Secret Society

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Antcliff
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Secret Society

Post by Antcliff » Thu May 01, 2014 11:55 am

Very secret.
Only the good people know,
the right ones,

the wise ones;
the ones who don't keep porn
in their sheds

but guides to butterflies;
ones who'll know immediately
how to get things done,

whose goodness
shines through their faces
like innocence.

Worldly,
understanding,
but free of cynicism,

“We'll do that”, they say,
“We'll get it sorted”, they add,
meaning it,

and someone's suffering
is lessened
quietly

and a seemingly insurmountable problem
is skipped over
quickly;

and the evil
and the indifferent are defeated,
stunned,

suddenly made to know
who really rules.
Even as you read this

the members gather,
sitting on their oak seats
at the long table, in their great chamber,

nodding, sagely
beneath the plaques
and paintings and photos

of the ones from before.
You don't know their names:
they don't need status.

You don't need to know:
again, they'll get things done.
You won't need to ring, endlessly.

And if you're never invited,
don't be saddened.
They will have considered you

and, in rejecting you,
were only doing the right thing.
Be consoled.
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

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Jackie
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Re: Secret Society

Post by Jackie » Thu May 01, 2014 6:37 pm

Seth, this drew me in. Very engaging.

I'm not sure whether you want to sustain or diminish the awe of the society. You seem to be diminishing it, by treating it in parallel—following and the evil
and the indifferent are defeated
with stunned and sagely, along with the pattern you've established.

Small things: personally, I'd lose the comma after sheds (for pacing). And the word quietly feels too weak.

But perhaps it depends on your (one's) attitude towards secret societies. :?

Jackie

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Re: Secret Society

Post by David » Thu May 01, 2014 6:52 pm

This is great - the idea of a gentle, beneficent secret society. And beautifully executed. This section -

Even as you read this

the members gather,
sitting on their oak seats
at the long table, in their great chamber,

nodding, sagely
beneath the plaques
and paintings and photos

of the ones from before
-

is quite stirring!

And the two closing verses are lovely (and quite consoling, considering I still await the call).

I'm sure there's years of philosophical study in this, but as a non-philosophical yokel I like it just fine as it is.

Cheers

David

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Re: Secret Society

Post by penguin » Thu May 01, 2014 8:59 pm

I found the poem, and the society, quite sinister. Somewhere between With God on our Side, the SAS and Mussolini keeping the trains running on time. And last week I read that the US is not a democracy but an oligarchy, according to research. Is it just me?

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Re: Secret Society

Post by 1lankest » Fri May 02, 2014 11:34 am

Hi Seth,

This drew me in, too, and kept me there. Very engaging.

Like Penguin I found the society highly sinister in its self-righteousness: I hope that was intended, otherwise I fear my interpretation reflects rather badly on me!

The tone is highly charged - N seems acutely sardonic in his attitude.....very 'us' and 'them'.

whose goodness
shines through their faces
like innocence.

This is the only stanza I didn't like - for me the simile is tautological, innocence and goodness being in a sense synonymous.
Could it be:

whose innocence
shines through their faces
like ...... (a comparison of your choosing!)

Much enjoyed Seth.


Luke

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Re: Secret Society

Post by MikeAcker » Sun May 04, 2014 5:09 pm

I liked this one. Great flow

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Re: Secret Society

Post by David » Sun May 04, 2014 5:12 pm

1lankest wrote:Like Penguin I found the society highly sinister in its self-righteousness: I hope that was intended, otherwise I fear my interpretation reflects rather badly on me!
I read it straight! In fact, I wanted to join immediately. I'm now afraid that reflects rather badly on me.

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Re: Secret Society

Post by Bee » Tue May 06, 2014 5:59 pm

The title original drew me in as I thought it was going to be something quite dark and sinister but was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case.

I agree with Luke that the goodness / innocence doesn't quite work but the rest of the poem I found incredibly captivating :)
Antcliff wrote:
the wise ones;
the ones who don't keep porn
in their sheds

but guides to butterflies;
ones who'll know immediately
how to get things done,
This is my favourite part as I think the imagery gives an awesome insight into the nature of the "secret society" If this clan of pleasant do-gooders is real then I think they just found themselves a fangirl :)
The only thing better than a cookie ... Is two cookies

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Re: Secret Society

Post by Nicky B » Tue May 06, 2014 6:38 pm

Hi Seth,

I'm a little rusty, have been struggling to read and write but this really drew me in. There's something very compulsive about the flow, and intriguing about the subject matter. It's interesting reading the others interpretation. Mine was originally that this was an admissions team for the Pearly gates, and that we'd all be invited eventually, but perhaps you meant a more generic society - did you? I certainly didn't get the sinister that the others did. I actually thought they sounded a little boring as group.

Guide to Butterflies sounds lovely but always makes me think of Fowles "The Collector" - perhaps this is the source of the sinister? Or maybe that connection is just me.

I didn't really like the final line. I stumbled here. I'd have done this:

and, in rejecting you,
were only doing
the right thing.

But I wouldn't trust my advice too much!!

Thanks for an entertaining read,

Nicky B.

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Re: Secret Society

Post by bodkin » Sun Feb 22, 2015 2:13 pm

I read his one at our PG gathering last night and the great thing about it was that at that moment we _were_ the secret society... We were at a long table, and we were the select few, and we were even about just sorting things out and easing the way of others...


...I'm not saying anything about porn in sheds, however :-)

Ian
http://www.ianbadcoe.uk/

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Re: Secret Society

Post by David » Sun Feb 22, 2015 8:37 pm

It was a great night, and this was a great poem well read.

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Re: Secret Society

Post by Antcliff » Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:00 am

And thanks for reading it Ian! Terrific. What an interesting experience it is hearing our poems read by others. A surprise to hear it.

Seth

(p.s...I see I missed some comments on this first time around. Apologies, apologies. I think I was away at the time and meant to come back to it. )
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

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