Four Memories

This is a serious poetry forum not a "love-in". Post here for more detailed, constructive criticism.
Post Reply
User avatar
Firebird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2344
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 9:46 pm

Four Memories

Post by Firebird » Mon Feb 16, 2015 6:33 pm

Second Revision

Afterlife

I. Love

She becomes
a highland castle
reconstructed
in a Texan desert.

II. Degrees

He worries
how his memory
will treat her,
believing
that a dried out gourd
is no better
than a rotting one.

III. Dust

A building, too close
to use a wrecking ball,
is being deconstructed
bit by bit,
and he inadvertently,
leaves a window
ajar.




Revised Version

Afterlife

I. Love

She becomes
a highland castle
reconstructed
in a Texan desert.

II. Torridity

He can't believe
that this time
will be no more
than an almost
weightless gourd.

III. Dust

A building, too close
to demolish,
is being deconstructed,
and he
inadvertently,
leaves
a window
ajar.


Four Memories

I Love

He holds on
like a book
pressing flowers.

II Guilt

Slowly, she becomes
a highland castle
reconstructed
in a different land.

III Torridity


He had been told
that one day
this time
would be no more
than an almost
weightless
gourd.

IV Dust


A nearby building's
being demolished,
and he
inadvertently,
leaves
a window
ajar.
Last edited by Firebird on Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:20 pm, edited 36 times in total.

k-j
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 3004
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2005 10:37 pm
Location: Denver, CO

Re: Four Memories

Post by k-j » Tue Feb 17, 2015 4:44 am

Hello and welcome to PG.

Your username inspired me to put the Firebird and Petroushka on loud tonight (which I can do as the family is beaching in Mexico).

Anyway! I'm afraid this isn't really my thing.

The first one seems to be saying he holds on really tight. I don't know what else to take from it. How else does a book press flowers? It does so efficiently, tightly.

I quite like #2, but again I think you are losing a lot from being so brief. This is a very good metaphor for emigration, or any change in life - especially a gradual change - but what am I supposed to take from it, presented like this? It's just a raw image. Haute cuisine.

Torridity I don't like at all, too many nothing words - only one good word, "gourd" - and who would really tell someone that? And the title is portentous.

Dust is the best of the lot. I love the contrast between the collapsing building and the ajar door, and the inadvertency. But still, I think you could do more than this. There is so much more to be said.

I don't like this kind of poetry, which seems to be hinting at things the reader is too dumb or too unconcerned to understand. I wish you would say what you actually feel or mean. But still, this isn't bad.
fine words butter no parsnips

User avatar
Firebird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2344
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 9:46 pm

Re: Four Memories

Post by Firebird » Tue Feb 17, 2015 8:25 am

K-j, first off, many thanks for commenting. I am in York where the weather is icy cold this morning. Beaching in Mexico sounds wonderful.

I suppose the first one was meant to be about desperately trying to preserve a memory of a loved one who has passed away. Maybe it doesn't work - it is a bit clipped.

The second one I think I've cut back too much.

I agree with you about the third one, too many words that do nothing. Thanks for pointing this out.

I'm happy that you enjoyed the forth one.

Many thanks for reading and commenting.

Best,

Firebird

User avatar
bodkin
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 3181
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 9:51 pm
antispam: no
Location: Two inches behind my eyes just above the bridge of my nose.

Re: Four Memories

Post by bodkin » Tue Feb 17, 2015 2:52 pm

Hi Firebird and welcome!

I'm getting nice pithy images from the first two sections...

...although with the second I am hypothesizing a bit what the significance of the transformation is, but I can grasp as some possibilities.

In section three I'm rather lost for what the significance of a weightless gourd is? Unless it is that it becomes weightless because it is dry and very old... oh yes, I take it back, it that's the intend I do get it. Nice.

In section IV I see what's happening and why it is a memory, but I don't take anything else from it... e.g. I don't see how that memory fits into this collection.

I hope this is useful,

Ian

oh, minor nit, but I read "I love" as "I love" not "1 Love"... maybe add some punctuation?
http://www.ianbadcoe.uk/

User avatar
Firebird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2344
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 9:46 pm

Re: Four Memories

Post by Firebird » Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:45 pm

Bodkin, many thanks for commenting.

I agree the transformation from the first memory to the second is a little tenuous. I think it needs to be made clearer. I will try to do so.

Your interpretation of the third memory was close to what I had in mind, but a hot sun must be hot enough to fix a gourds form quickly or it's rots. I wanted to get across here that intense experiences are fixed in our memory by their intensity, but don't retain this intensity when remembered.

I agree with your comment about memory four: it doesn't seem to link up with the rest. One connection could be that the castle in memory 2 is being demolished, or just bits of reality accidentally starting to get in.

Many thanks again for your comments. They were very useful in helping me see to what extent these images work and interrelate.

Best,

Firebird

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6204
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: Four Memories

Post by Macavity » Tue Feb 17, 2015 8:59 pm

hi fb

Perhaps you could use the word deconstructed in IV. Remembrance through flowers pressed in a book is a little familiar. Perhaps you could name the book or/and flowers to colour some interesting specifics. The same with different land. Different because...

hope some of that helps

all the best

mac

User avatar
Firebird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2344
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 9:46 pm

Re: Four Memories

Post by Firebird » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:36 pm

Mac, many thanks for the very useful bits of advice. I agree that the first memory is a bit clichéd, so I have cut it. I have taken your advice about the second memory (it is now the first) and instead of 'different land' I have been specific and put 'Texan desert'. I also thought your suggestion about incorporating the word deconstruction in the final memory as a link back to the now first memory was excellent. I'd say the main problem with this poem now is that it seems a little incomplete.

Many thanks for your help. I hope I can be of similar assistance at some point.

All my best,

Firebird
Last edited by Firebird on Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
bodkin
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 3181
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 9:51 pm
antispam: no
Location: Two inches behind my eyes just above the bridge of my nose.

Re: Four Memories

Post by bodkin » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:42 pm

Hi FB,

Liking the revision a lot!

Ian
http://www.ianbadcoe.uk/

Ros
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 7961
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2008 4:53 pm
antispam: no
Location: this hill-shadowed city/of razors and knives.
Contact:

Re: Four Memories

Post by Ros » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:06 pm

Hi Firebird, I like the revision, too. They are snapshot images and a different sort of poem would tell us more, but I feel they are effective. I felt in Dust that perhaps you didn't need the lines to be quite so short - seems to make it rather jerky. If this were mine I'd perhaps go with

A building, too close
to demolish,
is being deconstructed
and he inadvertently
leaves a window
ajar.

and you could lose a couple of commas too.

Ros
Rosencrantz: What are you playing at? Guildenstern: Words. Words. They're all we have to go on.
___________________________
Antiphon - www.antiphon.org.uk

Arian
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 2718
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:41 am
antispam: no
Location: Hertfordshire, UK

Re: Four Memories

Post by Arian » Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:00 pm

Hi Firebird

I'm afraid I'm not really connecting with this. It's likely to be my reading, rather than your poem, but - all the same - it leaves me pretty much unmoved. I think it might be because, to me, it has a forced 'poetic' air - deliberately abstract and gnomic, with no apparent attempt at a comprehensible emotional narrative. I like a couple of images, but - in the main - there seems to be very little in the way of narrative flow. Is it a deliberate irony that there are only 3 verses to relate to 4 memories? If so, I miss the reason for the irony. And despite my best efforts, I simply fail to decipher sequences such as

A building, too close
to demolish,
is being deconstructed,

Overall, this seems to me to be (as k-j implies) someone trying to be poetic, as opposed to writing what they feel.

Apologies for the negative input on your first poem (if it is).

Cheers
Peter

User avatar
Firebird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2344
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 9:46 pm

Re: Four Memories

Post by Firebird » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:02 pm

Ros, thank you for commenting. I may well go with your suggestions for the lines in 'Dust'.

Peter, thank you, also, for commenting. I accept your viewpoint, even though it seems to be based on the type of poem you wanted to read. You wouldn't judge a free form poem based on the criteria set out for a sonnet, even if what you really wanted to read was a sonnet. Not all narratives have to be relatively explicit, closely knit, and linear, and this is the same for poems. I made no attempt to 'sound' poetic; however, the voice is a detached one, so it doesn't detract from the images, which need to be thought about within their context, for their emotions to be realised.

The revised version is no longer called 'Four Memories'; it is called 'Afterlife'.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,

Firebird

User avatar
JJWilliamson
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 3297
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:20 am

Re: Four Memories

Post by JJWilliamson » Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:00 pm

Hi Firebird,

I enjoyed reading this poem, especially S1. The wonderful contrast of the Highland castle and Texan desert really grabs the reader's attention, I smiled with anticipation at this point wondering what was to come. Instead of 'she' could you use a first/pet name to personalise the assertion?

S2 is virtually abstract in its entirety, perhaps some imagery to help me understand. I think more would be more in this case. There is no point of reference for the reader to follow and I struggle with the significance of the 'gourd', unless you are referring to the bitterness often associated with gourds.

S3 I think this is a very delicate and thoughtful strophe. The 'window' seems to stand as a metaphor for the writer's/character's reluctance to let go of something close to him. There are melancholic overtones that leave the reader feeling curious AND sympathetic, which brings me back to S2. If you decide to strengthen the imagery in S2 I believe a fine poem will emerge; It's a matter of progression.

Best,

JJ
Firebird wrote:Revised Version
Afterlife

I. Love

She becomes
a highland castle
reconstructed
in a Texan desert.

II. Torridity

He can't believe
that this time
will be no more
than an almost
weightless gourd.

III. Dust

A building, too close
to demolish,
is being deconstructed,
and he
inadvertently,
leaves
a window
ajar.


Four Memories

I Love

He holds on
like a book
pressing flowers.

II Guilt

Slowly, she becomes
a highland castle
reconstructed
in a different land.

III Torridity


He had been told
that one day
this time
would be no more
than an almost
weightless
gourd.

IV Dust


A nearby building's
being demolished,
and he
inadvertently,
leaves
a window
ajar.
Long time a child and still a child

User avatar
Firebird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2344
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 9:46 pm

Re: Four Memories

Post by Firebird » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:26 pm

JJ, many thanks for your very useful comments. I have tried to develop the second stanza in a more concrete way as you suggested. I feel though that the second line is now a little clichéd.

Ros, I have also added to the final stanza and included some of your line suggestions, too.

Many thanks to you both for your advise.

All my best,

FB.

Post Reply