Traces of Apartheid Near Sheffield Pike (rev 2)

This is a serious poetry forum not a "love-in". Post here for more detailed, constructive criticism.
Post Reply
User avatar
JJWilliamson
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2704
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:20 am

Traces of Apartheid Near Sheffield Pike (rev 2)

Post by JJWilliamson » Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:00 pm

Moss and grey lichen creep over miners’ paths,
smother rusted grates. Sheets of corrugated iron whoop
and skirl, then clatter against the abandoned walls
of old derelicts. Wind gusts thrum in harmony.

Hills conceal traces of wealth and intollerance,
where papists were seldom seen outside the rows
and gardens of Seldom Seen. Storms wash grit
from white becks, and rapids drown the noise.

The outcasts' school endures humiliation,
cottages line up like naughty children dressed
in their Sunday best, waiting for someone
to open their doors to a welcoming sky.

“Work with us, if ye must, whilst we need ye,
but don’t ye dare to live among us”.

Walkers chatter by small falls and rills;
agitated pools cool feet and dilute sweat,
yet still the corrugated iron sings to the wind,
as if chanting to ghosts for forgiveness.


Revision

Moss and grey lichen creep over miners’ paths,
blemish rusted grates. Sheets of corrugated metal whoop
and skirl, then clatter against the abandoned walls
of old derelicts. Wind gusts thrum in harmony.

Hills conceal traces of wealth and intolerance,
where papists were seldom seen outside the rows
and gardens of Seldom Seen. Streams wash grit
from white becks, and rapids drown the noise.

The "dirty" school suffers decay and ruination,
cottages line up like naughty children dressed
in their Sunday best, waiting for someone
to open their doors to a welcoming sky.

“Work with us, if ye must, whilst we need ye,
but don’t ye dare to live among us”.

Walkers chatter by small falls and rills;
agitated pools bathe feet and dilute sweat,
yet still the corrugated iron whoops with the wind,
as if chanting to ghosts for forgiveness.


Original

Moss and grey lichen creep over miners’ paths,
by rusted grates. Sheets of corrugated metal whoop
and skirl, then clatter against the abandoned walls
of old derelicts. Wind gusts thrum in harmony.

Hills conceal traces of wealth and intolerance,
where papists were seldom seen outside of the rows
and gardens of Seldom Seen. Streams wash grit
from white becks, and rapids drown the noise.

“Work with us, if ye must, whilst we need ye,
but don’t ye dare to live among us”.

Walkers chatter by the small falls and rills;
the jacuzzi pool bathes feet and dilutes sweat,
yet still the corrugated iron whoops with the wind,
as if chanting to ghosts for forgiveness.
Last edited by JJWilliamson on Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:54 am, edited 6 times in total.
Long time a child and still a child

ray miller
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 6170
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:23 am

Re: Traces of industry near Sheffield Pike

Post by ray miller » Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:25 am

I wondered if Seldom Seen is a real place, so I looked and found a 2 minute video on YouTube which explains your story. I think you could make more of the intolerance (one l, by the way) in the poem and title.
I'm not keen on the repetition of Seldom Seen, you could find a synonym for the first one.
Maybe remove "yet still" from the penultimate line. It makes for over-portentousness, I think.
Enjoyed it a lot.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

User avatar
JJWilliamson
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2704
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:20 am

Re: Traces of industry near Sheffield Pike

Post by JJWilliamson » Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:02 pm

Thanks for the pointers, Ray. Changed the spelling. The title is a play on words with 'Trace' acting as a reference to ghosts and industry at one and the same time.
I wondered about an extra strophe to highlight the prejudice. Let me ruminate.

The first time I walked past Seldom Seen I was struck by the isolation and assumed they were built close to the mine for the workers' convenience. It never crossed my mind that forced segregation of Catholics was behind the secret and seldom seen row of Seldom Seen. It's a lovely spot but it has a nasty history, and a somewhat dubious name.

Sheffield Pike is a treat of a mountain, and one that took me by surprise when I eventually climbed its flanks. Helvelyn is close by so the world and his dog heads for this loftier giant. I usually did, but not on the day of the corrugated iron. It was a loose roof sheet that banged and whooped as the wind blew. It gave the empty valley an eerie feel, sort of ghostly. The mine is some way up the mountain and can't be seen from the bottom, so it comes as a shock when this ghost town opens up before your eyes.

Thanks again

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

RCJames
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 171
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2016 3:18 pm

Re: Traces of industry near Sheffield Pike

Post by RCJames » Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:58 am

I admire your command of bucolic scenes - here there's the contrast with urban development - effective clatter and collision.

The closing two lines are super:

"...yet still the corrugated iron whoops with the wind,
as if chanting to ghosts for forgiveness."

Thoroughly enjoyed this - RC

User avatar
JJWilliamson
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2704
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:20 am

Re: Traces of industry near Sheffield Pike

Post by JJWilliamson » Sat Feb 24, 2018 3:07 pm

Thank you very much, Ft, for the kind words. Appreciated.

I think it's great when a poem evokes memories in others, because I know exactly how that feels. Delighted you enjoyed.

Thank you very much, RC, for showing me the lines you liked. Appreciated. I'm posting a revision, as per Ray's suggestion, after this reply
to help point the reader in the right direction. That's the general aim, anyway.

Best to both

JJ
Last edited by JJWilliamson on Sun Feb 25, 2018 8:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
Long time a child and still a child

David
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 13259
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 4:40 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Traces of industrial apartheid near Sheffield Pike (revi

Post by David » Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:10 pm

I like it too, JJ. Fascinating story.

Have you considered cutting the last verse? You'd have a nice little sonnet - or sonnet-like thing - then.

Not that nice little sonnets are the answer to everything.

Cheers

David

Macavity
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 4867
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: Traces of industrial apartheid near Sheffield Pike (revi

Post by Macavity » Sun Feb 25, 2018 7:14 am

cottages line up like naughty children dressed
in their Sunday best
What a lovely notion JJ.
and skirl, then clatter against the abandoned walls
of old derelicts. Wind gusts thrum in harmony.
Is then needed? The comma gives the pause? Also wondered if thrum is a bit of a poetry word?

enjoyed

mac

User avatar
JJWilliamson
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2704
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:20 am

Re: Traces of industrial apartheid near Sheffield Pike (revi

Post by JJWilliamson » Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:55 am

Thanks, David and mac, for dropping in to comment. Appreciated.
David wrote:I like it too, JJ. Fascinating story. ...I couldn't believe it and neither could my companions when I mentioned it later on in the year.

Have you considered cutting the last verse? You'd have a nice little sonnet - or sonnet-like thing - then. ... I hadn't, but now that you mention it, it's an interesting idea. I can't believe I missed the possibility.

Not that nice little sonnets are the answer to everything. ... :lol: I know a few who would say they were.

Cheers

David
Macavity wrote:
cottages line up like naughty children dressed
in their Sunday best
What a lovely notion JJ. ...Thanks for that, mac. I thought Sunday seemed like an appropriate day and quite liked the dressed/best rhyme. Then there's the image. I wondered if any of my thoughts would come through; one of my eternal problems.

and skirl, then clatter against the abandoned walls
of old derelicts. Wind gusts thrum in harmony.
Is then needed? The comma gives the pause? Also wondered if thrum is a bit of a poetry word? ... :D It might be. It's a great rhyming word so I can see how it might have been done to death. It SEEMED like the right choice, though. Let me think on it.

enjoyed

mac
Thanks again

Best to both

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

User avatar
Firebird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 1590
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 9:46 pm

Re: Traces of industrial apartheid near Sheffield Pike (revi

Post by Firebird » Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:15 am

Hi JJ,

I enjoyed the read. Some specific comments below.
JJWilliamson wrote:Moss and grey lichen creep over miners’ paths,
blemish rusted grates. Sheets of corrugated metal whoop
and skirl, then clatter against the abandoned walls
of old derelicts. Wind gusts thrum in harmony. (Lovely first stanza, but not sure about that last sentence. Doesn’t the previous sentence describe the effects of the wind?)

Hills conceal traces of wealth and intolerance,
where papists were seldom seen outside the rows
and gardens of Seldom Seen. Streams wash grit
from white becks, and rapids drown the noise.

The "dirty" school suffers decay and ruination,
cottages line up like naughty children dressed (great line, but it is in stark constrast to the very telly sentence beforehand.)
in their Sunday best, waiting for someone
to open their doors to a welcoming sky. (Lovely)

“Work among us, if ye must, whilst we need ye,
but don’t ye dare to live among us”.

Walkers chatter by small falls and rills;
agitated pools bathe feet and dilute sweat,
yet still the corrugated iron whoops with the wind, (Not sure the repetition adds a lot here)
as if chanting to ghosts for forgiveness.(Lovely last line).

Enjoyed JJ!

Cheers,

Tristan


Original

Moss and grey lichen creep over miners’ paths,
by rusted grates. Sheets of corrugated metal whoop
and skirl, then clatter against the abandoned walls
of old derelicts. Wind gusts thrum in harmony.

Hills conceal traces of wealth and intolerance,
where papists were seldom seen outside of the rows
and gardens of Seldom Seen. Streams wash grit
from white becks, and rapids drown the noise.

“Work with us, if ye must, whilst we need ye,
but don’t ye dare to live among us”.

Walkers chatter by the small falls and rills;
the jacuzzi pool bathes feet and dilutes sweat,
yet still the corrugated iron whoops with the wind,
as if chanting to ghosts for forgiveness.

User avatar
JJWilliamson
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2704
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:20 am

Re: Traces of industrial apartheid near Sheffield Pike (revi

Post by JJWilliamson » Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:15 pm

Thanks, Tristan, for taking the time to look and comment. Always appreciated.
Firebird wrote:Hi JJ,

I enjoyed the read. Some specific comments below.
JJWilliamson wrote:Moss and grey lichen creep over miners’ paths,
blemish rusted grates. Sheets of corrugated metal whoop
and skirl, then clatter against the abandoned walls
of old derelicts. Wind gusts thrum in harmony. (Lovely first stanza, but not sure about that last sentence. Doesn’t the previous sentence describe the effects of the wind?) ...Well, yes, it does, BUT, a number of sounds were evident and they seemed to come from different directions, causing the most intense sonic experience. You'd suddenly be buffeted, the corrugated sheeting would skirl and whoop and a hum would reverberate around the dell. All of this came together and at once.

Hills conceal traces of wealth and intolerance,
where papists were seldom seen outside the rows
and gardens of Seldom Seen. Streams wash grit
from white becks, and rapids drown the noise.

The "dirty" school suffers decay and ruination,
cottages line up like naughty children dressed (great line, but it is in stark contrast to the very telly sentence beforehand.) ...I'll take another look to see if I can give it a lift.
in their Sunday best, waiting for someone
to open their doors to a welcoming sky. (Lovely)

“Work among us, if ye must, whilst we need ye,
but don’t ye dare to live among us”.

Walkers chatter by small falls and rills;
agitated pools bathe feet and dilute sweat,
yet still the corrugated iron whoops with the wind, (Not sure the repetition adds a lot here) ...Yeh, I've been wondering about that repetition. Not sure myself.
as if chanting to ghosts for forgiveness.(Lovely last line).

Enjoyed JJ!

Cheers,

Tristan

Pleased you enjoyed

Best

JJ

Long time a child and still a child

User avatar
JJWilliamson
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2704
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:20 am

Re: Traces of Apartheid Near Sheffield Pike (rev 2)

Post by JJWilliamson » Fri Mar 23, 2018 6:23 am

Revised again.

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

Macavity
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 4867
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: Traces of Apartheid Near Sheffield Pike (rev 2)

Post by Macavity » Sun Mar 25, 2018 1:43 am

I think the quality of endurance was a point worth making. Can't say if sings is better than repeating 'whoops'. I guess it is quieter and chanting can be musical. Not sure.

best

mac

churinga
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
Posts: 433
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2018 12:54 am
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Re: Traces of Apartheid Near Sheffield Pike (rev 2)

Post by churinga » Sun Mar 25, 2018 2:46 am

corrugated metal sounds wrong, corrugated iron is the accepted term. I think the idea of adding discipline to the poem by adopting a sonnet form or similar, eg 3L/4V would help give the poem coherence. I think the history is implied in the atmosphere you create and for me putting the history in the poem was too didactic.

User avatar
JJWilliamson
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2704
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:20 am

Re: Traces of Apartheid Near Sheffield Pike (rev 2)

Post by JJWilliamson » Mon Mar 26, 2018 8:47 am

Thank you very much, mac and Ross, for the helpful comments. Always appreciated.
Macavity wrote:I think the quality of endurance was a point worth making. Can't say if sings is better than repeating 'whoops'. I guess it is quieter and chanting can be musical. Not sure. ...I wasn't sure either and quite liked the emphasis of the double 'whooped'. I will ponder anew! :)

best

mac
churinga wrote:corrugated metal sounds wrong, corrugated iron is the accepted term. ...Yes, agreed. I have 'iron' further down so I might opt for "sheeting".

I think the idea of adding discipline to the poem by adopting a sonnet form or similar, eg 3L/4V would help give the poem coherence. ...I'm not averse to the idea of a sonnet but I rejected strict rhyme and meter for a simpler approach to the problem, a voice from the grave, perhaps.

I think the history is implied in the atmosphere you create and for me putting the history in the poem was too didactic. ...There is a kind of preachy quality, perhaps from the pulpit. :) You'd have to be more specific, Ross. Which sections did you find too didactic? I was concerned that the history was lost due to vagueness and I always think of didacticism as rather precise, if a bit assertive. Does it smack of political, religious assertiveness? Very interesting comment. Thanks.
Best to both

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

Post Reply