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Self-Isolation - revised

Posted: Wed Mar 18, 2020 3:49 pm
by ray miller
It was light at 6 when I woke up
and wondered if we’ll change the clocks,
or is that custom to be stopped
like school and pubs, football, hugs?

The kids are just as you’d expect:
one who doesn’t give a shit,
another cries herself to sleep
and worries they won’t let you back.

Everything’s so quiet, as if
the world were holding in its breath.
The tumble drier jerks and jumps,
a fly bounces off the window pane.

I walk the dogs through squelching mud,
from far away a scarecrow’s crack;
blood pulsing faintly in my ears,
the traitorous persistent cough.

At 66 I’m on the cusp
of gathering with the elderly
who stare at supermarket shelves
and shake their heads bewilderedly.

I spend the days devising lines
and then I wash my hands of it.
I keep a distance from myself
and squash the urge to scratch an itch.

An aeroplane hums overhead;
how microscopic I must look
reading through The Plague again
to find the part that I like best.

Original

It was light at 6 when I awoke
and wondered if we’ll still change the clocks,
or shall that kind of stuff be stopped
like school and pubs, football, hugs?

The kids are just as you’d expect:
one who doesn’t give a shit,
another cries herself to sleep
and worries they won’t let you back.

Everything’s so quiet, as if
the world were holding in its breath.
The tumble drier jerks and jumps,
a fly bounces off the window pane.

I walk the dogs, the squelch of mud,
from far away a scarecrow’s crack;
blood pulsing through my ears,
the traitorous persistent cough.

At 66 I’m on the cusp
of joining all those elderly
who stare at supermarket shelves
and shake their heads bewilderedly.

Or put on my makeshift mask
and act the responsible citizen,
then veer into the local bank
to make financial ultimatums.

I’m reading through The Plague again
to find the part that I like best.

Re: Self-Isolation

Posted: Wed Mar 18, 2020 4:59 pm
by NotQuiteSure
.
Hi ray,
enjoyed the read.
Are you missing an 'it's' before 'as if' (S3lL1) , or possibly drop the contraction
of 'everything's'? Starting to her Bjork in that line :)

S1 - anything a bit less predictable than 'school and pubs, (the) football'?
(because they feel too cliché after the surprising and understated 'change the clocks')

S5 - maybe an 'empty' before 'supermarket'?

Not really following S5 to S6, to what does the 'or' relate?

For a darker ending you might consider reordering to
S1,S2, S3, S5, S6, S4 S7.
(and having I'm reading through The Plague again - as a title. I don't
think the piece delivers on 'self-isolation'.)


Regards, Not



.

Re: Self-Isolation

Posted: Wed Mar 18, 2020 6:02 pm
by David
I suppose we'll all, eventually, have a virus poem or two. This one works well at this stage of developments. I've been thinking of reading The Plague too. (First time for me.) When better?

Cheers

David

Re: Self-Isolation

Posted: Thu Mar 19, 2020 8:58 pm
by k-j
Enjoyed this Ray, especially S5 with its elderly / bweilderedly. Lines 3 and 4 maybe a bit bland? S3 feels a bit limp too. Otherwise good.

Re: Self-Isolation

Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 12:41 am
by ton321
Hi Ray , I liked it. I think verses 3 and 4 are the core of the poem though,

Tony

Re: Self-Isolation

Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2020 9:51 pm
by TrevorConway
Hi Ray,

I enjoyed this. I agree with NotQuiteSure that the football, etc. could be exchanged for something more original. Ditto re "empty" shelves, though maybe you could find a more interesting alternative to convey that they're empty. Say, something like hollow or lazy or bald? I'd keep the last verse, and the suggestion of putting the 4th verse last is interesting. I think it could stay where it is or go at/near the end - both work for me. I do like the present ending, though. At around a the halfway mark, it felt a bit laboured when I read it, so would you consider combining the 3rd and 4th verses into one, e.g.:

Everything’s quiet, as if
the world were holding in its breath.
Blood drums through my ears,
behind a stubborn cough.


Anyway, some notes and changes added to the poem below for clarity and to save time explaining.

It was light at 6 when I awoke
and wondered if we’ll still change the clocks,
or shall that kind of stuff be stopped [that kind of stuff could be improved/more specific]
like school and pubs, football, hugs? [more original things?]

The kids are just as you’d expect:
one who doesn’t give a shit,
another cries herself to sleep
and worries they won’t let you back. [Nice details here, not obvious, interesting]

Everything’s quiet, as if
the world were holding in its breath.
Blood drums through my ears,
behind a stubborn cough.

At 66 I’m on the cusp
of joining all those elderly
who stare at bald supermarket shelves
and shake their heads bewilderedly. [Bewilderedly feels awkward. Maybe ", bewildered" or something else entirely?]

Or put on my makeshift mask [Could put on be improved? Slide on would be more visual, for example]
and act the responsible citizen,
then veer into the local bank
to make financial ultimatums. [Maybe "a financial ultimatum" has a better ring to it?]

I’m reading through The Plague again [Add "And" to start of life?]
to find the part that I like best. [I really like the ending. It's hard to pin down exactly what's meant in terms of the significance, which is good, fits well]

I hope this helps, Ray. Great poem.

Trev

Re: Self-Isolation - revised

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 10:12 am
by ray miller
Thanks for all the comments. I've posted a revision.

Re: Self-Isolation - revised

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 2:43 pm
by bjondon
Good one ray.
Liked the scarecrow's crack.
hugs/clocks great . . . sets up an expectation, delivered only with elderly/bewilderedly . . . more?

Jules

Re: Self-Isolation - revised

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 4:33 pm
by Firebird
Hi Ray, I love the last two lines and the double meaning of ‘part’. Yep, it’s a good one. The only thing I’d change is ‘awoke’ in the first line to ‘woke’. It’s a little more in tone (I.e. down to earth) with the rest of the poem.

Enjoyed the read.

Cheers,

Tristan

Re: Self-Isolation - revised

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 4:45 pm
by David
I like the revision. The end is much improved, and I really like "and keep a distance from myself".

Cooee! I'm over here!

Cheers

David

Re: Self-Isolation - revised

Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 5:46 pm
by bjondon
If I could change L12 I would - the plural seems odd and the rhythm off.
Best,
Jules

Re: Self-Isolation - revised

Posted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 3:01 pm
by ray miller
Thanks all. You're right about the plural, Jules.