Cloud Life

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HenryBones
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Cloud Life

Post by HenryBones » Tue Feb 09, 2016 3:54 pm

Cloud Life

‘the soul-free cloud-life’ – Seamus Heaney

But for that flock of starlings taking
its helical turn around
the ice-white anvil wedge
of a cumulonimbus
floating overhead,

we’d have struggled to say
what was land and what was sky.
And as they sailed by, the passing
forms of that inch-to-the-mile
continental drift come so close

to the earth we thought we had only
to reach out our hands and touch it,
you insisted on giving them names:
there was Maximus, the Gladiator,
bronze-armed and wrestling troops

of silverback gorillas across
the Capitol’s marble facades,
Blackbeard, hirsute and mutinous
at the prow of a sleek man-o-war
as it carved its way through the waves,

his banner glinting dark and fierce
in the molten light of noonday suns
high above which you always discerned,
lily-white and luxuriant,
the lovely Eloise, her silk folds

not yet passion-stricken and foundering
on Abelard’s turbulent loves.
In time they would all succumb
to the gathering dusk, the horizon
slowly contracting to what

was visible just within the lip
of our little kink in the ground,
that hiding-hole we used to retreat
to whenever things got too loud
back at home, and where I would lie

very still below a blanket
of paper-thin stars, listening
to you breathe in the chill night air,
flushed and raw, your skin puckered
and glistening, like a new-drawn scar.

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bodkin
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Re: Cloud Life

Post by bodkin » Wed Feb 10, 2016 2:55 pm

Hi Henry,

I'm quite admiring this, but it's not doing a great deal for me emotionally.

I'm not quite sure why, maybe the idea of these two characters naming the clouds is coming through rather antiseptically. This could be it, I guess I'm not getting much about the character or their situation. Even at the end, where we get a bit more about them, I'm still not really learning anything about who they are or why they're sleeping there...

Sorry, maybe I'm the wrong audience :-(

Ian
http://www.ianbadcoe.uk/

Arian
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Re: Cloud Life

Post by Arian » Thu Feb 11, 2016 8:00 pm

I like this a lot, Henry. Unlike Ian, I found it quite affecting - evoking a strong image of (I assume) childhood memory. Sounds like a sister/brother thing.

s1 is great, and this ..

the passing
forms of that inch-to-the-mile
continental drift come so close

is just brilliant. (though came? - there's a tense conflict there. Small point).

The last stanza is very good, too.

Overall, a well-paced and evocative piece.

Cheers
peter

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Re: Cloud Life

Post by Sharra » Sun Feb 14, 2016 3:33 pm

I really liked the writing in this, and the perspective it gives of looking up at the clouds.

I think the beginning works really well for me, although ice-white feels a little clichéd and doesn’t feel as good as the rest of the poem.

I think my main question comes from the names that are given, it feels like these are just random names that people would give (so authentic in that respect). But I wonder if you could use them to add extra depth to the poem, if you chose images that resonated more somehow with the trauma that’s hinted at in the last stanza? (Of course I could be being dense and missing some hidden meaning lol).

Oh and I love the last stanza, blanket of paper-thin stars is just gorgeous :)

Nicky
It is at the edge of the
petal that love waits

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Re: Cloud Life

Post by Arian » Mon Feb 15, 2016 7:42 pm

Arian wrote: there's a tense conflict there. Small point).
actually, re-reading it, I think I was being pedantic. It works just fine as it is.
p

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Re: Cloud Life

Post by HenryBones » Mon Feb 22, 2016 6:34 pm

Thanks from the positive words all. I take the point about the names, which might be why the central conceit doesn't have a lot of emotional charge for some. I'll have a think

Thanks again for reading

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