Five hundred yards from home

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Richard
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Five hundred yards from home

Post by Richard » Mon Apr 13, 2020 10:32 am

Five hundred yards from home

V3
Metaphors of war
do not have empty villages
marked by closing notices
pinned to shop doors,
sun-dried paper, rustling
thanks and safeness.

Metaphors of war
do not have old folk
first in line for silence
on their usual walks, smiling
with a fretful friendliness
shy of their own fear.

Metaphors of war
do not say brief hellos,
to breach the distance
as if it’s silence opened us
to kindness with the gift
of gentle adult hands.

Metaphors of war
do not smooth the hopeful
paper, pull the ribbon,
open a fold in their heart
to keep a stranger
close for safekeeping.

V2


Metaphors of war
do not have empty villages
marked by lonely notices
pinned to shop doors,
sun-dried paper, rustling
their friendly emptiness.

Metaphors of war
do not have old folk
first in line for silence
on their usual walks, smiling
with a fretful friendliness
shy of their own fear.

Metaphors of war
do not say their brief hellos,
risk breaching distance
as if it’s silence
opened to the gift of kindness
with gentle adult hands.

Metaphors of war
do not smooth the paper,
lift a corner, pull
the ribbon, open a fold
in their heart and put
a stranger there for safekeeping.





V1
Metaphors of war
do not have empty villages
all intact with lonely notices
of thanks pinned to the shop
doors, chafing the air
with sundried paper.
Or so many old folks
clinging to the silence
on their usual walks, smiling
with a wistfulness or looking
down with a grim fear,
or a You should not or I should
not be wandering for mere
exercise or the briefest hello
like the crinkling of wrapping paper
the tearing open of a gift
with gentle adult hands
lifts some sellotape here, undoes
a corner there. Pulls open
a fold in their heart
and puts a stranger in it
for safekeeping.
Last edited by Richard on Wed Apr 15, 2020 12:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.

NotQuiteSure
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Re: Five hundred yards from home

Post by NotQuiteSure » Mon Apr 13, 2020 12:05 pm

.
Hi Richard,
just needs tightening, in my opinion
Not sure about 'chafing' and the 'wrapping paper'
section could be improved/smoother.
The 'wistfulness' and 'fear' are a bit too clichéd as well.
Nevertheless, enjoyed the read and the title's faint echo
of 'thousand yard stare'.


Metaphors of war
do not have empty villages
intact with lonely notices
[Thank Yous] pinned to shop doors,
[white flags of] sun-dried paper.

Metaphors of war
do not have so many
old folk clinging to silences
on their usual walks, smiling
with a wistfulness or looking
down with fear,

Metaphors of war
do not [say ] You should not
or I should not be wandering
for mere exercise, [exchanging]
the briefest [of] hellos

like the crinkling of wrapping
paper, the tearing open of a gift
with gentle adult hands, lifts
some sellotape here, undoes
a corner. Pulls a fold
in their heart open
and puts a stranger in[side]
for safekeeping.



Regards, Not


.

TrevorConway
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Re: Five hundred yards from home

Post by TrevorConway » Mon Apr 13, 2020 9:32 pm

Hey Richard,

Some intriguing stuff here, and some great lines, but I felt somehow that the poem kept me at a distance - which may well fit the theme, of course, but I'd like to get a bit closer to the kernel of the poem.

The highlights for me were

Metaphors of war
do not have empty villages

and

lonely notices
of thanks pinned to the shop
doors

but I wasn't as invested in the poem from line 7 on, so I think some phrasing to match the previous two examples would help, along with some stanza breaks maybe. I also like the gentle adult hands and

Pulls open
a fold in their heart
and puts a stranger in it
for safekeeping.

a lot. You just lost me between lines 7 and 16 to a degree. I've added a few suggestions below. See what you think.

All the best,

T

Metaphors of war
do not have empty villages
intact with lonely notices
of thanks pinned to shop doors,
chafing the air with sundried paper. [I quite like sundried paper, but chafing the air feels overdone]

So many old folks
cling to silence
on their usual walks, [Anything better than "usual"?]
with a wistfulness or looking
down with a grim fear. [The last 2 lines, "with a...grim fear", could be replaced with something else, though not sure what]
Neither of us should be wandering,
they say,
for mere exercise or the briefest hello.
[I assume you're getting at the confinement here. i think it could be explored more if so.

like the crinkling of wrapping paper [Not sure how to deliver the crinkling paper idea, but "like" doesn't work in this edit I've done]
the tearing open of a gift
with gentle adult hands
lifts some sellotape,
undoes a corner.
It pulls open
a fold in their hearts
and puts a stranger there
for safekeeping.
Last edited by TrevorConway on Mon Apr 13, 2020 9:35 pm, edited 4 times in total.

TrevorConway
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Re: Five hundred yards from home

Post by TrevorConway » Mon Apr 13, 2020 9:33 pm

And I like the title, by the way.

T

Richard
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Re: Five hundred yards from home

Post by Richard » Tue Apr 14, 2020 10:55 am

Thank you both. A rewrite, pinching some of the ideas! R

ray miller
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Re: Five hundred yards from home

Post by ray miller » Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:28 am

I much prefer the original, mostly I think because it seems more honest, more authentic. The revisions take on an air of importance, too much knowingness. The repeating first lines don't help at all.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

Richard
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Re: Five hundred yards from home

Post by Richard » Thu Apr 16, 2020 5:44 pm

Thanks Ray. I flip flop on the repetition thing. I think you might be right.

R

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