The descent

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Mic
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The descent

Post by Mic » Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:01 pm

begins again with sinking like a stone,
through linen, mattress, carpet, then cement—
her limbs all curled into a ball; she’s blown
off-course, but spots, down there, a place she’s dreamt

before, and lands. She’s seen this place before –
it's contours don't appear on any chart;
there are no windows here, no floors, no doors;
no song to bring them home; no light, no dark.

But there's a little boat: its length of rope
uncurls as tidal currents tug and pull
her further in; she grabs an oar and gropes
her way aboard the Y-shaped vessel,

unties the knot, unmoors, and knows for sure
she’ll make this crossing back to morning's door.


*edit 'dreamt replaced by 'seen'
Last edited by Mic on Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:11 pm, edited 8 times in total.
"Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you" - Rumi

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Re: The descent

Post by Petrichor » Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:05 pm

This is a nice sonnet, I'll leave the comments on meter and rhyme to those more astute in those areas than I. My only big nit is you tell us two lines in a row that she's dreamt this place before. The second time wasn't just unnecessary, but I actually disliked it. I felt it was telling me what was important. Could have been there for metrical, rhyme reasons, but I can't see any other reason to say something almost verbatim twice in a row.

Other than that, much enjoyed!

-A-

Mic
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Re: The descent

Post by Mic » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:07 am

Thanks Petrichior. I'm working at the moment on trying to use meter. I take your point about the repeated line. I'm still not sure if I like it or not (part of me does, obvs!)

Cheers

Mic
"Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you" - Rumi

Nash

Re: The descent

Post by Nash » Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:20 am

I think I quite like the repeated line, Michaela. The neat rhyming off-course/before/before/contours helps to save it.

The third from last line needs sorting though, it's metrically off. And I'm having trouble picturing a Y-shaped vessel? I'm probably missing something there, what's that all about?

Cheers,
Nash.

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Re: The descent

Post by Marc » Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:38 am

Hmm, I think this is a well written sonnet with good form and decasyllabic, rhyming pentameter, bravo!

I figure you're doing the repeat deliberately and I think I like it although I can see why it might jar... Perhaps we need to understand why its repeated?

Y shaped vessels, uncoiling ropes... Nash, I'm reading this as connected to sexual surrender, or at least related to desire - Mic you can shoot me down for my shallow male mind if you like :) !

Marc

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Re: The descent

Post by Nash » Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:50 am

Marc wrote:Y shaped vessels, uncoiling ropes... Nash, I'm reading this as connected to sexual surrender, or at least related to desire - Mic you can shoot me down for my shallow male mind if you like !
Thanks Marc, I get that there may be a Freudian dreamscape thing going on but I would have thought that the Y-shaped vessel would need to bear itself out in a physical manifestation (i.e. an actual boat).

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Re: The descent

Post by Marc » Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:05 am

Y fronts?! Lol!

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Re: The descent

Post by Mic » Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:08 am

Dear Marc & Nash,

I like your Freudian analyses. The symbolism I've used wasn't consciously intended to move the reader in the direction you both seem to have taken - which doesn't mean to say it isn't there, or that it isn't valid.

I'm not actually convinced by Y-shaped vessel (there is a logic for it in my mind, but that's irrelevant really). I need something else.

And Nash - yep, I was aiming for iambic pentameter, and it looks like I'm a beat short on that line..

As for the repeated line, I think it is the sound of it - as you mention Nash - that helps (I hope) me get away with it.

Mic
"Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you" - Rumi

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Re: The descent

Post by Mic » Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:08 am

Marc wrote:Y fronts?! Lol!
:lol:
"Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you" - Rumi

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Re: The descent

Post by twoleftfeet » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:02 pm

Mic,

I agree that "dreamt this place before" should not be repeated.
Also picturing the "Y-shaped vessel" is proving difficult.

The "uncurling rope" leads me to believe that the poem could be about astral-projection.

Much enjoyed
Geoff
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Re: The descent

Post by Macavity » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:54 pm

there are no windows here, no floors, no doors;
no song to bring them home; no light, no dark.

But there's a little boat: its length of rope
uncurls as tidal currents tug and pull
her further in; she grabs an oar and gropes
hi Mic,
It looks as if you have attempted to rein back the iambic beat with punctuation, often semi-colons, but it's still a little strident with all those monosyllables. However, I can hear a trochee substitution with /BUT there/ for the turn, which was a timely variation to signal the volta. I like the notion of a little boat.

mac

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Re: The descent

Post by Mic » Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:52 pm

Hi Mac, and thanks for commenting.

I see what you mean about all those one syl words - it seemed easier to achieve the meter that way, but yeah, it doesn't begin to sound to di Dum di Dum di Dum di Dum di Dum / ditto etc. Will be trying to use some more multisyllabic words in the next effort.

Mic
"Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you" - Rumi

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Re: The descent

Post by ljordan » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:06 pm

With all the allusions to menstruation, I expected a more dramatic turn. The form coheres, but does it become a sonnet and at the loss of the poem. The repeated line adds nothing but sound and is sound contibuting anything to it? There is a kind of harmony inferrred by the idea of cycles, but the reader needs to bring that to the poem. There is much here that engages a pondering: especially like how boat and vessel work their meanings to the conflict of 'on' and 'in'. The title lacks some grit, but maybe a minor consideration. Agree that as Pound said of parts in Eliot's Waste Land, "a bit too penty" towards the end. Some trochaic sound and annapests might add to freshness. I applaud the risk of the subject.

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Re: The descent

Post by twoleftfeet » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:20 pm

ljordan wrote:With all the allusions to menstruation..
Thanks, Larry - now I understand the shape of the vessel. DOH!
Instead of just sitting on the fence - why not stand in the middle of the road?

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Re: The descent

Post by Antcliff » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:11 pm

Enjoyed this ambitious sonnet, Mic. I don't have much to add to what been said. Apart from a query. Puzzled about one bit...

She’s seen this place before –
it's contours don't appear on any chart;
there are no windows here, no floors, no doors;
no song to bring them home;

Who does "them" refer to? she/she/she...and then suddenly a them?

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

Mic
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Re: The descent

Post by Mic » Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:55 am

Hi Larry,

It's fascinating to me how open this poem is to such a variety of interpretations. I didn't have menstruation in mind when writing this - but I can absolutely see how the poem could be read in this way.

On the technical side, I do think it is perhaps a bit too 'penty' and will be thinking about varying the meter in my next effort.

Mic
"Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you" - Rumi

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Re: The descent

Post by Mic » Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:58 am

Antcliff wrote:Enjoyed this ambitious sonnet, Mic. I don't have much to add to what been said. Apart from a query. Puzzled about one bit...

She’s seen this place before –
it's contours don't appear on any chart;
there are no windows here, no floors, no doors;
no song to bring them home;

Who does "them" refer to? she/she/she...and then suddenly a them?

Seth
Thanks Seth. The poem, is, in essence (in my mind anyway) about the descent into dream/nightmare and thinks of sleep as a sort of 'crossing' from night to morning. 'Them' are perhaps the 'other' sleepers making that crossing too.

Mic
"Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you" - Rumi

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Re: The descent

Post by Suzanne » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:29 pm

Had to let you know I thought this quite fantastic, mic.
I've read it quite a few time and like it better each visit. Really a nice example of a modern sonnet, I think. Good rhymes.

The version now gets no nits from me. Like it.

The Y shape boat is, well, intriguing. It is a dreamy thing, a Y shaped boat and i think it adds to the feel of the whole.

The thread is also interesting. I read the poem only as a dream reported - and that can (by default) disclose vulnerability but I did not see the other meanings mentioned. I find it very exciting to see so many different meanings understood.
Wonderful example of poetry as an interactive, personal art form.

Let it rest a minute before changing the Y shaped boat. I think you'd lose more than you gained. IMHO.

X
Suzanne

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Re: The descent

Post by Mic » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:35 pm

Thanks Suzanne - glad to hear you liked it.

Mic
"Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you" - Rumi

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Re: The descent

Post by David2 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:49 pm

Made me think of two things, Michaela: this - http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/sleepers.html - and the great modern troubadour, Brian Wilson:

There's a world where I can go
And tell my secrets to
In my room
In my room

In this world I lock out
All my worries and my fears
In my room
In my room

Do my dreaming and my scheming lie awake and pray
Do my crying and my sighing laugh at yesterday

Now it's dark and I'm alone
But I won't be afraid
In my room
In my room
In my room
In my room
In my room
In my room
In my room


(Possibly sounds more gorgeous than it reads.)

Which, you must admit, is quite a wide spread, so that's a plus. Anyway, I like it. I think you've achieved the sonnety thing very well, although I agree with the caveats about the two before's and about rhyming pull with vessel - the stress is all wrong.

But very nice. (And a well-placed, if a little orthodox, but!)

Cheers

David

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Re: The descent

Post by k-j » Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:22 pm

Instead of "y-shaped vessel", which is bizarre, why not "something coracle". Coracle is a fine word and the stress is right. The adjective is up to you. I quite like "groggy" for her state of mind and the wobbling of the small craft as she clambers aboard.

I prefer line 5 if you keep "dreamt" and don't try to stick a band-aid on the repetition by using "seen". Re-using the rhyme-word "dreamt" mid line-5 launches the poem off again nicely, connects the first two sentences.

I think the ending couplet is pretty limp. "Unmoors" seems to be implied by "unties the knot" and only there for the metre. "Knows for sure" just feels bland and casual. "She'll make this crossing back to morning's door" sounds like a line from some 70's rock act... especially "morning's door".

Overall, I think the first stanza reads really well and then it seems like you're labouring to complete the poem as a sonnet.
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Nash

Re: The descent

Post by Nash » Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:47 pm

k-j wrote:Instead of "y-shaped vessel", which is bizarre, why not "something coracle". Coracle is a fine word and the stress is right. The adjective is up to you. I quite like "groggy" for her state of mind and the wobbling of the small craft as she clambers aboard.
Brilliant idea.

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Re: The descent

Post by Mic » Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:01 am

Hi David, and thanks for these thoughts and the two poems - I've not read that long sleep poem link yet - but I will.
k-j wrote: Overall, I think the first stanza reads really well and then it seems like you're labouring to complete the poem as a sonnet.
I've been found out by k-j. This, truth be told, is my feeling also. The first stanza is better than the rest of it (which I really struggled with). And that last couplet is very lame - for all the reasons you state k-j! It's all good practice though, isn't it?

Coracle is a good idea, and I see Nash also thinks so. So I'll take it. I think I might also try to produce a more convincing closing couplet. And then I'll move on.

Thanks for all the feedback on this one. It's been a blast.

Mic
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Re: The descent

Post by David2 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:38 pm

Mic wrote:Hi David, and thanks for these thoughts and the two poems
Ah, well, they're not really two poems. One of them is a Beach Boys song. But that doesn't make it a bad thing. (The other is Whitman, so worth reading.)

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