"The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

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Antcliff
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"The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Post by Antcliff » Thu Aug 07, 2014 3:29 pm

And well paved.
So transport links were good
and gradually the road became a street.

Obviously,
houses close to Hell were not popular,
though sustainably heated. Groans

could be heard,
coming from The Entrance around The Corner.
Nobody wants that.

Along the whole stretch
people would be woken in the small hours
by drunks singing "We're on the Highway to Hell"

even though,
as residents often complained,
it was more of a lane.

Taxi drivers would only take you so far.
The pub at the end did a reasonable trade,
but "The Last Drop" had no regulars.

No cheques cashed.
No tab.
No ice.

Side streets grew up
like "Purgatory Walk",
where time seemed to slow,

where people watched television re-runs
mumbling the script
slumped in their slippers.

Those in Purgatory Walk
often wondered if it was Hell.
But the council tax was a band or two higher.

Gentrification was tried.
Part of the way was relabelled as
"Lavender Avenue"

but locals weren't fooled.
"Where's the lavender?" they asked
and, one night, the sign got nicked.

Sometimes people got lost
and ended up right at the end of the street
with no idea, no idea at all

and would fall through Satan's trap door,
shouting,
"but I was only looking for Lavender Avenue".
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

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Re: "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Post by k-j » Fri Aug 08, 2014 3:00 am

Marvelous! Enjoyed every second of it. Will be an ornament to whatever periodical it appears in.
fine words butter no parsnips

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Re: "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Post by David » Fri Aug 08, 2014 7:33 am

I agree with k-j. Only bit of semi-obligatory quibbling: I wonder why you chose "Lavender" for your Avenue. Is there some sort of resonance with something else there? It's just that I wonder whether "Primrose" would be better, due to people (I think) referring to "the primrose path" to indicate something as the quick and beguiling way to ruination. You probably considered that and discarded it as too obvious.

Anf of course Purgatory Walk would not take you to Hell anyway, but in quite the opposite direction. Strictly speaking.

"sustainably heated" is brilliant.

Cheers

David

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Re: "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Post by Antcliff » Fri Aug 08, 2014 7:07 pm

Thanks very much, K-J. I love the word "periodical".

Thnak very much, David.


Primrose is a tempting option, very tempting. Think I'll take it. I only had Lavender Avenue for the aven/aven. As you say, there is no resonance with anything else. Who knows, such an avenue might be in my memory somewhere.

Well, purgatory is a side street. :D I shall have to work up a map.

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

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Re: "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Post by Moth » Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:16 am

Those in Purgatory Walk
often wondered if it was Hell.
But the council tax was a band or two higher.
Brilliantly tongue in cheek. Nothing to add except I figured Lavender Avenue was kind of thought out for much the same reason (as well as the reason as you stated) and I felt it worked with the overall tone. Kudos.
to be totally honest... whenever you feel you really shouldn't write that, that's exactly what you should write.

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Re: "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Post by Antcliff » Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:27 am

Thanks for calling by, Moth. Helpful to hear your thoughts on the avenue.

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

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Re: "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Post by Ros » Sun Aug 17, 2014 4:03 pm

Yes, I enjoyed this very much, particularly the undertones of

Sometimes people got lost
and ended up right at the end of the street
with no idea, no idea at all

And yet, and yet...

I dunno, it somehow doesn't feel like a poem to me. It's a great narrative and carefully phrased, but but but I want some sort of rhythm or heightened language or cadence...

Ros
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Re: "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Post by Antcliff » Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:15 pm

Thanks Ros
rhythm or heightened language or cadence...
Well, I'm inclined to agree. (Though I am not sure what "heightened language" is.) I think that once the line break goes, the prose/poetry difference must be in some way connected to the music of the words. Certainly there was a time when I would not count this as a poem, but, well, I have given up the urge to say "but surely this is prose?". Oscar Wilde thought Browning was prose.

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

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Re: "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Post by David » Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:14 pm

Antcliff wrote:Thanks Ros
rhythm or heightened language or cadence...
Well, I'm inclined to agree. (Though I am not sure what "heightened language" is.)
This is a tricky one, isn't it? It's a phrase I see I used myself, recently, and Ray - like you - didn't have a clue what I was going on about, and I'm not sure I could tell him. Or you.

This, for instance - https://answers.yahoo.com/question/inde ... 212AArmwde - is no help at all.

What I actually said to Ray was "There are moments of heightened language which (I think) would stand out awkwardly as prose but are just lovely little sunlit stretches in a poem."

Then he said " I'm not sure about the heightened language that David refers to but it's meant to have rhythm, assonance, bits of rhyme and the line breaks aren't arbitrary."

Then I, highlighting rhythm, assonance, bits of rhyme and the line breaks aren't arbitrary, said "That'll be it!"

We're not much further on, are we?

Perhaps the poetry / prose debate is null. Perhaps it all comes down to whether the language is dull or not. This is not dull and, to be honest, I don't think it's prose either. It's poetry through the medium of prose. Or perhaps it's good prose, poetically presented. Or perhaps ... (your turn).

David

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Re: "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Post by Antcliff » Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:52 pm

I don't think it's prose either. It's poetry through the medium of prose. Or perhaps it's good prose, poetically presented. Or perhaps ... (your turn).
It stands with one foot in the category of prose-poetry and the other in the category of poetry-prose. :D
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

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Re: "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Post by Ros » Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:59 pm

Antcliff wrote:
I don't think it's prose either. It's poetry through the medium of prose. Or perhaps it's good prose, poetically presented. Or perhaps ... (your turn).
It stands with one foot in the category of prose-poetry and the other in the category of poetry-prose. :D
Yup. I couldn't claim it isn't a poem, and yet somehow for me it didn't quite seem to be one. Ok, I'm hopeless.

Ros
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Re: "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Post by David » Sat Aug 23, 2014 11:43 am

Ros wrote:
Antcliff wrote:
I don't think it's prose either. It's poetry through the medium of prose. Or perhaps it's good prose, poetically presented. Or perhaps ... (your turn).
It stands with one foot in the category of prose-poetry and the other in the category of poetry-prose. :D
Yup. I couldn't claim it isn't a poem, and yet somehow for me it didn't quite seem to be one. Ok, I'm hopeless.

Ros
No you're not!

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Re: "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Post by Antcliff » Sat Aug 23, 2014 11:58 am

No you're not!
Quite. I think you may well be right, Ros. When I wrote it I thought of it more as a performancey type piece than a poem.

I am myself inclined to count much supposed poetry as prose, but also be relaxed about the consequences of that. After all, not all short writing needs to count as a poem.

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

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Re: "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Post by dedalus » Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:48 am

Catchy! I caught myself smiling here and there. No ice??

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Re: "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Post by Antcliff » Sun Aug 31, 2014 12:44 pm

dedalus wrote:Catchy! I caught myself smiling here and there. No ice??
Thanks, Bren. Too warm for ice.

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

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Re: "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Post by dafra » Sun Aug 31, 2014 2:46 pm

Why split the difference between poetry and prose? I find that I respond to heightened language, language that has a multitude of meanings, no-matter the form.

I've given up on my expectations of what poetry should be to me and just accept what is served up here in the name of poetry.

Thus when I read something like this I am elated way beyond the words. They touch an ineffable nerve and I know I have read something good.

Please keep Lavender Avenue for it's assonance, a plant of dry (adjacent to hell) lands, a perfume of choice for the older middle-class lady and a ubiquitous bush of gardens which is mysterious here by its absence.

dafra

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Re: "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Post by Antcliff » Mon Sep 01, 2014 6:22 pm

Please keep Lavender Avenue for it's assonance, a plant of dry (adjacent to hell) lands, a perfume of choice for the older middle-class lady and a ubiquitous bush of gardens which is mysterious here by its absence.
Thank you for calling by, Dafra, a fine bed of reasons indeed :D . I am persuaded to retain the lavender (and was in two minds on the very question). Thank you for such helpful and warm words. Hope to see you around much more!

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

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