Witness

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68degrees
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Witness

Post by 68degrees » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:41 pm

Original

man hits woman, watches her flee
to a house, its copper-cornered
door creaking like the voice of his mother—

man is compelled to drag her,
wave promises with his fist, pull her
before the witness of a mirror

confessing like an apostle to Christ
to what he can’t believe, even after
he sees her baffling wounds


Edit #1

man hits woman, watches her flee
to a House; its copper-cornered door
creaking like the voice of his mother—

man is impelled: drags the woman
before the witness of his mirror,
waving promises with his fists

confessing like an apostle to Christ
to what he can't believe, even after
she shows him her baffling wounds
Last edited by 68degrees on Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:41 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Witness

Post by Firebird » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:39 pm

Hi 68degrees,

I've got to say I'm a bit baffled by this piece (I found it very confusing), though this may just be me. I do think that the lack of clear punctuation is one of the things that hinders the clarity of this piece. Below are some specific comments.

Hope they help.

Cheers,

Tristan
68degrees wrote:man hits woman, watches her flee
to a house, its copper-cornered (this copper-cornered detail implies some significance, but I can't figure out what)
door creaking like the voice of his mother—

man is compelled to drag her, (who? His mother or woman at beginning of the poem?)
wave promises with his fist, pull her (should be 'pulls' her, shouldn't it?)
before the witness of a mirror (do you need 'witness' here?)

confessing like an apostle to Christ (who is confessing her? I'm guessing the woman who was hit. What does the simile really add here? If it's warranted, then do you need 'to Christ'? Isn't that implied?)
to what he can’t believe, even after (why can't he believe? Is he the same man who hit the woman?)
he sees the baffling wound

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Re: Witness

Post by 68degrees » Fri Jun 22, 2018 12:38 pm

Very helpful, Thank you. One thing: "mother" is not there. Read it again...the door creaks "like" the voice of the man's mother. This is implying his mother used to get beaten also, probably when "man" was a kid. Abuse is often a generational thing....like father, like son. Something like that.

the mirror is there so the man can see himself for what he is.

"what he can't believe" refers to Thomas, so yes, Christ belongs in the poem.

I did edit a snarf at the end to hopefully clarify some things.

Hope this helps. Again, thanks for your time.

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Re: Witness

Post by Wilcken » Sat Jun 23, 2018 12:20 pm

68,

This is indeed compelling. I like it better each time I read it.

"Coppered-cornered door" is a great riddle. If I'm correct that this signifies Church then I wondered what would happen if you capitalized just that one word? House. Coupled with the name Christ, that might help carry the point across to people who might not be getting it. If I'm wrong well, then I'm bummed. haha

I could immediately imagine the scene in the wake of the triggering event, so directly told in just three opening words. The cause and effect of what comes next -- the woman's flight, his pursuit, his incensed state driving him, almost forcing him to confront his disbelief that he could be/has been harming the woman -- this comes across as a possible moment of epiphany and yet he appears still swirling in the cycle of his behavior. As though maybe it's reaching its half-life.

He has no faith and lacking that (whether in himself, let alone any sort of god) the moment depicted is one that pierces his denial when he recognizes himself in the mirror but in that flash, he truly knows not what he has done. This may or may not be enough to effect change. The poem leaves me wondering if he (and she) face the doom of repeating this scene until something larger happens.

Structure-wise, the nine lines are rightly succinct and I don't even mind the lack of punctuation. Opening S1 with "man hits" and S2 with "man drags" I have to assume were intended to set and reinforce a tone of neanderthal/reptilian brain. Some would say instinctual but I thin you are aiming for crude. Blunt.

The absence of any shift to describe or identify with the woman's experience also works, if no other reason than your poem being all about him. Really only about him. Which is maybe why it feels so powerful. The poem is his private universe and she trapped inside, not an object of pity, not the reason for his rage, but also not his savior from it. She could be, quite possibly, just about any woman.

I guess I would say there is a certain emotional and psychological imagery - if that's even a thing - about this man's state as you show it. The voice is real AF.

On a couple of your word choices. “Compelled” could use a boost. A bit telly. I got a little caught on "wave" but I'm really just on the fence about it. I feel like its's growing on me and sometimes that means it was meant to be there. I am less ambivalent about the title. I don't like it. For a short poem that is also complex I think you want the title to add dimension.

For the record, these two words came to my mind as I read and re-read this: "vexed" and "skeptic." I went looking at etymologies and found a couple good tangents that brought me back here with new thoughts on all of the above.

It's a good poem.

Cheers,

Jane
Last edited by Wilcken on Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Witness

Post by Joao » Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:30 pm

Hi 68degrees, I like it. There's a police-report bluntness to the language that works well with the theme, I think (and that chimes with the title). The break after 'mirror' confused me at first. I had to re-read the passage to understand that it is (I think) the woman that is confessing; not the man. If that's the case, then I don't get the simile: he doesn't believe, so he must be the doubting Thomas; not the women, no?
Great poem!
Joao

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Re: Witness

Post by David » Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:42 pm

Hi all,

Without commenting (yet) on the poem itself - which I like - I've just edited Tristan's comment to show how much less confusing it can be me (for me, at least) if you use colours to distinguish in-line comments from the poem itself.

Looks okay, doesn't it?

I recommend it.

Cheers

David

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Re: Witness

Post by Firebird » Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:30 pm

Thank you David for kind nudge. Blue’s probably a better colour though. Red has too many bad associations. I think I normally put my comments in bold but been forgetting lately.

Cheers,

Tristan

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Re: Witness

Post by David » Sun Jun 24, 2018 3:54 pm

Firebird wrote:Thank you David for kind nudge. Blue’s probably a better colour though. Red has too many bad associations. I think I normally put my comments in bold but been forgetting lately.

Cheers,

Tristan
No worries Tristan!

Yes, red does smack rather of the teacher's comments in our old exercise books, doesn't it?

Cheers

David

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Re: Witness

Post by 68degrees » Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:30 pm

very fine comments to this point. very helpful. Thanks muchly. Busy, busy. Will return.

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Re: Witness

Post by 68degrees » Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:27 pm

Thank you for your time, Jane. Not sure this is the "in the moment" type of poem you think it is, but who and I to argue w/someone's interpretation. I'm glad you have one and thank you for for the last sentence of your critique. Much appreciated.

I agree the poem is about the man. Tried to keep him faceless as representing all such so glad that came across. Others are picking up on this also and it pleases me.

I will THINK HARD on your suggestions.

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Re: Witness

Post by 68degrees » Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:31 pm

Joao wrote:Hi 68degrees, I like it. There's a police-report bluntness to the language that works well with the theme, I think (and that chimes with the title). The break after 'mirror' confused me at first. I had to re-read the passage to understand that it is (I think) the woman that is confessing; not the man. If that's the case, then I don't get the simile: he doesn't believe, so he must be the doubting Thomas; not the women, no?
Great poem!
Joao
The "police report" angle is one of the best comments I've had on this poem. Spot on. Thank you muchly.

FYI: the woman is not confessing. The man is looking in the mirror (figuratively, for real....it doesn't matter). My original version had Thomas named...tried to keep it more toward the "police report" (God, I love that comment) and just "the man"....as Thomas was. As all men are.

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Re: Witness

Post by churinga » Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:17 pm

door creaking like the voice of his mother—
The reference to 'his mother' is the only time the poem deals with the 'why' of this story.


man is compelled to drag her,
Why is he compelled?

wave promises with his fist,
Good image
[/i]
before the witness of a mirror
Good image.

I like the last V.. it offers some insight, ie that violent offenders are often genuinely amazed/contrite after the event.

hope this helps

Ross

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Re: Witness

Post by 68degrees » Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:16 pm

@ Ross:

not understanding "....the why of this story...." comment. Are you wanting more? Just curious what prompted this b/c later you say the last V offers some insight???

Thanks.

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Re: Witness

Post by churinga » Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:40 pm

Hi
More a comment about blame poems in general so not fair of me to criticize your poem in particular.

cheers
Ross

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Re: Witness

Post by 68degrees » Fri Jun 29, 2018 3:47 am

churinga wrote:Hi
More a comment about blame poems in general so not fair of me to criticize your poem in particular.

cheers
Ross

didn't realize you were criticizing, I thought you were critiquing :lol:

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Re: Witness

Post by 68degrees » Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:42 am

Edited Version
Edit #1

68, I've removed this, as it just appears to be a duplicate of the revision posted above. On which, see below ...

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Re: Witness

Post by David » Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:02 am

On the whole, I prefer the original, but I agree that the new L9 is an improvement.

Cheers

David

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Re: Witness

Post by 68degrees » Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:16 pm

68degrees wrote:Edited Version
Edit #1

68, I've removed this, as it just appears to be a duplicate of the revision posted above. On which, see below ...
Not a problem. Wasn't sure how this stuff (revisions/edited) was handled here.

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Re: Witness

Post by 68degrees » Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:17 pm

David wrote:On the whole, I prefer the original, but I agree that the new L9 is an improvement.

Cheers

David
A "why" would be appreciated. If not, okay. Glad you liked one of the edits.

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