Billions of stars (v3)

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Firebird
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Billions of stars (v3)

Post by Firebird » Sun Mar 08, 2020 11:35 pm

V4

The small successes drive us on,
make our lives more bearable

but when we gaze at the stars,
we do not see the darkness.


V3

With climate change and inequality,
it’s the small successes that drive us on,
make our lives more bearable.

But when we look at the stars,
we do not see the darkness.


V2

A Foreground of a Billion Stars

Darkness
is needed
to see
the stars,
which
distract us
from looking
into it.


V1

Billions of Stars

Darkness
is needed
to see
the stars,
while they
distract us
from looking
into it.

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Perry
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Re: Billions of stars

Post by Perry » Mon Mar 09, 2020 3:06 am

One suggestion:

Darkness
is needed
to see
the stars,
which
distract us
from looking
into it.

However, I see the appeal of your version. The meanings are not quite the same.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: Billions of stars

Post by Firebird » Mon Mar 09, 2020 8:07 am

Hi Perry,

I like like your revision. It’s cleaner.

Many thanks!

Cheers,

Tristan

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Perry
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Re: The Bind (Was: Billions of tiny stars)

Post by Perry » Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:25 pm

Just some follow-up thoughts.

I'm sure you heard what they did with the Hubble telescope. In fact, I'm guessing that is what prompted your poem. They trained it on an area of space which was completely dark, and they photographed the dark space using a very long exposure. The photograph revealed that the darkness was actually full of galaxies and stars that were too far away to be seen with the eyes. If you decide to expand the poem, you might want to say or hint that there are indeed things in the darkness.

Darkness
is needed
to see
the stars,
which
distract us
from the ghosts
in its depths.

... but that's just me, spelling everything out again.

Have you seen Auden's poem "The More Loving One"? It is the iconic poem about stars. It is one of my all-time favorites.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: A foreground of a billion stars (Was: Billions of tiny stars)

Post by Firebird » Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:41 pm

Hi Perry,

Thanks for your interest. Yes, I knew about the Hubble telescope and how it was trained on complete darkness, but it wasn’t really the inspiration for this poem, although I can see how you thought it could have been.

Yes, I’m familiar with that Auden poem, and yes it’s a beaut but it’s not really about stars is it? It’s a relationships poem. Did you know Auden was born in my home town York?

My own poem is fairly open in meaning. But initially I’d had the idea of using stars as metaphors for our small successes that drive us and make life bearable, and using darkness as a metaphor for something in the background of our lives such as an unfair system or maybe global warming. However, I decided not to try to limit the meaning of the poem to these ideas. I preferred the openness of its present form.

Thanks for your suggested revision.

Cheers,

Tristan

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Re: A foreground of a billion stars (Was: Billions of tiny stars)

Post by David » Mon Mar 09, 2020 7:19 pm

Do you need to frame it as a paradox, Tristan? I think that what you're getting at, if it's what you say in your last post, would work just as well (okay, better, in my opinion) if stated more plainly (but still keeping your stars and your darkness - and your looker). Perhaps in some variation of this ...

Looking at the stars,
we do not see the darkness.

I think that captures your essential point, while still remaining fairly open. I may, as so often, be wrong, but that's the way (uh-huh uh-huh) I like it.

Cheers

David

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Re: A foreground of a billion stars (Was: Billions of tiny stars)

Post by Firebird » Mon Mar 09, 2020 8:22 pm

David wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 7:19 pm
Looking at the stars,
we do not see the darkness.

I think that captures your essential point, while still remaining fairly open. I may, as so often, be wrong, but that's the way (uh-huh uh-huh) I like it.
I think you may be right. I’ll see what other options I come up with when the idea is stated directly.

Good to see you around David.

Cheers,

Tristan

PS. V3 posted.

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Re: Billions of stars (v3)

Post by ray miller » Tue Mar 10, 2020 10:50 am

I'm reading my own meaning into this, I suppose, but I wondered about
so that when we gaze at the stars,
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: Billions of stars (v3)

Post by Perry » Tue Mar 10, 2020 12:03 pm

When I read version 4, I don't see the connection (in meaning) between the first and second stanzas.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: Billions of stars (v3)

Post by David » Tue Mar 10, 2020 5:34 pm

I can't read your poem without thinking of this, Tristan: https://www.shmoop.com/quotes/all-in-the-gutter-but-some-of-us-are-looking-at-the-stars.html

Quite a nice-looking site that, actually. I like the Pretentious Factor.

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Re: Billions of stars (v3)

Post by NotQuiteSure » Tue Mar 10, 2020 5:45 pm

.
Hi Tristan,
like the journey this has taken (astronomically, the early versions
really didn't hold up). Wondered if it could 'tighten' still further

The small successes drive us
- a billion suns - make our lives
more bearable - stargazers,
we do not see the dark.
?


Regards, Not


.

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Re: Billions of stars (v3)

Post by Firebird » Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:53 pm

Hi Ray, Perry, David and Not,

Many thanks for the comments. I think I’ll have to leave this one for a while, as David has got me thinking about that Wild quote and now, like him, I too can’t get it out of my mind when I read l3 of V4. It’s a bit of a problem. A type of mind worm. Not, your version definitely has its meritS, and does subdue the quote echo. I’ll think on ...

Cheers,

Tristan

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Re: Billions of stars (v3)

Post by ton321 » Sun Mar 15, 2020 1:53 am

Hi Tristan,

Moby's We Are All Made of Stars is running through my head, when I read this. I thought the format was a bit flat, so I've haikued it up a bit:

The small successes
drive us on, make our lives more
bearable, but when

we gaze at the stars
we do not see the darkness;

Tony
Counting the beats,
Counting the slow heart beats,
The bleeding to death of time in slow heart beats,
Wakeful they lie.

Robert Graves

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Re: Billions of stars (v3)

Post by Macavity » Mon Mar 16, 2020 7:24 am

hi Tristan,
I found the poem more interesting in the original, perhaps because I've an interest in distraction, but also the nefarious nature of the darkness was more evident. As always, a matter of taste. The revisions offer a more personal, less metaphysical, expression. A tentative suggestion would be to work the 'success' slant into the title.

best

mac

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Re: Billions of stars (v3)

Post by David » Mon Mar 16, 2020 7:26 pm

I have some sympathy with Mac's point about the original version, although I'm not sure I'd describe the darkness as nefarious.

I've never been particularly taken with the other side of the analogy - "The small successes drive us on, / make our lives more bearable ..." in V4 - but I like the paradoxical bit. And in its purest form it might be something like ...

Without the darkness
we cannot see the stars.


Although that may sound a bit inspirational for you. I could see it on a mug or a T shirt. Maybe I have.

Cheers

David

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Re: Billions of stars (v3)

Post by Firebird » Mon Mar 16, 2020 8:50 pm

Macavity wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 7:24 am
I found the poem more interesting in the original, perhaps because I've an interest in distraction, but also the nefarious nature of the darkness was more evident. As always, a matter of taste. The revisions offer a more personal, less metaphysical, expression.
I’d come to that conclusion Mac, but thanks for confirming it. I’ll be staying with v2. I took it a face-to-face workshop which meets once a month In York, but I only go to a couple of times a year, and v2 was well received. As you rightly say a lot comes down to taste. I’ll have a think about the title. You maybe right.

David, thanks for your continued interest. You are right, I’m not keen on the ‘inspirational’ tone of your suggestion. But thanks for the effort.

Cheers both,

Tristan

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Re: Billions of stars (v3)

Post by David » Tue Mar 17, 2020 5:53 pm

Firebird wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 8:50 pm
David, thanks for your continued interest. You are right, I’m not keen on the ‘inspirational’ tone of your suggestion.
I agree. And, of what you have left, I think V2 is the best. It doesn't really convey very much in that form, but at least is not marred by the slightly unwieldy moralising of V3 and V4.

I still think there must be a better way to use the idea, though - which I like. I hope you find that better way. Give it a few years. But not light ones. (Which is a measure of distance, not time, I know. Still.)

Cheers

David

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