Niece

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Mic
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Niece

Post by Mic » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:16 pm

In a rare conversation after school
- she usually disappears upstairs
to build Lego towers with no windows -
she tells me about must-dos.
Must-dos are what they have to do
if they're to get extra play.

They must do three must-dos each morning
and there are different kinds of must-dos,
like make and do, or imaginary world.
But she can’t ever get through
her three must-dos in time.

Her classmates are in a similar spot,
except those that illegally tick off
that they’ve done their must-dos
on the must-do wall chart.
So she has brought a must-do
home with her. Keeping quiet
about the legality of this

I leave her to finish
her must-do drawing of a
tall princess in a sideways dress,
standing on top of a castle, waiting,
while over there, in the distance,
a tiny knight comes a-galloping
across the fields.



(I've just tighetned it up a bit, taking the more obviously prosy bits out. This is just temporary while I think about how perhaps to introduce more metaphor and music)

Original

In a rare conversation after school
- she usually disappears upstairs
to build Lego towers with no windows -
she tells me about must-dos. It is evidently
a subject of pressing importance.
Must-dos are what they have to do
if they are to get extra play.

They must do three must-dos each morning
and there are different kinds of must-dos,
like make and do, or imaginary world.
But – and here’s the thing –
she can’t ever get through
her three must-dos in time,
so never gets extra play.

Her classmates are in a similar position,
except those that illegally tick off
that they’ve done their must-dos
on the must-do wall chart,
so she has brought a must-do
home with her. Keeping quiet
about the possible illegality of this

I leave her to finish
her must-do drawing of a
tall princess in a sideways dress,
standing on top of a castle, waiting,
while over there, in the distance,
a tiny knight comes a-galloping
across the fields.


(PS I owe replies and critiques and will get to do this soonest, Mic)
Last edited by Mic on Fri Jun 26, 2015 11:33 am, edited 7 times in total.
"Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you" - Rumi

Suzanne
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Re: Niece

Post by Suzanne » Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:12 am

Hi,

I like this story and can see the exchange very clearly. I think it is a wonderful ending describing the drawing. The flow or punctuation is not quite right .... Who is waiting mixes up for a nano second. It is something little.

I would take off the first stanza as it seems extra to the focus of the poem. I think it is a wonderful moment for the N and her to capture but for the poem, i think taking N out and setting her in a spot light, her saying must-do a million times is more captivating.

I think that having the must-do prase in a rhythmic pattern, either at the the end or beginning of a line? would also strenthen her determination to convey the importance of it.

Enjoyed the scene, warm and wonderful memories.
Suzanne

ray miller
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Re: Niece

Post by ray miller » Thu Jun 11, 2015 11:44 am

I like it a lot, but then I'm fond of poems about children. I think this bit is unnecessary

It is evidently
a subject of pressing importance

Likewise and here's the thing

I'd suggest similar spot, rather than position

Not sure what you mean by a sideways dress - she is standing sideways? I like the tall princess/tiny knight thing, it's true to life. Just as a matter of interest, how old is your niece?
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: Niece

Post by David » Thu Jun 11, 2015 12:58 pm

The overall effect of the poem is charming, Michaela. There are a few slightly stodgy / prosy sections - the two mentioned by Ray, at least, and I'd also suggest Her classmates are in a similar position - but that last verse redeems pretty much everything.

I'm also not sure what a sideways dress would be. (Something related to the Egyptian approach to drawing figures?)

And - although I know I tend to be an over-modifier - I'd like something witty and affecting to qualify fields. But, taking into account my previous record, that may be unnecessary.

Cheers

David

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Re: Niece

Post by brianedwards » Thu Jun 11, 2015 1:00 pm

Hi Michaela.

I too am naturally drawn to writing about children, and so I do enjoy this little introduction to your charming niece, however - and here's the thing - I find it too prosaic. It lacks sufficient imagery, music or metaphor for me. It definitely has potential, but I know you can make this sing rather than simply say.

B.

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Re: Niece

Post by Mic » Thu Jun 11, 2015 1:30 pm

Hello everyone! (It feels just like old times.)

Suzanne,
Suzanne wrote:I would take off the first stanza as it seems extra to the focus of the poem. I think it is a wonderful moment for the N and her to capture but for the poem, i think taking N out and setting her in a spot light, her saying must-do a million times is more captivating.
Yep, and your comments are echoed in David, Ray's and Brian's concerns later.

I think I was just hoping that the repetitionn of the must-dos would be amusing and 'enough' (i.e. making up for lack of imagery and trying also to get that voice across, the way children do that repeating thing). It doesn't, though and I can see that.

This neice is not one for socialising, and when she does the conversations can be terribly earnest (not always, we do have a giggle sometimes), but in this particular conversation I really had to work very hard to conceal my amusement.

Ray
ray miller wrote:I like it a lot, but then I'm fond of poems about children.
Thanks. And me too.
ray miller wrote:It is evidently
a subject of pressing importance

Likewise and here's the thing
Yes, this seems to be the general feeling. I'll look at these sections again.
ray miller wrote:
I'd suggest similar spot, rather than position


Maybe, as David suggests, this also needs to go.
ray miller wrote:Not sure what you mean by a sideways dress
It's just her signature in her drawings - the majority of the skirt part is all drawn to one side of the body. Perhaps I'll do an example and upload it :)

She's going to be 6 in July, though this conversation happened about 6 months ago.

David!
David wrote: but that last verse redeems pretty much everything.
Oh good! I was of course particularly pleased with that bit. Should I modify fields? I did think about it. But I thought, I've alreaddy modifyed the princess and the knight, so felt it would be too much modifying. But def worth thinking about.

Brian,
Looks like we've both returned at around the same time.
brianedwards wrote:It lacks sufficient imagery, music or metaphor for me.
Yes okay. I suppose my feeling was wanting to get across the must-dos repetition and that this might lift these lines enough. I'm going to see what sort of reworking I can do. I was hoping, though, that the 'plainess' of the preceding part would act as a springboard for the last stanza.

Mic

:-)
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Re: Niece

Post by brianedwards » Thu Jun 11, 2015 1:36 pm

Yes Michaela, I can sense that intent which is why I'd like you to push it a little more. It can be plain spoken yet still musical. Often it is upon rereading plain spoken poetry that you begin to hear the music. On this occasion, having read the poem several times, I was disappointed it wasn't the case. You are poet enough to make it so.

And yes, a serendipitous reunion! Let's hope we can create a spark, then a flame... It's been a little quiet apparently.

B.

Mic
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Re: Niece

Post by Mic » Thu Jun 11, 2015 2:33 pm

I've just tighetned it up a bit, taking the more obviously prosy bits out. This is just a temporary measure while I think about how perhaps to introduce more metaphor and music.

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

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Re: Niece

Post by Suzanne » Thu Jun 11, 2015 2:59 pm

It is the loveliest story.... Really a gift moment.

I had this thought:

She didn't rush upstairs
to build windowless lego towers,

Show us her body movement filled with excitiment.
The things you have revealed in the comments are bits to glean for the poem! I love the concealed giggle at her earnest must-do.

You can do it! It will be great.
Suzanne

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Re: Niece

Post by David » Thu Jun 11, 2015 4:31 pm

brianedwards wrote:It's been a little quiet apparently.
It has? I hadn't noticed. I think there's been a very agreeable buzz about the place. But maybe that's just me.

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Re: Niece

Post by Ros » Thu Jun 11, 2015 4:40 pm

David wrote:
brianedwards wrote:It's been a little quiet apparently.
It has? I hadn't noticed. I think there's been a very agreeable buzz about the place. But maybe that's just me.
Yep, I'd agree.
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Re: Niece

Post by Ros » Thu Jun 11, 2015 4:41 pm

I think others have said most of it, Mic - but I'd like to add that the idea of must-dos is well worth pursuing, and I think you can make something really good of this.

Ros
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Re: Niece

Post by brianedwards » Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:41 pm

Ros wrote:
David wrote:
brianedwards wrote:It's been a little quiet apparently.
It has? I hadn't noticed. I think there's been a very agreeable buzz about the place. But maybe that's just me.
Yep, I'd agree.
It's what others told me. I've not been around so how could I know. Maybe quiet is the wrong adjective.

Sorry Michaela, to be off topic.

B.

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Re: Niece

Post by David » Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:08 pm

Mic wrote:(I've just tighetned it up a bit, taking the more obviously prosy bits out. This is just temporary while I think about how perhaps to introduce more metaphor and music)
It's a good revision already, I'd say. Careful about trying too hard to put more metaphor and music in there. That can look a bit strained. Don't lose the easy charm it has already!

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Re: Niece

Post by Mic » Sat Jun 13, 2015 7:50 pm

Thanks David :-) & Ros!
"Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you" - Rumi

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Re: Niece

Post by JJWilliamson » Mon Jun 15, 2015 4:24 pm

A lovely poem and one that was well worth the read. I enjoyed this view of the children's world and how they attach an importance to
so many things.

I think if you looked at a couple of verbs and modifiers you might find something there. EG
'disappears' could be... flies, races, bolts
'finish' could be...shape, sharpen, buff, polish
'tall' could be... elegant, graceful, noble ...changed my mind, keep 'tall' :)

[quote="Mic"]In a rare conversation after school
- she usually disappears upstairs
to build Lego towers with no windows -
she tells me about must-dos.
Must-dos are what they have to do
if they're to get extra play. ...love the play on 'to do' and 'to get'

They must do three must-dos each morning
and there are different kinds of must-dos,
like make and do, or imaginary world.
But she can’t ever get through ...do you need 'can't'? EG But she never gets through her three must-dos in time.
her three must-dos in time.

Her classmates are in a similar spot,
except those that illegally tick off ...'illegally' is brilliant.
that they’ve done their must-dos
on the must-do wall chart.
So she has brought a must-do
home with her. Keeping quiet
about the likely illegality of this

I leave her to finish
her must-do drawing of a
tall princess in a sideways dress,
standing on top of a castle, waiting,
while over there, in the distance, ...'over there' could be strengthened
a tiny knight comes a-galloping ...Ah, 'tall' and 'tiny'
across the fields.

Well, just a thought or two. Please use or lose as you see fit.

Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

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