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tonyv

Winnipeg

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tonyv

The glinting towers on the prairie
have darkened with the frozen plain.
Without her pulse and heat I'm weary;
her essence cleared out like a train.
It left this reach where light's so low
that mainlines shiver in the snow.

_________________________
mainline -- a transcontinental railroad


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tonyv

This one's been a long time coming. It's been in the workshop forever, and recent activity there has prompted me to revise it. It's not my strongest, but it's a whole lot better than it was. Thanks to everyone who helped me with it.

 

Tony


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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Aleksandra

Wonderful work, Tony. So you see, it's worth keeping your material and to give a try even after a long time. You kept this poem all dusty but look in it now, a perfect short gem. I like its tone and its imagery. The content is very well also. Especially I like the atmosphere after her leaving. It's expressed very well.

 

I love this poem.

 

Aleksandra


The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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waxwings
The glinting towers on the prairie

have darkened with the frozen plain.

Without her pulse and heat I'm weary;

her essence cleared out like a train.

It left this reach with light so low

where mainlines shiver in the snow.

 

_________________________

mainline -- a transcontinental railroad

 

Did look and found the basics in the original most pleasing. Excellent poesy and writing. However, what was off for me is the chronicity of the images/thoughts in it (cf. below).

 

In the revision, I am struck by the most odd notion that, somehow, " the frozen plain" is the culprit that the "glinting towers" are "darkened with= by" and am almost equally perturbed by "her essence being "cleared out" (with broom and mop?) like a train". The idiom is not wrong but not of the more elegant/suave tone of the rest, and the grammar is not good at all in spots. And then, "so low" is a stylishly bad use of "so". Moreover, I much prefer the metaphor of "high iron" (I find 'rail' superfluous) over the suspiciously murky "mainline" (which needed a footnote).

 

I think it might help to set the complete and entire scene first, as a recent post by tink (I believe) suggested.

 

It is much, much too good a poem to not try

 

Here is how I see the experience, but you certainly will be able to give it a more genuine, TONI feel, content and shape. The pieces are already all there in the original. Punctuation is almost unnecessary, but I threw in the most minimal to satify even the most persnickety reader.

 

towers glinting in winter light,

the endless sky and the vast expanse

settle into frozen dusk

 

under a dimming light

the high iron fades into the sunset

 

I miss your pulse, your heat,

the energy that warms me

when you’re here

 

nightfall is near--

far from you, I shiver

Edited by waxwings

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dedalus

Well, having been to the Workshop on this one, I can only say you've done a really good job on the revision. I miss the high iron rail into the sunset, because it sounds so good (yes, but what does it mean? O, shaddup and go with the flow) and I think Waxwing has come up with a few analytical points you might want to listen to (even he, I notice, brought back the high iron rail!). Still, it was good. Much tighter. It shows how ruthless you can be, an admirable and necessary trait in any serious poet. It's sheer agony to throw out lines you sweated blood over or that came to you in moments of inspiration. It goes against the grain, like abandoning your own children, but every now and then it has to be done. This may be an old poem revisited but the way you have approached it now shows that you are really growing as a poet. Well done, Tony.

 

Brendan

Edited by dedalus

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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dedalus

Damn! This is such a thoughtful analysis that it almost qualifies as a separate poem.

 

I think the chronicity thing is not such a problem (I'm having to work on two screens here because we don't have the scroll-down option to look at other comments for reference as we write. No big deal). The city towers darkening 'with' the frozen plain doesn't necessarily imply causality; in my reading it just seemed that these things happen at the same time, as they would with the sun going down on the whole area, city and countryside alike. That's the first point. The second is that 'clear out' has an ambiguous interpretation: it can mean clean things up with a mop and broom, possibly, but in the sense of cleaning up it usually means removing items from an apartment, house or storeroom in advance of moving elsewhere, as in a 'Clear-Out Sale'. It also has the possibly connected colloquial meaning of leaving a place -- "He cleared out in a hurry after the cops came looking for him." I think it is in this latter sense, a departure, that Tony used it. The train is moving, leaving some place behind, just like the woman did. The use of 'low' is not grammatically criminal -- if you can do "the lights were low when she smiled at me and my life ..." (I haven't finished that one yet, most likely never will!) I think we can allow that one. I can see where the last line begs the rhyme with snow but I miss the high iron rail into the sunset. I can do without rail and even sunset, what about a high iron tracks into the snow? Hmm. Not to be confused with cocaine ....

 

Anyway, Waxy, I love your crits -- especially when you're aiming your thoughts at somebody else (!) -- because they are sharp, to the point, and warn people off getting sloppy. I can write poems from time to time but, Jeez, I am really bad at crits.

 

Brendan


Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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tonyv
Wonderful work, Tony. So you see, it's worth keeping your material and to give a try even after a long time. You kept this poem all dusty but look in it now, a perfect short gem. I like its tone and its imagery. The content is very well also. Especially I like the atmosphere after her leaving. It's expressed very well.

 

I love this poem.

 

Aleksandra

Thank you, Alek. I tried to salvage the tone and the imagery. Words like "glinting" and "shiver" were the ones I thought were important for establishing the setting. And thanks for pointing out the atmosphere after her leaving which goes to the mood I wanted to convey.

 

Tony


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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tonyv

Thanks, Ikars, for your thoughts on this. I've attempted to solicit your input by putting all my recent poems in the workshop but have not been so lucky. I can only speculate that the other poems were flawless (unlikely) or they weren't worth it. In either case, I'm excited to learn from what you've written here.

 

In the revision, I am struck by the most odd notion that, somehow, 'the frozen plain' is the culprit that the 'glinting towers' are 'darkened with= by'

"With" certainly does not mean "by" here. It means "along with." (I suppose I could have said "darkened like the frozen plain" for absolute clarity.)

 

... and am almost equally perturbed by her essence being 'cleared out' (with broom and mop?) like a train.' The idiom is not wrong but not of the more elegant/suave tone of the rest, and the grammar is not good at all in spots.

First, there's a semicolon after "weary." That means the second clause should be complete with a verb, and it is (to clear out). And to convey the meaning you got, wouldn't it be necessary to use a comma after "essence" (e.g. her essence, cleared out like a train")? I considered saying, "her essence cleared out on a train" and "her essence vanished like a train," but neither meant exactly what I wanted to convey. In the case of the former, I did not want to say that she took a train, and I found the latter a bit dramatic, as trains don't necessarily vanish. I used "cleared out" to mean "departed." (Her ghost departed like a train.")

 

And then, 'so low' is a stylishly bad use of 'so.' Moreover, I much prefer the metaphor of 'high iron' (I find 'rail' superfluous) over the suspiciously murky 'mainline' (which needed a footnote).

Yes, I was aware of the matter of "so." I did it for the sound. A couple of options came to mind:

 

 

1.

 

It left this reach with light so low

that mainlines shiver in the snow.

 

(not good, because low light isn't necessarily conducive to coldness)

 

2.

 

It left this reach with temps so low

that mainlines shiver in the snow.

(didn't like it -- wanted light, not temperature)

 

 

I wonder if this would be more acceptable:

 

It left this reach with light so low

the mainlines shiver in the snow.

 

I hope you'll come back to this. I'll reply to Brendan in this topic also, but when all is said and done, I may move our discussion to the topic that's in the workshop.

 

Tony


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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tonyv
Well, having been to the Workshop on this one, I can only say you've done a really good job on the revision. I miss the high iron rail into the sunset, because it sounds so good (yes, but what does it mean? O, shaddup and go with the flow) and I think Waxwing has come up with a few analytical points you might want to listen to (even he, I notice, brought back the high iron rail!). Still, it was good. Much tighter. It shows how ruthless you can be, an admirable and necessary trait in any serious poet. It's sheer agony to throw out lines you sweated blood over or that came to you in moments of inspiration. It goes against the grain, like abandoning your own children, but every now and then it has to be done. This may be an old poem revisited but the way you have approached it now shows that you are really growing as a poet. Well done, Tony.

 

Brendan

Thank you, Brendan. And that's the spirit of it. I'm not afraid to sever my attachment to a poem and to cut and gut. If I can produce a better product by doing so, I will.

 

As for "high iron," it refers to mainline rail that's stronger than local rail because of its high iron content, "high-iron rail," to wit. (And I did like how that read: "high iron rail into the sunset.")

 

Let me go see and address some of what you wrote to Ikars in your other reply ...

 

Tony :)


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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tonyv

I know you're addressing Waxwings in this reply, Brendan, but I just wanted to jump in with a few thoughts of my own.

 

(I'm having to work on two screens here because we don't have the scroll-down option to look at other comments for reference as we write. No big deal).

If you use the "fast reply" feature at the bottom of the screen, it should work like the other way where you can see the other comments by scrolling up. The only thing is, with that you lose the preview feature unless you click "more options" when you're ready to proofread. That will open the full editor, and you can then click preview.

 

The use of 'low' is not grammatically criminal -- if you can do "the lights were low when she smiled at me and my life ..." (I haven't finished that one yet, most likely never will!) I think we can allow that one.

I don't think Ikars was referring to my use of "low." He was picking up (as I expected) on my use of the word "so." Many people are accustomed to saying things like "I'm so hungry," and we all know what they mean (that's exactly how I used "so" in my poem), but it's usually better to complete the statement by saying something like, "I'm so hungry that I could eat a horse!"

 

I can write poems from time to time but, Jeez, I am really bad at crits.

Ah, you're not fooling us! We know you know how to write and to do this, too. Now we have proof, and we'll be expecting more input like this in the future. :icon_razz:

 

Tony


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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waxwings
Damn! This is such a thoughtful analysis that it almost qualifies as a separate poem.

 

I think the chronicity thing is not such a problem (I'm having to work on two screens here because we don't have the scroll-down option to look at other comments for reference as we write. No big deal). The city towers darkening 'with' the frozen plain doesn't necessarily imply causality; in my reading it just seemed that these things happen at the same time, as they would with the sun going down on the whole area, city and countryside alike. That's the first point. The second is that 'clear out' has an ambiguous interpretation: it can mean clean things up with a mop and broom, possibly, but in the sense of cleaning up it usually means removing items from an apartment, house or storeroom in advance of moving elsewhere, as in a 'Clear-Out Sale'. It also has the possibly connected colloquial meaning of leaving a place -- "He cleared out in a hurry after the cops came looking for him." I think it is in this latter sense, a departure, that Tony used it. The train is moving, leaving some place behind, just like the woman did. The use of 'low' is not grammatically criminal -- if you can do "the lights were low when she smiled at me and my life ..." (I haven't finished that one yet, most likely never will!) I think we can allow that one. I can see where the last line begs the rhyme with snow but I miss the high iron rail into the sunset. I can do without rail and even sunset, what about a high iron tracks into the snow? Hmm. Not to be confused with cocaine ....

 

Anyway, Waxy, I love your crits -- especially when you're aiming your thoughts at somebody else (!) -- because they are sharp, to the point, and warn people off getting sloppy. I can write poems from time to time but, Jeez, I am really bad at crits.

 

Brendan

 

Thanks, Brendan. Nothing wrong with your crits. Like everything else, you get better with time provided you keep on doing them.

 

Crits are very good for getting wake-up calls from your fellow poets. That way we share not only our poems but the pains that go along with writing them.

 

I truly appreciate them for they tend to keep my head from swelling. It is not at all necessary for the author to but everything that is said in them. It is enough if they make one sharper writing the next and the next and the next poem. How else could I grow, if that is at all possible.

 

Thanks again for showing both agreement and disagreement. It also is important to see how significant and acceptable ones ideas and purported insight is. Anyone who thinks he is putting out her/his poems out in the vacuum does not belong in a true gathering of poets. You have helped me a great deal, and this is, of course, a most illuminating discussion.

 

I hardly see why we need to put our poems into the 'so-called' finished cathegory first. It is true that, although many, just like Kunitz, insist that a poem is never finished, there comes a time to let it be.

 

I must confess that most of the poems I post are nigh finished, but I have had to think them so because I have not, up till when I joined here, as reliable a set of voices to air my offerings to.

 

After all, poetry is a langue to say the unsayable, as far as that may be possible.

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waxwings
Thanks, Ikars, for your thoughts on this. I've attempted to solicit your input by putting all my recent poems in the workshop but have not been so lucky. I can only speculate that the other poems were flawless (unlikely) or they weren't worth it. In either case, I'm excited to learn from what you've written here.

 

In the revision, I am struck by the most odd notion that, somehow, 'the frozen plain' is the culprit that the 'glinting towers' are 'darkened with= by'

"With" certainly does not mean "by" here. It means "along with." (I suppose I could have said "darkened like the frozen plain" for absolute clarity.) I know you meant something like "along with". My edit shows, I thought, how that can be seen by reader by some rephrasing/re-sequencing.

... and am almost equally perturbed by her essence being 'cleared out' (with broom and mop?) like a train.' The idiom is not wrong but not of the more elegant/suave tone of the rest, and the grammar is not good at all in spots.

First, there's a semicolon after "weary." That means the second clause should be complete with a verb, and it is (to clear out). And to convey the meaning you got, wouldn't it be necessary to use a comma after "essence" (e.g. her essence, cleared out like a train")? I considered saying, "her essence cleared out on a train" and "her essence vanished like a train," but neither meant exactly what I wanted to convey. In the case of the former, I did not want to say that she took a train, and I found the latter a bit dramatic, as trains don't necessarily vanish. I used "cleared out" to mean "departed." (Her ghost departed like a train.") Brendan has well pointed out how "clear out" brings in a lot of other innuendoes. My main point is that while, yes, people do clear out but I would put that next to the mention of "her" and only then add "like a train".

 

 

And then, 'so low' is a stylishly bad use of 'so.' Moreover, I much prefer the metaphor of 'high iron' (I find 'rail' superfluous) over the suspiciously murky 'mainline' (which needed a footnote).

Yes, I was aware of the matter of "so." I did it for the sound. A couple of options came to mind:

 

 

1.

 

It left this reach with light so low 'reach' does not seem to fit for me, i.e., what reach?

that mainlines shiver in the snow.

 

(not good, because low light isn't necessarily conducive to coldness)

 

2.

 

It left this reach with temps so low

that mainlines shiver in the snow. You use "rail", along w/ "high iron'; one needs not to be a ilroader to see the poetic in this.

(didn't like it -- wanted light, not temperature)

 

 

I wonder if this would be more acceptable:

 

It left this reach with light so low

the mainlines shiver in the snow.

 

I hope you'll come back to this. I'll reply to Brendan in this topic also, but when all is said and done, I may move our discussion to the topic that's in the workshop.

 

Tony

Edited by waxwings

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