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Tinker

Crystal Clear

14 posts in this topic

Crystal Clear

 

Winter has frozen

the movement outside.

Cold creeps into my cabin

and I wake to tend the fire,

poking at coals, adding kindling.

A whiff of smoke puffs

back at me and I taste

the acrid woody warmth.

 

Hidden away

from the clanking,

honking, rush

of our yesterday

I breathe

air that smells washed

clean with a hint of pine.

 

The dawn catches no sound

not even the trickle of water

nor your absent snore

and from my frosted window I see

a crystal world of unsoiled prospects.

 

--- Judi Van Gorder

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That last line is a gem, but there are others, esp. "air that smells as if washed" which is a truth for I have smelled such. I wonder if you could find a replacement for "Tide", because someone reading your poem 500 or 1000 yers from now could go nuts finding what that word stands for. I'll let others name the rest of the fine tropes you have put in this.

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A truly remarkable work, Tinker. Allow me to elaborate.

 

In two stanzas, you showcase a highly unusual blend of personal experience. The welcome and anticipated sense of coziness (delivered by the fire and its "acrid woody warmth") is offset, in turn, by an unexpected air of "sterile," "clean," and "silent." The synthesis of this peculiar merger seems to declare, "We've come a long way."

 

I understand what Ike is saying about the brand name, but I have to respectfully disagree. Perhaps I'm prejudiced -- I grew up in a "Tide" household -- but changing "Tide" to some generic word like "detergent" would, for me, alter the sentiments that I expressed in my analysis above. Downy is not Tide ... not even close.

 

The "absent snore" is what it is also, but it's not the end; I get the feeling that it's a temporary absence of someone who is around less often but nevertheless is always there. The last line reinforces that it's not over, rather it's a new beginning.

 

I loved this. It's one of your finest.

 

Tony

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Crystal Clear

 

Winter has frozen

the movement outside.----------------absolute

Cold creeps into my cabin--------------movement inside, the 'cold' almost a predator

and I wake to tend a fire, -----------------------------the fact you need to 'tend' implies dying

poking at coals, adding kindling.

A whiff of smoke puffs ---------------------------'whiff' implies small

back at me and I taste--------------deleted 'can' for more immediacy

the acrid woody warmth. -----------------like that

 

hi Tink

 

I've put in some suggestions, but there are plenty more modifiers you may want to consider. On the other hand perhaps such modifiers give the poem its richness, texture, detail. smallest/small/dying giving the sense of diminishing. I didn't know what 'Tide' was.

 

The way you work the senses in this poem makes it very atmospheric, but I wonder if you could make the poem more stark and compact:

 

The dawn catches no sound

not even the trickle of water

nor your absent snore

and from my frosted window I can see

a crystal world of unsoiled prospects.

 

All suggestions to be ignored if unhelpful, you may want to keep your simile for domesticity, either way this is a poem to be enjoyed.

 

badge

Edited by badger11

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I like the way you, tony, can summarize. My problem may be that I see those single words or a phrasing that seem alien in a given setting. It is the better poem that may suffer from such. You do not have to be "respectful". I am happy others disagree when the disagreement is nicely documented.

 

I would opt for avoiding brand names except when they are unicersally recognized as an intrinsic part of the poetic. The line about the "smell of washed aire" hit home w/o the brans, I wonder if just plain "soap" would suffice and did not mean "detergent". Perhaps the lin e could be somehow recast to convey the idea w/o mentioning any cleaning agent.

 

I did not see the point an "absent snore" could create. I think the line might want to be "not the absence of xxx snore". That nor "nor" seems the main culprit for it could turn a phrase into a clichee.

 

We do need much, much more of this kind of discussion you and badge have joined, on any poem, or why post perfect poems tarher than saving them for ones next book of poetry.

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Hi Ike, I wrote this poem as a response to a picture challenge at another site. A photo of a small village in the dead of winter at dawn. Snow the predominant visual, one cabin has smoke coming from a chimney.

 

As you know I have never lived in snow country so this was all the work of my imagination. Well not all, I have tended many fires in a wood stove on rainy nights. Living in the country, we heated our home with wood exclusively until only about 12 years ago. I then put in central propane heat. We don't get natural gas out our way. Cell phones don't work because of the mountains and TV and internet have to be by Satellite, no cable. So isolation I do understand.

 

I understand what you are getting at on the Tide thing... I notice Badger living in Wales didn't even know what Tide was. But I thought of you when I wrote "as if" and thought Ike won't like this.. I know it isn't perfect... I will work on it.

 

Thank you. ~~Judi

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Hi Tony, Thanks for getting this. And it is your reaction to Tide that I was counting on... note Badger doesn't know what Tide is however to Ike has a good point and it is the now awkward line in the poem. This is a work of fiction as you can see from my response to Ike. I actually wrote 4 end lines that I deleted as telly.

 

No more mechanical emissions

fouling my lungs,

no more mechanical emotions

clogging my heart.

 

Your comments encourage me to keep much of this, but I think this one is incomplete and needs work.

 

~~Thanks Judi

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Hi Badge, I think you are showing me the way to keep the core of this piece while cleaning it up a whole lot. I appreciate your recognition of the nuances of the piece. From some of your writing I have been inspired to use my imagination for more fictional pieces. Thank you.

 

And by now you must have guessed Tide a brand name for the best laundry detergent in the world...(at least it used to be) but it is your comment that most has made me decide to delete it. I have an international audience, I forget that because I feel close to you all as if you lived right next door.

 

~~Tink

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Words/language are to communicate/share. There are but three essential aspects in all we communicate: knowhow, belief and emotion. Emotion is a catch-all term for or feelings/attitude/reaction to life. Poetry does the last in a more condensed way than any other literary art.

 

Your reponses above show how I knew, way back when, that you are a major voice.

 

tony and badge make good points. I differ w/badge only re what he sees as detractions to the starkness. This poem is good, because it is soft in spite of the starkness.

 

I cannot resist pointing at few words I think may not be the most apt semantically/grammatically. And slight changes in line breaks. (A poet friend, who is the head of the English department at local U, once led a workshop to show the major importance to poetry not altogether excluding prose poems.)

 

I want my reasoning for edits to be understood. They are not corrective nor a rewrite of the poem in the harshest sense. By necessity, they can be lengthy. I know you will see the why of most my edts. I'll respond w/specifics to questions remaining. Look closely for commas I have added. They do change the fine sense/impact of images just like line breaks do.

 

Winter

has frozen the smallest movement outside. ~~~~ as is break reduces importance of "what" winter has frozen

Cold creeps into my cabin,

and I wake to tend the dying fire, ~~~~~ re badge, we tend to things other than ailing people, e.g., fields gardens, business

poke at the coals, add kindling. ~~~~~~~~~ present tense better than continuous, at leasr in this setting

A small whiff of smoke drifts ~~~~~whiffs are small by definition; unless for rhytm, can do w/o

back at me, and I can taste

the acrid, woody warmth.

 

Hidden away from the clanking,

honking, the rush

of our yesterday,

I breathe air

that smells as if washed, clean

of soap and a hint of pine.

The dawn catches no sound,

not even the trickle of water

nor your absent snore, ~~~~~ ? "not the absence of your snore" (I see the intent, but, semantically and literarily, there is no "absent snore".

and, through my frosted window, I can see

a crystal world of unsoiled prospects.

Edited by waxwings

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I knew right away, what Tide means :-8). I am familiar with it, even here. And if it's another word instead of Tide, then it won't be " Tide " it will be something else, and for this poem's age it's just more than good to stay Tide, to justify about in what age this poem is written :).

 

Otherwise, Tinker, this poem is wonderful. Your imagination seems to work fine and the product came up with a lots of nice expressions and imagery. And I agree with waxwings, the last line is a gem.

 

Thank you for sharing this wonderful poem.

 

Aleksandra

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I knew right away, what Tide means :-8). I am familiar with it, even here. And if it's another word instead of Tide, then it won't be " Tide " it will be something else, and for this poem's age it's just more than good to stay Tide, to justify about in what age this poem is written :).

 

Otherwise, Tinker, this poem is wonderful. And I agree with waxwings, the last line is a gem.

 

Aleksandra

 

Aleks, your enthusiasm is a most wonderful thing. When I was growing up, the only washday product, other than plain soap, was Borax, though sold under a label adjusted to the local language. I think that detergents tell a chemist's nose (meaning mine) they are all merely caustic substances. The smell I know and tinker tells about is what washed clothes impart to air. Do you recall the smell of drying linen?

 

I cannot resist teasing you some. Immediately after you defend Tide (as being an apt word for the poem) you say that otherwise, the poem is wonderful, wherefore using Tide is not wonderful. :-8) :heart:

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I think you are showing me the way to keep the core of this piece while cleaning it up a whole lot.

 

Not really Tink, more a matter of what if...rather than this right/wrong better/worse etc.

 

The subtle, yet accessible, nature of your writing frequently invites me to think about form.

 

badge

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I knew right away, what Tide means :-8) . I am familiar with it, even here. And if it's another word instead of Tide, then it won't be " Tide " it will be something else, and for this poem's age it's just more than good to stay Tide, to justify about in what age this poem is written :) .

 

Otherwise, Tinker, this poem is wonderful. And I agree with waxwings, the last line is a gem.

 

Aleksandra

 

Aleks, your enthusiasm is a most wonderful thing. When I was growing up, the only washday product, other than plain soap, was Borax, though sold under a label adjusted to the local language. I think that detergents tell a chemist's nose (meaning mine) they are all merely caustic substances. The smell I know and tinker tells about is what washed clothes impart to air. Do you recall the smell of drying linen?

 

I cannot resist teasing you some. Immediately after you defend Tide (as being an apt word for the poem) you say that otherwise, the poem is wonderful, wherefore using Tide is not wonderful. :-8) :heart:

 

 

Me and my bad English :-8) . I meant to say - anyway rather than otherwise, so I can tell some more for the poem because I finished with my thoughts about Tide. So thanks to my mistake you took me wrong :). I still stand strong on my opinion that the poem together with the word Tide is wonderful.

 

Thanks for catching up my wrong word ww ;).

 

Aleksandra

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I knew right away, what Tide means :-8) . I am familiar with it, even here. And if it's another word instead of Tide, then it won't be " Tide " it will be something else, and for this poem's age it's just more than good to stay Tide, to justify about in what age this poem is written :) .

 

Otherwise, Tinker, this poem is wonderful. And I agree with waxwings, the last line is a gem.

 

Aleksandra

 

Aleks, your enthusiasm is a most wonderful thing. When I was growing up, the only washday product, other than plain soap, was Borax, though sold under a label adjusted to the local language. I think that detergents tell a chemist's nose (meaning mine) they are all merely caustic substances. The smell I know and tinker tells about is what washed clothes impart to air. Do you recall the smell of drying linen?

 

I cannot resist teasing you some. Immediately after you defend Tide (as being an apt word for the poem) you say that otherwise, the poem is wonderful, wherefore using Tide is not wonderful. :-8) :heart:

 

 

Me and my bad English :-8) . I meant to say - anyway rather than otherwise, so I can tell some more for the poem because I finished with my thoughts about Tide. So thanks to my mistake you took me wrong :). I still stand strong on my opinion that the poem together with the word Tide is wonderful.

 

Thanks for catching up my wrong word ww ;).

 

[up with w/object-nouns such as: studies, work, progress etc.]

 

Aleksandra

 

This old man thinks you have much talent, and your English is much better in your poems than in your prose. It is because, like all the very young, you are in too big a hurry and very enthusiastic, as I have said.

 

I care for you and your writing much enough to keep pushing you to watch your p's and q's with greater care.

 

Yes, tinker's poem is very good, or I would not bother making suggestions. I just came from a 4-hour workshop on crtiqueing. In that process, one must know that the poet knows more than the reviewer. If the rewiever and the listeners are not part of the audience the poet writes the poem to, they will not like the poem as much as that audience would. My objection to "TIDE" is that it is not sufficiently universal to which at least one other responder agrees.

As many basic courses on learning/understanding poetry teach, the tension and balance between: abstracts/universality and the concrete imagery/setting is of primary importance.

 

I do hope you will forever defend what you believe in never forgetting that a discussion brings about learning, even if we diagree.

Edited by waxwings

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