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On a Finger

Posted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 3:04 am
by Charles
I hope I'm not breaking any rules, but I posted this a while ago in the beginners forum. It's been redrafted and I think it's now ready to withstand the fury of the experienced forum... readyaimfire!

On a Finger

The years have turned its skin to another shade,
With spring's light translucence wiring the blood,
And summer's heavy rays double tapping the grave
And autumnal rains seeping through the opening pours
The winter's darkening nights into hollow bone.

That digit keeps present a static joint
Encapsulating past, a catholic boyhood -
It sits on the knuckle, immovable
Like a flying buttress, white as the pain
From which it sprung. It strains against rest:

Stig of the dump smashing the water fountain,
Caliban's spittle on Miranda's face,
Bright girls running from the doctor's creation
And Sodom being cursed in lust for God.

I suppose with healing it might lie straight -
If only there was some girl brave enough
To let it flex.

Re: On a Finger

Posted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:51 pm
by David
I found this quite a dense and difficult read, Charles, but not bracingly so, unfortunately. It was just hard going. I don't think I'd find it easy to summarise the gist of the poem in prose, so it all remains at a bit of a remove for me. And the transition from S2 to S3, and what you're saying in S3, were particularly unclear.

Maybe I'm just being obtuse. See if you get any other takers.



Re: On a Finger

Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:58 am
by Charles
Cheers for your input. I think this poem is rather too dense - obviously the meaning is crystal clear in my head, but it is rather unaccessable. If there isn't enough in there at first glance to make a reader think "hey cool", it doesn't matter how much deeper meaning there is because the reader is going to have better things to do with their time than to find out. Just a quention of retaining depth while opening it up a bit.

Re: On a Finger

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:14 pm
by JackTozer
I like this poem Charles, I think that the theme of sexual lust and repression, and the hint at the dysmorphic effect of a Catholic boyhood, is represented with skill and eruditeness, I can see the strong influence of T. S. Eliot on this work. The literary allusions that you make are well executed and very apt; Stig of the Dump, The Tempest, Frankenstein, and of course the Old Testament. It's an interesting mix of choices that I think gives a certain relevancy to the poem and an insight into the mind of the author. The concentration on the finger is also something I like, and it has been done well. However, I would echo David's criticism that the transition from stanza two to stanza three is unclear to the reader; if I were you, I would loose the first stanza, (although it is good it doesn't serve much of a useful purpose here) and I would insert one or maybe two new stanzas in between numbers two and three, linking your initial observations to your later allusions in a way that is easier for the reader to follow and also fleshing out the themes a bit more. I also agree that it is dense, but given the intimations sexual destruction, I think that's rather befitting here.



Re: On a Finger

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 5:18 pm
by Arian
There’s quite a few nice images in this Charles – I particularly liked the idea of spring’s light wiring the blood. Very graphic.

But while there’s some individually good lines, the poem, for me, doesn’t quite gel as a whole.
Not entirely sure why. Like David, I found it rather hard to penetrate, in terms of meaning, but I don’t think that necessarily disqualifies it from being “good”. There’s hundreds of examples of widely celebrated poems that have an obscure meaning (how many people, for example, agree on the “meaning” of Eliot’s The Wasteland?). I think, for me, it’s something to do with rhythm – the metre in this tends to wander about a bit.

Still, I did enjoy reading it. I look forward to reading some of your other work.