Devotions

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Devotions

Post by bodkin » Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:35 pm

Devotions

After she leaves the nunnery, her suitcase waits
for the shuttle bus, patient in Italian dust.
She returns to Coventry, to rain and rooms
with a distant Aunt. She is adrift. She tries

to lift her mood in the public library
but chances into the reference section
and reads it all. Three years later she upgrades
to a visitor's ticket at the University;

still lost, but finds Philosophy to be filled
with many helpful guides. She chats with Plato;
hides from Nietzsche; finds Kant natural
but Heidegger hard and chances at last

on Teilhard de Chardin who takes her in hand
and introduces her to Sagan.
She hikes four hundred Dewey Decimals north
and lands in Astrophysics. The World moves

the very next day in Morrisons--her palm
against fluorescents is filled with brighter light.
We are star stuff. We are golden. And the Garden...
why, we never left!


***

The check-out assistant frowns,
but sells her the apple anyway.

***

Most mornings now she jogs, and in the afternoons
her job at the railway information desk
lets her set lost travellers on their way.

So much for the days. In evenings she returns
to the tiny room. She has now travelled so far
that light which left the Abbess at T = 0
would still have not caught up.

Sometimes she works on relating theory
to everything, and sometimes she just sits
and watches the stars stream past the window.
Last edited by bodkin on Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Devotions

Post by Macavity » Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:21 pm

I got a little lost in the philosophy section, and perhaps the humour in golden garden section was not consistent with the generally detached delivery, but the writing flowed and the individual felt real. I enjoyed the bus/dust rhyme, the irony of helping lost travellers, and the melancholy of the concluding line.

mac

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Re: Devotions

Post by twoleftfeet » Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:08 pm

A fine little allegory, Ian.

Some good internal rhymes, too.

Presumably
light which left the Abbess at T = 0
- refers to a moment of epiphany?

And maybe the last stanza is a hommage to Einstein?

Even so, I think you could end at -

her job at the railway information desk
lets her set lost travellers on their way


Geoff
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Re: Devotions

Post by David » Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:17 pm

I like the whole thing, but I thought the first four verses were practically an Iris Murdoch novel writ small, which is great, but everything gets a little whimsical after that. Still, very good.

Cheers

David

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Re: Devotions

Post by ray miller » Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:22 pm

I was entertained, this bit was very nice

She hikes four hundred Dewey Decimals north
and lands in Astrophysics.

But, come on, nobody returns to Coventry.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: Devotions

Post by ljordan » Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:59 pm

This is where my reading took me:
1. What world moves in Morrisons, is it THE world or her world and isn’t her world different than every one elses? For me it is, I like her world, not sure I want others to be able to access it.
2. Why would you not leave a nunnery and head straight for gin and hamburgers? That she doesn’t says much about her and her walk through the philosophers.
3. I like the last sentence. For me it would work by itself following the apple sentence. I think the issue of light and distance are filler.
4. Not sure this character would be happy helping lost travelers, she seems to have moved away from people, not towards them.

Love the narrative threads, their resistance to resolution of plot.

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Re: Devotions

Post by Suzanne » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:54 am

I love it and had the urge to jump to my feet!

Excellent. A real person. A lucky person. Beyond that even.


Loved it.
The whole overrides and nits that may have arisen I have to come back later to find them, if I have any.

Splendid.
A gem.
Suzanne

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Re: Devotions

Post by bodkin » Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:07 pm

Macavity wrote:I got a little lost in the philosophy section, and perhaps the humour in golden garden section was not consistent with the generally detached delivery, but the writing flowed and the individual felt real. I enjoyed the bus/dust rhyme, the irony of helping lost travellers, and the melancholy of the concluding line.

mac
Thanks mac,

Not sure about the humour/detachment dichotomy, but I will bear it in mind, it may be possible to tweak the odd work here and there...

Melancholy? I thought that was an overwhelmingly positive image. It may depend how much of a people person you are?

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Re: Devotions

Post by bodkin » Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:18 pm

twoleftfeet wrote:A fine little allegory, Ian.

Some good internal rhymes, too.

Presumably
light which left the Abbess at T = 0
- refers to a moment of epiphany?
I was actually thinking about the archetypal "T = 0", the creation of the Universe, but I am happy for you to read it either way.
And maybe the last stanza is a hommage to Einstein?
It's a tribute to Carl, actually:


Even so, I think you could end at -

her job at the railway information desk
lets her set lost travellers on their way


Geoff
I wondered that, but I like the current final image a lot also. Hmm...

Thanks,

Ian
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Re: Devotions

Post by bodkin » Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:23 pm

David wrote:I like the whole thing, but I thought the first four verses were practically an Iris Murdoch novel writ small, which is great, but everything gets a little whimsical after that. Still, very good.

Cheers

David
I don't think I have ever been compared to Iris Murdoch before. But should I be flattered???

Hmmm...
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Re: Devotions

Post by bodkin » Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:25 pm

ray miller wrote:I was entertained, this bit was very nice

She hikes four hundred Dewey Decimals north
and lands in Astrophysics.

But, come on, nobody returns to Coventry.
Thank you Ray,

Surely somebody must hare returned to Coventry by now? They have a topping motor museum, as we discovered on a wet afternoon some years back...

...on the other hand we haven't been back there yet?

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Re: Devotions

Post by bodkin » Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:27 pm

ljordan wrote:This is where my reading took me:
1. What world moves in Morrisons, is it THE world or her world and isn’t her world different than every one elses? For me it is, I like her world, not sure I want others to be able to access it.
2. Why would you not leave a nunnery and head straight for gin and hamburgers? That she doesn’t says much about her and her walk through the philosophers.
3. I like the last sentence. For me it would work by itself following the apple sentence. I think the issue of light and distance are filler.
4. Not sure this character would be happy helping lost travelers, she seems to have moved away from people, not towards them.

Love the narrative threads, their resistance to resolution of plot.
Thanks Larry,

Maybe the light and distance are filler, but for me not the job, for me that is the echo of the tending to people that she would have done previously, e.g. maybe illustrating an aspect of herself not completely changed?

Ian
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Re: Devotions

Post by bodkin » Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:29 pm

Suzanne wrote:I love it and had the urge to jump to my feet!
I hope not to run out screaming or to throw up?
Excellent. A real person. A lucky person. Beyond that even.

Loved it.
The whole overrides and nits that may have arisen I have to come back later to find them, if I have any.

Splendid.
A gem.
Suzanne
Thank you Suzanne, always good score a direct hit with somebody!

Ian
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Re: Devotions

Post by twoleftfeet » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:12 pm

bodkin wrote:
twoleftfeet wrote: Presumably
light which left the Abbess at T = 0
- refers to a moment of epiphany?
I was actually thinking about the archetypal "T = 0", the creation of the Universe, but I am happy for you to read it either way.
That was my initial thought, but I didn't think there were any photons around at t=0, or indeed Abbeys. :)
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Re: Devotions

Post by bodkin » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:16 pm

twoleftfeet wrote:
bodkin wrote:
twoleftfeet wrote: Presumably
light which left the Abbess at T = 0
- refers to a moment of epiphany?
I was actually thinking about the archetypal "T = 0", the creation of the Universe, but I am happy for you to read it either way.
That was my initial thought, but I didn't think there were any photons around at t=0, or indeed Abbeys. :)
Oh, good point. I'll get my coat...
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Re: Devotions

Post by bodkin » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:22 pm

Incidentally, did you see that Carl's computer said:
Warning: Type I supernova
This was in the days before we knew the message would actually be:
Windows has detected the end of life as we know it...
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Re: Devotions

Post by twoleftfeet » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:38 pm

bodkin wrote:Incidentally, did you see that Carl's computer said:
Warning: Type I supernova
This was in the days before we knew the message would actually be:
Windows has detected the end of life as we know it...
Eureka!
I've just realised what was happening at t=0 -
The Universe had just crashed, so God switched it off and was switching it on again!
It took 7 days to run a check-disc then defrag the hard-drive, apparently.
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Re: Devotions

Post by Ros » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:44 pm

That would explain why the drivers for 'end poverty' and 'create world piece' keep crashing. Probably don't work with this operating system.
Rosencrantz: What are you playing at? Guildenstern: Words. Words. They're all we have to go on.
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Re: Devotions

Post by twoleftfeet » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:56 pm

Ros wrote:That would explain why the drivers for 'end poverty' and 'create world piece' keep crashing. Probably don't work with this operating system.
:)
That's proprietary software for you!
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Re: Devotions

Post by Antcliff » Sat Jan 05, 2013 4:56 pm

Hi
late to this intriguing tale.

She read the whole reference section? :shock:
The idea of being lost is nicely conveyed for me.

The bit I am not fulling getting yet is the intriguing Eden theme...
the realisation that we never left (the garden) of Eden and then whatever she was doing with the apple (symbol?) to make the check-out assistant frown.

Best,
Seth
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Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
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Re: Devotions

Post by bodkin » Sun Jan 06, 2013 5:15 pm

Hi Seth,

Other people may differ a bit in their interpretation, and I won't call them wrong...

...but for me the Eden bit, especially buying the apple, is just the getting to a complete end for her previous religious beliefs.

She wasn't doing anything with the apple, but she may have spoken the italicised bits out loud...?

Oh come on!? Surely we've all done that???

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Re: Devotions

Post by twoleftfeet » Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:47 pm

bodkin wrote:Hi Seth,

Other people may differ a bit in their interpretation, and I won't call them wrong...

...but for me the Eden bit, especially buying the apple, is just the getting to a complete end for her previous religious beliefs.

She wasn't doing anything with the apple, but she may have spoken the italicised bits out loud...?

Oh come on!? Surely we've all done that???

Ian

We are stardust, we are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the graden.. - Joni Mitchell

.. Every atom in our bodies was formed not on Earth, but was created in the depths of space, through the epic lifecycle of the stars - Brian Cox
Instead of just sitting on the fence - why not stand in the middle of the road?

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Re: Devotions

Post by bodkin » Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:56 pm

twoleftfeet wrote:
bodkin wrote:Hi Seth,

Other people may differ a bit in their interpretation, and I won't call them wrong...

...but for me the Eden bit, especially buying the apple, is just the getting to a complete end for her previous religious beliefs.

She wasn't doing anything with the apple, but she may have spoken the italicised bits out loud...?

Oh come on!? Surely we've all done that???

Ian

We are stardust, we are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the graden.. - Joni Mitchell

.. Every atom in our bodies was formed not on Earth, but was created in the depths of space, through the epic lifecycle of the stars - Brian Cox
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Re: Devotions

Post by twoleftfeet » Mon Jan 07, 2013 1:01 pm

That's a profound way of putting it.
Instead of just sitting on the fence - why not stand in the middle of the road?

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