On the Shoulders of Giants

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On the Shoulders of Giants

Postby NotQuiteSure » Thu May 18, 2017 12:25 pm

     
On the Shoulders of Giants

It is not for others to say, this far
no further, beyond here you shall not pass.
Not the pamphleteers, the red-faced liars,
nor those charlatans cloaked in their rank mischief arts.

The ones who would conjure up golden fields,
of a youth spent in fair Elysium,
tell pyrite tales, sell their vain elixirs,
invokers of nostalgia's delirium.

It's nothing but the turning of the world,
no misfortune, no extinction event.
We are still here, we endure, we will live,
though today it may seem that all our strength is spent.

Neither our names nor triumphs are tarnished,
and that which was, is sweet still, not bitter.
Though others now stand upon our shoulders,
we have not been made the less, nor any smaller.

There's no reason to flinch from those shadows,
to take fear filled flight at the slightest sound.
Are you so greatly changed since yesterday
that you now doubt yourself to hold even this ground?

For did we not, in our own turn and time,
seek out these heights, command the horizon?
And though the sun sets, the stars shine, and we
are not unskilled in celestial navigation.

In truth, we are as mottled as any,
good and ill have scarred, and their colours stained,
our hearts, our hands, our hard won history,
they've marked all that we've lost and that which we have gained.

Look back, yes, there are landmarks that will guide.
Take bearings, and with dispassion measure.
Then let tomorrows' cartographers chart
the unmapped days ahead in this grand adventure.
     
Last edited by NotQuiteSure on Thu May 25, 2017 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: On the Shoulders of Giants

Postby Ros » Thu May 18, 2017 12:41 pm

Interesting, NQS. I think you need a closer rhyme for v1 - this far/liars doesn't work for me. Personally I feel if you're going for a fairly close rhyme scheme and a fairly formal poem it would be nice to keep the stress count consistent, too - ie. make it a properly metrical poem (with some substitutions to stop it getting dull, of course).
There's an ancient feel to this - mention of pamphleteers etc - which seems to suit the mood. But I'm not sure who the 'we' are. The title would imply scientists but I'm thinking more mapmakers.

Though others now stand upon our shoulders,
we have not been made the less, nor any smaller.

early map makers? so told from the point of view of the earlier triumphs rather than those coming after? But then who is trying to stop them? I'm finding the meaning of who and when rather confusing.

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Re: On the Shoulders of Giants

Postby Antcliff » Fri May 19, 2017 6:00 pm

At first I read this as the voice of the "giants" referred to in the famous quote from Newton. If so, nice idea. And I like parts. For example.....

Though others now stand upon our shoulders,
we have not been made the less, nor any smaller.


Slight quibble. I found the "ye olde" a bit distracting. I am not sure what period fits the mode of expression/vocab, if any? You have "sweet still" rather than "still sweet","did we not" rather than "didn't we", etc. My slight worry is that it's poetically olde but not in a specific way, so it ends up being neither one thing or the other...not now, not a specific when. Though perhaps that may fit with a large period...all the giants, not specifically the pre/Newonian ones. But perhaps I have misunderstood the poem.


Seth
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur
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Re: On the Shoulders of Giants

Postby Macavity » Sun May 21, 2017 4:35 pm

Like the tone NQS, the syllabic frame has not spoiled my reading. A positive, I thought, not to read lines weighted towards the rhyme. Like the use of 'mottled'.

best

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Re: On the Shoulders of Giants

Postby NotQuiteSure » Mon May 22, 2017 3:50 pm

     
Ros, Seth, mac - thanks for your time.

Ros
you found (an almost) rhyme where none was intended.
'we' is us (societally speaking).

Seth
It's a piece against nostalgia framed in the language of nostalgia (a lure, if you will).

mac
thanks

Regards, Not
     
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Re: On the Shoulders of Giants

Postby ray miller » Wed May 24, 2017 1:23 pm

I quite like the tone. It's a poem that seems to have grand ambitions but is so very vague.
Are you so greatly changed since yesterday
that you now doubt yourself to hold even this ground?


What ground is that?

Not the pamphleteers, the red-faced liars,
nor those charlatans cloaked in their rank mischief arts.

The ones who would conjure up golden fields,
of a youth spent in fair Elysium,
tell pyrite tales, sell their vain elixirs,
invokers of nostalgia's delirium.


The gutter press? The Nostalgia party itself - or UKIP as it's popularly known? I think you need to name names.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.
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Re: On the Shoulders of Giants

Postby NotQuiteSure » Wed May 24, 2017 6:19 pm

ray - thanks for your time.
Not sure about the grand ambitions, it's basically just asking the question -
Why are you so afraid?
What ground is that? - it's less about the ground than the unwillingness to stand it.
(look how great we were, now watch as we run away).
name names - post-brexit I certainly wasn't expecting the Spanish Inquisition.

Regards, Not
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Re: On the Shoulders of Giants

Postby JJWilliamson » Thu May 25, 2017 8:55 am

I enjoyed reading this one, Not

Like some of the others I struggled with the central premise, even though many of the ideas are coming through.
It has a rant like feel which smacks of presumption, but in an inquisitive way. My thoughts are to condense your ideas
and possibly include some specifics to lead me to your conclusion. As it stands I'm not sure what you're saying, even though
you appear to be saying it very well. It reads like part of some manifesto, an intro' to the solution. I can see Cicero making
this speech to rouse the crowd, with the crowd wondering what he was really saying but applauding nevertheless.

Still, I did enjoy it, if a bit convoluted.

Best

JJ
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Re: On the Shoulders of Giants

Postby David » Thu May 25, 2017 6:58 pm

I think this is rather splendid, NQS. I like your use of the fustian here, and I read it as - being rather grandiose and overblown myself at times - an exhortation to humanity to keep on keeping on. And so we should.

Cheers

David

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-l91O9VxN0
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Re: On the Shoulders of Giants

Postby NotQuiteSure » Fri May 26, 2017 1:31 pm

     
JJ
Glad you enjoyed it,
though disappointed you found a 'rant like feel' - that wasn't the intention.
I'd been preparing a response for you but, frankly,
David's link goes to the heart of the piece
and is far, far, groovier that what I was going to offer.

David,
thanks twice over,
your reading is essentially right, and I really enjoyed the Mayfield.
Much appreciated.

Regards, Not.
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Re: On the Shoulders of Giants

Postby David » Sun May 28, 2017 10:43 am

NotQuiteSure wrote:David,
thanks twice over,
your reading is essentially right, and I really enjoyed the Mayfield.
Much appreciated.

Regards, Not.

You're very welcome. I enjoyed the poem, and I'm glad you enjoyed the link. Curtis was (sadly) wonderful. I love what he did with the Impressions in particular, but I should really explore his solo career more.

Cheers

David
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