The Outside of Enough

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ray miller
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The Outside of Enough

Post by ray miller » Tue Jun 30, 2015 1:17 pm

A phrase he chanced upon in Chapter Twenty-One
of Sense and Sensibility: an exchange
between the exemplars of refinement
and vulgarity, centring upon whether
their host’s ungovernable offspring
were indulged overmuch or just enough.

He wondered where it is, the outside of enough,
imagined a circle of evenings such as this
when the Tranquilyn has ceased its sedative effect
and the Tourettish tics grow louder and more often,
when her listening skills are forgotten and she pokes
her face into a prickle of defiance.

Thinking, this is where we live, what we’ve become
familiar with, somewhere beyond lies
the abyss that’s been occasionally glimpsed,
like fearing one day he’ll wake to find
the entire household contents pinched
and zipped inside her eighty-seven bags.

And despite the study days, comprehending
her condition and a wealth of fostered children,
he hears a voice insisting one good whack
on the arse would stop the nonsense. But the thought
moves no further. It just reminds him of the eighties,
when he contemplated Thatcher’s murder.

Look how much was tolerated on the say-so
of Queen Margaret, unions and communities
split open in the interest of the market.
He resents the precedent that has been set:
a generation waiting for something to turn up,
jostling for position on the outside of enough.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

Macavity
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Re: The Outside of Enough

Post by Macavity » Wed Jul 01, 2015 3:34 pm

And despite the study days, comprehending
her condition and a wealth of fostered children,
he hears a voice insisting one good whack
on the arse would stop the nonsense. But the thought
moves no further. It just reminds him of the eighties,
when he contemplated Thatcher’s murder.

Hi Ray,
I thought the pacing worked better here with the sentence lengths. A thought for the other stanzas?
Look how much was tolerated on the say-so
of Queen Margaret, unions and communities
split open in the interest of the market.
He resents the precedent that has been set:
a generation waiting for something to turn up,
jostling for position on the outside of enough.
True! Though driven as much by ideology as economics.

all the best

mac

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Re: The Outside of Enough

Post by David » Wed Jul 01, 2015 6:52 pm

I thought you'd been watching Mr Norrell and Jonathan Strange, as I'm sure they used this phrase last week or the week before. I didn't know it was a Jane phrase, but no doubt the author (of Mr N & J S) purloined it because it was of the right period for her book. Your use of the northern "were" (isn't it?) intrudes strangely into that early 19th century diction.

Very good anyway. I thought at first that the end of S4 would be a good place to stop, especially because the first half of the final stanza feels a bit preachy, as though a moral lesson is being imparted (and it is, I know), but the second half of it is terrific - the last line in particular. I wouldn't want to change that at all.

Cheers

David

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Re: The Outside of Enough

Post by Ros » Wed Jul 01, 2015 6:59 pm

I'm finding it a rather strange juxtaposition of subjects, though it's all extremely well written.

The line breaks here

Thinking, this is where we live, what we’ve become
familiar with, somewhere beyond lies
the abyss

are tremendous. Don't think I've seen better.

Ros
Rosencrantz: What are you playing at? Guildenstern: Words. Words. They're all we have to go on.
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ray miller
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Re: The Outside of Enough

Post by ray miller » Thu Jul 02, 2015 3:07 pm

Thanks for the comments. The phrase goes further back than Jane Austen, but I can't recall who coined it. I've a feeling I've taken a wrong turning with this somewhere, not quite sure where as yet. Certainly, the first half of the last stanza will be changed.

and vulgarity, centring upon whether
their host’s ungovernable offspring
were indulged overmuch or just enough.

Is were not correct, David? I'm wondering what the alternative might be - are, was?
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

David
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Re: The Outside of Enough

Post by David » Thu Jul 02, 2015 5:53 pm

ray miller wrote:and vulgarity, centring upon whether
their host’s ungovernable offspring
were indulged overmuch or just enough.

Is were not correct, David? I'm wondering what the alternative might be - are, was?
Actually, I think it is correct, and it was just me being thick. I think I read "offspring" as singular, but if it's plural then of course "were" is correct.

Mea culpa!

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Re: The Outside of Enough

Post by brianedwards » Sun Jul 05, 2015 11:26 am

Enjoyed Ray. My initial feeling was to lose the first and last stanza, but of course that diminishes the overriding thesis, so I'm wondering if you could cut the 1st and somehow combine the idea with the latter half of the last stanza to create a new closing stanza. Make sense? Stronger without the direct reference to S&S, IMO.

B.

ray miller
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Re: The Outside of Enough

Post by ray miller » Mon Jul 06, 2015 10:54 am

Thanks, Brian. I wouldn't want to lose the Sense and Sensibility reference entirely but I quite like the idea of somehow amalgamating the first and last stanzas.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

brianedwards
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Re: The Outside of Enough

Post by brianedwards » Mon Jul 06, 2015 11:19 am

An epigraph perhaps? It doesn't seem a very Ray thing to do, but variety, spice, etc.

Still enjoying this.

B.

ray miller
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Re: The Outside of Enough

Post by ray miller » Tue Jul 07, 2015 11:46 am

Thanks, Brian. An epigraph doesn't seem a very Ray thing, but I've done one before and lived to tell the tale. I think I'll put this one away until its alphabetical turn comes round.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: The Outside of Enough

Post by blackpanther » Tue Jul 07, 2015 7:15 pm

my initial thoughts were that there was no need for a final stanza. it was almost like it had gone on long enough but without it the poem isnt quite complete - think that the final stanza needs an overhaul just to bring it inline with the quality of the rest of the piece.

lovely to read you :)

donna

ray miller
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Re: The Outside of Enough

Post by ray miller » Wed Jul 08, 2015 9:34 am

Thanks, Donna. Yes, one day the final stanza will be taken apart.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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