Letter from Angkor (was Penitent)

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1lankest
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Letter from Angkor (was Penitent)

Post by 1lankest » Thu May 03, 2018 2:09 pm

Version 4

I’m sending you a rayon dress
I bartered for the price of forgiveness.
It’s true what you've heard
about the blood of slaves.
Let me tell you, golden bird,
my knees are pulped
and splayed, like mangoes.

And you’re here, after all, seated
at the right hand of a sphinx
in a courtyard of smoothed concrete,
your fingers spread over laterite haunches
searching craters for my secrets.

Orioles drink to your pleasure
from a fountain pool. Frangipani
frill the walls. In the centre:
the marble linga you had carved
for me to circumambulate
ad infinitum until, perhaps, one day,
you raise your empress’ hand.


Version 3

I find you in that rayon dress I bought
at Angkor - the price of forgiveness -
in a courtyard of smoothed concrete

seated at the right hand of a sphinx
your fingers spread over laterite haunches,
searching craters for secrets. Orioles

drink to your pleasure from the water
of a fountain pool. Frangipani frill the walls.
In the centre, a marble linga you had carved

for me to circumambulate on bloody knees
ad infinitum until, perhaps, one day,
you raise your empress’ hand.

Revision

I find you in the rayon dress (I haggled for
at Angkor - the price of forgiveness)

in a courtyard of smoothed concrete
seated at the right hand of a sphinx,

your painted fingers spread over laterite
haunches, searching its craters for secrets,

mapping each pore in a silken web.
Orioles drink to your pleasure

from the leaf-waters of a fountain pool.
Frangipani frill the walls. In the centre:

a marble linga you had carved
for me to circumambulate ad infinitum.

Original

I find you in the rayon dress (I haggled
at Angkor for the price of forgiveness)

in a courtyard of smoothed concrete
seated at the right hand of a sphinx

- cold-set, your painted fingers spread
over laterite haunches, searching its craters

for secrets, mapping each pore in a silken web.
Orioles drink to your pleasure from the leaf-

waters of a fountain pool. Frangipani frill the walls.
In the centre: a marble linga you had carved

for me to circumambulate
ad infinitum

on bloody knees until, perhaps, one day,
you raise your empress’ hand.
Last edited by 1lankest on Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:58 pm, edited 4 times in total.

NotQuiteSure
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Re: The Penitent

Post by NotQuiteSure » Thu May 03, 2018 3:34 pm

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Hi Luke,
very enjoyable read,
love laterite.

The Penitent
perhaps cut 'the' ?

I find you in the rayon dress (I haggled
'rayon' is not the most descriptively
interesting word. Hard to visualise.
at Angkor for the price of forgiveness)
personal preference, but 'cost' for 'price',
over at Angkor, the cost of forgiveness

in a courtyard of smoothed concrete
given all the other detail, 'smoothed'
seems a bit flat (as it were).
seated at the right hand of a sphinx
perhaps 'sat' rather than 'seated'

- cold-set, your painted fingers sprea
d
'cold-set' suggests casting but 'laterite'
suggests carving, is it both?
over laterite haunches, searching its craters
had to look this up, but it seems a fantastic colour
and had me adding 'Martian' before 'craters'

for secrets, mapping each pore in a silken web.

do you need 'pore' (after 'craters')?
Orioles drink to your pleasure from the leaf-
this sentence (Orioles...pool) seems a bit weak sonically.
(Should they be 'drinking' ?)

waters of a fountain pool. Frangipani frill the walls.
In the centre: a marble linga you had carved

maybe, 'Standing in the centre...' ?
for me to circumambulate
ad infinitum

would prefer 'to infinity' rather than 'ad infinitum'
(Buzz Lightyear notwithstanding).
Circumambulate suggests something very large
(and walking rather than crawling)

on bloody knees until, perhaps, one day,
you raise your empress’ hand.

perhaps reorder as;
you raise your hand, [my] empress ?
Like the implicit, and forgive me.

Regards, Not.
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churinga
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Re: The Penitent

Post by churinga » Thu May 03, 2018 7:28 pm

I find you in the rayon dress (I haggled
at Angkor for the price of forgiveness)

I find V1 a bit awkward both sonically and syntactically. Would prefer 'that rayon...' as you are referring to a specific dress. I don't mind rayon, it's a very Dr Who word. But the line in brackets is a very large dependant clause and haggled at the end of the line for me created a sonic hiatus I didn't like.

- cold-set, your painted fingers spread
I find the enjambment of 'cold-set' plus the dash unnecessary and slightly confusing, the fact that the concrete is cold set seems irrelevant.
'painted fingers' should be painted nails or fingernails unless I'm missing something.


Orioles drink to your pleasure from the leaf-
This enjambment worries me, the line is odd on its own and enjambment IMO should not make lines nonsensical.

Frangipani frill the walls.
NIce word play.

ad infinitum
I Disagree with Not, I think this works sonically.


you raise your empress’ hand.
NIce ending, do you need the possessive apostrophe? Make it Empress.

Hope this helps

Ross
Last edited by churinga on Sat May 05, 2018 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ray miller
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Re: The Penitent

Post by ray miller » Sat May 05, 2018 8:28 am

Enjoyed, Luke. You certainly get about. I had trouble with the syntax of the bracketed passage, too. I'd suggest.
I find you in the rayon dress (I haggled for
at Angkor - the price of forgiveness)

For me, the last couplet added little. I'd end on ad infinitum.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: The Penitent

Post by David » Sat May 05, 2018 11:39 am

Luke, I agree with Ray - you do get about, don't you. And I had to look up laterite too.

Good call by Ray on the last verse, I think. And on the first one.

But who(m) are you addressing? A travelling companion, I thought at first, but who carved the linga? There you have me. Or am I just being thick?

It is a great traveller's tale, though - or maybe just a great snapshot.

Cheers

David

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Re: The Penitent

Post by 1lankest » Sun May 06, 2018 7:25 am

Thanks all - NoT, David, Ray, Ross - lots of time and effort spent here by y’all so ta very much. Some great ideas (especially Ray) - I have thought about this one a lot and made changes. Hope it works.

P.s....my wanderings are all imaginary these days, though I did spend six months travelling during winter. And I did go to Angkor.

- David, I am addressing my wife in the poem....does this work do you think?

L

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Re: Penitent (revised)

Post by 1lankest » Sun May 06, 2018 7:31 am

I wanted there to be a contrast of textures here, hence smoothed concrete and rough laterite. Laterite is soft when mined and cools in the air after carving. Hence cold set. It was used for the structures at Angkor which were plated with sandstone for the relief carvings.

L

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Re: Penitent (revised)

Post by churinga » Sun May 06, 2018 10:33 pm

'painted fingers still worries me.
you could have
her painted nails, her fingers spread..

It also occurred to me the birds are maybe drinking from or on lily pads in the pond, lily pads would work well as a substitute for leaf waters and be more exotic. Also a rhyme with frilly.

cheers

Ross

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Re: Penitent (revised)

Post by NotQuiteSure » Mon May 07, 2018 12:30 pm

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Hi Luke,
the revision's a step backwards for me. Particularly losing the final stanza;
it was the crawling on bloody knees that referred back to the title, plus I
liked the imperious raised hand (wouldn't have guessed wife specifically,
but significant other, certainly.) Still finding the Latin problematic
(seems at odds with the Hindu/Buddhist elements)

I do think the parenthetical element is intrusive, it doesn't add that much
and if you changed 'the rayon' to 'that rayon' the reader would be alive
to the fact that the garment was significant.

About 'painted fingers' - is it painted as in nails (as churinga asks)
or is it henna-ed ?

Just a suggestion:

I find you in th[at] rayon dress, in a courtyard
of smoothed concrete seated at the right hand

of a sphinx[;] your painted fingers spread
over laterite haunches, searching craters

for secrets. Orioles drink to your pleasure
from the leaf-waters of a fountain pool.

Frangipani frill the walls. In the centre,
a marble linga you had carved for me

to circumambulate on bloody knees, until,
perhaps, one day, you raise your empress’ hand.


Regards, Not.
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1lankest
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Re: Penitent (revised)

Post by 1lankest » Mon May 07, 2018 5:04 pm

Ross, NOT - damn you both! I like all your suggestions. Can’t have them all. Will ponder. Thanks for returning. Much obliged.

Enjoy the sun (or are you in Aus, Ross, which would make that an unnecessary token of good will on your behalf at least).

L

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Re: Penitent (revised)

Post by churinga » Mon May 07, 2018 9:29 pm

Yes, from Sydney, Australia. We are slowly burning up via climate change, the 4 seasons are now,, Bloody Hot,
Still Hot,
Almost Hot,
Hot Again.

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Re: Penitent (revised)

Post by Joao » Wed May 09, 2018 12:57 pm

This is excellent, Luke. I'm another for the return of the last stanza. And I agree with Not on ad infinitum. Apart from this, I think the revision has improved the poem. Delightful read.

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Re: Penitent (version 3)

Post by 1lankest » Fri May 11, 2018 11:02 am

Thanks Joao - pleased you like it. The people have spoken. Latest version seems better balanced. I like ad infinitum - the Latin to support the classical theme of the poem.

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Re: Letter from Angkor (was Penitent)

Post by 1lankest » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:23 pm

Wasn’t happy with this one. Think this new approach cleans things up a little.

Luke

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Re: Letter from Angkor (was Penitent)

Post by David » Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:26 pm

I think the first revision is my favourite, Luke, but I can't now tell whether that was the one I read and liked originally or not.

I don't, therefore, think your latest version is an improvement on what you had.

Cheers (regretful ones)

David

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Re: Letter from Angkor (was Penitent)

Post by 1lankest » Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:03 am

Thanks Davis, perhaps the original ending is still a problem for you? I’m torn here!

L

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