Contrary Head revisited

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David
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Contrary Head revisited

Post by David » Sat Aug 03, 2019 11:05 am

When I am on my last legs,
if it is not too much trouble,
carry me out to Contrary Head
and prop me up, so that I can look
south to the Calf, island rich
in abandoned lighthouses
and jaunty bird life,

and I will try to slip away,
quietly, without any fuss,
as the tide ebbs. I could do worse
than be taken off to such an isle
in a swanlike vessel, like Arthur
on a water ride. Wurlitzer music.
Stars over homophonic Mourne.

David
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Re: Contrary Head revisited

Post by David » Sat Aug 03, 2019 11:07 am

I thought I'd revisit this to see if I could get something a bit different out of it. The original is here: http://www.poetsgraves.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=22869

(Does anyone know how to do hyperlinks here now?)

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Re: Contrary Head revisited

Post by 1lankest » Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:16 pm

Lovely. Is Contrary Head a real place? If so, I can see why the poetic fates drew you to it’s subject - terrific. And brilliantly written. I would lose ‘any’. Just, ‘without fuss’ is , well, less fussy.

Luke

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Re: Contrary Head revisited

Post by NotQuiteSure » Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:20 pm

.
Hi David,
interesting revision.
I think S1/L4 could stand a little elaboration, 'prop me up' against/with what?
And I'm constantly misreading S2/L7 as 'homophobic Mourne'. (Do you
really need to point it out?)


When I am on my last legs,
and if it is not too much trouble,
carry me to Contrary Head

[lay me there, in the summer grass]
that I might look south
towards the Calf
. From here

I will try to slip away, quietly,
without fuss, as the tide ebbs.
I could do worse than be taken off
to such an isle: a water ride
in a swan-like vessel, Wurlitzer music.
The stars above Mourne.
[And Guinevere]



I think it's a shame that S3 of the original (despite its surfeit of 'the') has been cut.



Regards, Not


.

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JJWilliamson
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Re: Contrary Head revisited

Post by JJWilliamson » Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:01 pm

Hi David

Well, I remember the first version, which surprised me. Not because it wasn't memorable but because I remember enjoying
it first time round. The Calf is the Calf of Man is it not?

I'm on the fence, I'm afraid, because I like both versions. I loved the stonechats, for example, and the hamper was a tempting touch,
but I really like the brevity of this new version.

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

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Re: Contrary Head revisited

Post by twoleftfeet » Sun Aug 04, 2019 1:25 pm

Hi,David

Although I like the original,I have to say this new version gels perfectly with the title.
I can just imagine it being read by the apologetic Mr Ronnie Corbett, with a huge pause after "Arthur",
Or maybe Jon Pertwee (Worzel Gummidge) wearing his contrary head :)

I'm not keen on "homophonic" - would prefer some kind of play on mourn/Mourne,
-hesitantly qualified,of course - don't want to put anyone to any trouble..

Much enjoyed
Geoff
Instead of just sitting on the fence - why not stand in the middle of the road?

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Re: Contrary Head revisited

Post by twoleftfeet » Sun Aug 04, 2019 1:29 pm

David wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 11:07 am
(Does anyone know how to do hyperlinks here now?)
I don't think it's possible,atm,David.
Maybe Nicola can fix it?
Instead of just sitting on the fence - why not stand in the middle of the road?

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Re: Contrary Head revisited

Post by Elphin » Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:40 pm

I am not sure this is working old fella.

In typical David style it starts off elegiac and then a slight sense of the ridiculous with the Arthur swan ride and the Wurlitzer. All good and well with the approach .... but I think to really land it the ridiculous needs to be extended, something disclosed about the fella. Why this island and more importantly why the “ridiculousness”. I think it’s too finely balanced at the moment,

Oh ... the last line doesn’t work IMO. I too read homophobic! And even reading properly it’s not carrying the weight of a final line.

Ouch!

elph

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Re: Contrary Head revisited

Post by Antcliff » Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:08 pm

Since Elph/Geoff have raised doubts about the last line, let me join in. Couldn't you just drop "homophonic" as something that explains what the reader should be left to spot?


Seth
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

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Re: Contrary Head revisited

Post by Macavity » Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:40 am

I guess the concentrated version has brought more focus on the concluding line. I get more elegiac feel from the original.

best

mac

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Re: Contrary Head revisited

Post by David » Mon Aug 05, 2019 7:04 pm

Mac, you prefer the original! Hoist by my own petard.

Seth, Elph, Geoff, Not, I agree with you (all) about the last line. (Now.) Perhaps I was trying to be too clever with my homophonic Mourne. It just struck me, out there, one night.

I still quite like the fairground effect of the Wurlitzer and the swan.

JJ, Luke, thanks.

Cheers all

David

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