Everything

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Everything

Postby bodkin » Mon Feb 06, 2017 12:33 pm

Everything


Prior art

So maybe there is one: some master equation;
some sequence of symbols a lover might write
on a napkin, angled to catch at street lighting,
one elbow leant on an outdoor table, ignoring
the promise of rain in the cool summer air --

a young woman passes, all little black dress
-- some sort of equation might grab the whole mess:
the warping, the weaving of mass for an atom;
the elegant building of colour for light
to shade any evening that I might hurry through.


Derivation

We were eating dessert when the urge overcame her
to scrawl mathematics, the night ticked on;
I drank my whisky, her Merlot grew warm...
Until, sudden-smiling, she holds out the paper:
a simple equation with nothing crossed out.

She's laid it out like a mantrap for ultimate truths,
as if to say: Darling! I mastered it all
even down to the various youths who call
you only on your other phone.
Watch her face;
we should stay here: a moment not questioned or answered.


Discussion

She might lick her lips; I might feel ice
that mutters in the glass but our moment breaks;
she crushes the napkin; takes a drink, a breath, and says:
There are in the maths no stains for the tablecloth,
no moth by the light bulb, no artificial flower...


She shrugs, expansively, moderate drunkly;
her black bob asway, flesh rounds beneath fabric.
...and can ever there be terms at all
for the small dark men with their small sharp knives
who open the oysters in the back.
Lightning!


Further work

She drops crumpled paper. We flee,
a little too damply, play-fighting and hugging,
beneath such a midnight enfolded in cloud
but not annotated on scales we can reach
from her bedroom, where we make a better maths

for just a little while. Elsewhere
rain continues:
a lost napkin straightens,
symbols blur and merge
and the world moves on.


(original)

Everything


If there should be one, some master equation,
some sequence of symbols my lover might write
on a napkin, hunched over the outdoor table,
angled to catch at street light, ignoring
the faint hint of rain in the cool summer air.

A young woman passes, all little black dress --
some sort of equation might grab the whole mess:
the warping, the weaving of mass for an atom;
the elegant building of colour for light
to shade such evenings as I hurried here through.

We were eating our meal, when the urge overcame her
to scrawl mathematics, the night ticked on;
I drank my whisky, her Merlot grew warm...
Until, sudden smiling, she held out the paper
a simple equation with nothing crossed out;

she's laid it out like a mantrap for ultimate truths,
as if to say: Darling! I mastered it all
even down to assorted youths who call
you only on your other phone
. Watch her face;
we should stay here, a moment not questioned or answered.

She might lick her lips; I might feel ice
that mutters in the glass but our moment breaks;
she crushes the napkin; takes a half-breath and says:
There are in maths no stains for the tablecloth,
no moth by the light bulb, no artificial flower...


She shrugs, expansively, moderate drunkly;
black bob asway, flesh rounds beneath fabric.
...and can there ever be a term at all
for the small dark men with their small sharp knives
who open the oysters in the back.
Lightning!

She drops crumpled paper and we flee,
somewhat damply, fighting and hugging,
beneath a midnight folded with storm cloud
but not annotated on scales we can reach
from her bedroom, where we make a better maths

for just a little while. Elsewhere
rain continues
a lost napkin straightens
symbols blur and merge
and the world moves on.

--

This is an old one, long in the rewrite... I did some significant revision in an Italian restaurant on my own in Cambridge in November 2015, and I just this last week made an effort to get it to some sort of revision I could post...
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Re: Everything

Postby Antcliff » Mon Feb 06, 2017 6:54 pm

Cinematic.

Minor thoughts in a fly by


"If there should be one, some master equation,
some sequence of symbols my lover might write
on a napkin, hunched over the outdoor table,
angled to catch at street light, ignoring
the faint hint of rain in the cool summer air"......There must be some canny reason why there is no consequent to this conditional.....or (ponders) is the title the consequent?

"A young woman passes, all little black dress --
some sort of equation might grab the whole mess"..........nice couplet.

"to shade such evenings as I hurried here through"......not "I hurried through here"? Why the inversion? Or what feels slightly like one. Not objecting, just wondering.

"Until, sudden smiling, she held out the paper."...dash between sudden/smiling?

Seth
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Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
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Re: Everything

Postby bodkin » Mon Feb 06, 2017 8:45 pm

Thanks Seth,

There's no consequent because... because... well it feels right to me. I think I feel the whole thing is a single speculation, so it is perhaps:

"if there... (then implicitly all the rest)"

Similar to:

"Maybe there is one, some..."

--

"to shade such evenings as I hurried here through"......not "I hurried through here"? Why the inversion? Or what feels slightly like one. Not objecting, just wondering.


For me your version seems like the inversion and mine the ordinary one. Acherly: "Hurried through here" means something quite different I don't mean "a place called 'here' though which I hurried" I mean "an evening such as this through which I hurried to a place called 'here'..." Does it not work that way?

"sudden-smiling" -- yes, very probably you're right. I'll fix it when I revise.

Thanks,

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Re: Everything

Postby Macavity » Tue Feb 07, 2017 7:37 pm

Love the closing image, overall muchly enjoyed. Obviously, you have reasons for punctuating in the manner you do...so the tinkering is just a viewpoint as is the boiling down:

If there should be one, some master equation,
some sequence of symbols my lover might write
on a napkin, hunched over the outdoor table,
angled to catch a street light, ignoring
the faint hint of rain in the cool air.

A young woman passes, all little black dress --
some sort of equation might grab the mess:
the warping, the weaving of mass for an atom;
the elegant building of colour for light
to shade such evenings I hurried through.........................................got lost here

We were eating our meal, when the urge overcame her
to scrawl mathematics. The night ticked on.
I drank my whisky, her Merlot grew warm...
until, suddenly smiling, she held out the paper -
a simple equation with nothing crossed out.

She laid it out like a mantrap for ultimate truths,
as if to say: Darling! I mastered it all
even down to assorted youths who call
you only on your other phone.
We should stay,
a moment not questioned or answered...........................and got lost here too

She might lick her lips. I might feel ice
that mutters in the glass, but our moment breaks.
She crushes the napkin, takes a half-breath and says:
there are in maths no stains for the tablecloth,
no moth by the light bulb, no artificial flower...
.

She shrugs, expansively, moderately drunk;
black bob asway, flesh rounded beneath fabric.
...and can there ever be a term at all
for the small dark men with small sharp knives
who open the oysters in the back
. Lightning!

She drops crumpled paper and we flee,
somewhat damp, fighting and hugging,
beneath a midnight folded with clouds
but not annotated on scales we can reach
from her bedroom, where we make maths

for just a while. Elsewhere
rain continues
a napkin straightens
symbols blur and merge
and the world moves on.
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Re: Everything

Postby bodkin » Wed Feb 08, 2017 10:02 pm

Thanks Mac. That first place you got lost caught Seth too, I don't know quite why, but I'll certainly look into it if I revise again...
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Re: Everything

Postby JJWilliamson » Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:28 am

Really liked this one, Ian

I'll get back to it tomorrow if I can because it's worth studying. Busy day.

Best

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Re: Everything

Postby bodkin » Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:56 pm

Thanks JJ, I'll appreciate it if you do return!
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Re: Everything

Postby Arian » Fri Feb 10, 2017 8:59 pm

Very good. Keeps you reading.

Antcliff wrote:There must be some canny reason why there is no consequent to this conditional...

Yes, I struggled with this, too. And the 'hurried here through.'

Some excellent lines, though. Loved the image of ice muttering in the glass. And I thought 'moderate drunkly' was a clever play - though you imply earlier that she'd not been drinking (merlot getting warm).

The last verse is very good too, though, for me, it could do with some punctuation

for just a little while. Elsewhere
rain continues:
a lost napkin straightens,
symbols blur and merge
and the world moves on.

Enjoyed it.

Cheers
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Re: Everything

Postby JJWilliamson » Sat Feb 11, 2017 6:03 pm

I liked this a lot, Ian, finding it akin to a Sam Spade moment. Very thoughtful.

Some thoughts for your perusal:

bodkin wrote:Everything


If there should be one, some master equation,
some sequence of symbols my lover might write
on a napkin, hunched over the outdoor table,
angled to catch at street light, ignoring ...should that be 'catch the'.
the faint hint of rain in the cool summer air. ...I get the feeling this is the start of a run-on statement, or collection of thoughts where the speaker is considering everything. Not sure about the full stop, if this is the case. Would a comma suffice or a semi? If not, then then the opening line needs an answer.

A young woman passes, all little black dress --
some sort of equation might grab the whole mess:
the warping, the weaving of mass for an atom;
the elegant building of colour for light
to shade such evenings as I hurried here through. ...I see what the others mean about the inversion. Again, I see a difference between hurrying here, at this exact moment in this place, and hurrying through this spot on the way to somewhere else. It's a subtle dissimilitude. I thought you the first option was close to your intent, but now I'm not so sure.

We were eating our meal, when the urge overcame her
to scrawl mathematics, the night ticked on;
I drank my whisky, her Merlot grew warm...
Until, sudden smiling, she held out the paper ...Might consider a comma here. 'sudden smiling' seems a tad awkward.
a simple equation with nothing crossed out; ...I like the way you draw the reader into the heart of the poem and keep them. I must find out what's going on. :)

she's laid it out like a mantrap for ultimate truths, ...Great line.
as if to say: Darling! I mastered it all
even down to assorted youths who call
you only on your other phone
. Watch her face;
we should stay here, a moment not questioned or answered. ...The tension is stupefying all the way through this strophe.

She might lick her lips; I might feel ice ...I think I get this line.
that mutters in the glass but our moment breaks; ...'ice mutters in a glass' is a clever image. Could have a double meaning.
she crushes the napkin; takes a half-breath and says:
There are in maths no stains for the tablecloth,
no moth by the light bulb, no artificial flower...


She shrugs, expansively, moderate drunkly; ...I missed this first time round. My eye immediately compensated to read 'moderately drunk'. Your version is better.
black bob asway, flesh rounds beneath fabric.
...and can there ever be a term at all
for the small dark men with their small sharp knives
who open the oysters in the back.
Lightning! ...This is really good, you know.

She drops crumpled paper and we flee,
somewhat damply, fighting and hugging,
beneath a midnight folded with storm cloud
but not annotated on scales we can reach
from her bedroom, where we make a better maths ...Seems about right.

for just a little while. Elsewhere
rain continues
a lost napkin straightens
symbols blur and merge
and the world moves on. ...Excellent close with the line breaks acting as punctuation. Your punctuation is a bit haphazard. Sometimes you fully punctuate and sometimes you don't bother at all. Is there a reason for this varied approach?

--

A great read IMHO

Best

JJ

This is an old one, long in the rewrite... I did some significant revision in an Italian restaurant on my own in Cambridge in November 2015, and I just this last weak made an effort to get it to some sort of revision I could post...
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Re: Everything

Postby David » Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:19 pm

Antcliff wrote:"If there should be one, some master equation,
some sequence of symbols my lover might write
on a napkin, hunched over the outdoor table,
angled to catch at street light, ignoring
the faint hint of rain in the cool summer air"......There must be some canny reason why there is no consequent to this conditional

Yes. I thought that - if not quite so succinctly. (I just thought there was a verb missing.)

One other thing: the diddly-diddly rhythm - sorry, I don't get any more technical than that - seems to come and go a bit, nicely sustained over some stretches but breaking up in others. (And not just in the last stanza, which you've clearly made dissimilar for a reason, but I'm not sure I like it.)

And one other thing: I enjoyed it.

Cheers

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Re: Everything

Postby bodkin » Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:38 am

Hi all and thanks!

There's some good feedback here and I think I now know enough about how this is received to get into a revision.

For me the important point is that it is working over all, and there's just rhythm, punctuation and the odd bit of phrasing to address where people get lost.

Excellent.

Watch this space!

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Re: Everything

Postby bodkin » Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:51 am

Hi all,

Please find enclosed one revision.

The breaking into sections is an experimental, last-minute thought, stemming from me thinking that reading this (I will record a reading) I would pause more at certain points, and making that more explicit...

Now I've done the revision I'll reply more directly to some of your comments.

Thanks,

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Re: Everything

Postby bodkin » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:00 am

Arian wrote:Very good. Keeps you reading.

Antcliff wrote:There must be some canny reason why there is no consequent to this conditional...

Yes, I struggled with this, too. And the 'hurried here through.'

Some excellent lines, though. Loved the image of ice muttering in the glass. And I thought 'moderate drunkly' was a clever play - though you imply earlier that she'd not been drinking (merlot getting warm).

The last verse is very good too, though, for me, it could do with some punctuation

for just a little while. Elsewhere
rain continues:
a lost napkin straightens,
symbols blur and merge
and the world moves on.

Enjoyed it.

Cheers
peter


Hi Peter and thanks again,

I've addressed all of these, I hope. I dithered over the punctuation in the end, since there are times when I just like the line breaks to imply punctuation. However as the revision went on, several places came up where being a bit more formal seemed the best way to clarify the intent. So once I'd done that it seemed inappropriate to get all minimalist in the last strophe :-)

Thanks,

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Re: Everything

Postby bodkin » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:10 am

Hi JJ,

I left the "catch at" because to my ear, the difference from "catch the" is that the former doesn't imply complete success. A making-do with awkward light...

I made the run-on statement really run on, and I rephrased to avoid that awkward "through" (although I still swear it's completely clear :-)) See my earlier comment to Seth for the explanation of what I thought I was saying...

Glad you're getting tension and the double meanings.

Several people pointed out the punctuation. I hadn't realised it was inconsistent, but it was merely the fallout from multiple edits (including one big one done on a mobile phone in an Italian restaurant...) I hope I have rather regularised it now. There may be the odd punctuation mark now in which, in time, I'll decide is over the top and remove again...

Thanks for the really useful feedback,

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Re: Everything

Postby bodkin » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:16 am

Hi David,

The "diddly-diddly" rhythm is a deliberate use of lots of three-beat feet. It does go in and out of that, which is for two reasons:

1) because too much diddly-diddly in a row feels overly insistent (and also is hard to do through some phrases, that just *want* to be iambic)
2) because I'm trying to give shifts of mood, when we switch to something more personal or immediate I'm trying to drop into shorter/simpler iambic phrases -- to me these feel "colder" -- they're supposed to be sort of "but here we sit, after all" moments...

It might come clearer when I post a recording of me reading it. Which I'll see if I can do today or tomorrow...

Thanks!

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Re: Everything

Postby bodkin » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:18 am

JJWilliamson wrote:I liked this a lot, Ian, finding it akin to a Sam Spade moment. Very thoughtful.


This wasn't an angle that had struck me... but the idea of a "Hard-Boiled Theory of Everything" is going straight in my notebook for future thought!

Thanks again!

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Re: Everything

Postby Macavity » Wed Feb 15, 2017 6:28 pm

hi Ian

The segment structure works for me. The poem contains lovely writing, some awkward phrasing, and some obscurity. All of which reflects on this reader (I suspect). Should ellipsis be marked by four dots at the end of a sentence...three for the ellipsis and one for the full-stop...or perhaps not...?

best

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Re: Everything

Postby Arian » Wed Feb 15, 2017 7:33 pm

I rather like the idea of the sections, too, though - in practice - I can't help thinking it breaks the flow.

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Re: Everything

Postby bodkin » Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:31 pm

Thank you Mac and Peter...

Arian wrote:I rather like the idea of the sections, too, though - in practice - I can't help thinking it breaks the flow.


This is precisely my concern, but I cannot quite decide...

I might try recording it with and without.

Thanks both!

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Re: Everything

Postby Macavity » Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:57 am

hi Ian

Look forward to the reading. May shed light on those phrases I'm struggling with.

best

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Re: Everything

Postby bodkin » Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:05 am

Hi,

I've decided against the section headers. I tried it both ways and they both work, but after umming and ahing I think the less interrupted version is slightly better.

I did this recording... it's maybe a little quiet:

https://soundcloud.com/ian-badcoe/everything

That
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Re: Everything

Postby JJWilliamson » Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:08 pm

I've looked at both versions and note that you've decided against the section headers, and that seems reasonable to me, although I personally
prefer the tension that the breaks set up. You could heighten the tension in the reading, if you wanted to, by adding a touch of mystery to
the voice and pausing for longer as per the punctuation. There are some run-on sections where you could pick up the pace to compensate for
the slower delivery. The close demands a soft, almost melancholic voice, full of wisdom and understanding.

Think with the intellect of Hercule Poirot (David Suchet's version) and deliver like Antoninus in Spartacus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoWP97f1gn0
Not quite so slow, but close to.

Thoroughly enjoyed engaging with this poem.

Best

JJ

PS You may need to adjust your sound or use headphones.

J
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Re: Everything

Postby David » Sat Feb 18, 2017 1:30 pm

I like the new subtitles, without feeling that they clear things up particularly. But they add an attractively intriguing element to the poem (which was not without intrigue already).

Cheers

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Re: Everything

Postby bodkin » Sat Feb 18, 2017 5:50 pm

I did try recording the other version: https://soundcloud.com/ian-badcoe/everything-alternative

(Note JJ this was before you offered your recording advice...

...which I'm not sure I'm good enough to follow :-(

Do you think these recordings are too quiet? I find it hard to judge as it just depends how far I turn the volume up, I've not found any definition of a "normal" level (though I've not looked very hard...))

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Re: Everything

Postby Macavity » Sat Feb 18, 2017 6:54 pm

Enjoyed. The definiteness in the opening of the second reading I found most convincing. The titles could have a the. Bought into the sudden-smiling, but not moderate drunkenly, with your reading.

thanks for sharing

best

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