You Never Lose It

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ray miller
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You Never Lose It

Post by ray miller » Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:24 am

Revised version

My brother tells a tale of when
this woman introduced as Gwen,
who knew our Dad back in the day,
had claimed he was a gangster then.

I try imagining him say,
We’ll take your brand new car away,
you’re out of time, you’ve no excuse,
we’ll break your legs if you don’t pay.

He’s wearing someone else’s shoes;
I’m reading out his crossword clues
because his glasses can’t be found.
I think that Gwen’s got him confused.

Some minion writes his orders down;
the drugs are dealt out, wheeled around
the traffic jams of stubborn men
whose zimmers punch and kick the ground.


Original

My brother tells a tale of when
this woman introduced as Gwen,
who knew our Dad back in the day
exclaimed he was a gangster then.

I try imagining him say,
We’ll take all you love best away,
you’re out of time, you’ve no excuse,
we’ll break your legs if you don’t pay.


He’s wearing someone else’s shoes;
I’m reading out his crossword clues
because his glasses can’t be found.
I think that Gwen’s got him confused.

Some minion writes his orders down;
the drugs are dealt and wheeled around
the racket made by stubborn men
whose zimmers punch and kick the ground.
Last edited by ray miller on Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:17 am, edited 3 times in total.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

David
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Re: You Never Lose It

Post by David » Tue Oct 09, 2018 4:58 pm

It's great. I have a few tiny thoughts and suggestions, e.g. "had claimed" instead of "exclaimed"? And I lose the rhythm on "We’ll take all you love best away".

Aha! I've just realised how the rhyming works. Very good, and very clever.

S3, in particular, is brilliant. S4 is really good too, but - for me - slightly marred by the last two lines. I'm not sure "the racket" works there, and I don't think zimmers "punch and kick the ground". Certainly not "punch", anyway.

But it's still great.

Cheers

David

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Re: You Never Lose It

Post by Firebird » Tue Oct 09, 2018 5:41 pm

It’s good Ray, but I’m sure I’ve read it before either here or in a mag. Is it just me, or is this an old one?

Cheers,

Tristan

Ps. Has it lost a few verses? I seem to remember the similar poem being a bit longer and maybe a little more opaque.

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Re: You Never Lose It

Post by Mirrorball » Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:44 pm

Very amusing Ray, my wife is one of the minions so I'll have to show this to her. She's had a few characters on the medication rounds.

How about this for the last line:

whose zimmers beat the battleground.

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Re: You Never Lose It

Post by Perry » Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:18 pm

ray miller wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:24 am
My brother tells a tale of when
this woman introduced as Gwen, ("some" woman would sound better to me)
who knew our Dad back in the day (needs a comma at the end)
exclaimed he was a gangster then.

I try imagining him say, ("saying" instead of "say", but then you'd lose the rhyme -- "I imagine that he would say,")
We’ll take all you love best away,
you’re out of time, you’ve no excuse,
(these two lines sound a little odd for a gangster)
we’ll break your legs if you don’t pay.

He’s wearing someone else’s shoes; (what's the significance of "someone else's shoes"? is that just a measure of how far he's fallen since his glory days as a gangster? gangsters do love their shoes)
I’m reading out his crossword clues
because his glasses can’t be found.
I think that Gwen’s got him confused.

Some minion writes his orders down; (is the minion a hospital worker? I'm guessing the order is for food? -- or drugs?)
the drugs are dealt and wheeled around (is he in a hospital or an old-folks home?)
the racket made by stubborn men
whose zimmers punch and kick the ground. (just so you'll know, we call them "walkers" in the U.S., and I think that would be the better word to use in this line)
The language sounds forced in places, which often happens when a poet rhymes every line. An AABA rhyme scheme is very restrictive. I personally like xAxA for 4-line stanzas. It allows the language to breath more.
If I forget to come back to critique your revised poem, don't hesitate to send me a note.

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Re: You Never Lose It

Post by churinga » Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:21 am

Hi Ray
I try imagining him say,
We’ll take all you love best away,

Both these lines seem awkward and rhyme driven. something that flows better eg.
'
I try to pcture what he 'd say
Don't move pal, this is the day

Some minion writes his orders down;
'minion' sounds snobbish. why not 'carer' or 'worker'

the drugs are dealt and wheeled around
the racket made by stubborn men
whose zimmers punch and kick the ground.

'drugs are dealt, 'racket' and 'punch and kick' are very obvious puns. Do you need to reinforce the irony to such an extent?

Overall its a fun poem and for the most part, deftly handled.


Cheers

Ross

ray miller
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Re: You Never Lose It

Post by ray miller » Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:16 am

Thanks for the comments.
David - "had claimed" is much better, thanks. I've changed line 6, which I wasn't happy about anyway. The rhyme scheme is based on the Robert Frost poem, "Stopping By Woods...". I've changed penultimate line. After 30 years as a Mental Health Nurse I maybe grew accustomed to the more eccentric zimmerframe actions, but I think punch and kick is fine.

Tristan - it is an old one, you must have a good memory. The final verse is completely different now, the previous version was awful.


Mirrorball - I was a minion myself. Zimmers do punch and kick, I know whereof I speak.

Perry - comma inserted, thanks. Clients in care homes do tend to end up in other people's clothes, but I guess there's also the suggestion that the shoes have been stolen or are collateral. The order is for food, yeah. Walkers would add to the confusion, I think.

Ross - I'm using minion for the ambiguity.
'drugs are dealt, 'racket' and 'punch and kick' are very obvious puns. Do you need to reinforce the irony to such an extent? - You ain't seen my audience.
I've got rid of "the racket" and unintentionally replaced it with another pun, in "traffic". Well, you call it a pun, in our house these are called subtle poetic devices. Ha-ha!
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: You Never Lose It

Post by David » Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:45 pm

I'll bow to you on the zimmer knowledge, Ray! (I'll get a second opinion from Vanessa too.)

I don't remember this one at all, but there are a lot of yours that I do remember.

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Re: You Never Lose It

Post by churinga » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:46 pm

Hi Ray

I try imagining him say,

I still think this line has to go, it's sonically indigestable.

regards

Ross

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Re: You Never Lose It

Post by ray miller » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:02 am

churinga wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:46 pm
Hi Ray

I try imagining him say,

I still think this line has to go, it's sonically indigestable.

regards

Ross

Really? Oh well, it's a subjective business, them sonics.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: You Never Lose It

Post by churinga » Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:09 pm

Now you're really going to hate me.
They didn't have mobile phomes back then, taking his 'phone away' makes no sense. 8) 8) 8)

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Re: You Never Lose It

Post by ray miller » Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:32 am

churinga wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:09 pm
Now you're really going to hate me.
They didn't have mobile phomes back then, taking his 'phone away' makes no sense. 8) 8) 8)
Bastard!
Well, I could contend that the narrator is commenting from his own, modern perspective of gangsterdom, rather than his father's. Or I could just swap "phone and car" for "ration book".
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: You Never Lose It

Post by ray miller » Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:33 am

.
Last edited by ray miller on Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: You Never Lose It

Post by David » Sat Oct 13, 2018 4:11 pm

I checked with Vanessa about the zimmers punching and kicking. She concurs with you.

Cheers

David

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Re: You Never Lose It

Post by ray miller » Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:04 am

David wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 4:11 pm
I checked with Vanessa about the zimmers punching and kicking. She concurs with you.

Cheers

David
Thanks, Vanessa. I knew I was right. You never lose it.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: You Never Lose It

Post by NotQuiteSure » Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:24 pm

.
Hi ray,
like it all, except S2. I think Ross is right
about the 'phone and car line' (would a phone
be especially valuable?).
Might L3 be a bit more conversational, as in,
no more time, no more excuses ?
As an alternative to L2
you knew the game, you chose to play ?
Minor nit, 'had' (S1/L4), maybe
she claimed he was a gangster then ?
Would it still work if you swapped S3 and S4
(S4 seems to follow more naturally from the
last line of S2)?


Regards, Not.

.

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Re: You Never Lose It

Post by bjondon » Tue Oct 16, 2018 6:14 pm

Hi Ray,
This is really rocking. Like all the revisions.
Second half of S2 could be punchier (I like some of Not's suggestions)
I have grown fond of the way L5 forces you to pronounce imagining
'because his glasses can't be found' - isn't that guessable from the previous line?
…better to have three reasons.
Superb change of tone in S4.
Killer rhyme scheme.
'we'll break your legs. Just spit or pay.'?

Regards, Jules

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Re: You Never Lose It

Post by ray miller » Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:29 am

Thanks, fellas. I thought I'd changed line 6 already, but I must have pressed wrong button. Done now.
NQS - I need "excuse" for the rhyme. I think the current final stanza provides a better ending, but I see what you mean.
bjondon - I don't think you can surmise that he's lost his glasses just because someone's reading his crossword clues. I've never heard the expression "spit or pay"!
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: You Never Lose It

Post by Firebird » Wed Oct 17, 2018 5:20 pm

Hi Ray,

I agree with what Ross says about

‘I try imagining him say’.

It does sound very awkward.

Ross’ offering is much better IMO.

‘I try to picture what he 'd say.’

It’s a really good poem and that’s the only rogue line for me.

Cheers,

Tristan

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Re: You Never Lose It

Post by JJWilliamson » Wed Oct 17, 2018 5:45 pm

Good poem, Ray, and one to return to for a second read. I enjoyed it more second time round.

The iambic tetrameter is flawless all the way through, with not a substitution in sight. Reads and flows well.
The rhyme scheme is one of my all time favourites, and I can't help it. The interlocking Rubaiyat quatrains help
to hold the poem together, as well as adding a very pleasing rhythm. It works for me because it isn't apparent
until the second stanza unfolds. The rhymes aren't particularly startling but they don't get in the way either,
and they DO fulfil a function. Looks good to me.

Best

JJ

ray miller wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:24 am
Revised version

My brother tells a tale of when
this woman introduced as Gwen,
who knew our Dad back in the day,
had claimed he was a gangster then.

I try imagining him say,
We’ll take your brand new car away,
you’re out of time, you’ve no excuse,
we’ll break your legs if you don’t pay.

He’s wearing someone else’s shoes;
I’m reading out his crossword clues
because his glasses can’t be found.
I think that Gwen’s got him confused.

Some minion writes his orders down;
the drugs are dealt out, wheeled around
the traffic jams of stubborn men
whose zimmers punch and kick the ground.


Original

My brother tells a tale of when
this woman introduced as Gwen,
who knew our Dad back in the day
exclaimed he was a gangster then.

I try imagining him say,
We’ll take all you love best away,
you’re out of time, you’ve no excuse,
we’ll break your legs if you don’t pay.


He’s wearing someone else’s shoes;
I’m reading out his crossword clues
because his glasses can’t be found.
I think that Gwen’s got him confused.

Some minion writes his orders down;
the drugs are dealt and wheeled around
the racket made by stubborn men
whose zimmers punch and kick the ground.
Long time a child and still a child

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Re: You Never Lose It

Post by NotQuiteSure » Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:44 am

ray miller wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:29 am
I need "excuse" for the rhyme
Fair enough, just a thought
it's an offer you can't refuse

Regards, Not.

.

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Re: You Never Lose It

Post by ray miller » Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:42 pm

NotQuiteSure wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:44 am
ray miller wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:29 am
I need "excuse" for the rhyme
Fair enough, just a thought
it's an offer you can't refuse

Regards, Not.

.

Yeah, I've thought about "refuse", it's a fuller rhyme than excuse. Perhaps I'll just use "You're out of time, you can't refuse"
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: You Never Lose It

Post by NotQuiteSure » Fri Oct 19, 2018 11:15 am

.
It is better with 'refuse', but 'take your car' is still weak.
Have you thought about starting this verse with
I try imagining him say
we'll break your legs if you don't pay

and see where it leads?

Regards, Not.

.

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Re: You Never Lose It

Post by bjondon » Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:09 pm

'Spit or pay' … someone has to make these phrases up :)
I might have been thinking of , 'Shit or get off the pot'
Actually I'm wondering if by making the gangster-speke
more authentic you will end up lessening the impact of V4.
Jules

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Re: You Never Lose It

Post by ray miller » Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:49 am

Thanks again. How about something like "There's certain rules you must obey"?
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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