High Beech

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calico
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High Beech

Post by calico » Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:11 pm

For the book, slight revision:

Leaving High Beach

John cleared the hedge, though it reared up
and waved its burly arms at him,
then he looked back

at gables shaking
through the trees, at windows
blue as the fleet stream behind bars,
at the gate, smoke-blacked by the last Conflagration,
at eaves jammed with excrement
daubed there in Spring.

Sloe thorns, yarrow, nothing to eat yet,
leaf mould, no mushrooms and the branches overhead
like antlers, gallows, a galleon’s rigging.
His ring finger bleeding
where he sucked it, saying:
Mary


original
He cleared the hedge, that burly
minder, though it reared up
and reached its arms out at him,
then he looked back

at gables shaking
through the trees,
at windows blue as the
fleet stream behind bars

at the gate, smoke-blacked
by the last Conflagration
and eaves jammed with excrement
daubed there in Spring -

Sloe thorns, brambles,
nothing to eat yet.
Leaf mould, no bluets
and the branches overhead like antlers,

gallows, a galleon’s rigging.
His ring finger bleeding
where he sucks it, saying:
‘Mary.’
Last edited by calico on Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.

brianedwards
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Re: High Beech

Post by brianedwards » Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:42 pm

Don't like:
the line break on "burly" --- I hear it, but sense-wise it jars.
the line break on "the" --- just coz.
CAP on spring --- . . .
brambles --- overdone, surely? I speak as one who knows . .

Do like:
the rest.
Much.




Much.

B.

calico
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Re: High Beech

Post by calico » Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:42 pm

Really no brambles? Then presumably no mistletoe or belladonna either. Maybe some yarrow. I hadn't noticed the line break at the somehow, escaped me, and was hoping for the best with the burly hedge - think you're right.

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Re: High Beech

Post by David » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:21 pm

I am having problems with this. I'm still trying to work out who he might be. I don't know why the Fleet stream (or is it just a fleet stream?) isn't capitalised, nor why Conflagration is (or why Spring shouldn't be). I'm not even sure what a bluet is, but I can always google that.

I think this:

and the branches overhead like antlers,

gallows, a galleon’s rigging


is wonderful. The ending, however, loses me completely.

Apologies for the obtuseness, Megan.

David

calico
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Re: High Beech

Post by calico » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:44 pm

That's fine, I should have said, but was embarrassed to, that it's the High Beech where John Clare escaped from in Epping Forest. Which isn't to say that makes it any better, but I was hoping to use fleet as an adjective, as in fleet of foot, and the Conflagration is imagined.

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Re: High Beech

Post by JohnLott » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:03 pm

I thought he escaped from 'High Beach'
I could be wrong - usually am...

?

J.
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Re: High Beech

Post by ray miller » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:13 pm

I thought a burly minder was clearing the hedge!"though that burly minder reared up" would make it clearer, if clearer's what you want. I think the last 2 verses are terrific. What comes before doesn't do much for me, though I like that the hedge appears to be reaching out for him.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: High Beech

Post by Arian » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:21 pm

and the branches overhead like antlers,

gallows, a galleon’s rigging.
Is among the best bits of imagery I've seen for a while, anywhere. As David says, it's wonderful.

Actually, I pretty much agree with David about the rest of it, too.

Cheers
peter

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Re: High Beech

Post by David » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:30 pm

Aha. Now it makes sense - even "Mary".

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Re: High Beech

Post by brianedwards » Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:41 pm

David wrote:I don't know why the Fleet stream (or is it just a fleet stream?) isn't capitalised, nor why Conflagration is (or why Spring shouldn't be).
Really? I don't know why it should be . . .
calico wrote:Really no brambles?
Yeah. Might be just me, but I seem to be reading brambles everywhere at the moment. No-one else seems to be having a problem though I see.

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Re: High Beech

Post by JohnLott » Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:56 pm

Oh I get it - high beech hedge at High Beach.
But those hedges don't rear up and fleet doesn't stream behind bars and.....
Gables don't shake, with or without trees..
How did the excrement get jammed in the eaves? - that's a long way up to go...
And were there any Bluets in UK at that time?

And I did promise not to be too literal but....

The last S is good but I think it should be 'sucked'

Too many nitty 'wrongs' to make it right overall.


J.
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Re: High Beech

Post by BenJohnson » Wed Oct 05, 2011 6:49 am

As David said it all makes sense once I read your comment about John Clare. I would never have made that linkage on my own, maybe it is me being obtuse but I can't help but feel that another pointer or two might help beyond Mary at the end which I was taking as a religious exclamation like 'Christ'. Maybe you need to chuck a badger in :)
Brian wrote:Might be just me, but I seem to be reading brambles everywhere at the moment.
This isn't a forum for personal problems, try http://www.bramblesanon.com

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Re: High Beech

Post by calico » Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:18 am

BenJohnson wrote:This isn't a forum for personal problems
Damn.

Thanks for your comments here, all.

calico
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Re: High Beech

Post by calico » Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:17 am

Oh and here it is:
IMAG0690 (2).jpg
IMAG0690 (2).jpg (56.55 KiB) Viewed 1178 times

OwenEdwards
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Re: High Beech

Post by OwenEdwards » Wed Oct 05, 2011 7:21 pm

I agree with Brian about the burly linebreak; otherwise, I'm a fan, even of brambles.

Nash

Re: High Beech

Post by Nash » Wed Oct 05, 2011 11:04 pm

Hello Calico,

I don't think that the rewrite is an improvement but I really quite like the original of this. However, I agree that it's not quite working as it is, mostly for the reasons that others have stated.

I didn't link it to John Clare, even though you hinted at him in the title and the last line. I think that perhaps including one or two Clare colloquialisms might help, or a reference to the date, maybe a reference to gypsies or the Great York Road. It just needs something to Clare it up a bit.

Another problem is that having him leaping the hedge and the conflagration at the gate makes it sound like a dramatic escape that's taking place whereas, as I've been led to believe, under the liberal management of the asylum Clare could pretty much wander through the forest at will. So the escape just involved him carrying on walking.

I think that you have the bones of an excellent piece here but it needs work.

Thanks,
Nash.

p.s. If you're referring to the mushrooms then I think that bluet should be blewit.

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Re: High Beech

Post by calico » Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:35 am

Thanks Owen and Nash. On reflection I'd be more likley to remove specific Clare reference, it's too well known and loved, and concentrate on the poem as fiction working or not.
Merci.

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