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revision3

 

The terraced streets are wet with restless light
where anthracite memories ghost once more.
The dust still glitters in their rusted lungs,
those boys scrawl scripture on this bolted door.

Their mining eyes are inked in Baptist earth,
through tunnels that echo with chapel song.
They ice the living with a rasping breath.
The hymns beckon to where I must belong.

 

 

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revision2

 

The terraced streets are wet with restless light,
for anthracite memories tread once more.
The dust will glitter in their rusted lungs,
those boys scrawl scripture on this bolted door.

Their mining eyes have inked in Baptist earth,
these tunnels are ghosted with chapel song.
They ice the living with a rasping breath.
The hymns beckon to where I must belong.

 

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revision


The terraced streets wet with restless light,
anthracite memories tread once more.
The dust glitters in their rusted lungs,
those boys are scrawling on bolted doors.

Their mining eyes inked in black earth,
these tunnels ghosted with chapel song.
They haunt the living with rasping breath,
hymns beckon to where I must belong.

 

original


The terraced streets wet with restless light,
anthracite memories tread once more.
The dust shimmers in their rusted lungs,
those boys are knocking at bolted doors.
 
Their webbed eyes hunger in black earth,
these tunnels worried with chapel song.
They ice the living with rasping breath,
hymns beckon to where I must belong.

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Hi Badge,  I really enjoyed reading both versions.  I come from mining stalk.  My paternal grandfather was a miner who came from Australia to Grass Valley CA to mine for gold.  And my paternal grandmother's father was also a miner who came here from Cornwall.  I suspect that my maternal great grandfather who brought his family from Wales was also a miner but so far have found no evidence. For some reason it is just something I thought.  Maybe from something my grandmother said when I was a kid.  Way too much info and nothing to do with your poem.

Back to the poem,   The revision gives more clarity to the subject in my opinion.   I suspected by the title and the tunnels and black earth that it was about miners trapped in a mine.  But it was obvious when I read the revision.   I like the word choices of the revision because of the clarity although L7   I would have chosen the original  They "ice" the living with rasping breath.    When I read it, in my mind I was frozen and I could see the icy breath expelling from my mouth. It is really a powerful image.   substituting "haunting"  shatters the image. Just my opinion.

Good writing as usual Badge, thanks for sharing another of your gems.

~~Tink

 

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Quote

  I would have chosen the original  They "ice" the living with rasping breath.    When I read it, in my mind I was frozen and I could see the icy breath expelling from my mouth. It is really a powerful image.   substituting "haunting"  shatters the image. Just my opinion.

Agreed Tink. I did feel that ;haunt' evoked no felt response.

 

Your history is very interesting. I suspect there is more sunshine in your part of the world - emigration was the right choice!

best

badge

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I read the earlier versions first and was pleased that you applied the suggestion I would have made to L1 in revision 2. Revision 2 has improvements. I hope you don't mind a few additional suggestions:

 

The terraced streets are wet with restless light
where anthracite memories now tread once more.
The dust still glitters in the rusted lungs
of boys who scrawled scripture on bolted doors.

Their mining eyes have inked in Baptist earth
in tunnels echoing with chapel song.
They ice the living with their rasping breath,
and hymns now lure me there like siren song.

 

I thought of many other options. I'm not completely satisfied, but this is the direction in which I would take this. Hopefully I didn't kill the meaning or otherwise debase your poem.

I like how you often share early versions and revisions. It gives insight into how you work.

Tony

 

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hi Tony.

That's very kind of you to offer your thoughts on revisions. Very much appreciated. The structure was intentional, but it proved a barrier to reader engagement. I have watered that down to expectations in the revisions. The use of for was anachronistic, genre based, but the stress falls too heavy there. Very much like the suggestion of still - connects with the longevity theme.

Thanks again

Phil

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I liked the last version (R3) best. Did you just use "ghost" as a verb? Brilliant.

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