Victoriana

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HenryBones
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Victoriana

Post by HenryBones » Tue Jul 07, 2015 11:23 pm

Victoriana

First things in the morning
the station would lie on the horizon
like the triple-barrelled chin

and hunchback of a whale
that washed up on the Wexford shore-line
at the tail

end of the nineteenth century.
In time, she too would be shorn
of all her finery -

her steam plumes and bottlenosed
engines becoming no less sparse
than blubber, blowholes

and ambergris.
For now, though, it's enough to note
how the incipient light slips

along her thinning glass and steel
as it might the links in a warrior's
chain mail

hauberk, a string of gilded dragon's
teeth or the glistening skeleton
of a leviathan

as it hovers over empty space
in the museum, fusing the pieces
of the world back into place.

brianedwards
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Re: Victoriana

Post by brianedwards » Wed Jul 08, 2015 5:09 am

Beautifully done Mr Bones. The metaphor holds together well all the way down. It's quite a leap you're asking the reader to make too, but it rewards the imagination. Only nit for me is right at the start: "First things" - is that a typo?

Fine work.

B.

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Re: Victoriana

Post by Suzanne » Wed Jul 08, 2015 7:13 am

Hi HB,

The beginning was hard to follow and it might be a typo as B said.
I think that the image of a triple chin is clever but i found it hard to imagine alongside a whale.

I think it could be smoother but, if this is a real place and that looks exactly like thar, well then... So be it.


I liked the pacing and found myself in awe under it.

Like a brief morning field-trip, lol.

Thanks,
Suzanne

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Re: Victoriana

Post by Ros » Wed Jul 08, 2015 10:52 am

Enjoyed this a lot but I'm struggling with the stanza breaks - to me they make it feel very disjointed, particularly tail/end of the, though I see why you've done it, also the chain mail haulberk break. Have you tried it with longer lines and more regular breaks, to see what it sounds like?

Ros
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brianedwards
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Re: Victoriana

Post by brianedwards » Wed Jul 08, 2015 1:30 pm

Forgot to mention those stanza breaks. I agree. Some of the end rhymes are a stretch anyway I think, to my ear, so you would gain more than you'd lose in adjusting.

Still really rolling with this one though. You recently responded to one of my poems by saying you feel like packing in writing. Much appreciated but utter shite. You are a fine writer and a very welcome voice here.

B.

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Re: Victoriana

Post by ablackfoot » Thu Jul 09, 2015 12:44 am

Hi, interesting read. It has beauty and sincerity and cinematic imagination - all things I strive for. Reminded me in a basic way of Composed Upon Westminster Bridge by Wordsworth. Perhaps that was an inspiration.

I agree with others that you could improve the line break at tail/end and maybe hauberk too. The sudden strangeness of hauberk was unmediated maybe. End could go on previous line in my opinion.''

I think I stumbled also when you talk about the sparseness of steam plumes and bottle nosed engines. If the Victorian age is shorn of her finery, shouldn't you say these things became sparse - whenever that would be?

Also, where is this? If I could look it up then maybe I could have the satisfaction of the analogies.

I think you are saying the leviathan could have been in a museum. Maybe that is right but I am left wanting the last four lines to make sense. Is it a dinosaur body that fuses the world back into place? OK, maybe that is it. That works because the backward looking mythic view of the Victorians was modern in its Darwinism and perhaps even both of these views (symbol or no) are completely relevant today. At least that is how I read it.

Really enjoyed the range here. Thanks.

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Re: Victoriana

Post by SteveR » Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:43 pm

I love this poem and can visualise it clearly. Great metaphor.

The only phrase that caused me pause was, "thinning glass." Do you mean thinning, as in panes are missing, or actually thinning? I live in a very old house and one of the things I have observed is how, as they age, the panes thin at the top, get thicker at the bottom. Or, is it something entirely different?

Steve

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Re: Victoriana

Post by Ros » Thu Jul 09, 2015 8:15 pm

The whole glass running as it ages thing is a myth, by the way. They just didn't make it very evenly.
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Suzanne
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Re: Victoriana

Post by Suzanne » Fri Jul 10, 2015 5:57 am

Always the scientist, Ros. Lol. I have old wavy glass in some of my windows. 1950 Finland.

If he meant missing panes, he would have said missing panes, i'd think.

Thinning might be a problem in a Myth Buster way but i think it is ok here.

I like this better each read. Really.
Suzanne

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Re: Victoriana

Post by David » Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:21 pm

brianedwards wrote:"First things" - is that a typo?
Roger that.

Does triple-barrelled chin work? Can't quite see that myself.

And can light be incipient? I'm just carping, aren't I? Well, it's a fish. (Which a whale is not, of course.)
HenryBones wrote:of a leviathan

as it hovers over empty space
in the museum
Am I imagining it, or is the skeleton of a whale - a blue whale? - suspended over one of the halls in the Natural History Museum in London? (And is there a reference to that here?)

Overall this seems to me like a good idea that doesn't work yet, but could.

Cheers

David

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Re: Victoriana

Post by cynwulf » Mon Jul 20, 2015 3:48 pm

Enjoyed reading this, though I join the consensus on the breaks. Brought to mind visits to the NRM in York, some fine leviathans there.
Regards, C.

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Re: Victoriana

Post by peter » Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:04 pm

I enjoyed this too. The imagery is interesting, and the last verse, alluding to the museum, was surprising and rounds off the poem well.

I prefer consistent structure, so I would like to see those remaining stanzas with rhymes in lines 1 and 3, like most of them are.
I did find the jump to 'hauberk' jarring. Probably because I don't come across that word much - I read 'chain mail' as a noun, ending the stanza above. Once I know it's coming, I find it easier to read.

Anyhow, an enjoyable poem.

(Incidentally, the mention of 'Wexford' reminded me of one of my favourite poems "A Disused Shed in County Wexford' by David Mahon - clearly a good source of inspiration for poets!?)

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Re: Victoriana

Post by bodkin » Tue Jul 28, 2015 10:40 am

Not really working for me as a whole, I am afraid. I think I must be missing some connection between the station and the whale. Maybe there is something about Wexford Railway Station that lends itself to this comparison, but I tried Googling for it and I didn't find any pictures that made it clear.

At the end, you begin "For now, though" and I read that "now" as being back in the past (e.g. at the same time as "in the morning the station would") but then you jump into a museum (presumably today's use of the station) so that's a wrench.

Also the last clause... I have no idea what that means? What pieces, fused how? Are you referring to the gathering of things that were together in Victorian times, then lost, then collected again in the museum.

This all sounds very negative, but it is really just one problem of not getting it, I think; and thus not being able to appreciate it properly. Some of the phrases and moments along the way are lovely, it is just the whole that eludes me...

Ian
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