The Dark Foreign Gentleman

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dedalus
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The Dark Foreign Gentleman

Post by dedalus » Sun Jun 14, 2015 10:22 pm

Venezia, 1536

When I dance along the cluttered quays
the whores fall babbling to their knees
and rinse their mouths of curses;
I rest content, may this you please,
aware of Nature’s slight reverses.

Ships daily ply across the ocean
to what harbour towns I have no notion,
thus I turn my eyes upon the houses;
I stand quite still, bereft of motion,
awaiting the peace that this arouses.

I have just passed these many days
observing the signals and secret ways
of the people I have come among;
I absorb their silent ayes and nays
as words of a hymn I have always sung.

I am the eyes and ears of our faraway king,
sent here to observe every man and thing
that may affect our nation;
I court success, of this I sing,
to fail would bring damnation.

ray miller
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Re: The Dark Foreign Gentleman

Post by ray miller » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:04 pm

I quite like it, Bren, but I'd recommend you ditch the 2nd verse. It reads very rhyme-led and doesn't seem to add a great deal.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: The Dark Foreign Gentleman

Post by brianedwards » Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:21 pm

S1 is so good it would be hard for anyone to follow. And so it is proved. The rest of the poem doesn't come close Bren. Maybe condense the ideas of the rest into a 4/5 liner? Dunno. You don't give a shite anyway I'm sure.

Yep, s1 excellent.

B.

dedalus
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Re: The Dark Foreign Gentleman

Post by dedalus » Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:09 am

It seems I have a lot of discarding to do, beginning with S2! I rather like S3, myself, and S4 delivers the "solution" as to who this chap really is. Also ... contrary to supposition, Brian, I DO give a shite but it is neither time-shuddering nor clawing at the soul.

Cheers, gents
Bren

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Re: The Dark Foreign Gentleman

Post by David » Sat Jun 20, 2015 5:26 pm

Yes, S1 is very good, and that's your model for the whole poem, surely? Except that you only want 3 beats in L5. Beats of 4-4-3-4-3, yes?

In fact, isn't that the Tom O'Bedlam rhythm? Just checked - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_o%27_Bedlam - it's something like, at least. That's the way to go!

Cheers

David

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Re: The Dark Foreign Gentleman

Post by dedalus » Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:13 am

Hi David

I could drop "Nature's" from S1L5 but dilike the alteration for it begs the question of what kind of reverses:

"and RINSE their MOUTHS of CURSes"
" aWARE of (NAture's) SLIGHT Re VERSes"

Thanks for the link to TOM O'BEDLAM. I didn't KNOW about the GENtleman-- GENtleMAN??

All the best, Bren

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JJWilliamson
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Re: The Dark Foreign Gentleman

Post by JJWilliamson » Tue Jun 23, 2015 10:54 am

I liked this one, Brendan.

I'm drawn to the subject of accent and stress variations because my analysis may vary significantly from yours.
I've noticed, over the years, how American pronunciation can influence scansion. The same is true of all
'English' accents, I think. A simple example would be the U.S. HONG Kong v's Hong KONG. Even that can vary.
I'm no expert on Irish accents so I'll remain mute on that score. You might not even have one. I could hazard a guess
but I'm not brave enough to leap in the deep end yet. :)

Some thoughts for your perusal, including my take on your meter:
dedalus wrote:Venezia, 1536

When I dance along the cluttered quays ...Why 'dance' ? I have no objections but wondered if there was any significance. The rhythm dances btw. 4 Stresses.
the whores fall babbling to their knees ...An amusing rhyme and vivid imagery. 4 Stresses.
and rinse their mouths of curses; ...3 stresses.
I rest content, may this you please, ...4 Stresses.
aware of Nature’s slight reverses. ...Grammatically fine but my ear (with the emphasis on MY) wants 'reversals'. But, that wrecks the rhyme. Miniscule nit really. 4 stresses.

Ships daily ply across the ocean ...4 stresses. Could also stress 'ship'.
to what harbour towns I have no notion, ...The 'ocean/notion' rhyme is ok especially when followed by 'motion', with the motion of the sea etc. 4 stresses.
thus I turn my eyes upon the houses; ...I think 4 Stresses but I could justify 5.
I stand quite still, bereft of motion, ...4 stresses.
awaiting the peace that this arouses. ...I'm not following this line. Do the 'houses' and 'motion' arouse peace? I think 'that this' reads like filler. Maybe something like EG only 'Awaiting the peace that Mark arouses.' 4 stresses.

I have just passed these many days ...4 stresses.
observing the signals and secret ways ... I like 'observing' as it implies an awareness rather than complete understanding. 4 stresses.
of the people I have come among; ...'the people' could be strengthened. EG 'traders'. Provides internal rhyme/assonance with Days, ways, nays, traders. ...4 stresses.
I absorb their silent ayes and nays ...4 stresses.
as words of a hymn I have always sung. ...Is this a reference to "Venezia 1956"? Some triple meter provides a switch. 4 stresses.

I am the eyes and ears of our faraway king,...Not sure if this line, or indeed the whole poem, follows an extended metaphor. King, damnation etc? It works literally and metaphorically. 5 stresses.
sent here to observe every man and thing ...'thing' doesn't cut the mustard. If the necessity for rhyme was removed, it would have very little impact. More triple meter. 4 stresses.
]that may affect our nation; ...Fine. 3 stresses.
I court success, of this I sing, ...4 stresses. Not sure about 'of this I sing' ...'this' makes a number of appearances. Nowt to shout about though.
to fail would bring damnation. 3 stresses. Like the close.
All in all, a very interesting read and one to return to.

Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

dedalus
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Re: The Dark Foreign Gentleman

Post by dedalus » Tue Jun 23, 2015 1:37 pm

Dear JJ,

Well, that was a marvellous review and I'm still looking at it and counting stresses on my fingers -- in the Japanese way. You bend your thumb, you bend your first, then your 2nd 3rd and 4th fingers until you have a fist of five. Then you start on the other hand.

I'm a sometime student of Chinese characters since they are inolyed in writing Japanese. Pronunciation is usually different from Mandarin or Cantonese. Taiwanese Chinese is Mandarin, I believe. Love is one character (愛) , but Truth is generally two (心理 or 事実, 真実 In addition we have two phonetic syllabaries - one being not enough - plus the Latin alphabet.

I have a vague middle-class DublinIin accent which speeds up considerably whenever I go home on a visit. The original it appears is not understandable in Japan. In Ireland accent can be perilous since it gives away where a person is from within a few dozen square miles as easily as a map. During the Northern Ireland troubles accent was used to distinguish Catholics from Protestants, an eerie and spine-chilling fact.

I liked your Taiwanese pom very much indeed as did many of the forum members. New blood and a new voice has arrived!

Best wishes, Brendan

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