Stalks

This is a serious poetry forum not a "love-in". Post here for more detailed, constructive criticism.
Post Reply
calico
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
Posts: 400
Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:06 pm
Location: london lovely london
Contact:

Stalks

Post by calico » Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:51 am

She stands in the kitchen behind me,
describing amazing long grass up to her waist
and the water snakes she saw
floating stretched and loose as tights.
I'm washing-up, after biscuits and juice,
and this will be the last site
of her most-repeated motifs: her cup
with its botched flowers,
her heart-dotted 'i's on postcards stuck
with magnets around my house,
and me, half-listening, to her as she watches
the foam on my fingers,
the languid small of my back
where my long hair reaches,
and she touches her own
at the nape of her neck,
cut, curling, growing,
as if finding a level
she can use in dark places
where the water stirs
with a hiss.

gavin
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
Posts: 501
Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2010 4:03 am

Re: Stalks

Post by gavin » Fri Jan 07, 2011 6:43 am

this poem

leaves me a little muddled

because it sounds like you are with your boy friend;

silently going about your toiletries, two blokes on stalks in toy land;

that's how the poem came across;

just one question were you both nude?

make the poem a work of art from the heart, lovely slow motion, between your girlfriend and your self;

give me the moment,

Gazelle
Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:10 pm
antispam: no

Re: Stalks

Post by Gazelle » Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:58 pm

calio, this is very insightful. I believe it is a little girl watching the N clean up after lunch. It is wonderful that the snakes are described as loose tights. That is prefect and an image that a child would use. Measuring to see how big she is by the difference in hair length is quite clever. It shows the fondness the child has for the N without directly stating it. Wonderful poem. I did not like the word "languid" but completely enjoyed the sound of the first four lines.

clarabow
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
Posts: 637
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 12:52 pm

Re: Stalks

Post by clarabow » Fri Jan 07, 2011 2:36 pm

I mostly think this is very good, but I can see the confusion in the first part which does set you off on the wrong foot so to speak. I think it just needs a reference to the child (?) in the first part; I know this is spelling it out but in this poem I think it would work and enhance. I think some of the sentence structure could also be looked at - a slight tweak here and there. But other than this - nice and comforting in a kitchen sort of way.

Mic
Preternatural Poster
Preternatural Poster
Posts: 1758
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:58 am
antispam: no
Contact:

Re: Stalks

Post by Mic » Fri Jan 07, 2011 6:30 pm

welcome back Megan.
I liked this. Very strong beginning and I love the change of register at the end, hinting at the trials that might be ahead. It has atmosphere.
calico wrote:She stands in the kitchen behind me,
describing amazing long grass up to her waist
and the water snakes she saw
floating stretched and loose as tights.
I'm washing-up, after biscuits and juice,
and this will be the last site
of her most-repeated motifs: her cup
with its botched flowers,
her heart-dotted 'i's on postcards stuck
with magnets around my house,
and me, half-listening, to her as she watches ---- don't think you need the comma
the foam on my fingers,
the languid small of my back ------- I'd cut 'languid' - it's uneccessary and clogs this line up
where my long hair reaches,
and she touches her own
at the nape of her neck,
cut, curling, growing,
as if finding a level
she can use in dark places
where the water stirs
with a hiss.
Mic
"Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you" - Rumi

Lovely
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 2195
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2009 10:37 am
antispam: no

Re: Stalks

Post by Lovely » Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:10 pm

"The water snakes she saw"?

This is heavy. Have you ever tried Blatvasky? Her Doctrines?

Thanks

calico
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
Posts: 400
Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:06 pm
Location: london lovely london
Contact:

Re: Stalks

Post by calico » Sat Jan 08, 2011 11:28 am

Thanks, it's good to be back and I know I shouldn't but I quite like this quietness, it's a change of pace and I read things more thoroughly.
I have heard of Blatvasky, yes, and also something in Foucault's Pendulum about the belief that snakes lie coiled at the base of our spine - totems of wisdom rather than sexuality - this poem trying to stay on the side of sensuality, intimacy, mystery and NOT sexuality. Still working on it a bit. Languid has gone.
For a more childlike feeling and to get away from those snakes, alternative ending:
to use in dark places,
darker than under the sink.

Would be different.

David
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 13711
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 4:40 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Stalks

Post by David » Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:44 pm

A lovely domestic picture, Megan. A genre scene.

I couldn't quite see why this would be "the last site / of her most-repeated motifs"; why the last site? I love "most-repeated motifs" - but no hyphen needed?

Not keen on "languid" either, but a beautiful ending - circular, like a snake swallowing itself.

Cheers

David

Arian
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 2718
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:41 am
antispam: no
Location: Hertfordshire, UK

Re: Stalks

Post by Arian » Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:34 pm

I like this, too, Megan, particularly the way you transition from a well-evoked, and clear, domestic scene to a more abstract key (Michaela put it well with her phrase "change of register"). I'm less clear on what the abstract point actually is -perhaps Mic's right, though it didn't strike me like that, but I'm not sure it really matters here.

I'd stick with the original ending - to end a delicate piece like this on an ugly word such as sink has a slightly bathetic feel to my ear.

Nice work
peter

ray miller
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 6535
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:23 am

Re: Stalks

Post by ray miller » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:50 pm

I began to believe this was mother and daughter. But then, why "my house" and not "our house"? Like David I wondered why the last site and then whether the title was noun or verb. I guess it's a mark of power in a poem that it has me wondering so much. What it reminded me of most was foster care! I liked the last 8 lines a lot.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

User avatar
twoleftfeet
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 6761
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 4:02 pm
Location: Standing by a short pier, looking for a long run-up

Re: Stalks

Post by twoleftfeet » Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:16 pm

Hi, Megan

While I like the poem's ending - it reads beautifully - the snake image is not working consistently well for me.
"Dark waters stirring" invokes the idea of yin (female) energy beautifully and maybe also the idea of incipient womanhood
and awareness of sexuality, but there are two snakes (one for male energy, one for female) and they twine around the spine, as symbolised by the caduceus.
Men have them too :)

Hiss/steam/ - is a neat reference to alchemy, though.

Geoff
Instead of just sitting on the fence - why not stand in the middle of the road?

Nash

Re: Stalks

Post by Nash » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:47 pm

Hello Megan, good to see you posting again.

I seem to be reading this differently, I see it as a mother and an older daughter that has been away travelling and returned home.

It's a very nice write as always, the only bump for me is the double 'ing' in the second line.

Post Reply