Page 1 of 1

Cuckoo

Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 12:14 pm
by ray miller
He finds it painful watching me scribble
like this; a hard pressed fist that struggles
to stay on the page. A daughter of his,
my sister these days, was once moved up
a year in class; he thought he’d sired a genius:
just a zealous teacher, just a normal kid.
Now they’ve decided to put me down,
he ought to be feeling more hurt and shame;
but I’m not flesh and blood and he
didn’t shrink my head in a bottle,
or wear my bones in the field of battle.
Still, someone must groan on my behalf,
so he’ll hang his head and pretend
not to mark the sound of splintering
wood on paper, the grating
of the pencil sharpener.

Re: Graft

Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:31 am
by Macavity
Like it Ray. Reminds me of another poem by you...perhaps that opening image...a vivid one to begin the poem anyway...also liked didn’t shrink my head in a bottle.
or bear a shield of my bones in the field of battle.
That image wasn't so vivid and the expression felt long-winded.

typo - a rather than an?

all the best

mac

Re: Cuckoo

Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 2:03 pm
by ray miller
Thanks, Mac. Same poem probably. I revised it. Now I've changed title and a few little bits.

Re: Cuckoo

Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 6:48 pm
by David
Another good one, Ray. The shrunken head image is - sadly - a brilliant one.

For me, it's not so much that the following one is not so vivid, as Mac finds it, but that I couldn't translate it in the same way. Something I'm missing, I expect.

Does L5 seem a little long to you? Or are you not bothered by line lengths? I know I'm more bothered by them than I should be. But the next one seems (to me) even longer, although it's a good one.

The picture evoked by the last five lines is very touching.

Cheers

David

Re: Cuckoo

Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:02 pm
by HenryBones
I thought this was fantastic, and think - both here and in other poems - that you have a real gift for understated internal rhymes and half rhymes, which plays quite beautifully against the preponderance of run-on lines. Just from the first few lines there's 'painful', 'scribble' and 'struggle' than then 'this', 'fist' and 'his' and a little later I also thought I heard a mischievous cluster around 'class', 'genius' and 'zealous'. Here, and elsewhere, there's just the right amount of unspoken humour which, it seemed to me, really made the pathos of the piece hit home. Fine work.

HB

Re: Cuckoo

Posted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 5:23 am
by Macavity
Not keen on the new title Ray...maybe because I envisage the Cuckoo to be a successful intruder, doted on by the 'parents' to the disadvantage of the other nestlings...the birdie parents are deceived. This is not the narrative of your poem.

all the best

mac

Re: Cuckoo

Posted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 7:48 am
by Mic
Hi Ray

Some first thoughts (without reading other comments)

It's a poignant vignette.
It took me a little while to get the POV (I should have paid more attention to the title in the first place). Figuring this out was, though, part of the enjoyment of the poem, for me.

I liked the quiet internal rhymes in the opening lines
The language of l5 and l6 seemed a bit out of register....
Didn't understand l10 & l11 - but they are also my favourite lines.

Enjoyed it.

Mic

Re: Cuckoo

Posted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 11:33 am
by ray miller
Thanks all.
David - I agonise over line lengths, but I'm as happy with these as I'm ever likely to get.
Henry - that's very kind of you.
Mac - I see what you mean, the parents are deceived, but there's enough of a cuckoo-ish nature going on, I think. I really like the original title, but I felt it needed to be a little more accessible - mostly from comments I received elsewhere.
Mic - I'm not exactly sure how lines 5 and 6 are out of register, though I think zealous teacher needs reconsideration. Re. lines 11-12, the child has Foetal Alcohol Syndrome and was present during domestic violence incidents.

Re: Cuckoo

Posted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 4:44 pm
by Ros
I think this is almost good! I'm not convinced by the voice as being from the girl. The tone and language seems very adult and insightful. First person ain't working for me.

Ros

Re: Cuckoo

Posted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 7:02 am
by Macavity
Foetal Alcohol Syndrome
Sounds like the right title to me. The right filter for the reading - the context. Better than an oblique title?

cheers

Mac

Re: Cuckoo

Posted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 7:36 pm
by ray miller
Ros wrote:I think this is almost good! I'm not convinced by the voice as being from the girl. The tone and language seems very adult and insightful. First person ain't working for me.

Ros
It's true and I'm surprised it wasn't picked up on before. But, I wanted to write something from her, as I wonder what she makes of her situation, and this is how it came out.

Re: Cuckoo

Posted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 7:42 pm
by ray miller
Macavity wrote:
Foetal Alcohol Syndrome
Sounds like the right title to me. The right filter for the reading - the context. Better than an oblique title?

cheers

Mac
It may be that FAS defines her more than anything else, but I was trying to explore how she feels about relationships within the family.