Handkerchief Tree (revision)

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1lankest
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Handkerchief Tree (revision)

Post by 1lankest » Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:51 pm

Revision

On freshly seeded earth
spectra of chrysanthemum and allium
represent the latest shop-bought
offering: if only they'd glance up
- the latest mourners –
What comfort looms
above their heads, arboreal companion
of the dead: Davidia involucrata,
ghost tree whose petals billow like clouds
or plumes of linen from neatly folded
buds; they ripple and curl, suspended
tears before the drop.

Original

They kneel, the latest mourners,
scan for weeds, bury their faces
in soiled hands. On freshly seeded earth

spectra of chrysanthemum and allium
honour a Loving Son or Dad, Daughter,
Cherished Wife whose wooden cross

doesn't yet bare a name. If only
they'd glance up - the mourners –
as I glanced. What comfort looms

above their heads, arboreal companion
of the dead: Davidia involucrata,
ghost tree whose petals billow like clouds

or plumes of linen from neatly folded
buds; they ripple, curl, suspended
tears before the drop.
Last edited by 1lankest on Wed Nov 16, 2016 4:37 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Lou
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Re: Handkerchief Tree

Post by Lou » Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:34 am

The Pocket Handkerchief Tree is a good subject for a poem and you handle your material well here. A small point, but at the close I would prefer something like:

buds that ripple, curl; suspended
tears before they drop.


'The drop' has associations with the scaffold which I don't think is the image you're looking for.

Best,
Lou

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Re: Handkerchief Tree

Post by Ros » Tue Nov 15, 2016 9:00 am

I like this, but I wonder if you should get to the tree earlier? verses 1 and 2 feel a bit distant and generic. It comes alive by the time you get to the tree.

Ros
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Re: Handkerchief Tree

Post by 1lankest » Wed Nov 16, 2016 11:51 am

Thanks Ros, Lou.

Yes I did feel the start was lacking.

Would it stand as a short poem beginning at

If only they'd look up, the latest mourners...?

Luke

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Re: Handkerchief Tree

Post by Ros » Wed Nov 16, 2016 12:24 pm

1lankest wrote:Thanks Ros, Lou.

Yes I did feel the start was lacking.

Would it stand as a short poem beginning at

If only they'd look up, the latest mourners...?

Luke
Very nearly, I think; it would lose something to completely remove the reference to the bought-in plants perhaps.

Ros
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Re: Handkerchief Tree (revision)

Post by 1lankest » Wed Nov 16, 2016 12:35 pm

Thanks ros - I agree. Revision posted.

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Re: Handkerchief Tree (revision)

Post by bodkin » Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:01 pm

I like this but it is maybe a little editorial... e.g. very much a scene described from the outside.

I think, as such a human musing, it would benefit from pushing us into the scene more. Thoughts towards this below

"On freshly seeded earth
spectra of chrysanthemum and allium
represent the latest shop-bought
offering: if only they'd glance up Rather than a rhetorical question, say "They do not glance up..." or "Nobody glances up..." or "XXX doesn't glance up..."
- the latest mourners –
What comfort looms "They do not see the comfort looming..."
above their heads, arboreal companion
of the dead: Davidia involucrata,
ghost tree whose petals billow like clouds
or plumes of linen from neatly folded
buds; they ripple and curl, suspended
tears before the drop."

You could either continue to do this with an abstract narrator, or else push the N into the scene as well.

Just a thought, viewpoint is rather my obsession these days...

Ian
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penguin
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Re: Handkerchief Tree (revision)

Post by penguin » Thu Nov 17, 2016 5:27 pm

Nice ending, suspended tears before the drop. Personally, I prefer the original, but without these inversions like
They kneel, the latest mourners,

The latest mourners kneel is fine. And

If only the mourners glanced up...

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Re: Handkerchief Tree (revision)

Post by David » Thu Nov 17, 2016 8:14 pm

penguin wrote:Nice ending, suspended tears before the drop. Personally, I prefer the original, but without these inversions like
They kneel, the latest mourners,

The latest mourners kneel is fine. And

If only the mourners glanced up...
Good advice, Luke. I prefer the original too, and I really don't see why you changed it. (I don't mind those inversions either.) I didn't have a clue what was going on in the revision, whereas the original is clear and moving.

Do you have to use the Latin name, though? I had to look it up (I still don't recognise it, and nor did Mrs D - keen gardener - under its Latin name), and ... handkerchief tree. That's too great a gift to use only in the title, isn't it?

Cheers

David

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Re: Handkerchief Tree (revision)

Post by Macavity » Fri Nov 18, 2016 5:33 am

I prefer the original too, and I really don't see why you changed it. (I don't mind those inversions either.
I don't often agree with David on his familiar default - the original is best - but I do here!

best

mac

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Re: Handkerchief Tree (revision)

Post by 1lankest » Mon Nov 21, 2016 11:31 am

Thanks guys. Original it is!

Though I do see what Ros means that the start is generic. Hmmm.

Luke

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