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revision2

Those gleaming pools of mud, like a bracelet
around the mound, hook a muddled mind.
Perhaps that lace of runes across her back
reveals a map, kneels her to dig. She found

her Celtic Cross buried in a car boot sale;
studied the mother tongue; became Welsh.
Those scrolls within her mind - I'd burn
but I'm married. I dig, for love, to find.

 

revised

Those puddled eyes of mud, like a bracelet
around the mound, hook a muddled soul.
Perhaps that map of runes across her back
opens a book, kneels her to dig. She found

her Celtic Cross buried in a car boot sale;
studied the mother tongue; became Welsh.
Those scrolls within her mind - I'd crackle black
but I'm married. I dig. Always, I find.

 

original

Those puddled eyes of mud, like a bracelet
around the mound, hook a muddled mind.
Perhaps the lace of runes across her back
opens a book, kneels her to dig. She found

her Celtic Cross last year, a car boot sale;
studied the mother tongue; became Welsh.
Within her mind those scrolls I'd crackle black
but I'm married. I dig. Always, I find.

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For me, the change in title added much clarity. While I knew what a brooch was, I had to look up torc. A substantial percentage of the former are merely ornamental with no ethnic/cultural significance. The latter is much more rare and in most cases probably specific to certain cultures. The distinction helped this reader draw more from the poem and recognize better the "type" of woman/person the speaker is describing.

The speaker exercises restraint. Reasonably, he cites being married as the impediment, but if he weren't I wonder how great her appeal would be and for how long. I could put myself into the poem as the speaker and elaborate, but ...

Tony :rolleyes:

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I like the first version "lace across her back'   and mind is more concrete than soul     Either version is super intriguing.  I just wanted more. 

My grandmother had a torc.  I remember it in a box of junk jewelry that she let me play with when I was a kid.  Her mother was born on a ship coming here from Wales.  My guess the bracelet was originally my great grand grandmother's. 

~~Tink

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Thanks Tink. It was suggested to me that the original opening was a tongue twister - an alliterative overload - the edit was a weak fish play - the use of 'map' was for the soundscape and content. I don't use/like the word soul in a poem, even though I am using it in the vernacular sense of 'person', but don't have an alternative at present.

What part of Wales did your family come from?

best

badge

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Until you asked, I had never thought to find out where in Wales they came from. They were Welsh Mormons who migrated to the USA and Utah because of religious persecution. Hundreds migrated I believe, my family came by ship in 1871.

So you sent me on an internet search my great great grandmother Cecelia Griffiths is from Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales and her first born son Reese, also from Swansea. For some reason it lists my great great grandfather David Griffiths from Cardiff, Glamorganshire, Wales. My great-grandmother, Catherine Griffiths was the 2nd child of 9 total. Her older brother, Reese, was born in Wales, she was born on the way over here on the ship and the rest born in Helper Utah. She married William Grimes, also I believe, part of the Mormon migration from Wales but I couldn't find his name on the manifests or any Grimes for that matter. Thanks for asking Badge. Now I know more about my family.

I actually remember my great grandparents, I particularly loved my great grandfather, we had a special connection. I was 6 when we were having a holiday dinner and grandpa Grimes was napping and didn't come down when it was getting close to meal time so I was sent up to wake him. I couldn't. When I came down and said he wouldn't wake up I was shoved in a corner with my little brother and told to keep him there with me. I remember the women crying and bustling about, then my dad took us home while Mama stayed with her family. That was 70 years ago but it is a vivid memory.

~~Tink

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On 11/25/2017 at 6:18 AM, badger11 said:

Those gleaming pools of mud, like a bracelet
around the mound, hook a muddled mind.
Perhaps that lace of runes across her back
reveals a map, kneels her to dig. She found

her Celtic Cross buried in a car boot sale;
studied the mother tongue; became Welsh.
Those scrolls within her mind - I'd burn
but I'm married. I dig, for love, to find.

I'm back to offer a few more thoughts. I read the Eratosphere thread for this poem, and I now have the benefit of input from the participants there, and I have your answers to their questions. I had some of the same questions.

You explained the pools of mud, the bracelet, and the muddled mind; they're literal puddles that resemble a bracelet around a mound, and the muddled mind is hers. When I first read this poem, "eyes" lent itself to abstruser musings1. And as someone else in that thread remarked, I, too, understood "her" to be a younger woman who caught the speaker's attention: eyes like puddles of mud, bracelet, runes (i.e. tattoos), mound (with obvious connotations), her sudden awakening interest in identifying with a culture (whether it's actually her culture or not remains unknown), and marriage cited as what seemed to be the reason why the speaker is exercising restraint. I see the other side of this now -- the author's side -- and I like that, too. Both ways work for me. Had you not clarified anything, I would have still liked the poem, seeing it instead within the context of my own experience, as a reader bringing to it his own peculiar issues.

This is a good poem. I'm interested in what you would like to do with it. Do you want to revise it to the point where the reader knows exactly who/what you're  referring to or do you want to leave it ambiguous? Either option works for me. For example, I love James Wright's "Twilights ," but even if I were to find out exactly what it meant to him I would still have what it means to me. It's not like with "Saint Judas." That one is more concrete; he's saying something philosophical, and he wants the message to be clear. "Twilights" is more abstract, and I remember where I was in life and what my state of mind was when I first read it i.e. what it means to me.

Many of my own poems can have multiple meanings. I love finding out what readers get out of my poems. I love leaving my poems open to possibilities (to what degree varies with each poem), but even when I do so, I know what each poem means to me. Sometimes I've even let a poem's meaning change radically from what I started out to say if the outcome has been a better poem. The poem is for the reader, but even when it has morphed into something else I remember exactly why I set out to write it: what it means to me.

"Torc" is a love poem. But that was how I saw it even in my initial reading. Do you want to revise it to the point where the reader knows exactly what kind of love it is (e.g. enduring, long-suffering), or do you want to leave it open so the reader might see it as that or he might see it as some other kind of love (e.g. fleeting, surpressed) just as I saw it? Even when it's left open, I still want to know what the author meant, because I like background info and spoilers.

This is a good poem. Clearly, it's meaningful. It should be perfected. It's almost there. In my view there are only a few things:

1. Perfect the meter. An easy line to do that with is L6 --

L6:     studied the mother tongue, and became Welsh
(If you change the semicolons in L5 & L6 to commas, and use the conjunction L6 becomes a perfect IP.)

-- I'm happy to help with any others.

2. I would go back to the expression "crackle black." I didn't know what it meant, and though I tried googling it I couldn't find the answer. Even so, I understood it to mean something in line with "burn." There is no need to remove an interesting local, colloquial, or even archaic expression that fits just to suit the tastes of a wider audience. The unusual expression adds color, texture, character, etc. If you really feel it's too obscure then include a footnote. I often do. An extra benefit -- "crackle black" perfects the meter in that line: Those scrolls within her mind I'd crackle black ...

If you're done with the poem, I apologize for these additional suggestions, but I do know you like to revise. The poem is meaningful and must thrive.
 

Tony

___________________
1. I've been wanting to use this expression from Coleridge's "Frost at Midnight." :rolleyes:

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note: been editing my last reply for clarity for about an hour. I found a few mistakes, and hopefully it's more clear, too.

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On 07/01/2018 at 8:04 PM, tonyv said:

I'm back to offer a few more thoughts. I read the Eratosphere thread for this poem, and I now have the benefit of input from the participants there, and I have your answers to their questions. I had some of the same questions.

You explained the pools of mud, the bracelet, and the muddled mind; they're literal puddles that resemble a bracelet around a mound, and the muddled mind is hers. When I first read this poem, "eyes" lent itself to abstruser musings1. And as someone else in that thread remarked, I, too, understood "her" to be a younger woman who caught the speaker's attention: eyes like puddles of mud, bracelet, runes (i.e. tattoos), mound (with obvious connotations), her sudden awakening interest in identifying with a culture (whether it's actually her culture or not remains unknown), and marriage cited as what seemed to be the reason why the speaker is exercising restraint. I see the other side of this now -- the author's side -- and I like that, too. Both ways work for me. Had you not clarified anything, I would have still liked the poem, seeing it instead within the context of my own experience, as a reader bringing to it his own peculiar issues.

This is a good poem. I'm interested in what you would like to do with it. Do you want to revise it to the point where the reader knows exactly who/what you're  referring to or do you want to leave it ambiguous? Either option works for me. For example, I love James Wright's "Twilights ," but even if I were to find out exactly what it meant to him I would still have what it means to me. It's not like with "Saint Judas." That one is more concrete; he's saying something philosophical, and he wants the message to be clear. "Twilights" is more abstract, and I remember where I was in life and what my state of mind was when I first read it i.e. what it means to me.

Many of my own poems can have multiple meanings. I love finding out what readers get out of my poems. I love leaving my poems open to possibilities (to what degree varies with each poem), but even when I do so, I know what each poem means to me. Sometimes I've even let a poem's meaning change radically from what I started out to say if the outcome has been a better poem. The poem is for the reader, but even when it has morphed into something else I remember exactly why I set out to write it: what it means to me.

"Torc" is a love poem. But that was how I saw it even in my initial reading. Do you want to revise it to the point where the reader knows exactly what kind of love it is (e.g. enduring, long-suffering), or do you want to leave it open so the reader might see it as that or he might see it as some other kind of love (e.g. fleeting, surpressed) just as I saw it? Even when it's left open, I still want to know what the author meant, because I like background info and spoilers.

This is a good poem. Clearly, it's meaningful. It should be perfected. It's almost there. In my view there are only a few things:

1. Perfect the meter. An easy line to do that with is L6 --

L6:     studied the mother tongue, and became Welsh
(If you change the semicolons in L5 & L6 to commas, and use the conjunction L6 becomes a perfect IP.)

-- I'm happy to help with any others.

2. I would go back to the expression "crackle black." I didn't know what it meant, and though I tried googling it I couldn't find the answer. Even so, I understood it to mean something in line with "burn." There is no need to remove an interesting local, colloquial, or even archaic expression that fits just to suit the tastes of a wider audience. The unusual expression adds color, texture, character, etc. If you really feel it's too obscure then include a footnote. I often do. An extra benefit -- "crackle black" perfects the meter in that line: Those scrolls within her mind I'd crackle black ...

If you're done with the poem, I apologize for these additional suggestions, but I do know you like to revise. The poem is meaningful and must thrive.
 

Tony

___________________
1. I've been wanting to use this expression from Coleridge's "Frost at Midnight." :rolleyes:

As always Tony thank you for your time and insight (though this wasn't one I posted at Eratosphere).  I do like to workshop. It informs me how much I am communicating intention. It may indicate the direction the poem needs to take. Submitting poems to poetry sites does prompt a more transparent write, and it does makes me realise how difficult it is to write, but I also love finding out what readers get out of my poems - especially if I've layered the poem http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poetry/poems/valentine

I've used the listing, the semi-colons and break in meter, to emphasize the tick-box nature of her 'conversion'.

I like the sound of 'crackle back' , but I also like the shortened meter in L7, that dash to focus on burn (adds aggression - in my mind). I felt plainer language conveyed the emotion at that point.

 Frost at Midnight was one of those first poems to open the door on poetry!

As always I appreciate your help.

Phil

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33 minutes ago, badger11 said:

... (though this wasn't one I posted at Eratosphere) ...

Well, I came across it somewhere recently, though I almost never look elsewhere. :rolleyes:

46 minutes ago, badger11 said:

 ... especially if I've layered the poem ...

Yes, that's probably a better way to describe what I do often: not so much double meanings, but multiple (relevant) meanings served up concurrently. I like the expression "layered."

In any case, "Torc" is a terrific poem, and the close look and discussion have been a pleasure.

Tony

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