Mid-Atlantic Braes - A Prayer for Difference

New to poetry? Unsure about the quality of your work? Then why not post here to receive some gentle feedback.
Post Reply
bjondon
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
Posts: 729
Joined: Wed May 10, 2017 5:04 pm

Mid-Atlantic Braes - A Prayer for Difference

Post by bjondon » Sun Aug 18, 2019 1:31 pm

We gather now
our feathers few
together now on bended knee
Brothers, Sisters

gray is always grey

No subtle shift in light or shade
shall we allow
on either side of these our
most particular

Atlantic Braes

We now are far beyond
the reach
of fashion, war
or trade

We hope and trust our
future generations
honor difference in our squirrels

aircraft carriers and deys

And so, embraced within
each other's arms,
for now and evermore,
together
let us

grow grae



Mid-Atlantic Grae (V2)

Two greys remain:
they are stubbornly different.
I can't see them ever changing:
grey and gray.

Neither side ever gave in;
and why should they?
It's such a little thing,
a fine line.

Everything else sloughed and slid
into mid-atlantic with a certain joyful élan.
But two words shall remain.



Original

Two greys remain;
they are stubbornly different.
I can't see them ever changing;
grey and gray.

Neither side will ever give in;
and why should they?
It's such a little thing, a fine line.
Everything else sloughs and slides
into mid-atlantic
with a certain gleeful élan.
But gray and grey;
they do and shall remain.
Last edited by bjondon on Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:35 pm, edited 25 times in total.

User avatar
Firebird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2338
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 9:46 pm

Re: The Difference

Post by Firebird » Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:34 pm

Hi Jules,

I like the idea behind this one, but not sure that I fully agree the difference between American English/culture and British English/culture is as limited/small as differences in spelling (literally speaking).

However, I do like the idea of playing with the concept of a ‘grey area’ (mid-Atlantic) between black and white differences, and that even within this grey area there is clear difference (the spelling of grey): something that’s hard to put your finger on, but is definitely there. It’s clever.

People talk of a mid-Atlantic twang, but this refers to pronunciation not spelling, so I’m not sure how this feeds in to your idea, unless you are using this idea in some way I haven’t been able to work out yet.

The poem reads very well, but not sure you need the semi-colon at the end of the penultimate line.

I think I like the peom, but I’ll have to think about the idea a little longer first, before I fully commit.

Cheers,

Tristan


bjondon wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 1:31 pm
Two greys remain;
they are stubbornly different.
I can't see them ever changing;
grey and gray.

Neither side will ever give in;
and why should they?
It's such a little thing, a fine line.
Everything else sloughs and slides
into mid-atlantic
with a certain gleeful élan.
But gray and grey;
they do and shall remain.

User avatar
Firebird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2338
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 9:46 pm

Re: The Difference

Post by Firebird » Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:38 pm

Hi Jules,

I’ve thought some more.

Could it be that you are distinguishing in this poem between what the word represents (the colour) and the word itself? Could this be hinting at the difference between the world of things/objects (the colour) and the way we signify them (the word)? If so that’s a huge difference and is a fantastic irony, too.

Cheers,

Tristan

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

Re: The Difference (V2)

Post by bjondon » Sun Aug 18, 2019 8:33 pm

Thank you Tristan.
Your comments made me look a bit harder at the focus. A V2 up.
And I agree about that semi-colon.
Jules

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6124
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: The Difference (V2)

Post by Macavity » Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:28 am

I have to confess Jules, prior to reading your poem, I used gray this weekend in a game of scrabble. It was disputed, by my Earl Grey tea drinking opponent, but I said it was an American spelling. It was allowed, not because I found it my Collins Dictionary as a 'variant' spelling. but due to this defintion:'The gray (symbol: Gy) is a derived unit of ionizing radiation dose in the International System of Units (SI). It is defined as the absorption of one joule of radiation energy per kilogram of matter.[1]' (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_(unit)).

I like the irony, in my mind, that here the 'colour difference, so often a dividing line between people, is such 'a little thing' as a spelling! stubbornly nicely humanises.

best

mac

User avatar
twoleftfeet
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 6761
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 4:02 pm
Location: Standing by a short pier, looking for a long run-up

Re: The Difference (V2)

Post by twoleftfeet » Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:09 am

Hello,Jules

I really like the conceit and enjoyed the way you have expressed it.

My only nitette was that L1 made me think of squirrels :? ,in that the reds are dying out at the expense of the greys.
(Yeah,probably just me,I know!,but "two grays remain" can obviously be read as "only two grays remain",tbf to me.)
If that was not your intention,then maybe:
"Both grays remain"
- or does that lose something?

Regards
Geoff
Instead of just sitting on the fence - why not stand in the middle of the road?

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

Re: A Prayer for Difference (V3 - formerly The Difference)

Post by bjondon » Sun Sep 08, 2019 7:26 pm

Thanks Geoff, mac and Tristan - apologies for the slow response.
I was planning to augment the original with a second half, but really it has
turned into a sparate poem. Anyway the V3 up and I've tweaked the V2.

Tristan - I don't know if I have caught the conceptual irony you were hinting at in your second post, but those thoughts definitely fed into V3, so thank you for that.
Yes I agree about the 'difference' as it stands today. By setting the V2 in the future looking back I'm turning it into more of a prophecy of that cultural convergence. The V3 is asort of supercilious version of the done deal.

mac - thank you for the Scrabble action . . . 'the absorption of one joule' - I should be so lucky :)
Apparently one in twenty Americans uses the 'grey' variant. I spotted 'gray' in Not's Cycling Epic - that's an interesting one - his piece is set in Australia where officially, according to various authorities, it's supposed to be 'grey' but statistical analysis reveals, on the internet at least, that more Australians get it 'wrong' than 'right'. (One up for Not's research :) )
https://australiandictionary.blogspot.com/2018/11/is-spelling-grey-or-gray.html

Geoff - I've shoe-horned the squirrels in, but not the way you wanted.
'Both' is kind of clearer but less of a hook I think.

Regards,
Jules

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

Re: A Prayer for Difference (V3 - formerly The Difference)

Post by JJWilliamson » Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:12 am

I found V1 & 2 more accessible, Jules, but did enjoy the playfulness of V3. Of course, the thread had already clued me in,
so V3 didn't really pose any problems but it was a challenge in places. (for me) :)
bjondon wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 1:31 pm
We gather now
our feathers few
Together now on bended knee
Brothers, Sisters
gray is always grey
...Nicely ironic opening strophe with a "Friends, Romans, countrymen" feel to it.


No subtle shift in light or shade
shall we allow
On either side of this our
most particular
Atlantic brae
...How are you using 'brae'?


We now are far beyond
the reach
Of fashion, war
or trade
...Does this refer to the definition, spelling or our progression on the economic and socio-political front? (OR none of these?) :)

We hope and trust our
future generations
Honour difference in our squirrels
aircraft carriers and days


And so embraced within
each other's arms
For now and evermore:
Let us grow grae
...Would ending with "together" change your intent or would it be too obvious? "let us grow grae together", like a marriage prayer.

An intriguing read that had me smiling. I hope that's appropriate.

Best

JJ

V2

Two greys remain;
they are stubbornly different.
I can't see them ever changing;
grey and gray.

Neither side ever gave in;
and why should they?
It's such a little thing,
a fine line.

Everything else sloughed and slid
into mid-atlantic with a certain joyful élan.
But gray and grey -
they remain.



Original

Two greys remain;
they are stubbornly different.
I can't see them ever changing;
grey and gray.

Neither side will ever give in;
and why should they?
It's such a little thing, a fine line.
Everything else sloughs and slides
into mid-atlantic
with a certain gleeful élan.
But gray and grey;
they do and shall remain.
Long time a child and still a child

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

Re: A Prayer for Difference (V3 - formerly The Difference)

Post by bjondon » Wed Sep 18, 2019 9:48 pm

Hi JJ - thanks for the input.
Can I get away with 'brae'? - your query made me think a bit harder - It is Scots for hillside or slope and I have decided it might make more sense in the plural (as Burns uses it in Auld Lang Syne) … When you are out on the ocean it can certainly feel like being surrounded by hills and referring to it as solid ground reinforces the theme of 'no difference'.
I liked your 'together' suggestion for the penultimate line and have added a variation of it.
You asked whether S3 was referring to word spellings, definitions or general socio-economics - All three really - the implication being that in this scenario they have all converged and long since been set in stone.

Accessibility is a funny thing. I had thought adopting almost a religious comedy sketch format (the italicized bits are supposed to be the congregation responding in unison) would make it more accessible, but it does perhaps come across as a bit flip, plus trying to make it clearer, the logic actually feels a bit askew now.
So, like you I prefer the V2.

Regards,
Jules

NotQuiteSure
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 2170
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:05 pm

Re: Atlantic Braes V3 (A Prayer for Difference / The Difference)

Post by NotQuiteSure » Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:14 pm

.
Hi Jules,
couldn't tell which version to crit so ...

V2.
Maybe just needs a bit more thought on line endings. Though I think the repeated (though reversed)
gray and grey is a weakness ( But those two shall remain ?)


Two græg remain;
stubbornly different.
I can't see them
ever changing; grey
and gray. Neither
side gave in, ever;
why should they?
a fine line
is such a little thing,

The rest sloughed
and slid to mid-
atlantic
with, it
must be said,
a certain joyful élan.
But gray and grey
they shall remain.



I like V3 (though perhaps Mid-Atlantic Braes?) but
too many 'nows' for me. The opening reminded me of
Henry V's St Crispin's Day Speech,


We few, our feathers few, :)
are gathered now,
together Brothers,
Sisters, to bend our knee

gray is always grey

No subtle shift in light
or shade shall we allow
on either side of these
our most particular

Atlantic Braes

For we are come
far beyond the reach
of fashion, war or trade;
in Hope we trust our future
to generations, may they honor
all the varieties contained

in our squirrels, aircraft carriers and days

So be it - let all embrace
difference, for now
and evermore,
together let us

grow grae


Regards, Not



.

Post Reply