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Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 11:01 am
by Jackie
For all, Cutlass Tree flaunts, befriending—
Let alone a perfect stranger.
Her throbbing, limber limbs extending
For all, Cutlass Tree flaunts, befriending.
She rules the gate and, her red ascending,
Claims all gates within our range here.
For all, Cutlass Tree flaunts, befriending,
Yet lets alone my perfect stranger.

Re: Flamboyant

Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:16 pm
by ray miller
I googled, so I think I understand how the tree befriends, but not the perfect stranger stuff.

Re: Flamboyant

Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:42 pm
by David
I like it. I think you're playing on two meanings of "perfect stranger".

Is it a sort of triolet? Or even a trlolet? I am vague on such things.

Nice poem, though.



Re: Flamboyant

Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:56 pm
by bjondon
Hi Jackie, a strong and mysterious piece. I'm still struggling a bit with the mystery.
I like the poetic flags planted on the words 'flamboyant' and 'cutlass'.
It feels like a feminist or female celebration/claiming of space with a sense of wonder about this 'perfect stranger'.
My best bet for the stranger is a newborn child. I thought about 'lover' too, but there seems less of an aura of mystery around the role of a lover.
That first couplet is quite a syntactical challenge - you'd expect a negative contention before the phrase 'let alone' in the sense of 'not even' - The em dash suggests L2 is not too closely connected, so it could be a declaration as in 'Leave alone'.

If 'Cutlass Tree' is a symbol of woman, alive to and a friend to her whole community, the poem seems to be saying that her relationship with her child is significantly different - he/she is 'set apart', cannot be befriended or included in the same way. Her 'flaunt' is for everyone except her child.
The 'gate' could be the entrance to life, birth itself; 'her red ascending' - the whole matriarchal lineage.
''all gates' - I'm running out of interps. Not too keen on the 'range here' rhyming
The 'Yet' and the 'my' of L8 make it personal for the N, wondering at the mystery of her own relationship with her child.
A wonderfuly vibrant anti-patriarchal anthem.
Or maybe it's just about the tree :)

ps. I just noticed the switch from 'let' to 'lets' in the final line which could swing this more towards a love poem.
Triolet form is supposedly ABaAbbAB, this is ABaAabAB, so as good as, and certainly with that siren lilt to it.

Re: Flamboyant

Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 9:07 pm
by Firebird
Hi Jackie,

I too used google to identify the tree, but it didn’t help me much. I’ve read the poem quite a few times and it sounds like it should be saying something, but I can’t work out what. David and Jules like it though, so it’s probably just me, and hopefully something will click later, or maybe with an explanation.



Re: Flamboyant

Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:44 am
by Macavity
Hi Jackie'
You do like a tree poem (...and it was interesting to learn about this one). The throbbing, limber limbs seemed more sexual than Jules' reading of children, but you often 'slant' your poems and he could be right (in the use of 'perfect stranger' and the tree bearing fruit).



Re: Flamboyant

Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:01 pm
by Jackie
Many thanks to all of you. Jules, I do appreciate your trying to the point that
I'm running out of interps!
It might help to know that here, the flamboyant tree is also called the Baboon's Cutlass Tree because of its long seed pods.


Re: Flamboyant

Posted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:09 pm
by bjondon
Continue to be intrigued by this one Jackie, though I think the reader needs at least one more clue.
There's a great triolet by Hardy:

Around the house the flakes fly faster,
And all the berries now are gone
From holly and cotoneaster
Around the house. The flakes fly! - faster
Shutting indoors the crumb-outcaster
We used to see upon the lawn
Around the house. The flakes fly faster
And all the berries now are gone!

With each repetition of the 'trio' our pov is gradually shifted from a framed external human-viewed landscape to an intense close-up seen from the starving birds' perspective, all glued together with Hardy's brilliant neologism 'crumb-outcaster'.
Yours is actually a much stricter triolet (forget my earlier misdiagnosis - I got that formula from Stephen Fry's 'Ode Less Travelled' and he's wrong, twice!)
Hardy plays on a switch in meaning of 'faster'; here your switches seem more in the answer/ending line with both 'let alone' and 'perfect stranger' seeming to shimmer with alternative, quite different meanings . . . none of which resolve into coherence!

The only word here relating to monkeys is 'range'. Since it's 'our range' the N could be a baboon.
'She rules the gate and, her red ascending
Claims all gates within our range here' … I'm getting a lovely image of the tree around an entrance way, then seeing the same red stretching up over the surrounding hills, perhaps each tree or group of trees associated with entrance ways to other farms or buildings.
I'm attracted to the way the language is both welcoming, transgressive and obliquely mysterious.
A female is appropriating a form of piratical, open sexuality. The word 'flaunts' is often used perjoratively to shut down the behaviour of women. The phrase 'let alone a perfect stranger' , though a complete jump cut in sense from its preceding clause, is also the kind of phrase that might follow a chastisement about someone being too open or 'easy'. The repetition as 'lets alone' (i.e. allows only) subtly subverts that sentiment.

Despite the charm and languor here, a cutlass is a weapon deployed specifically by white europeans, typically in the eighteenth century. In the context of Africa (which apparently is the only place this tree grows) there may be darker under currents here too.


Re: Flamboyant

Posted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 10:22 am
by Jackie
Jules, thanks so much for your very helpful comments. I don't usually go for prescribed forms but there's something very entrancing about a well-written triolet like Hardy's. I think it has to do with keeping it simple with every word on point. I'm not there yet!

I didn't intend the cutlass to refer to anything but its ordinary use here in the tropics to cut back bush or in farm work.


Re: Flamboyant

Posted: Thu Nov 14, 2019 11:48 am
by lotus
dear Jackie

thank you for your sharing about local flavor

i've lived on and off for a great number of years in the Caribbean
where a Flamboyant is called a July Tree

a warm smile
silent lotus

Re: Flamboyant

Posted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:11 pm
by Dryanddeadwords
Hi Jackie,
I like your poem, been visiting and revisiting for several days now. I originally took it at face value, but then other comments took me down the metaphorical track and I lost my way. If it’s there then I think it’s slightly lost in the language..? I find it all a little noisy, all those -ings ringing like impatience in a lobby.

Mental note: don’t be influenced by other comments.

Thanks Jackie.

Re: Flamboyant

Posted: Sat Nov 23, 2019 12:43 pm
by ton321
Hi Jackie

I'm pretty sure I don't understand it. Googled it and found the words'-It is categorized under spermatophytes, vascular plants', I have a feeling there is some sexual undertone to it. I'll re-read it again. I liked it though,

Re: Flamboyant

Posted: Tue Dec 24, 2019 5:24 pm
by Richard
I like this, it’s playful and mysterious. Could you get rid of the gerunds? Just a thought, but not sure it matters.

Re: Flamboyant

Posted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 11:41 pm
by capricorn
A nice triolet. It has a mysterious feel. I really enjoyed the read.


Re: Flamboyant

Posted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:27 am
by Poet
Jackie wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 11:01 am
For all, Cutlass Tree flaunts, befriending—
Let alone a perfect stranger.
Her throbbing, limber limbs extending
For all, Cutlass Tree flaunts, befriending.
She rules the gate and, her red ascending,
Claims all gates within our range here.
For all, Cutlass Tree flaunts, befriending,
Yet lets alone my perfect stranger.
Read beautifully, could get rid of those gerunds for sure.