March the 15th

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Antcliff
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March the 15th

Post by Antcliff » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:31 pm

All winter waiting for the absent sun,
until mid-march brings the lingering warmth,
zoom-sharp views of barely remembered hills,
mistless mornings, mildness that opens doors.
Eyes, now curious enough to look, peer--
find the salt-scraped brown land set alight,
smoke rising high and tidy across the crofts
as though we’re all enrolled as signallers
in some stark martial plan. Today’s the day
under the sentence of the muirburn,
when no calendar is ever needed,
when the scrubby fields hear crackle, burn black.
All winter waiting for the coming warmth,
then, for small cursed things, a burst of flames.
For the rest, basking, the old task is done,
spring begins and fires as the rabbits run.
Last edited by Antcliff on Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

Macavity
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Re: March the 15th

Post by Macavity » Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:39 pm

hi Seth,
Finding out about the muirburn unlocked the poem for me and made it all the more enjoyable. I liked the sounds of mistless/mildness, crackle/black, basking/task. Perhaps scraped/scrubby could be brought closer? Smoke signallers made me think of the Pope's election, but I guess that's irrelevant in the context (not that keen on the sound of martial, though understand the relevance). I also enjoyed the zest of 'zoom-sharp'.

cheers

mac

Nash

Re: March the 15th

Post by Nash » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:41 pm

This seems just a slight departure to your usual style, Seth. Not too much, it still deals with similar themes and I think I could still pick it out of a line-up but this one seems to have a bit more meat on its bones?

I like it a lot. The only part I would perhaps question would be "barely remembered hills". It is very close to the Housman line, was that intentional?

Cheers,
Nash.

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Re: March the 15th

Post by Antcliff » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:30 pm

Thanks Nash,
yes, I am rowing back a bit..after a period of reading/writing along minimo lines. A bit more meat indeed.

The fires were all visible from the gate here.

I had suspected that some would note the Houseman echo..and you kindly did...but now I wonder whether it is more of distraction. Yeh, I can see you're right to put a question mark over that. Hmm.

Seth
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

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Re: March the 15th

Post by ljordan » Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:11 pm

A couple of thoughts: If waiting for the sun it must have been absent. As it stands it may read as a modifier to sun for which we'd not be waiting? A similar issue occurs with "lingering warmth." Has mid-March brought it to linger or is the warmth there for us to linger in? Perhaps the language distracts from the industry of spring described?

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Re: March the 15th

Post by Ros » Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:50 pm

This seems to be longing to be a sonnet.

Ros
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Re: March the 15th

Post by Ros » Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:02 pm

By which I mean - if you tighten up the first 8 lines, you've already got the sextet and the closing couplet, and I feel the first 4 lines could be improved by it. And you don't need all those commas!

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Antcliff
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Re: March the 15th

Post by Antcliff » Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:26 pm

Thanks Larry,
A couple of thoughts: If waiting for the sun it must have been absent. As it stands it may read as a modifier to sun for which we'd not be waiting? A similar issue occurs with "lingering warmth." Has mid-March brought it to linger or is the warmth there for us to linger in? Perhaps the language distracts from the industry of spring described?
Yes. Clearly right on all of the above. :D I must rework that section.

Thanks Ros,
This seems to be longing to be a sonnet.
Yes..as you have seen :D ...it did want to be a sonnet. I shall rework it and and let it be. Right.
....(and de-comma).

Seth
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

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Re: March the 15th

Post by twoleftfeet » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:19 pm

Excellent, Seth, especially the last line!

I'm not too keen on "old task" or the nod towards Houseman.

Geoff
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Re: March the 15th

Post by oranggunung » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:10 pm

Hi Seth

I wonder at the title. Wouldn’t “muirburn” suit this poem better?
I wasn’t aware that the seasonal burning of heather was still allowed. Perhaps I’m getting confused with stubble burning.

There are some lovely rural images; I particularly like

mildness that opens doors


You’ve had fun with the sonics too. Will you try for a sonnet format?


A couple of nits.

Why the hyphens after “peer”? Why not a simple comma?


when the scrubby fields hear crackle, burn black.

Do you need “hear” here? It doesn’t seem to fit the construction.


Today’s the day

I’m not sure of the intention, but this phrase sounds out of place.


Lots to enjoy, as well as the reminder that summer’s on its way

og

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Re: March the 15th

Post by Antcliff » Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:56 pm

Thanks very much Og, :D

yeh, I think you are right on the title..be explicit.
..burning of heather was still allowed. Perhaps I’m getting confused with stubble burning.
Gorse, dried grass, heather. I suppose some use "muirburn" strictly for heather, but around here they are not so strict in usage. It is the land (moor) and so what may be there.
A couple of nits.

Why the hyphens after “peer”? Why not a simple comma?

when the scrubby fields hear crackle, burn black.

Do you need “hear” here? It doesn’t seem to fit the construction.

Today’s the day

I’m not sure of the intention, but this phrase sounds out of place.
Right on all points! Aaagh...this is off to the sonnet workshop.

Thanks again for reading and these helpful suggestions, Og.


Geoff,

thanks indeed. I am going to de-houseman and get rid of "old task". Right!



Seth
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

ray miller
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Re: March the 15th

Post by ray miller » Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:13 pm

Nice poem.mildness that opens doors - I like that very much.

smoke rising high and tidy across the crofts - I try and fail to imagine tidy smoke
as though we’re all enrolled as signallers - nice line.
when the scrubby fields hear crackle, burn black. - why "hear"? fields crackle and burn black.
All winter waiting for the coming warmth, - maybe you could use "remembered" here - all winter waiting for remembered warmth.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: March the 15th

Post by Antcliff » Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:13 am

Thanks very much Ray,

as ever: kind remarks, good questions, good suggestions...to be factored in when re-writing.

"Tidy"...I was perhaps only thinking of the way...on that still day..the smoke rose in a kind of plume, heading out to sea.
"Hear"..well, hmm. I suppose I was partly thinking of the field dwellers.


Seth
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

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