trying to present impressions.

hope that helps some ...Absolutely.

best

mac
Lots to chew over, there. Thanks again

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

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Re: Impressions of a Friend

Post by bjondon » Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:22 pm

I get the feeling that Monet's water lilies had some special significance for this friend - the one redemptive concession in this poem of quiet despair. Very effective. The first three lines of S2 seem like a possible metaphor for a whole life and if that's the intention I'm not sure if it rings quite right, a tad too maudlin/melodramatic . . . but maybe I'm just being picky. This is quite a quirky mix of styles and could be one of those that works on a slow fuse.
Jules

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Re: Impressions of a Friend

Post by JJWilliamson » Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:26 am

Thanks, Jules, for the once over. Appreciated.
bjondon wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:22 pm
I get the feeling that Monet's water lilies had some special significance for this friend - ...Ah, a more than pleasing outcome. Actually, they have a special significance for the speaker, having a peace and beauty beyond description. The fact that he painted so many versions always struck me as obsessive, until, that is, I began to see what he was seeing and feel what he was feeling. The mind finds comfort in such things.

the one redemptive concession in this poem of quiet despair. Very effective. The first three lines of S2 seem like a possible metaphor for a whole life and if that's the intention I'm not sure if it rings quite right, a tad too maudlin/melodramatic . . . but maybe I'm just being picky. ...Life and death are intertwined, as one inevitably follows the other. There's an acceptance of that fact but the sorrow is still palpable, for at the very beginning we are destined for the grave. The scavenging birds need a lift, though. They represent the manipulators and wheeler-dealers who would have us on the end of a string. I can see it's a stretch.

This is quite a quirky mix of styles and could be one of those that works on a slow fuse. ...I hope so but it could still stand a nudge. Thanks for the thoughts.

Jules
I enjoyed your analysis.

Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

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Re: Impressions of a Friend

Post by Firebird » Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:57 am

Hi JJ,

I like some of the images (especially first two lines), but I’m sorry to say that as a whole this isn’t working for me. I think the focus needs to be tighter.

Cheers,

Tristan

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Re: Impressions of a Friend

Post by JJWilliamson » Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:32 am

Thanks, Tristan

Tightening the focus is pretty much on the button, although I do want to keep some of the ethereal or illusory qualities.

Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

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Re: Impressions of a Friend

Post by NotQuiteSure » Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:24 pm

JJWilliamson wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:47 pm
Not sure S1/L5 is pulling it's weight ...Through a pulsing vein? was one of my options.
(likewise, S2/L3).
Oops! Meant L6.

Regards, Not

.

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Re: Impressions of a Friend

Post by David » Tue Aug 06, 2019 5:32 pm

It is, as Mac says, quite a startling opening image, which threw me, briefly - I thought we were back in the Ring O'Bells on an evening of hilarity, at first - but it's certainly an effective one. And so is the jump to S2.

I think you could do more with the Monet image. Another couple of lines, riffing on that, would be good. As it is, it seems slightly lazy as a finish. You're letting Monet do all the work. Make that image of the water lilies - in the words of Louis Walsh - your own.

Cheers

David

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Re: Impressions of a Friend

Post by JJWilliamson » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:06 am

Thanks, Not and David, for the respective comments. Appreciated.
NotQuiteSure wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:24 pm
JJWilliamson wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:47 pm
Not sure S1/L5 is pulling it's weight ...Through a pulsing vein? was one of my options.
(likewise, S2/L3).
Oops! Meant L6. ...Ah well, not to worry, you got me thinkin' 'bout L5 anyway. L6 is quite simple but intentionally so. I'm ok with it.

Regards, Not

.
David wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 5:32 pm
It is, as Mac says, quite a startling opening image, which threw me, briefly - I thought we were back in the Ring O'Bells on an evening of hilarity, at first - but it's certainly an effective one. And so is the jump to S2.

I think you could do more with the Monet image. Another couple of lines, riffing on that, would be good. As it is, it seems slightly lazy as a finish. You're letting Monet do all the work. Make that image of the water lilies - in the words of Louis Walsh - your own.

Cheers

David
Not a bell in sight, David, although the church has a few fine examples hidden in the belfry.

I will think about giving Monet a rest, although I must confess to being partial to the open-endedness of that simple reference.
Of course, the reader would have to be familiar with his paintings of the water lilies and what they meant to him and the people. (eventually)
I will definitely ruminate, though.

Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

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Re: Impressions of a Friend

Post by Namyh » Sat Aug 24, 2019 1:00 am

JJW - Makes you think and I enjoyed the opening. Namyh

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Re: Impressions of a Friend

Post by JJWilliamson » Sat Aug 24, 2019 6:49 am

Thank you for the comments, Namyh. Appreciated.

I'll post another tentative revision after this reply.

Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

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Re: Impressions of a Friend (revision)

Post by Macavity » Sat Aug 24, 2019 9:17 am

Seeds spin to the ground,
settle by a grave, lost
to the mother tree.
hi JJ,
I associate the 'mother tree' with Eden's tree of knowledge, but here I feel you use it in a general sense. For me, plants are purposed to give up seeds (rather than lost). The fact that they settle by a grave implies a contrast of new beginnings with death.

best

mac

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Re: Impressions of a Friend (revision)

Post by JJWilliamson » Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:33 am

Thanks, mac, for coming back to this poem. Appreciated.
Macavity wrote:
Sat Aug 24, 2019 9:17 am
Seeds spin to the ground,
settle by a grave, lost
to the mother tree.
hi JJ,
I associate the 'mother tree' with Eden's tree of knowledge, but here I feel you use it in a general sense. For me, plants are purposed to give up seeds (rather than lost). The fact that they settle by a grave implies a contrast of new beginnings with death. ...Yes, new beginnings and reflections on life. I was also hinting at a mother's loss when the children are liberated, set free, but it's a stretch perhaps. I've a couple of tweaks in mind.

best

mac
Here's a link to dragonfly symbolism that might be of interest.

https://animalsake.com/what-does-dragonfly-symbolize

Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

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Re: Impressions of a Friend (revision 2)

Post by Macavity » Tue Aug 27, 2019 4:54 pm

Interesting link JJ. That coupled, with your use of 'freed', I'm reading the positives of renewal... for there is a vitality to the dragonfly (the association with souls was an interesting one too).

best

mac

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Re: Impressions of a Friend (revision 2)

Post by JJWilliamson » Wed Aug 28, 2019 4:34 am

Thanks for coming back, mac. Appreciate the comments.
Macavity wrote:
Tue Aug 27, 2019 4:54 pm
Interesting link JJ. ...I thought you might find some of it interesting. I liked the way the pond, lilies and departing souls came together. That and the literal impression seemed like a pleasing combination.

That coupled, with your use of 'freed', I'm reading the positives of renewal... for there is a vitality to the dragonfly (the association with souls was an interesting one too). ...The release, the final moment, and of course the deep sadness are not without some elements of comfort and reflection. That's pretty much the way I've drifted. I've dropped the rat race connection completely.

best

mac
Thanks again

Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

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