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Tinker

I.E.D.

18 posts in this topic

I.E.D.

From a walled courtyard a ball
is launched into a littered
street. A curly headed boy races
after on skinny legs.

Left by a soldier of God
at the side of the road, death
in a plastic bag waits
to be wakened
by the unbeliever.

The silence of the boom
falls on deafened ears
while God's fists
pummel the boy's body
leaving him broken and lifeless,
faith forgotten.
                 ---Judi Van Gorder

 

I.E.D (revised from workshop)

A ball is launched
into the littered street
from a walled courtyard.
A curly headed boy races
after it on skinny legs.

At the side of the road, left
by a soldier of God, death
in a plastic bag waits
to be wakened
by the unbeliever.

The silence of the boom
falls on deafened ears
while God's fist
pummels the boy's body
leaving him lifeless and broken,
faith forgotten.
                ---Judi Van Gorder

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Hi Tink,

 

Quite an explosive piece. Right from its title, Improvised Explosive Device to the very last line, your poem describes the horrendous effects of this device and the emptiness of the highly charged religious and political rhetoric which drives the makers and users of this.

 

 

The silence of the boom

falls on deafened ears

while God's fist

pummels the boy's body

leaving him lifeless and broken,

faith forgotten.

---Judi Van Gorder

 

You show how it is usually the innocent who pay with their lives.

 

 

Powerful and thought-provoking.

 

 

Thank you.

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As compact and hard-hitting as the devices themselves, Tinker. I like what you've done with the rewrite. The last line is especially ironical.

 

Tony

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As compact and hard-hitting as the devices themselves, Tinker. I like what you've done with the rewrite. The last line is especially ironical.

 

Tony

 

 

Adept targetting and writing against thing done questionably in the name of people's godheads (a mailicious influence in this arena's case) very sad, kudos for handling it Tink.

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Why not add the/a revision as an edit to the posting of the original. It is OK, of course, to post the revision in this section if the original was posted in another, presumably the workshop, section, for then, I believe, it would be easy enough to add a link so the versions can be compared w/o a lot of jumping around.

 

I often have salient comments but dare not make them if I cannot see what the progress has been like w/o spending an awful lot of time.

 

That is doubly painful when there are quite many good poems posted.

 

In this case, I see a poem that is well conceived at its heart but has a word or two that does not credit to a poet's ability to render the idea in simpler terms.

 

I am adding a rewrite that merely addresses what might make it in my undiluted opinion simpler, more logical and more believable/accurate re currently available info.

 

From a walled courtyard,

a ball is propelled (launched) ~~~~~~~~~~ {"kicked" would be simpler, but less graphic. Rockets not balls are launched.}

into the littered street. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ {"propelled" was the original, but I did not timely praise the poem.}

A curly headed boy, on skinny legs,

races after it.

 

Left by a 'soldier of God' ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ {This idiom should be somehow marked or the irony is diluted.*}

at the side of the road, death,

in a plastic bag, waits

to be wakened

by the unbeliever.

 

The silence of the boom

falls on deafened ears

while God's fist

pummels the boy's body ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ {A 'fist' of this kind can strike but once. Why not "smites"?}

leaving him lifeless and broken, ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ { ? broken and lifeless ?}

faith forgotten. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ {Whose faith. The boys?}

 

* Soldier of God was the title for a movie about the Crusaders?!

IMHO, the last three lines were different/slightly better in the original, if I remember it right.

 

Between friends, tink, you need not do anything for the poem is quite good w/o my edits, but I would like to hear from you or anyone how my version differs significantly in saying what your poem/revision has done.

 

It is a very significant and well condensed take on what our boys and civilians are facing, in certain places, at the hands of some fanatic brainless idiots.

Edited by waxwings

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Hi Ike, Thanks for the help. I really like the inversion of lines that you suggest in both the first and second strophes and will use it. I like "launch" in the opening strophe because it has the connotation of a war zone. Otherwise it could be any street.

 

I will try italics for "soldier of God" but I didn't want it to be too in your face. That is why I used "God" and not "Allah".

 

Yes, it is a statement against fanaticism, the innocent is always the first to suffer. As for faith forgotten, it is incidents such as these that has me question my own faith. I would also imagine the parents of the child would not be happy to offer up their child as a martyr to "their God". Even the killer if aware of the outcome, might momentarily question his own resolve. (At least I would hope that would be the case.) Faith in the moment of unspeakable attrocities if not forgotten is often questioned. If not "how could God do this?" then "how could God allow this?"

 

~~Tink

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Thanks Tony for reading this again, and thank you very much for your help in the workshop. I liked your suggestions and as you can see and made good use of them. Now I didn't think of the last line as irony, thanks for pointing that out to me.

 

~~Tink

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Hey Frank, Thanks for responding here also. On this subject we see eye to eye.

 

~~Tink

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Hi GL, Thank you for the affirmation. Your opinion means a lot to me. Yes, it is often the children that pay the ultimate price for such foolishness of men.

 

~~Tink

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Hello, Tinker. I enjoyed so much to read and to watch the transforming in this poem, how from good turned into better. I am learning a lot. Thank you.

 

Aleksandra

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I am pleased you have used some of my suggestions while retaining some of the way you expressed your own vision as shown in the originall. But my prime concern was not to correct that vision but to adjust the manner of speaking into what would be a more common/habitual/everyday way of saying things effectively but without waxing poetic. I understand yourpoint of wanting "launched", but since we are talking about a soccer ball, not a guided missile, that is a poetic overkill, and now that I have had extra time, "shot" would be more pertinent, in my opinion, and would still retain that echo of this being in the war zone.

 

It was a mistake for me to suggest the italics, because the same ironic effect can be done by some specific order of your own words. To not cajole you but show how I interpret what your poem shos/tells I have done another edit/rearrangement of that blend/sequencing of phrases, both yours and mine. Bear in mind what basing a poem in concrete/realistic terms was outlined at that B&N U course. Be sure to let me know the recasting, below, strikes you, because I do anything beyond making suggestions that reflect what I have picked up from info I've had my hands on.ertainly am not .

 

Is it not more likely people (not just you and I) would say "from this place into that place", becuse that is how things actually happen, in time. In a similar vein (I have reduced the clause to the essentials), isn't it more likely to say "a boy with skinny legs runs after the ball" rather than "a boy runs after the ball with skinny legs". The latter is a case of a dangling participle, if I remeber it right. Of course it is ridiculous to thing the "ball has skinny legs" but it is good writing practice to avoid ways that could create confusion if the tale was more complicated.

 

A more general tenet in better writing is to avoid passive voice.

 

Hi Ike, Thanks for the help. I really like the inversion of lines that you suggest in both the first and second strophes and will use it. I like "launch" in the opening strophe because it has the connotation of a war zone. Otherwise it could be any street.

 

I will try italics for "soldier of God" but I didn't want it to be too in your face. That is why I used "God" and not "Allah".

 

Yes, it is a statement against fanaticism, the innocent is always the first to suffer. As for faith forgotten, it is incidents such as these that has me question my own faith. I would also imagine the parents of the child would not be happy to offer up their child as a martyr to "their God". Even the killer if aware of the outcome, might momentarily question his own resolve. (At least I would hope that would be the case.) Faith in the moment of unspeakable attrocities if not forgotten is often questioned. If not "how could God do this?" then "how could God allow this?"

 

~~Tink

 

 

A ball skitters ~~~~~~~~~~~~ nothing wrong w/ "is propelled/shot/launched" except that ta narrative in passive voice is weaker

from a walled courtyard

into the littered street.

A curly headed boy, ~~~~~~~~ commas set off, to emphasize same, a significant aside/interjection from the simple narrative main clause.

on skinny legs, races after it.

 

Left at the side of the road

by a soldier of God, death, an explanatory introduction precedes another simple main clause interrupted, by an aside/interjection

in a plastic bag, waits ~~~~~~ commas offsetting interjection could be dropped when mowing "waits" to next line. Your choice.

to be wakened

by some unbeliever. ~~~~~ not just that certain but any unbeliever?

 

Is it the God's fist ~~~~~~~~~~ in my opinion this is what you are implying in your responses to other commentators. Strengthens the irony

that smashes the boy's body ~~~ again, an explosion does not exert repeated blows as "pummeling" suggests.

leaving it lifeless and broken?

The silence of the boom,

faith forgotten,

falls on deafened ears.

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That title resonates with so much Tink. For me it is a device that is totally indiscriminate, which is incomprehensible to me. Your poem captures that lunacy. The child playing a universal child's game, but living in a place where the innocence of childhood makes them that more vulnerable.

 

 

From a walled courtyard a ball

is launched into a littered

street. A curly headed boy races

after on skinny legs.

 

 

curly/skinny - I can see the child, still growing up, with that blind shutting out of danger as he chases the ball. The alliteration and assonance skillfully bind the lines, but not at the expense of meaning. launched - weapons; littered - deterioration; walled - protective.

 

The irony is that religion is used to justify this evil: God's fists/pummel the boy's body. The fragility of the child shattered with a relentless, mindless brutality. 'Pummel' is the right word.

 

Yes 'faith is forgotten'.

 

Your thoughtful words expressed an anger and sadness at such evil.

 

badge

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Hi Tinker,

 

I usually feel being put off by technical and scientific terms in a poem, such as this title, but I'm glad I clicked open this thread and read the poem. You're good at writing such poems. I agree with what others have said. It is poignant.

 

Perhaps I am not very sensitive to the nuances of the English language, the only change that makes a difference to me is the switch of the two words "lifeless" and "broken", the change from "leaving him lifeless and broken" to "leaving him broken and lifeless". Other than that, I didn't see significant difference in other changes. Both work for me. I also take "launch", besides its connotation of a war zone, as either "kick" or "throw".

 

I like poems about things happening around us, in the world.

 

Best regards,

 

Lake

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Hi Badger, Thank you for the thoughtful review of my poem. I appreciate your careful consideration and your comments. I value your opinion, so your affirmation encourages me to continue.

 

Thanks again.

 

~~Tink

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Hi Lake, I am glad you chose to read despite my title. I debated whether or not to use it for a long time. I almost called it God's Fist. Thank you for your comments, I think your sensitivity to the English language is probably as good as mine, and it is my mother tongue. LOL, it is my only "tongue". When I respond to you and Aleks and some of the others here for whom English is a 2nd language, I almost feel stupid for knowing only one language.

 

~~Tink

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I like this a lot, Tink, even without benefit of seeing it in the workshop. Waxy (Ike's?) comments are always worth listening to, I find, with or without the rewrites!

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Thanks Brendan, I am afraid it doesn't have the rich detail you seem to be able to incorporate into your work but I'm working on it. And I have been listening and arguing with Ike since the day I wrote my very first poem. We were in an online class "Understanding Poetry" together 10 years ago. At the same time I also took a class on "The Bombing of Pearl Harbor". I just took the classes because my husband was away fishing in Mexico and I was bored. Ike is one with a few others who encouraged me to start writing. I was probably the only one in the group who was not already writing poetry before taking the class.

 

~~Tink

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LOL, it is my only "tongue".

 

~~Tink

 

Hi Tink,

 

That makes me smile. :)

 

But look at the poetic forms you have collected during the years, in a sense, you have much more "tongues" than I do. You use one tongue to talk with many different tongues. So be pleased with it.

 

Regards,

 

Lake

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