Illness (Was: Mountains of the Mind)

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Illness (Was: Mountains of the Mind)

Postby Firebird » Tue Dec 26, 2017 8:20 pm

V2

Mountains of the mind:
abrupt elevations of over 3000 feet
that narrow sharply towards their tops,
until ending in a peak of jagged rock;
have a snow-line, above which
animals and plants almost stop,
and possess a point
from where the thinness of air
affects the sanest of men.

But what about the plateaued peaks,
perfectly formed tiny Matterhorns
and gigantic grassy mounds,
that aren’t so easy to define
as mountains of the mind,

and therefore get neglected
by the selective and left
to grandparents, friends ...,
and those who know them well,
and know that when the clouds come in
or the weather changes quickly
any mountain can kill.


V1

“... madness fascinates because it is knowledge. It is knowledge, first, because all its absurd figures are in reality elements of a difficult, hermetic, esoteric learning ...”
Michel Foucault

Some are easily defined:
abrupt elevations of over 3000 feet
that narrow sharply towards their tops,
until ending in a peak of jagged rock;
have a snow-line, above which
animals and plants almost stop,
and possess a point
from where the thinness of air
affects the sanest of men.

But what about the plateaued peaks,
perfectly formed tiny Matterhorns
and gigantic grassy mounds,
that aren’t so easy to define;
lack the features
to interest mountaineers.
Besides, how would they conquer
something with no clear peak.
It isn’t sexy, and few would see it as a feat.

So they’re neglected by the selective
and left to grandparents, friends ...,
and those who know them well,
and know that when the clouds come in
or the weather changes quickly
any mountain can kill.
Last edited by Firebird on Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:46 pm, edited 14 times in total.
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Re: Mountains of the Mind

Postby Macavity » Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:24 am

hi Tristan,
My reading was of how we frame and perceive the dangerous. I can relate this to ambition. In terms of writing, I can draw parallels with the more public, showy outputs contrasted with the private, personal write. Accessibility seems to be an issue here. Long and short poems could also come to mind.

Some are easily defined.
You know the type:
abrupt elevations of over 3000 feet
that narrow sharply towards their tops,
until ending in a peak of jagged rock;
have a snow-line, above which
animals and plants almost stop,...............not sure about the generics here, would specifics add interest?
and possess a point
from where the thinness of air
starts to affect the sanest of men.........the lack of oxygen here may relate to the rarified, the lack of life in the esoteric

But what about the plateaued peaks...because I was sent a photo of Table Mountain recently, a sizeable plateau came to mind, just me?
perfectly formed tiny Matterhorns
and gigantic grassy mounds,
that aren’t so easy to define;
lack the features
to interest mountaineers.................this could relate to complexity v simplicity, the physical challenge threaded to the intellectual
Besides, how would they conquer
something with no clear peak.
It isn’t sexy, and few see it as a feat..............an argument against the superficial attraction

So they’re neglected by the selective...............perhaps a reference to elitism
and left to grandparents, friends ...,...........................is this ellipsis needed?
and those who know them well,
and know that when the clouds come in
or the weather changes quickly
any mountain can kill.................................appearances can be deceptive


hope that helps some

mac
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Re: Mountains of the Mind

Postby Firebird » Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:17 am

Thanks Mac. Some interesting comments. Overall, though this poem was about the way one problem/area is dealt with. I may well be approaching this subject too obliquely though, as I know you are a subtle reader. I’ll leave it a bit longer before I reveal what I was going for.

Cheers,

Tristan
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Re: Mountains of the Mind

Postby Firebird » Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:48 pm

Slightly revised with a short quote to help it along.

Cheers,

Tristan
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Re: Mountains of the Mind

Postby Macavity » Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:32 am

Interesting quote Tristan. I have to admit I'm flummoxed. Your comments and edits have steered me in the direction of mental illness and its treatment - those that are selected for professional care and those that are not. The selection process seems to be centred on particular criteria: identification (easily defined); interest (sexy); kudos (feat); chance of success ( no clear peak). The consequences (of the neglect): impact on family and friends (the non-professional carer); the fact that outcomes can be equally devastating and uncontrollable (the weather metaphor).

best

mac
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Re: Mountains of the Mind

Postby Firebird » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:08 am

Thanks for returning Mac. You are right, mental illness is the theme of the poem. Think it needs a few more clues though, probably.

Cheers,

Tristan
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Re: Mountains of the Mind

Postby Macavity » Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:44 pm

Hi Tristan

Perhaps the title triggers a thought of Windmills of your Mind. Do you need Mountains in the title when the word is so prominent in the poem? If you do drop it, then you could use another descriptive for the mind.

best

mac
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Re: Mountains of the Mind

Postby ray miller » Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:30 pm

I like the little rhymes. What the mountain peaks reminded me of most were graphs. Graphs which used to show how the incidence of schizophrenia peaked at times of high unemployment and perhaps something similar might be relevant to the frequency of acts of violence by the mentally ill. That's what I took from the ending anyway and I'm pretty certain I'm barking up the wrong tree.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.
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Re: Mountains of the Mind

Postby fortytwo » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:23 pm

I read the comments between yourself and Macavity only to discover to my surprise that you intend this piece to saying something about mental illness. Had I not read those comments I would have had no idea that that was the case. Sorry but you have indeed approached the subject so obliquely in my opinion. I find it impossible to interpret as you intend. Final stanza is more on topic and introductory bit gives the clue but i am left wondering why the allegorical references aren't positioned amongst something more directly related to the subject of and motivation for the piece.

Sincerely Ft
There are none so blind as those who will not see.
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Re: Mountains of the Mind

Postby Antcliff » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:20 pm

Macavity wrote:Interesting quote Tristan. I have to admit I'm flummoxed. Your comments and edits have steered me in the direction of mental illness and its treatment - those that are selected for professional care and those that are not. The selection process seems to be centred on particular criteria: identification (easily defined); interest (sexy); kudos (feat); chance of success ( no clear peak). The consequences (of the neglect): impact on family and friends (the non-professional carer); the fact that outcomes can be equally devastating and uncontrollable (the weather metaphor).

best

mac


With Mac. This is what I glimpsed...though through a glass darkly.

But, with you, I do think more clues are needed...if it is an elaborate metaphor, it feels more elaborate than illuminating at the mo. That is a rather unspecific crit, I know. And I'm usually not one for giving them. But it does seem like what I most want to say.

Hope a new version of this appears.

Seth
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur
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Re: Mountains of the Mind

Postby Firebird » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:36 am

Thanks Mac, Ray and FT for the input. I like you idea Ray of the graph. It could mean that.

Thanks Seth, I’ll have a go at a rewrite soon.

Cheers all,

Tristan
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Re: Mental Illness (Was: Mountains of the Mind)

Postby Firebird » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:32 pm

I've posted a revision. Still not really convinced it works though.

Cheers,

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