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Lake

A Summer Day

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Lake

A Summer Day

 

I put on glasses, walked beneath

the sun to see tea trees.

A Daizu girl in tube-shaped dress

played a flute to greet me.

 

We wandered up the hill to find

green rows of soldiers stand,

salute to us, sickly sticky

in heat, and fair skin tanned.

 

But soon a gentle breeze arose

as leaves and sprouts unfurled.

They escorted me like how stars

surround the moon, and twirled

 

around my apron, oversleeves.

I picked with care the buds,

tender, smooth like infant fingers

that tickled my basket.

 

I bought a tea disc that I made

and waited by a tree.

There is a time in life I'd pour

my friend a cup of tea.

 

 

 

(Still WIP. I know the meter is off but it's so hard to me as it's such a rare thing for me to do. Need help as always. Thanks in advance.)

Edited by Lake

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tonyv

Lake, this is wonderful! I read the poem first and wouldn't even have taken a look at meter had you not mentioned it. It looks like hymn meter, specifically "common meter" (or "ballad meter"), which, in this case, consists of alternating lines of tetrameter and trimeter and rhymes abxb. I never tried it, but you've made me like it. It really seems to fit your subject matter. The few places where it deviates slightly are barely noticeable and, in my opinion, add to the character of the poem. Thanks for taking me to that Summer Day.

 

Tony

 

PS -- Is THIS a Daizu girl? I looked but couldn't find more. Is it like a HARAJUKU GIRL?

 

HARAJUKU (street style)


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

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dr_con

as warm and inviting as a summer day or a cup of tea- Beautifully told- wrapped me in the sense and sensibility. Really lovely work Lake! Agree with Tony- we will have to wait for a stricter form Master to comment- But I loved it! ;-)

 

DC&J


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Lake

Hi Tony,

 

Thanks for your detailed reading and possitive words. Your take of "ballad meter" is right, I read a poem and wanted to try my hand at a ballad. I worked hard at it, but still it deviated in places.

 

Your first link about Dai girls is the right one. I don't know anything about HARAJUKU GIRL. Are they Japanese? Dai is a minority in the south China, dweling in mountains. They sing and dance beautifully and naturally. Here's another link re their clothing:

 

http://english.eastday.com/e/cosh/images/01459255.jpg

 

Thanks much.

 

Lake

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Lake

Hi dr_con,

 

Glad you think it is warm and inviting. Thank you for your kind words.

 

Lake

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tonyv
Your first link about Dai girls is the right one. I don't know anything about HARAJUKU GIRL. Are they Japanese? Dai is a minority in the south China, dweling in mountains. They sing and dance beautifully and naturally. Here's another link re their clothing:

 

http://english.eastday.com/e/cosh/images/01459255.jpg

Thanks for the link, Lake. I like these DAI GIRLS :) As for Harajuku, I think they might be Japanese. I only looked it up a couple years ago when I heard it mentioned in Gwen Stefani's RICH GIRL song. :))

 

Tony


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

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Lake

Hi Tony,

 

You really read poems you give comments on. Since you are here, can I ask another question? Do you have problems understanding "a tea disc"? It is fresh tea leaves pressed into a pie shape after a series of process of drying, kneading, steaming, pressing... Other names are tea bricks, tea cakes, but none is satisfying to me.

 

http://cdn-viper.demandvideo.com/media/D27...FC4B48532_2.jpg

 

This one is in packing paper.

 

http://www.made-in-china.com/image/2f0j00f...sc-Packing-.jpg

 

Thank you.

 

Lake

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tonyv

I like your choice of tea disc. While certainly not uncommon, disc is one of those words that's slightly removed from my everyday usage and somehow conjures up a more profound association in my mind. But, absent a footnote, I nevertheless presumed the tea disc was a food, a snack -- I'm accustomed to hearing "coffee cake" or "coffee roll" -- so, thanks for sharing the pictures and confirming that it was indeed something like what I had imagined. How do they taste? Like tea??? Are they bitter? Are they sweetened like tea sometimes is with sugar? I would definitely try one. I had Greek food for lunch yesterday, and, for the first time in a long time I took a stuffed grape leaf. It didn't appeal to me much. (That's probably why I hadn't taken one in a while.) I mean, the outside tasted like leaves. But, I think I would like these tea discs because I love coffee and, by extension, tea.

 

I do have some confusion where you say that you bought the tea disc which you "made." If you bought it, why did you have to make it? Did it need to be prepared? Or did you mean you ate it? Even with those questions, I didn't dwell or get stuck on that part. I simply took it as an unusual expression, something from which I could draw my own conclusions.

 

Tony


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

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waxwings

Lake,

 

Why do you call Dai a minority? I thought they were more like a tribe, such as a Native American one is. To me a minority is a numerically small (compared to the majority) group of people who speak a different language, but might even speak a dialect, one of several within the main language.

No problem w/ tea disc. What it is should be perfectly clear but for those who have never seen or heard about one. In many other languages there is a word whose meaning would come across as the "round thing" even "wheel". Otherwise, you could say, "I made tea using a (tea) disc", but should avoid, "I made it", for that can make the reader think you "fashioned/fabricated the disc" and not that you made/brewed tea from it.

 

Lovely poem. Meter and line length do not truly matter when a poem is this good: in images, the 'story' and your feeling I can share?

 

If the scene were American or other, rather than Chinese, I would suggest the use of present tense, i.e., like as if you are recording on tape the impressions from your walk. Present tense is more powerful and past tense is best reserved to avoid misunderstandings when the time-frame (the sequence of events) truly matters.

 

Not being sure how proficient you have become in English at this point, I am not in position to say more than there are a few lines that I do understand (as to what you observe and feel) but would use different wording without changing content.

 

You write well and I enjoy it all, regardless of the small imperfections. You will polish them later, as good poets are known to do.

 

waxwwings

Edited by waxwings

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Lake

Thank you Tony for your patience to read and answer my question. I know it'll be a problem, now I'm sure it is. Tea Disc is not a snack, it is Tea, tea leaves compressed into the shape of a disc with a dimple in the middle, easier to carry and keep. It is called bingcha or chabing in Chinese (literally "biscuit tea" or "cake tea"). Here's more info if you are interested.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_brick

 

And When I went to China last summer, I acutually made one under the supervision of the professionals and bought it as a suvenior, not cheap! But I enjoyed the experience.

 

Now I have to think about how to make it clear to the reader. Thank you very much, Tony for your feedback.

 

Many thanks,

 

Lake

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Lake

Hi waxwings,

 

Thank your for your time reading and for your thoughtful response. It takes me some time to think before answering your questions.

 

Lake,

 

Why do you call Dai a minority? I thought they were more like a tribe, such as a Native American one is. To me a minority is a numerically small (compared to the majority) group of people who speak a different language, but might even speak a dialect, one of several within the main language.

 

Your definition of minority works for me. In China there are 56 nationalities recognized by the government. Compared with Han, which has the largest polulation, the 55 are small in number, therefore they are called minorities or minority nationalities (politically correct?). And Dai is one of them.

 

No problem w/ tea disc. What it is should be perfectly clear but for those who have never seen or heard about one. In many other languages there is a word whose meaning would come across as the "round thing" even "wheel". Otherwise, you could say, "I made tea using a (tea) disc", but should avoid, "I made it", for that can make the reader think you "fashioned/fabricated the disc" and not that you made/brewed tea from it.

 

Please read my above response to Tony re Tea Disc. And I made it! :) It's right on my bookshelf now.

 

Lovely poem. Meter and line length do not truly matter when a poem is this good: in images, the 'story' and your feeling I can share?

 

Thank you for your kind words.

 

If the scene were American or other, rather than Chinese, I would suggest the use of present tense, i.e., like as if you are recording on tape the impressions from your walk. Present tense is more powerful and past tense is best reserved to avoid misunderstandings when the time-frame (the sequence of events) truly matters.

 

I see your point regarding present tense. I can try it to see the different effect. I used the past tense simply because it happened in the past. But why the American scene?

 

Not being sure how proficient you have become in English at this point, I am not in position to say more than there are a few lines that I do understand (as to what you observe and feel) but would use different wording without changing content.

 

:) Haha... you tell me what English level I'm at. C or D? I certainly will not pass the high school state test. And I can never get as good as a native English speaker. But I'm open to any suggestions as how to make a poem better. So please let me know what other alternative words you'd use to make the poem sound more SE (Standard English).

 

You write well and I enjoy it all, regardless of the small imperfections. You will polish them later, as good poets are known to do.

 

Thanks again. I will polish it, I've some edits already but not quite finished yet. Please point the inperfections and share your thoughts with me.

 

Very much appreciated.

 

Lake

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tonyv

Thanks, Lake, for the clarification as to what a tea disc is. Can't you just imagine this ignorant American tourist buying one of these things and biting into, thinking it's a cookie? :))

 

Tony :)


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

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Lake

:)) Tony, I'm sure you won't do it when you are there. Thanks for all your help.

 

Thanks, Lake, for the clarification as to what a tea disc is. Can't you just imagine this ignorant American tourist buying one of these things and biting into, thinking it's a cookie? :))

 

Tony :)

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waxwings

Not sure why you think the meter is off. You have 5 stanzas mostly/normatively iambic, odd numbered lines being tetrameter the even ones trimeter. Interesting.

 

L4 has two trochees but that is not a disturbance nor is that in L7, or even in L13 that entirely trochaic..

 

There could be a slight linguistic problem in L6 - L7, for it is most unusual, if not awkward (and I am paraphrasing in prose), to "stand/ (a) salute to us..." Could say "stand/ and salute us" or stand and render salute". I am also at a slight loss if it is the green soldiers or you whose skin is tanned.

 

A problem or three in S3

 

But soon, a gentle breeze .............A clichee, but not a serious poeticism.

 

as leaves and sprouts unfurled. .....Use "and ", not "as". Leaves and sprouts unfurling did not cause that breeze.

They escorted me like (how) stars ............................Inverted role of words in bold.

surround the moon and twirled ..................................

 

Why not: "They surrounded me like stars

escorting the moon, and twirled

 

Not clear if by "They" you mean "the breeze(s?)" or "leaves and sprouts". If the former, make it "breezes" in first line.

 

All in all, the glitches are minor or can be fixed w/o upsetting the gentle feeling this poem leaves me with.

 

Thank you very much.

 

waxwings

Edited by waxwings

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Lake

Thanks waxwings for coming back to it and offering your suggestions.

 

Not sure why you think the meter is off. You have 5 stanzas mostly/normatively iambic, odd numbered lines being tetrameter the even ones trimeter. Interesting.

 

L4 has two trochees but that is not a disturbance nor is that in L7, or even in L13 that entirely trochaic..

 

I tried to write it in iambic, but didn't succeed. After reading the discussion between you and Tony and your reply here, I'm happy to know some variations are acceptable and probably make the poem not monotonous.

 

Some of Emily Dickinson's poems are written in this interesting way (odd numbered lines being tetrameter the even ones trimeter).

 

There could be a slight linguistic problem in L6 - L7, for it is most unusual, if not awkward (and I am paraphrasing in prose), to "stand/ (a) salute to us..." Could say "stand/ and salute us" or stand and render salute". I am also at a slight loss if it is the green soldiers or you whose skin is tanned.

 

Good catch on this. I noticed the problem in "salute" line and had it corrected in my copy. Sharp eye on the "skin", I meant the visitors' skins. Though I felt that there might be a confusion as to whose skins are tanned, but thought logically fair skins shouldn't belong to solidiers unless they stay indoors all the time.

 

A problem or three in S3

 

But soon, a gentle breeze .............A clichee, but not a serious poeticism.

 

I totally agree, it is not original. I have to find a new way of saying this.

 

as leaves and sprouts unfurled. .....Use "and ", not "as". Leaves and sprouts unfurling did not cause that breeze.

 

They might, just like a palm fan. :)

 

They escorted me like (how) stars ............................Inverted role of words in bold.

surround the moon and twirled ..................................

 

Why not: "They surrounded me like stars

escorting the moon, and twirled

 

Not clear if by "They" you mean "the breeze(s?)" or "leaves and sprouts". If the former, make it "breezes" in first line.

 

Good suggestion to switch the two verbs. I still need one more syllable in L7. "They" refer to "leaves and sprouts".

 

Thank you for your detailed critiques, I'll certainly take your opinions on board in my revision.

 

Warmly,

 

Lake

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waxwings

I am glad you, Lake, find my thoughts reasonably acceptable. Yes, you can wave, move an object to create a breeze, but are "leaves and shoouts" not a bit on the smallish side? Especially the shoots. :icon_eek:

 

If your poetic reflections then are true to what you saw, you must move the "leaves and shoots" ahead, in the poem, of the breeze, and all is fine. When you speak of the breeze first, it leaves the impression (unless one reads that stanza over a few times) that the breeze is the protagonist, at least for the moment.

 

Nice of you to make sure I did not walk away from your poem with too many misinterpretations. :icon_redface:

 

waxwings.

Edited by waxwings

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Lake

Hello All,

 

I had another go at it, taking all the concerns on board.

 

A Summer Day

 

I put on glasses, walked beneath

the sun to see tea trees.

A Daizu girl in tube-shaped dress

played a flute to greet me.

 

We wandered up the hill and saw

green rows of soldiers stand,

salute us, weary, sticky in

the heat, and fair skins tanned.

 

Then leaves and sprouts began to stretch

as soft and cool airs swirled.

They surrounded me like stars es-

courting the moon, and twirled

 

around my apron, oversleeves.

I picked with care the buds,

tender, smooth like infant fingers

that tickled my basket.

 

I wrapped the tea disc I kneaded

and waited in the shade.

There is a time in life I'd pour

my friend a cup of tea.

 

 

Hope it's improved a bit if not a lot.

 

Lake

Edited by Lake

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Aleksandra

I lost the track of time while I was reading this thread, Lake. I enjoyed your poem and your conversation with Tony about tea disc. Now after we know the story, the ending part of this poem, is opening the point and brings to me a feeling of melancholy. I loved how your poem has changed. I am far from good English speaker, so I can't talk about the meter, but I do love how your poem sounds. I love the imagery what you use, especially in S1.

 

And Tony, you made me smile :). Why I am not surprised that you like those girls :D? Bw, I can imagine you buying the

" cookie " :D.

 

Lake, the poem is lovely.

 

Aleksandra


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

History of Macedonia

 

 

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dedalus

Lovely ... but in dreams only. Those days are over, if they ever existed.


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

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Lake

Yes, those days are over, it happened last summer. :)

 

Almost crossed the border to Vietnam.

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