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For Ann Lovett (CTG)

Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 3:28 pm
by ChrisGeorge
For Ann Lovett

Here is where she gave birth
in the Maria grotto under
the statue of the Blessed Virgin.

Earlier the January wind scythed
across the patchwork of fields,
swirled around the drystone walls,

ruffled the wool of the sheep,
drove starlings like duckshot
across the gunmetal sky.

Normally she'd have gone to school,
in her anorak and jumpers, size hidden;
instead, before either ma and da

got up, she walked to the grassy
hillock with its sheepcreep paths,
the grotto with its holy figures.

Sister Immaculata later told reporters
that Ann was such an intelligent girl,
very artistic. If only Ann had told her

-- but none knew her situation: she'd kept
it well hid, confided in no one.
She carried scissors with her

to snip the umbilical cord -- she knew
that much. For hours, she lay in labor
in the cold afternoon rain.
When found by the schoolboys

it was too late for mother or child,
the child asphyxiated in childbirth,
the mother exposed to the elements,
later to breathe her last in hospital.

As she lay dying, did she think
of the lover no one knew she had?
Or did she just think
of the beseeching face of Mary?

Christopher T. George




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39KU7Agwmis


http://usilive.org/opinions/remembering-ann-lovett/

Re: For Ann Lovett (CTG)

Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 5:11 pm
by ray miller
Interesting tale and poem. I'd prefer the questions in the last stanza were left unasked.

in her anorak and jumpers, size hidden; - size hidden doesn't work for me. Maybe hiding her secret in anorak and jumpers?

I like sheepcreep paths.

Re: For Ann Lovett (CTG)

Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 5:44 pm
by ChrisGeorge
Thanks for your input, Ray.

Chris

Re: For Ann Lovett (CTG)

Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 11:11 pm
by brianedwards
Hello Christopher,

I'm afraid this is doing nothing for this reader. However,

drove starlings like duckshot
across the gunmetal sky.


is excellent, the clear highlight in what is otherwise a cloyingly prosaic effort. The poem not so much wears its heart on its sleeve as wears its heart as a sleeve: as a reader I have nowhere to go in this poem and am simply carried along to the conclusions the poet wishes to draw. It's a far more complex issue than I think the poem allows, and so comes across as preachy, telling me what to think and feel.
In terms of poetics, everything is told, many of the line breaks seem arbitrary and the language is, on the whole, fairly moribund.

I'm sure there are plenty who'll disagree with me.

B.

Re: For Ann Lovett (CTG)

Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 6:00 am
by dedalus
As a previous commentator remarks,
The poem not so much wears its heart on its sleeve as wears its heart as a sleeve: as a reader I have nowhere to go in this poem and am simply carried along to the conclusions the poet wishes to draw.
I agree with the first part of this sentence but not with the second. This seems to to be a very well-told story that also happens to be a poem, and as such I judge it more on its storytelling skill than any other quality. Such skill is very much in evidence and as an inveterate yarn-spinner myself that tends to weigh more heavily than any poetic blemishes. This is unfair to the previous commentator if only because it changes the terms of judgement. If only, he says! As a story this piece works very well.

Best wishes, Brendan

Re: For Ann Lovett (CTG)

Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 6:37 am
by brianedwards
Revisited in light of the above comments. I agree it might work as a story, but not, currently, in the opinion of this reader, as a poem.
I do think, having reread it a number of times, that stanzas 2-5 hold potential, but I still find the surrounding stanzas problematic.

B.

Re: For Ann Lovett (CTG)

Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 7:26 am
by Richard
Chris I am basically with Brian on this, I am afraid. If you excised the stanzas in bold below, I think it would help: I think they are unnecessary and/or weaker.

Here is where she gave birth
in the Maria grotto under
the statue of the Blessed Virgin.

Earlier the January wind scythed <----scythed is cliched to my ear.
across the patchwork of fields,
swirled around the drystone walls,

ruffled the wool of the sheep,
drove starlings like duckshot
across the gunmetal sky.

Normally she'd have gone to school,
in her anorak and jumpers, size hidden;
instead, before either ma and da

got up, she walked to the grassy
hillock with its sheepcreep paths,
the grotto with its holy figures.

Sister Immaculata later told reporters
that Ann was such an intelligent girl,
very artistic. If only Ann had told her

-- but none knew her situation: she'd kept
it well hid, confided in no one.
She carried scissors with her

to snip the umbilical cord -- she knew
that much. For hours, she lay in labor
in the cold afternoon rain.
When found by the schoolboys

it was too late for mother or child,
the child asphyxiated in childbirth,
the mother exposed to the elements,
later to breathe her last in hospital.

As she lay dying, did she think
of the lover no one knew she had?
Or did she just think
of the beseeching face of Mary?

Re: For Ann Lovett (CTG)

Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 1:39 pm
by brianedwards

Earlier the January wind
crossed the patchwork of fields,
swirled drystone walls,

ruffled wool of sheep,
drove starlings like duckshot
across the gunmetal sky.

Normally she'd have gone to school,
in anorak and jumpers, size
and scissors hidden,

walked to the grassy hillock
with its sheepcreep paths,
the grotto with its holy figures.
Just occurred to me. Something like.

B.

Re: For Ann Lovett (CTG)

Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 6:37 pm
by ChrisGeorge
Hi everyone

Thank you so much for your varied responses. Much appreciated. Yes I realize the piece is prosey in some sections. Let me consider that. I appreciate the help.

Chris

Re: For Ann Lovett (CTG)

Posted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 4:22 pm
by David
Hi Chris. This may be a little late, but I enjoyed the poem on first read, although it did seem to become a little humdrum towards the end.

Going back to it, though, I agree that stanzas 1 (which is fine by me) to 5 are where all the good stuff is at present. But there is good stuff there.

I'd definitely like to see what you can do with this.

Cheers

David