The Keeper

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Suzanne
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The Keeper

Post by Suzanne » Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:02 pm

The Keeper


When the sun sets behind that ridge
and its shadow covers my flock,
I lead them to rest on this hill.
This stone mound is my throne
and those trees are my guard,
these sheep are my people,
and I'm not afraid of the night.

And when evening winds lie down
and my sheep settle, if I am still
I can hear the brook's song drifting
from the far side of the meadow.
She sings to me of her polished stones
and tomorrow I will reach beneath
her cool water and discern her smoothest:
five will warm in the hollow of my hand.

But tonight, with these stones,
I will close every hungry eye
that glints from behind the guard;
they watch to steal what is mine
but their watering mouths will not be satisfied
and at dawn, when our shadows
wave long over these fields,
I'll lead my sheep home carrying
a fresh hide for my mother on my back.






.
Last edited by Suzanne on Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:03 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: The Keeper

Post by Antcliff » Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:15 pm

Hi.
...balking slightly at the idea of the sheep beind led by a harp. Line 7 seems to make it clear that it is sheep in question (rather than creatures akin to sheep susceptible to harps). So naturally I am wondering why the strangely supernatural note of a keeper with a magic harp is being introduced. The rest is not obviously supernatural in nature..
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Re: The Keeper

Post by Suzanne » Sun Dec 04, 2011 7:03 pm

Lol.

Oops.
And you've phrased it so kindly. Thanks.
The harp equivalent to Pavlov's bell?


I bet you know sheep, huh?
I'll change it.

Thanks Ant.... As in Anthony?
Suzanne

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Re: The Keeper

Post by Antcliff » Sun Dec 04, 2011 7:37 pm

They are all around the house.
Locals would love such a harp.

Not Anthony no..
Ant
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Re: The Keeper

Post by Suzanne » Sun Dec 04, 2011 7:52 pm

A house surround by sheep.... Nice.
We have too many trees.

The harp? Well, I stuck it in the N's bag, it is still magic but he doesn't advertise it's abilities. Shhhh.

Nash

Re: The Keeper

Post by Nash » Sun Dec 04, 2011 7:59 pm

I absolutely love this one Suzanne, the simplicity of the language matches the subject perfectly. A little reminiscent of translations of Czech poetry (not that I'm an expert of course, just an instinctive remark).

I wasn't sure about all of those 'that, these, them, this, those' in S1, but the more I read it the more I like it.

Excellent, nothing bad to say on this one at all. Definitely a keeper.

Cheers,
Nash.

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Re: The Keeper

Post by Suzanne » Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:09 pm

Thanks Nash! Yahoo!
I hope it has an interview-like feel to it and a natural voice.

Smiling,
Suzanne

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Re: The Keeper

Post by Antcliff » Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:30 pm

Hi
Yes I like it. I do not know whether it matters..but I am not sure why the keeper returns in morning with a hide rather than say a skin or just the kill. When I think of hides I think of skins stretched/tanned etc, etc..I am not so sure that a keeper would be doing that both in the night and protecting. I am not suggesting that this is a flaw only that I do not know quite why it has reached stage of hide.
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Re: The Keeper

Post by Suzanne » Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:01 am

Thanks Ant, glad you liked it.
I think hide works okay according to my quick dictionary scan:

"the skin of an animal whether raw or dressed "

But I appreciate being questioned about it. Yep, thanks.

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Re: The Keeper

Post by Suzanne » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:42 am

In morning light , I understand what you meant, Ant. I suppose you are right.

Is carcass a good sounding option? I like the sound of hide.

Any opinions? Anyone?

?

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Re: The Keeper

Post by brianedwards » Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:31 am

I like this one too Suzanne, but you've some dodgy punctuation in S2. You really need to lose the comma at the end of L2. With the current construction, the sheep settling is dependent on the N's stillness; ie, "if I am still, the sheep settle". Makes your man sound just a wee bit bestial!
Also, I think a colon would be preferable after "smoothest".

Nice poem, I like the surprise of "hide" in the last line, though I think I'd prefer "family" rather than "mother". Nicer sonics? A small quibble.

B.

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Re: The Keeper

Post by BenJohnson » Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:15 am

From the comments it looks like you have trimmed out a harp, seems a shame since I would assume this was about a young David and the harp was part of the story.

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Re: The Keeper

Post by JohnLott » Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:14 am

This has changed into a nice poem - young David as a Shepherd learning to use his sling.
I'm not fond of the word 'discern' -perhaps 'select' is what is happening.
The timline with the stones seems out of kilter.
However, my nits are small.
Good work.

:)

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Re: The Keeper

Post by twoleftfeet » Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:28 am

BenJohnson wrote:From the comments it looks like you have trimmed out a harp, seems a shame since I would assume this was about a young David and the harp was part of the story.
Exactly what I was thinking, Ben - the "stones" being the biggest "clue".
Also I was reminded of the "lost sheep" parable.

I think it unlikely that any shepherd would kill a sheep up on a hill and then carry it back - seems a lot of wasted effort to me.
So , do you mean a wolf hide?

Normally, Suzanne, I'd be underwhelmed by the references to "singing" but I think they work well in this context.

Must go - I have a headache
Goliath
Instead of just sitting on the fence - why not stand in the middle of the road?

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Re: The Keeper

Post by Suzanne » Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:52 am

Brain,

Thanks! I am glad you liked it. I will remove the comma and add the colon. Thank you for those kinds of tips. I don't like to use a comma, I just , seem to do it, well, too often. I should default the other direction and watch for correction that way. Perhaps I'd learn.

I appreciate your comment about "mother". If I said "family", it would imply an older male, that it was his wife/family. This shepherd is a young man still tied to his mother.

This poem was written first as an idea (David and Goliath) for the Duet project. It was entitled "The Eve" and was to be the first of four poems.

This one is an interview with David the night before confrontation with Goliath. This idea did not work out but I wanted to share the poem. I can see that without the project, it looses some of its focus and becomes just something about any shepherd. That is not bad but not as satisfying for me. Hmm.


And Ben!,

Glad you could see it was young David! It was probably the harp that gave it away. Without the harp... is it still David?

Ant commented that the harp could not lead sheep. Not being a real farm girl, I realized I didn't know if it would or not. And his house is surrounded by sheep.... I felt I needed to remove it as it was.

The problem is not the harp but the leading by harp.

When I quickly (because that is what I do, quickly edit... will I ever learn? ) tried to fit the harp in, I couldn't see how to do it without the sound of the harp competing with the song of the brook. So removed it. And the brook is important in the characterisation of David.

The N giving the brook a female persona, interacting with him reflected characteristics attributed to David. The sensuality of that section seems credible for the man he is portrayed as being. Five stones is relevant to the story of David.

I have not tried to write as male N. often and found this rewarding. Elph challenged me eons ago to try to do it. It was beyond my grasp at the time. I could not offer anything remotely good enough to post. So, this took poem has taken about 3 years to write, lol.

David's character and self-assuredness was pleasing to mimic in poetry.

Perhaps, I will try Goliath next. I am sure that his character was as strong and self confident... and being a seasoned warrior, he probably wasn't bring things home to his mother. lol.

Thanks for the feedback. I am not sure what to do about the harp. I'd like it in there but...... ?

I would love someone to write me a rough Goliath to respond to, any takers? I love the idea of inter connected poetry on the site. Any takers?

Warmly,
Suzanne
Last edited by Suzanne on Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Keeper

Post by Suzanne » Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:58 am

John, thanks for the reply. I like the word discern, it's what he'll do.

Geoff, yes, five smooth stones means something. I am glad it was a flag of sorts.
And I am glad you thought the singing was okay. I understand what you mean.
It was risky making the brook female but, well, I thought the N might just do that.

Thank you.

Very encouraging. Thanks.
Suzanne

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Re: The Keeper

Post by Antcliff » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:29 pm

Hi
Stick with hide..especially if a rough skinning in night can count as producing a hide. I had thought that a hide had to be a tad more finished, but maybe not...
Been thinking about Goliath.
Ant
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Re: The Keeper

Post by ray miller » Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:04 am

I wondered why The Keeper and not The Shepherd? I was expecting something about football. The this and thats and these and those in the first verse do work well. I didn't much like discern, either, and why would he want smooth stones anyway? Aren't jagged stones going to do more damage?

but their watering mouths will not be satisfied

satisfied seems a bit long. filled?

Enjoyed the read.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: The Keeper

Post by Suzanne » Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:07 am

Thanks for telling, Ant. Appreciate it.
I think I will keep it.

I'll be on the look out for Goliath.
(yes! she whispers...)


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Re: The Keeper

Post by Suzanne » Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:39 pm

Thank you ray. I agree that line is long, I changed it many tims and kept returning it to as written. Perhaps a few weeks from now I'll change it. Never ending, the edits.

The title? If I change it, it will be something about the N being in command of his court.
Thanks for the reply.

Warmly,
Suzanne

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Re: The Keeper

Post by twoleftfeet » Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:05 pm

ray miller wrote: .. and why would he want smooth stones anyway? Aren't jagged stones going to do more damage?
1) They will fly more "true" when shot from a sling
2) He keeps them in his pocket :)
Instead of just sitting on the fence - why not stand in the middle of the road?

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Re: The Keeper

Post by Suzanne » Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:10 pm

... And the story says the stones he chose on THE day were smooth.

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Re: The Keeper

Post by ray miller » Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:13 pm

I suppose you were there, Geoff, cheering on the underdog.How old are you now? If, If they had pockets in those days then Suzanne would most certainly have incorporated at least one into her poem.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: The Keeper

Post by Suzanne » Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:18 pm

Lol. You know it's true.

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Re: The Keeper

Post by twoleftfeet » Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:26 pm

ray miller wrote:I suppose you were there, Geoff, cheering on the underdog.How old are you now? If, If they had pockets in those days then Suzanne would most certainly have incorporated at least one into her poem.
Yes, I was there.
Single-combat between 2 men is much more civilised than a pitched battle involving thousands: it just goes to show that
the Philistines weren't Philistines like everyone assumes.
I lost a fortune betting on Goliath. So did Emile Heskey.
We both went home with empty pockets.
Instead of just sitting on the fence - why not stand in the middle of the road?

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