You Be the Hammer V3 (was : So, I met the Devil himself/ The Gift)

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bjondon
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You Be the Hammer V3 (was : So, I met the Devil himself/ The Gift)

Post by bjondon » Sat Aug 24, 2019 2:09 pm

There is no such thing as good or evil


We are the same as plants or eagles


But there are mistakes


And I may be wrong
Listen, when you have children
when you ask for love
this daughter of yours, this son

they
they will look into your eyes
they will look into

their own eyes


And see what you have done




V2

There is no such thing as good or evil


We are the same as plants or eagles


But there are mistakes


And I may be wrong
Listen, when you have children
when you ask for love -
They, we, shall look deep
and yes, clear

into your eyes


And see what you have done




Original

There is no such thing
as good or evil

We are the same
as plants or eagles

But there are mistakes

And I may be wrong,
but when you have children
when you ask for love -
they, we, shall look deep, and clear
into your eyes your human eyes

And see what you have done
Last edited by bjondon on Wed Aug 28, 2019 4:58 pm, edited 13 times in total.

1lankest
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Re: The Gift

Post by 1lankest » Sat Aug 24, 2019 2:21 pm

“There is no such thing
as good or evil
We are the same
as plants or eagles”

Did Nietzsche himself believe that?!
Having children is a mistake, not good, not evil, but wrong somehow?

I feel like a contrite member of a congregation, reading this!
We are human, different from plants and eagles, as you say in S2. We have morality, are responsible for our actions, including having children. A gift? Not for the world, perhaps.

Luke

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Re: The Gift

Post by bjondon » Sat Aug 24, 2019 3:09 pm

That is one interp I hadn't thought of!

Thank you for zooming in Luke.
J

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Re: The Gift

Post by ray miller » Sun Aug 25, 2019 6:47 pm

I guess you have in mind the legacy that we're leaving future generations, not so much a gift as a landmine. Can mistakes not be born of evil intent? Weevils is better than eagles, I think. Lines 7-10 seem a bit melodramatic.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: The Gift

Post by JJWilliamson » Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:45 am

I'm struggling with this one, Jules, although the philosophy is very interesting.

You open with a proposition that states there is no such thing as good or evil, suggesting they are simply aspects of behaviour common to all, yet there's no examination of culture, sentience and choice. It's a philosophical debate that has been spiralling for thousands of years, with no concrete conclusion. There are no absolutes, which is an absolute statement in itself etc. We're all made of the same basic elements: carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus and a few minor elements, but why the generic 'plant' and the specific 'eagle'? I can see the near rhyme but felt "animals" was more in keeping. Maybe something like "weeds and weevils".(to borrow Ray's suggestion)

The follow up is a bit too abstract for me, mainly because I see no logical progression. Still, I freely admit I'm no philosopher, although I'm detecting aspects of existentialism in this one, or at least the "absurd" and the associated definitions.

The profundity of the close isn't quite working for me, although, once again, the idea of it catches the imagination. I think overall I'm not really following your intent, even though I very much want to.

Enjoyed thinking about this one.

Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

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Re: So, I met the Devil himself (V2 formerly The Gift)

Post by bjondon » Mon Aug 26, 2019 11:54 am

Ok - wrong end of the stick here!
Thank you Luke, Ray and JJ.
'weevils' would be brilliant if I was writing that poem.
I can see the title is a major mis-steer, I was maybe jumping too far ahead, and the sententiousness of L7-10 - well, there's nothing woolly or uncalled for there for me, so I'm thinking maybe go for more melodrama rather than less.
JJ - In many ways you are my best reader, your expostulation is my exact thought process, but you've missed the key conceit which must be my fault.

New title and tweaks.
Fingers crossed.
Jules

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Re: So, I met the Devil himself (V2 formerly The Gift)

Post by ray miller » Tue Aug 27, 2019 10:52 am

into your eyes your human eyes - that's what I found overwrought, and now you've fixed it.
The new title doesn't help me, but the poem has inspired me to embark upon an eco-philosophical treatise. It's called Beyond Wood and Weevil.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: So, I met the Devil himself (V2 formerly The Gift)

Post by k-j » Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:04 am

I like this (v2 much better than v1). But I don't think either title works, first one is too vague and the second one too explicatory. If you can't think of a good title, especially for a short poem, just leave it without one! But there probably is one.

Only other thing is "plants or eagles". Plants, OK. But the very specific eagles is in danger of appearing to be there because it sounds like "evil". Although I recognise the symbolism of the eagle is a nice contrast with plants.

I'd like to believe the poem's proclamation of moral vengeance, but I fear that as often as not the kids just perpetuate the "mistakes"...
fine words butter no parsnips

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Re: So, I met the Devil himself (V2 formerly The Gift)

Post by NotQuiteSure » Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:32 am

.
(Apologies Jules, but ...)
ray miller wrote:
Tue Aug 27, 2019 10:52 am
Beyond Wood and Weevil.
:lol: Brilliant ray.

Regards, Not

.

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Re: So, I met the Devil himself (V2 formerly The Gift)

Post by bjondon » Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:24 pm

Thanks for the thumbs up Ray and k-j (still wavering Not? … the new title should decide it)
- 'eagles' is key to me - that is exactly how so-called 'evil' people think of themselves - high flyers, predators (it's a word that would pique their interest) . . . They see a world of hammers and nails; they choose to be a hammer. But they are human . . . and Good and Evil are terms they would just sneer at. But errors, tactical mistakes. That would, might, interest them.
Rock bottom, the only time we cannot help but ask for love is when we have children - it is the ultimate redemptive act, the only vulnerability of the 'hard man', 'hard woman'.
It is a long shot answering evil with love - and to address a 'Devil' in these terms is I think to offer them a sort of love, a long way down a road on which they believe there is no turning back.
So, moral vengeance? Not exactly - it is an imagined future, beyond this conversation.
Most likely the kids will perpetuate 'the mistake' - more often than not in varieties of self-harm, or even a shocking early death . . . and the parent will come to see they have destroyed their own children . . . so whether the devil can envisage that future is a difficult question . . . and quite possibly the fantasy of an idiot like me.
Ray - I can't see you getting beyond the first paragraph, so I've nicked your title.

Jules

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Re: Beyond Wood and Weevil (was: So, I met the Devil himself/ The Gift)

Post by 1lankest » Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:32 pm

I think it’s the ‘we’ at the end that confuses me, Jules. Would you consider ditching it?

Luke

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Re: Beyond Wood and Weevil (was: So, I met the Devil himself/ The Gift)

Post by NotQuiteSure » Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:02 pm

.
Hi Jules,
yes still wavering (or drowning).

And then reading this today
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/aug/27/i-wish-id-told-dad-how-much-i-hated-him-when-children-ditch-their-parents
I'm just not buying the birth of a child as necessarily redemptive. David Koch had three kids.

I rather liked the 'Devil' title (particularly if he were the speaker), and thought about


There is no such thing
as good or evil


You are the same
as plants or eagles


But there are mistakes

And I may be wrong,
but when you have children
when you ask for love -
when they look deep,
into your eyes your human eyes



Do you think they see what you have done?



Regards, Not.


.

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Re: Beyond Wood and Weevil (was: So, I met the Devil himself/ The Gift)

Post by bjondon » Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:19 pm

1lankest wrote:
Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:32 pm
I think it’s the ‘we’ at the end that confuses me, Jules. Would you consider ditching it?

Luke
Yes! - I've done a V3 . . . there was alot packed into that 'we' ; it had the advantage of concision and the right cadence, but I think you're right, it created a bit of temporal confusion and fuzziness. Simply dropping it didn't seem like an option - the whole piece is teetering on thedge of clod-heavy corny and that seemed to tip it over.

Not - Haha! - an excellent inversion. I think the Devil title and the initially smarmy feel of the opening does invite the thought that it's the devil speaking . . . 'And I may be wrong' a flicker of doubt or a figure of speech? … could the devil be doubting himself? Blasphemy! . . . . So, three viable versions now :) (the 'human eyes' reprieved in your version too).

I agree having children is not in itself an act of redemption. If you are already acting as a predator towards your 'friends' and colleagues you will almost certainly visit that on your children . . . and reap the rewards. The Guardian article (thanks for that) and the comments under thse line is/are very informative. It's interesting that at one point the commenters split into supporters of the Larkin 'They fuck you up' poem and Adrian Mitchell's rather wonderful 'They tuck you up' riposte.

Jules

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