Llanbwchllyn Lake

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ray miller
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Llanbwchllyn Lake

Post by ray miller » Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:08 am

White and yellow water-lilies framing
sky upon its surface; sun and moon
fragmented and swept off to the edges.
Above us in the heather a cluster
of wild horses flashing tails at flies
in the withering heat. A bird of prey circles,
swoops and awakens maternal concern
for the children below; a splashing nakedness
shakes the composure of cormorants
and mute swans. Deep in the night the call
of the screech owl, stars large as her eyes.
“This is what life could be like” she whispered….
“….without you.” I manfully ended her sentence.
Last edited by ray miller on Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Vincent Turner
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Re: Llanbwchllyn Lake

Post by Vincent Turner » Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:06 am

Hi Ray

I think there is a nice poem locked somewhere within this. At present, for me, it reads to much a list of descriptions and observations. On reading the first line I found myself asking, does he need to say "white and yellow water-lilies" in truth it does read nice out loud but for me it is not a good opener.

Also not keen on the break in the 5th line.

Sun-splashed is a tad tired.

I did enjoy the last four lines.

Not sure if I am fully making sense... What I am trying to say is I feel the poem needs to go deeper, that at present, it is barely scratching the surface.. the scene is set by your descriptions, but that is really it, until the change of tone in the ending lines. It is almost like a postcard which has a caption at the bottom ....

"This is what life could be like” she whispered….
“….without you.” I manfully ended her sentence.

Don't know if what I have said makes any sense at all!

Best regards

Vincent

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Re: Llanbwchllyn Lake

Post by JohnLott » Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:56 pm

This is frustrating Ray because there is a mood there that doesn't quite captivate and the ending is strange.
I think you turned left at the fourcross way instead of going straight on.
As has been said, there is a poem there somewhere.

:)

J.
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ray miller
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Re: Llanbwchllyn Lake

Post by ray miller » Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:29 pm

Thanks, Vincent. I don't know why a poem shouldn't be like a postcard with a caption at the bottom! If the title weren't so integral to the poem I might have called it Wish You Weren't Here.
Do I need to say White and yellow water-lilies? I think yes, they are the sun and moon fragmented.

I can't see what's wrong with the line break in the 5th but I'm quite willing to bow to the superior knowledge of others on line breaks.

You're right about sun -splashed.

I like the poem, mostly anyway. It says what it needs to. These lakes can be treacherous if you venture too deep.

Thanks, John. I don't think the ending is strange! The last line is meant to be ambivalent, to cut both ways.
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Re: Llanbwchllyn Lake

Post by twoleftfeet » Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:07 pm

Ray,

Just a couple of minor nits:
I think the poem loses it's intensity in the middle section because the language becomes slightly more verbose.

White and yellow water-lilies framing
sky upon its surface; sun and moon
fragmented and swept off to the edges.
Above us in the heather a cluster
of wild horses flashing tails at flies
in the withering heat. A bird of prey circles,
swoops and awakens maternal concern
for the children below; sun-splashed nakedness
shakes the composure of cormorants
and mute swans.
Deep in the night the call
of the screech owl, stars as large as her eyes.
“This is what life could be like” she whispered….
“….without you.” I manfully ended her sentence.

Maybe a question mark after you in the last line?
(I didn't get the sense of ambiguity)

Geoff
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Re: Llanbwchllyn Lake

Post by ray miller » Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:58 pm

Cheers, Geoff. Everybody's telling me I'm too verbose! Perhaps there's summat in it after all. There's not meant to be a question mark after you.The ambiguity lies in whom "you" refers to.
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Re: Llanbwchllyn Lake

Post by twoleftfeet » Sat Oct 01, 2011 11:24 am

ray miller wrote:Cheers, Geoff. Everybody's telling me I'm too verbose! Perhaps there's summat in it after all.
Ray,
I meant verbose by comparison, mate.
The excellent opening is nicely condensed:

(The) White and yellow water-lilies (are) framing
(the) sky upon its surface; (the)sun and moon
(are) fragmented and swept off to the edges.
Above us in the heather a cluster
of wild horses (are) flashing (their) tails at flies
in the withering heat


Just my opinion, but once you've started in that vein then it's best to persist with it.
For example, I would even omit the first "as" in "stars as large as her eyes".
Come to think of it, maybe even:
"fragmented sun and moon swept off to the edges"
ray miller wrote: The ambiguity lies in whom "you" refers to.
I see..
I didn't get any feeling of tension from the poem - so I missed that. I can see it now that I'm looking for it, though.
Instead of just sitting on the fence - why not stand in the middle of the road?

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Re: Llanbwchllyn Lake

Post by calico » Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:22 pm

I have read this before, I think, has it changed? I remember disagreeing with the "manfully". Could you not end on the speech? Everything leads up to the speech, you have the 'mute' swans, the sound of the children (imagined), the screech of the owl. Also it is possible to imagine that the owl is talking, I don't know if that has occurred to you, that one doesn't necessarily assume it is a human.

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Re: Llanbwchllyn Lake

Post by ray miller » Sun Oct 02, 2011 7:01 pm

Thanks, Geoff. I see what you're saying.

Hello Megan. I think I posted a shorter version in a PG competition last year. I'm revising old poems at the moment because I've an unfinished poem I can't face getting back to. It could go on for years. So you're suggesting ditch the last line completely or last 5 lines? Nice idea, that it could be the owl talking, difficult to imagine a screech owl whispering, though.
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Re: Llanbwchllyn Lake

Post by calico » Mon Oct 03, 2011 6:58 am

Last 5 lines?! Last 5 words rather.

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Re: Llanbwchllyn Lake

Post by BenJohnson » Mon Oct 03, 2011 10:09 am

ray miller wrote:difficult to imagine a screech owl whispering, though.
Indeed it is noisy buggers. I'm puzzling where the owl suddenly comes from the poem is all daylight up to that point then suddenly an owl. The last line isn't working for me either as Calico says the last five words are part of the problem, to me they feel tacked on after the poem has finished, but they are essential to indicate who is saying what. I wonder if they would work better the other way round 'I manfully ended her sentence, “….without you.”' which ends the poem on the bigger part of the punchline?

I'm also wondering how big this bird of prey is or how small your kids are that it awakened such concern, but I wasn't there and must suspend disbelief :)

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Re: Llanbwchllyn Lake

Post by Suzanne » Mon Oct 03, 2011 10:48 am

Ray, I agreed with Geoff about the midsection. And with Ben about the Owl suddenly appearing. Also with Megan about the "manfully" word as it puzzles me.... what is it the N actually means? I agree with Ben that the juggling makes it better but... well, another word is what I would choose.

The material here is good and it was wise that you pick it to rework. I look forward to seeing how it gets wrapped up.

Mostly enjoyed the scenery and mood,
Suzanne

ray miller
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Re: Llanbwchllyn Lake

Post by ray miller » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:54 pm

Thanks, Megan, Ben, Suzanne.

I manfully ended her sentence - originally the N was acknowledging a chasm in the relationship and letting her off the hook.City Boy v Country Girl sort of thing, though I see that's not been made clear.But it can mean other things and I quite like that.

The poem's written on reflection so I don't see that the appearance of the owl gives a great problem. The maternal concern is awakened by associating the bird of prey to other more realistic dangers.

I feel I ought to change the end as it's so unpopular but I don't want to just cut the last 5 words.
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I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: Llanbwchllyn Lake

Post by JohnLott » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:17 pm

Hi Ray,
You don't want to cut the last five words
But:

Deep in the night the call
of the screech owl, stars large as her eyes.
“This is what life could be like” she whispered….
“….without you.” I manfully ended her sentence.


Somehow your structure assigns the Owl to speaking, although the reference to maternal much earlier could be associated; that is the confusion and while I accept the full stop could disassociate the Owl from your wife/girl, this confusion spoils the ending [for me].

The rest of it is good.....
Except... the mood is positive, unified, conjoined; and then you intimate she could be history; a harshness that doesn't fit.

8)

J.
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