To the Flow

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To the Flow

Postby JamesLemper » Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:20 pm

To the Flow


The stream still flowed when I arrived
in the desolate high San Luis Valley
someone told me that it runs
only for a short time each summer
until after all the high snow melts
and it dried up as promised
I sat among the smooth dry stones
lamenting the loss of that tranquil murmur
and of the thin ribbon of sunshine
cutting through the purple sage
out along the length of the property
far down into the center of the massive valley

The dry stones made me ponder with trepidation
chill blains of the coming death filled winter
and that the stream would return next year held no solace
That seemed like an eternity of ice away

Then one evening a month later
it stormed for hours high up on the Sangre de Cristo
dark clouds converging like vengeful warring gods

And that morning the stream returned
distantly I heard it outside my window
the sound of a miracle as I opened my eyes

Rushing outside,bounding down the trail
past the cruel cactus patches and stunted trees
with the dogs running behind me

Then I halted in consternation at the edge
and drank in the resurrected stream's music
weeping tears of joy

But alas I forgot to add
a single one of those tears
to the flow
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Re: To the Flow

Postby Antcliff » Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:42 pm

Greetings, James

It is easy to miss the rules when people first arrive. I am sure did. But we do have a 2-crits-for-1-posted-poem rule here. Just bringing the first rule to your attention if you missed it....viewtopic.php?f=25&t=3497
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur
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Location: At the end of stanza 3

Re: To the Flow

Postby Firebird » Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:34 pm

Hi James,

I like the way you use line breaks instead of any punctuation. I wonder if you could do away with the capitals at the start of stanzas too. Overall, I found that much of the poem didn’t really flow very well and it’s a little over wordy for my taste, which isn’t to say others will agree - I like concision. However, if a poem isn’t concise I do expect it to flow well. I like the ending and think with some work there is a good poem in here. Some specific comments below.


JamesLemper wrote:To the Flow


The stream still flowed when I arrived
in the desolate high San Luis Valley
someone told me that it runs
only for a short time each summer (the rhythm of this line doesn’t seem to flow very well to my ear)
until after all the high snow melts (‘until after’ is a little clunky)
and it dried up as promised (Maybe a stanza break here?)
I sat among the smooth dry stones
lamenting the loss of that tranquil murmur (the rhythm of this line doesn’t seem to flow very well to my ear)
and of the thin ribbon of sunshine (to many ‘of’s)
cutting through the purple sage (nice line)
out along the length of the property (‘of’ again)
far down into the center of the massive valley (‘of’ again)

The dry stones made me ponder with trepidation (trepidation seems too heavy at the end of this line)
chill blains of the coming death filled winter
and that the stream would return next year held no solace
That seemed like an eternity of ice away (‘that ... that ...’ these two lines sound clunky to me)

Then one evening a month later (all this line does is give time. It isn’t really enough)
it stormed for hours high up on the Sangre de Cristo
dark clouds converging like vengeful warring gods (nice line)

And that morning the stream returned
distantly I heard it outside my window
the sound of a miracle as I opened my eyes (very wordy stanza)

Rushing outside,bounding down the trail
past the cruel cactus patches and stunted trees
with the dogs running behind me (really good stanza - full of specifics, making it interesting. It has good rhythm too)

Then I halted in consternation at the edge
and drank in the resurrected stream's music
weeping tears of joy

But alas I forgot to add
a single one of those tears
to the flow
(nice finish)
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Re: To the Flow

Postby RCJames » Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:00 pm

James - I enjoyed this scenic view and exploration of the landscape, nice steady rhyrhm throughout. Only nit is with the use of the word "trepidation," - seems a little hi-falutin' in comparison with the rest. - RC
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Re: To the Flow

Postby Arian » Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:02 pm

This...

I sat among the smooth dry stones
lamenting...the purple sage

is a lovely sequence, to my mind. Smooth and lyrical, without sounding forced.

The rest seems quite nicely worded, but - for me - lacks some narrative drive. It's mainly passive commentary.

A nit - chilblains, I think, is the usual spelling.

Cheers
peter
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Re: To the Flow

Postby churinga » Sat Mar 17, 2018 8:40 am

I think you have some good lines, I like the use of Spanish place names, the opening couplet is good, and when that metric is used it makes the poem flow well, when you lenthen the line into free verse I think you lose the flow, another way of saying it is too like prose. I don't like over reliance on modifiers, it is far better to use images,trepidation, lamentation and consternation don't excite the reader's imagination, like adverbs and adjectives they are often an easy way out for writers. Far better to create a metaphor or something symbolic that then takes root in the reader's imagination. I also find invoking the gods archaic and cliched.
I suggest you read more modern poetry I think you are hampered somewhat by a reliance on older forms of poetic language.
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Re: To the Flow

Postby lotus » Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:35 pm

I sat among the smooth dry stones
lamenting the loss of that tranquil murmur
and of the thin ribbon of sunshine
cutting through the purple sage


dear James
for me these lines could also stand on their own
very fine poeming

silent lotus
“A poem should have the touch ... the way sunlight falls on Braille.” .......silent lotus
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