The Artist

This is a serious poetry forum not a "love-in". Post here for more detailed, constructive criticism.
Post Reply
User avatar
Firebird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2352
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 9:46 pm

The Artist

Post by Firebird » Thu Nov 23, 2017 9:45 am

Practice was hard
but she practiced hard,
until she was like
a pebble
but no ordinary one
polished smooth by the sea;
one left
with a proud line of quartz.

1lankest
Preternatural Poster
Preternatural Poster
Posts: 1714
Joined: Sun Oct 27, 2013 4:12 pm

Re: The Artist

Post by 1lankest » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:23 am

Nice. But aren't most people's images of a normal pebble perfectly smooth?
Are you saying the artist here lost their humanity from constant artistic refinement?

L

User avatar
Firebird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2352
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 9:46 pm

Re: The Artist

Post by Firebird » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:37 am

I agree that the common image of a pebble is smooth all over. I wanted to post an accompanying photo, but couldn't.

No I wasn't really meaning that the artist had lost their humanity, more that much of what had been important to them in earlier life had eroded away, and the quartz (their art/talent) is something beautiful and more robust.

Thanks for your thought.

Cheers,

Tristan

1lankest
Preternatural Poster
Preternatural Poster
Posts: 1714
Joined: Sun Oct 27, 2013 4:12 pm

Re: The Artist

Post by 1lankest » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:43 am

I think perhaps a pebble is perhaps the wrong image then. To a stone has connotations with coldness, harness, lifelessness really. Comparing a human with this might persuade the reader to read this as an insult by N against the artist.

L

User avatar
Firebird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2352
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 9:46 pm

Re: The Artist

Post by Firebird » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:56 am

You may well be right. I liked the image and as a result maybe wanted to make it fit with something it doesn't really fit with.

Cheers,

Tristan

David Smedley
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
Posts: 643
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2012 5:16 pm

Re: The Artist

Post by David Smedley » Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:31 pm

Practice was hard
but she practiced hard,
until she was like
a pebble
but no ordinary one
polished smooth by the sea;
one left
with a proud line of quartz.
The practice could be anything, so no concrete imagery comes to mind.
"Until she was like a pebble" could only mean that the artist is "hard." so going back to the first line the imagery, maybe gymnast etc,etc.

Even a pebble "polished smooth by the sea" would not polish out a line of quartz within the pebble, the quartz would only be smoothed too.

Is the "proud line of quartz" something to do with the "artist's" physique?" Like "quartz hard hard abs? for instance.?

All in all this was too abstract for me, a thousand readers could interpret the piece in a thousand different ways.
David

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6281
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: The Artist

Post by Macavity » Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:08 pm

Enjoyed Tristan. I read that the process did not eliminate individuality. Made me think that education in a craft, conformity to a template, can stifle creativity, but not in this case. In this context, the sea represented the massed relentlessness to shape form; the quartz, referencing 'the line', emblematic of beauty in difference. Liked the sense of elemental resistance.

best

mac

User avatar
Firebird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2352
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 9:46 pm

Re: The Artist

Post by Firebird » Thu Nov 23, 2017 9:57 pm

Hi Mac,

Really pleased you like it. Your reading of this poem is exactly as I intended it to be read. You were spot on. I am worried a little though, as others did not read the poem in this way. I know you are an excellent reader of poetry, but I do wonder though if maybe your familiarity with my work, and understanding of how my poems tend to work contributed a little in allowing you to read this poem in exactly the way I intended it to be read. I hope I am completely wrong in this respect. Many thanks Mac for your perceptive read. As I said, spot on.

David, sorry the poem isn't doing much for you.

Cheers both.

Tristan

Pauline
Preponderant Poster
Preponderant Poster
Posts: 956
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:30 pm
antispam: no

Re: The Artist

Post by Pauline » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:25 pm

Hi Firebird.
Hope you don’t mind me saying this but
I’m not mad keen on first two lines ending on hard.
I’m also finding the pebble metaphor/artist struggle hard to grasp.
Hey ho. If I shuffle my thoughts around and try to see where you are coming from I kinda get it.
It’s like she’s letting formal style and structure wash over her,
taking the information on board without it restricting her natural instinct.

I do feel with a little more thought you could portray this better.
Hey, I aint about to re-write your poem
but if I could offer a few suggestions you could maybe use
to make it a little more accessible.

Practice was rocky
but she hardened to it
until she was a pebble.
Not polished smooth
but with a bold irregular streak.

I may have this totally wrong
but I am simply offering you my thoughts. :)

ton321
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
Posts: 429
Joined: Sat Feb 08, 2014 12:54 am

Re: The Artist

Post by ton321 » Fri Nov 24, 2017 12:39 am

Practice was hard
but she practiced hard,
until she was like
a pebble
but no ordinary one
polished smooth by the sea;
one left
with a proud line of quartz.

Hi Tristan,

I like the way the word "hard" changes meaning through this piece, from line 1 and 2, meaning effort, to something physically hard, like a pebble, that can be eroded over time, leaving the really hard stuff of the quartz left behind. All I would do is omit the second "hard" in line 2.
Tony
Counting the beats,
Counting the slow heart beats,
The bleeding to death of time in slow heart beats,
Wakeful they lie.

Robert Graves

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6281
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: The Artist

Post by Macavity » Fri Nov 24, 2017 3:50 am

I do wonder though if maybe your familiarity with my work, and understanding of how my poems tend to work contributed a little in allowing you to read this poem in exactly the way I intended it to be read.
Hi Tristan,
If that is the case, does it matter? Some of my fav. poets I have been reading over a period of time and my 'understanding' has been 'educated' over that period. Familiarity, or rather empathy, takes practice. There are so many 'barriers' to communication - gender, class, age, aesthetic to name a few - and the subtleties of poetry often default readers to those barriers. So I would argue that when a reader picks up a writer's intention - it may not be a matter of compensating rather one of finding context. If a reader locks the door on their own room, that context will never be found. Just a viewpoint...and I haven't even mentioned intentional fallacy :)

best

mac

NotQuiteSure
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 2236
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:05 pm

Re: The Artist

Post by NotQuiteSure » Fri Nov 24, 2017 2:20 pm

[tab][/tab]
The smallest of small points Tristan (and this may well just be me, but),
the L3 line break reads like teen-speak and places an interrogative inflection on 'pebble'.

Regards, Not.
[tab][/tab]

Joao
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 126
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2016 1:12 pm

Re: The Artist

Post by Joao » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:42 pm

The meaning of the 'line of quartz' is clear, in my opinion, and powerful. What I had trouble with was the idea of 'hard' practice, which doesn't match, in my mind, the image of smooth polishing by the sea. Maybe something like this?

Practice was long,
but she practiced long
until she was like a pebble
polished smooth by the sea;
no ordinary one,
but one left
with a proud line of quartz.

Post Reply