The Board V3 (was 'The Signal Getting Clearer')

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bjondon
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The Board V3 (was 'The Signal Getting Clearer')

Post by bjondon » Mon Apr 01, 2019 7:45 pm

I sleep on a drawing board.
One of two in this strange house -
and seasoned sublimely. (But I leap forward-
the mice run under!)

So, bed, I note your riddled corners
(Daddy's younger thumbs)
and gobs of rabbit glue,
milky white and brittle.

That spray of pinholes, each one
such resolution, drawings dashed out, clients
braying (nothing really paying)
and him, locked in his dreams and never stopping.

My other, brother-board's still harnessed;
tilted, shod in mottled steel but turning
merely to the sun; like me
it lacks intensity of purpose (idling).

Timbers such as these are rare today;
their grooved and filleted complexity unneeded;
nature's noise (unruly trees!)
constrained to abstract planes
with cheaper ease in other faster places;

(and tight, slow-grown,
long-seasoned grain
now more of a gentleman's game).

That time he claimed the architect
had changed the plan (the stairs fell short);
so there they stood - adopted only

by the cat - the wood untreated, bare -
they looked magnificent, literally
going nowhere - with Susie sunning

herself two steps from the top:
she'd found her perfect spot,
and stayed there for at least a year

before a speeding van put paid to that
and Dad went bust. How strange
how small I was when he

was here. In six months
it will be, I think, ten years;
and now, splayed out across his board,

I feel as if I've only just begun
to breathe;
like wood turning towards
its warp.





V2
I sleep on a drawing board,
one of two in this strange house -
(and seasoned sublimely) - but I leap forward,
the mice run under!

So, bed, I note your riddled corners
(Daddy's younger thumbs)
and gobs of rabbit glue,
milky white and brittle.

These timbers are rare now,
their grooved and filleted complexity
unneeded; nature's noise constrained
to abstract planes much faster

and with more forceful arts
these days. This spray of pin holes,
each one a dashed out drawing
(always in a panic!) -

Not just plans but rods, the doings,
one to one - this board laid flat,
the hot glue ready (in its stalagmited kettle);
fresh cut timbers scent the sunlit spaces.

Daddy's Portobello joinery
never made much money -
he'd bus us in at weekends;
sanding, polishing and waxing -

But I loved it -
the big high windows, easy afternoons,
the market down the road,
(hippies ruled the world)

and cheese-tomato rolls
with tea in filthy mugs (five sugars).
Those mice
have gone - thank god!

Their nest of rolled up plans,
my daddy's favourite winders;
his heroic stairs - no doubt
still out there leading somewhere.

All except the last - he claimed
the architect had changed the plan
and there it stood, so grand
and pointless. Adopted only

by the cat; she'd found her perfect
spot; and sunned away a year
before she died and Dad went bust.
How strange how small I was when

he was here. Bro and Sis
got out, and ran in opposite
directions - (one in Scotland,
one in France) - I stayed.

Six months
and it will be ten years.

(As if I've only just
begun to breathe.)
Last edited by bjondon on Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:40 pm, edited 10 times in total.

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Re: The Signal Getting Clearer

Post by Perry » Mon Apr 01, 2019 9:03 pm

Jules, have your poems always been this enigmatic, or is this new?
Last edited by Perry on Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: The Signal Getting Clearer

Post by bjondon » Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:21 pm

Winders all

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Re: The Signal Getting Clearer

Post by NotQuiteSure » Tue Apr 02, 2019 2:20 pm

.
Hi Jules,
enjoyed the read,
(the explanations you gave in 'Perpetual Motion' helped here too).


I sleep on a drawing board;
one of two in this strange house;
and seasoned sublimely - but I leap forward,
- not sure about the 'and'
the mice run under!

So, bed, I note your riddled corners
- like 'riddled corners' and the whole
of this verse

(Daddy's younger thumbs)
and gobs of rabbit glue,
milky white and brittle.

These timbers are rare now,
their grooved and filleted complexity
- what does 'filleted' mean in this context?
(Actual question, not crit)

unneeded; nature's noise contained
to abstract planes these days
- 'in' rather than 'to'?

with greater speed and ease;
- don't like the two /ee/s, maybe 'pace' for 'speed'?
more forceful arts.
This spray of pin holes
tells of drawings;
- anything better than 'tells'? 'Speaks' ?

not just plans but rods, the doings,
one to one - my board layed flat,
- think this might be better as 'a board laid '
to avoid the confusion with S1/L1.
the hot glue ready (in a rusty cauldron);
- repetition of 'glue' seems weak, and
'rusty cauldron' isn't really adding.

fresh cut timbers scent the sunlit spaces.
- what did the glue smell like?

Daddy's Portobello joinery
never made much money:
he'd drag us in at weekends -
sanding, polishing and waxing;

but I loved it -
big high windows, easy afternoons,
- maybe 'those big high windows' ?
the market down the road
(hippys ruled the world)
- Wanted a 'when hippies ...
(almost seemed like a title)


and cheese tomato rolls
- is there a hyphen or something missing here?
with tea in filthy mugs
(five sugars). Those mice
have gone - thank god!

Their nest of rolled up plans,
my daddy's favourite winders;
his heroic stairs - no doubt still out there;
though, more likely skipped and burnt.
- feels a bit anticlimactic, Jules, (I wondered
who else maybe climbing your daddy's stairs
to memory) and, having got this far I want to
know why the house is 'strange'.


Regards, Not


.

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Re: The Signal Getting Clearer

Post by lotus » Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:35 pm

dear Jules

your poem brought back the stories of a friend
his father was a master cabinet maker/restorer
for the Metropolitan Museum Of Art in NYC
decades ago

his father had him and his brother sharpen his tools
every day when they came home from school

when they were somewhere in their teens
they came home from a party late at night
and discovered their father resharpening all the tools they had done earlier
and found out that he had always done that over all the years

apprenticeship .... patience .... discipline


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

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Re: The Signal Getting Clearer

Post by Joao » Wed Apr 03, 2019 4:12 pm

Very nice, atmospheric stuff, Jules. A few thoughts below:
bjondon wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 7:45 pm
I sleep on a drawing board;
one of two in this strange house;
and seasoned sublimely - but I leap forward, I don't understand why the hyperbole. The 'leap': is that you saying 'but I get ahead of myself?'
the mice run under!

So, bed, I note your riddled corners
(Daddy's younger thumbs)
and gobs of rabbit glue,
milky white and brittle. Great stanza. Lovely detail

These timbers are rare now,
their grooved and filleted complexity
unneeded; nature's noise contained 'Nature's noise' is a nice phrase. 'Muffled' rather than 'contained'?
to abstract planes these days

with greater speed and ease;
more forceful arts.
This spray of pin holes
tells of drawings;

not just plans but rods, the doings,
one to one - my board layed flat,
the hot glue ready (in a rusty cauldron);
fresh cut timbers scent the sunlit spaces. Another great touch. Replace 'timbers' with the actual wood type?

Daddy's Portobello joinery
never made much money:
he'd drag us in at weekends - If you loved it, you wouldn't be 'dragged'
sanding, polishing and waxing;

but I loved it -
big high windows, easy afternoons,
the market down the road
(hippys ruled the world)

and cheese tomato rolls
with tea in filthy mugs (five sugars).
Those mice
have gone - thank god!

Their nest of rolled up plans,
my daddy's favourite winders;
his heroic stairs - no doubt still out there;
though, more likely skipped and burnt. I got your meaning after re-reading this stanza, but it wasn't as clear to me as the rest of the poem. Also, I didn't get the title

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Re: The Board V3 (was 'The Signal Getting Clearer')

Post by bjondon » Sun Apr 07, 2019 8:34 pm

Really useful crits - thank you especially Not and Joao.
Perry - I know 'enigmatic' in your book is code for
'failed' - actually this is a completely literal poem
(words will have their way though) … If you drop by again
I hope you find V2/3 a bit clearer.

lotus - queen of the disharmonic union :) … there are a few
jumps and juxtapositions in this (more in the V2?) … pleased
you found it evocative and enjoyed your story. Sharpening
chisels and planes by hand is a great art I never quite mastered.

Not - definitely a poem in search of a better ending - hope the revision delivers
- 'what does filleted mean?' The starting point and central theme is my sense of wonder at what this
board is/represents. Technical drawing boards have to be perfectly and permanently flat - Up until
maybe 60 years ago the only available material was solid wood. Just pop onto any woodwork forum
and you'll find plenty of discussions on the weird and wonderful methods required to persuade even
tiddly kitchen cabinet doors made out of solid timber to not do an impersonation of a banana - and
they're usually talking about hardwoods. So it's a bit of a dark and forgotten art to do it large scale
with pine … multiple deep grooves in the back, strategically placed cross-grained inserts (the fillets),
the whole business of how the tree is sawn in the first place (quarter or lateral), the particular species -
(who grows 'slow' these days?), air or kiln dried (the former, 5-10 years). Did that answer your question? :)
- 'what did the glue smell like?' … rabbit
- very useful spotlights on all the weak corners (and appalling spelling) - I think I've addressed them all

Joao - really pleased you liked this. Interested to know what you think of V2 vs V3 - I have sacrificed a lot of
the reverie but I think it pulls together better as a whole.
- You picked up on that odd hyperbole in S1 - I liked that energy and tried various ways
of weaving it through the rest. It still stands out as a bit quirky but I see it
as a sort of entrance way.
- 'getting ahead of myself' - yes exactly
-'muffled' - I went for 'constrained'
- good point about 'dragging'
- 'The Signal Getting Clearer' - a reference to 'nature's noise' i.e. a suggestion
that as civilisation progresses the human signal gets ever sharper, more defined -
but maybe a slightly irrelevant rabbit to pull out of that particular poem.
There is also the idea of our lives clarifying as we age, but I preferred the
simplicity and symbolism of 'The Board'.

Regards,
Jules

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Re: The Board V3 (was 'The Signal Getting Clearer')

Post by lotus » Sun Apr 07, 2019 8:52 pm

Jules

i have this identical drawing table at home
in The Netherlands
with a fine hardwood board

https://www.ztijl.com/mid-century-desig ... una-1950s/

unfortunately i am going to have to put it up for sale soon

silent lotus
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Re: The Board V3 (was 'The Signal Getting Clearer')

Post by Joao » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:17 pm

I like the V3 additions, Jules, but missed the childhood memories from V1. A few comments below (feel free to ignore them).
bjondon wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 7:45 pm
I sleep on a drawing board.
One of two in this strange house -
and seasoned sublimely. (But I leap forward-
the mice run under!)

So, bed, I note your riddled corners
(Daddy's younger thumbs)
and gobs of rabbit glue,
milky white and brittle.

That spray of pinholes, each one
such resolution, drawings dashed out, clients
braying (nothing really paying) I like this addition: there's now action where (in V1) there was mostly languid reminiscence
and him, locked in his dreams and never stopping. a bit bland, I think

My other, brother-board's still harnessed; not sure I follow the grammar here
tilted, shod in mottled steel but turning
merely to the sun; like me
it lacks intensity of purpose (idling). I'm not sure this stanza adds much

Timbers such as these are rare today;
their grooved and filleted complexity unneeded;
nature's noise (unruly trees!)
constrained to abstract planes
with cheaper ease in other faster places;

(and tight, slow-grown,
long-seasoned grain
now more of a gentleman's game).

That time he claimed the architect
had changed the plan (the stairs fell short);
so there they stood - adopted only

by the cat - the wood untreated, bare -
they looked magnificent, literally
going nowhere - with Susie sunning This is a great improvement on the first treatment of the stairs, I think

herself two steps from the top:
she'd found her perfect spot,
and stayed there for at least a year

before a speeding van put paid to that
and Dad went bust. How strange
how small I was when he

was here. In six months
it will be, I think, ten years; Ten years since his death?
and now, splayed out across his board,

I feel as if I've only just begun
to breathe;
like wood turning towards
its warp. I love the sound of this last stanza, but I'm not entirely sure I grasp the full sense of it. Does 'beginning to breathe' mean recovering from the torpor of grief? If so, the warping simile seems to contradict it: doesn't wood warp under stress? If so, that would hardly be the image for a healing spirit, or would it?

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Re: The Board V3 (was 'The Signal Getting Clearer')

Post by NotQuiteSure » Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:57 am

.
Hi Jules,
so much (more) to like, and the new ending is solidly satisfying
(though I'd be tempted to reverse the line to -
like wood turning towards
its warp.
I feel as if I've only just begun
to breathe.


Thanks for the 'fillet' explanation - it's those details that lift the
piece (for me), the more (yes, please) the merrier. (The only
ones I knew of were the 'drying' aspects).

Feels like there are too many parenthetical asides.

Would have preferred Technical Drawing Board as the title
(or even, All My Father's Plans, 'The Board' is just too bland
for the poem, I think). Could you stand 'High Widows, Easy
Afternoons' ?

I've messed up your rhymes with this cut n paste, but ...

I sleep on a drawing board.
One of two in this strange house -
sublimely seasoned

(But I leap forward - the mice run under!)

Timbers such as these are rare;
their grooved and filleted complexity
unneeded; unruly trees! nature's noise
- do you need 'nature's noise'?

constrained to abstract planes
with cheaper ease in other faster places
- 'cheaper ease'?
and tight, slow-grown, long-seasoned grain
- maybe 'than' for 'and' ?

now more of a gentleman's game.
- not sold on 'a gentleman's game (seems
almost a cliché for we
althy).

So, bed, I note your riddled corners
- should 'bed' be capitalised?
gobs of rabbity glue, milky white and brittle.
and Daddy's younger thumbs

That spray of pinholes, each one
- 'spray' ?
such resolution, drawings dashed out,
- 'such' ?
clients braying (nothing really paying)

and locked in his dreams, never stopping. him.
- not sure that 'locked' is sufficiently carpentery
(sorry for the technical term)


My other, brother-board's still harnessed;
- the punctuation confuses me
tilted, shod in mottled steel but turning
- 'shod' ?
merely to the sun; like me
- the 'sun' element seems too similar to 'Susie'

it lacks intensity of purpose (idling).
- the (idling) undercuts the preceding, I think.

Daddy's Portobello joinery
never made much money:
he'd drag us in at weekends -
sanding, polishing and waxing;

but I loved it - high windows, easy afternoons,
the market down the road
(hippys ruled the world)

- I think these two verses are worth salvaging/up-cycling :)
(If you keep them then maybe '(nothing really paying)' ? could
change to 'always late in paying' )


That time he claimed the architect
changed the plan (the stairs fell short);
- the brackets aren't appropriate, go for a comma.
so there they stood - adopted only

by the cat - the wood untreated, bare -
looking magnificent, literally
going nowhere - with Susie sunning
- like the ambiguity: both the cat and stairs
going nowhere.


herself two steps from the top:
she'd found her perfect spot,
and stayed there for at least a year

before a speeding van put paid to that
indolence and Dad went bust.
How strange how small I was

In six months it will be, I think, ten years;
and now, splayed out across his board,
like wood turning towards its warp.

I feel as if I've only just begun to breathe;


Regards, Not.

ps. Still want to know why (or in what way) the house is 'strange' :)





.

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Re: The Board V3 (was 'The Signal Getting Clearer')

Post by JJWilliamson » Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:56 am

My art addled mind couldn't help but think of watercolour or drawing paper, soaked and stretched over a board.
Once I realised my mistake I followed the thread quite easily, although I found a hiccough or two along the way.
bjondon wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 7:45 pm
I sleep on a drawing board. ...Could the technical side be introduced here?
One of two in this strange house -
and seasoned sublimely. (But I leap forward-
the mice run under!) ...Oops, you just lost me. I know I'm probably missing something crucial. :)

So, bed, I note your riddled corners ...'bed' ??
(Daddy's younger thumbs)
and gobs of rabbit glue,
milky white and brittle. ...This reminds me of gesso, but I'm sure it has other uses.

That spray of pinholes, each one
such resolution, drawings dashed out, clients ...Pinholes with resolution loses me.
braying (nothing really paying)
and him, locked in his dreams and never stopping. ...I'm fine with this strophe.

My other, brother-board's still harnessed;
tilted, shod in mottled steel but turning
merely to the sun; like me
it lacks intensity of purpose (idling). ...Are the brackets necessary? would a comma suffice? Are you taking the reader away from the literal here?

Timbers such as these are rare today;
their grooved and filleted complexity unneeded;
nature's noise (unruly trees!)
constrained to abstract planes
with cheaper ease in other faster places; ...I think you're asking a lot of the reader here. 'faster' implies 'slower' as in slow growing. The rare hard woods have been replaced by softer woods and synthetic materials.

(and tight, slow-grown,
long-seasoned grain
now more of a gentleman's game).

That time he claimed the architect
had changed the plan (the stairs fell short);
so there they stood - adopted only

by the cat - the wood untreated, bare -
they looked magnificent, literally
going nowhere - with Susie sunning ...Love this detail and part of the story. Brilliant recollections.

herself two steps from the top:
she'd found her perfect spot,
and stayed there for at least a year ...Nice touch of humour, followed by tragedy in the following lines. I like the emotional switch.

before a speeding van put paid to that
and Dad went bust. How strange
how small I was when he

was here. In six months
it will be, I think, ten years;
and now, splayed out across his board, ...I'm a little at sea with the time frame but that's probably just me.

I feel as if I've only just begun
to breathe;
like wood turning towards
its warp. ...Is this like the warp of a woven cloth or a warped piece of wood?


Actually, there's enough meat on the bone for me to get my fill, but my inadequacy left me picking morsels from my teeth.

Best

JJ




V2
I sleep on a drawing board,
one of two in this strange house -
(and seasoned sublimely) - but I leap forward,
the mice run under!

So, bed, I note your riddled corners
(Daddy's younger thumbs)
and gobs of rabbit glue,
milky white and brittle.

These timbers are rare now,
their grooved and filleted complexity
unneeded; nature's noise constrained
to abstract planes much faster

and with more forceful arts
these days. This spray of pin holes,
each one a dashed out drawing
(always in a panic!) -

Not just plans but rods, the doings,
one to one - this board laid flat,
the hot glue ready (in its stalagmited kettle);
fresh cut timbers scent the sunlit spaces.

Daddy's Portobello joinery
never made much money -
he'd bus us in at weekends;
sanding, polishing and waxing -

But I loved it -
the big high windows, easy afternoons,
the market down the road,
(hippies ruled the world)

and cheese-tomato rolls
with tea in filthy mugs (five sugars).
Those mice
have gone - thank god!

Their nest of rolled up plans,
my daddy's favourite winders;
his heroic stairs - no doubt
still out there leading somewhere.

All except the last - he claimed
the architect had changed the plan
and there it stood, so grand
and pointless. Adopted only

by the cat; she'd found her perfect
spot; and sunned away a year
before she died and Dad went bust.
How strange how small I was when

he was here. Bro and Sis
got out, and ran in opposite
directions - (one in Scotland,
one in France) - I stayed.

Six months
and it will be ten years.

(As if I've only just
begun to breathe.)
Long time a child and still a child

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Re: The Board V3 (was 'The Signal Getting Clearer')

Post by churinga » Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:08 pm

Hi Jules

This reads very well, with beautifully composed sentences.
I thought the bracketed asides distracting, perhaps confusing to some.
It's an interesting theme and the image of the drawing board as a bed is aptly symbolic.
It deserves a better title.

all the best

Ross

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