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Lake

The Grave Covered by Snow

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Lake

The Grave Covered by Snow

 

A squirrel in the pine tree,

snow-flattened shrubs

prostrating themselves to the ground,

a few rusty leaves lay lifeless.

The cemetery is very quiet,

tombstones, low and high, crude and grand

stand still in rows, each bearing its own secret.

Here, only the north wind whistles around,

only the squirrel, jumping from pine to pine

as a few pine needles falling down,

and a few crow's caws, breaking the silence .

Then he appears,

unshaved for as long as he's gone.

He is quiet like the grave,

and light as the squirrel.

Oh, does he see the Christmas-wreath?

Does he know whose foot prints before the tomb?

I extend my hand to touch

a flake of snow,

a flake of his skin.

 

.

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dr_con

A winterly, haunting piece... I could feel the chill inside and out- I stumbled on one line:

as a few pine needles falling down,
, I would remove the as and maybe change falling to fall, so that it reads: a few pine needles fall down,

 

A ghost, a tomb. a memory, a feeling- a mysterious and grand piece Lake!

 

 

DC&J


Join the Voodoo rEvolution. Classes forming now: http://www.integralvoodoo.org/

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Lake

Hi dr_con,

 

Thank you for your read and crit. I have realized there are a few places that need edit including the line you pinted out. I'll take your suggestion in my later revision.

 

Much appreciated.

 

Lake

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goldenlangur

Hi Lake,

 

The fragmentary closing lines give such a haunting effect:

 

a flake of snow,

a flake of his skin.

 

 

Beautiful!


goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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tonyv

A captivating piece with a Gothic undercurrent. There's something timeless about cemeteries and the type of moment you portray. I love the way you describe the setting:

 

... a few rusty leaves lay lifeless.

The cemetery is very quiet,

tombstones, low and high, crude and grand

stand still in rows ...

 

Here, only the north wind whistles around ...

I feel like I've been there. I know this autumn-on-the-edge-of-winter day. Yet the spectral characteristics you introduce could just the same beset the heart on a summer day, when there's nothing but a hot breeze -- today ... or decades ago. And there it is, that timelessness I felt, mentioned above.

 

This one, in my opinion, is one of your finest, Lake. Thank you for it.

 

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 golden,

 

Thank you for the read. Glad you like the ending, the fragments which must've come from the influence of haiku. :) It's very incouraging for you to mention it.

 

Hi Tony,

 

Haven't written much recently, but want to have some change if at all possible. I'm so gald to see how you perceive it and I always enjoy reading your comments. Oftentimes, you read more from the poem than what the writer originally intended. That's a good thing I guess. And your comments are usually well put.

 

Regards,

 

Lake

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douglas

lake i found this poem beautiful. it has a lovely atmosphere. you have created the sense of quiet and timelessness that exists in cemeteries. and the imagery you use supports this scene excellently. i like the 'twist' at the end. is he real, is he a ghost?

 

thanks for sharing.


To receive love, you have to give it...

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goldenlangur
Hi golden,

 

Thank you for the read. Glad you like the ending, the fragments which must've come from the influence of haiku. :)

 

Lake

 

 

You're so right, Lake - the spirit and discipline of haiku are truly inspirational :D


goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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waxwings

Lovely and sad, dear Lake. I am not afraid of death per se, but this reminds me I will have to give up the sweetness of poetry sooner or later.

 

I have a hard time abstaining from making few edits. They are 'typos' re English semantics which quite a few native speakers and lesser poets tend to mess up. The easiest for me is to make notes to the right of your lines as below. A general notion: avoid the -ing form of verbs if possible.

 

 

A squirrel in the pine tree, ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~a verb seems to be missing, or is it "prostrating" as well.

snow-flattened shrubs

prostrating themselves to the ground, ~~~~~~ humans do: in worship, prayer, awe or sorrow; do shrubs?

a few rusty leaves lay lifeless. ~~~~~~~~~ lie in present tense, like rest of poem, lay is what hens do.

The cemetery is very quiet, ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~why not period

tombstones, low and high, crude and grand

stand still in rows, each bearing its own secret.

Here, only the north wind whistles around, ~~~~~~ could omit that word; it tends to make this less serious.

only the squirrel, jumping from pine to pine ~~~~~~~~~~~ verb? as before.

as a few pine needles falling down,

and a few crow's caws, breaking the silence . ~~~~~ few crows or caws or both; try "crows breaking ..... with their caws"

Then he appears,

unshaved for as long as he's gone. ~~~~~~ unshaven is proper; the -ed suggests it's not been done to him.

He is quiet like the grave,

and light as the squirrel.

Oh, does he see the Christmas-wreath? ~~~~~~ is the oh really necessary

Does he know whose foot prints before the tomb? ~~~~~~~~ verb? e.g., ... whose prints are they/u] before......

I extend my hand to touch

a flake of snow,

a flake of his skin.

 

Thanks for a lovely poem.

Edited by waxwings

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Lake

Hi douglas,

 

I'm glad you like the atmosphere and the imagery and the twist.

 

is he real, is he a ghost?

 

I know you don't need the answer, but I have to say that it's one whom I miss dearly.

 

Thank you very much for your read and comment.

 

Lake

Edited by Lake

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Lake
the spirit and discipline of haiku are truly inspirational :D

 

Well said! Golden.

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Lake

waxwings,

 

Oh, my! Nearly every line has a problem. Thank you for taking the time and pointing it out.

 

Lovely and sad, dear Lake. I am not afraid of death per se, but this reminds me I will have to give up the sweetness of poetry sooner or later.

 

I have a hard time abstaining from making few edits. They are 'typos' re English semantics which quite a few native speakers and lesser poets tend to mess up. The easiest for me is to make notes to the right of your lines as below. A general notion: avoid the -ing form of verbs if possible.

 

 

A squirrel in the pine tree, ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~a verb seems to be missing, or is it "prostrating" as well. - It is a fragment. Will a fragment work?

snow-flattened shrubs

prostrating themselves to the ground, ~~~~~~ humans do: in worship, prayer, awe or sorrow; do shrubs? - Ha, this is a phrase. Can I personify shrubs?

a few rusty leaves lay lifeless. ~~~~~~~~~ lie in present tense, like rest of poem, lay is what hens do. - Spot on. But I'm torn between the two. I need to ponder on it.

The cemetery is very quiet, ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~why not period - It doesn't seem finished yet. I thought about using a semi colon...

tombstones, low and high, crude and grand

stand still in rows, each bearing its own secret.

Here, only the north wind whistles around, ~~~~~~ could omit that word; it tends to make this less serious. -I want it to mean the wind blows around the cemetery, tombstones.

only the squirrel, jumping from pine to pine ~~~~~~~~~~~ verb? as before.- This is an awkward sentence structure as Dr_Con mentioned. I've had another rewrite of it.

as a few pine needles falling down,

and a few crow's caws, breaking the silence . ~~~~~ few crows or caws or both; try "crows breaking ..... with their caws"-It is the caws of the crows. Maybe it is redundant?

Then he appears,

unshaved for as long as he's gone. ~~~~~~ unshaven is proper; the -ed suggests it's not been done to him.-Are they the same thing like "got" and "gotten"? That's how the dictionary tells: shave-shaved-shaved, or shaven.

He is quiet like the grave,

and light as the squirrel.

Oh, does he see the Christmas-wreath? ~~~~~~ is the oh really necessary - I thought about it, yes, it can go.

Does he know whose foot prints before the tomb? ~~~~~~~~ verb? e.g., ... whose prints are they/u] before...... - I have realiezed that a verb is missing, just trying to be poetic. haha... It can be written as Does he know whose foot prints these are before the tomb?

I extend my hand to touch

a flake of snow,

a flake of his skin.

 

Thanks for a lovely poem.

 

Thank you waxwings for your edits and thank you for keeping me alert on English semantics .

 

High regards,

 

Lake

Edited by Lake

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badger11

Enjoyed this tale Lake. The ending was particularly effective.

 

badge

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worm

Hi lake, the title generalizes the situational meaning of the story before reading and your description of dead silence is very successful, one’s gooseflesh growing at the killing lonesomeness. The presence of the protagonist is a suspense. Who is he? he is snowflake! His coming brings freshness and animation to this place. How many foot steps were ever imprinted, how heavy they were dragged along, are definitely not his concerns. he comes, lightly, light-heartedly. It is a release of heaviness, to the ones both on and under the ground.

 

A minor suggestion,

Here, only the north wind whistles around,

only the squirrel, jumping from pine to pine .......... about

I would think about replacing from pine to pine with about to avoid repetition, as I’ve noticed there are four pines in this writing. just my thought, for your reference.

 

an enjoyable read indeed. Thanks lake.

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Lake

Hi Badge,

 

I'm so glad that the ending works for your. This time the poem started with the ending, that's to say to have an ending line and then work from there. "End on the End".

 

You have a perceptive eye, Badge. Thank you!

 

Lake

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Lake

Thank you worm for your read and interpretation.

 

Re the repetition of "pine", I did notice that, there were a bit too many. But I like the image of "leaping from tree to tree", which causes the pine needles to fall down. Oh, yeah, "from tree to tree"!

 

Cheers,

 

Lake

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waxwings

The poem is fine. My edits are to refine the speech not to correct the poem.

 

A squirrel in the pine tree, ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~a verb seems to be missing, or is the squirrel "prostrating" as well. - It is a fragment. Will a fragment work?

Yes, but must change syntax to insure or you have squirrel “prostrating as wellsnow-flattened shrubs

prostrating themselves to the ground, ~~~~~~ humans do: in worship, prayer, awe or sorrow; do shrubs? - Ha, this is a phrase. Can I personify shrubs?

You can, but “prostrate” says same as “down on knees and belly and face.

a few rusty leaves lay lifeless. ~~~~~~~~~ lie in present tense, like rest of poem, lay is what hens do. - Spot on. But I'm torn between the two. I need to ponder on it.

Why? “Lay”,in present tense, means “place/put down an item”, while, in present tense, “lie” means “ to repose/rest”. Its past tense is “lay’ but why make that the only past tense verb in the poem.

The cemetery is very quiet, ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~why not period - It doesn't seem finished yet. I thought about using a semi colon...

Semicolon may separate interdependent though complete sentences, not the case here, and poetry is better (less prosy) w/ as few as possible punctuation marks other than comma, long dash, ellipses and periods and w/ only the proper semicolons.

Tombstones, low and high, crude and grand

stand still in rows, still, each bearing its own secret.

Here, only the north wind whistles around, ~~~~~~ could omit that word; it tends to make this less serious. -I want it to mean the wind blows around the cemetery, tombstones.

It works that way w/o around; but it is not the best fit preposition. Try through/between/among/about.

only the squirrel, jumping from pine to pine, ~~~~~~~~~~~ verb? .- This is an awkward structure as Dr. Con mentioned. I've had another rewrite of it

My grammar/syntax checker flagged the “only”. until I changed line to read "only the squirrel there....

as a few pine needles falling down,

and a few crow's caws, breaking the silence . ~~~~~ few crows or caws or both; try "crows breaking ..... with their caws"-It is the caws of the crows. Maybe it is redundant?

No, but there is chance of confusion, of tenses/numbers/sounds. Try “only the caws of a few crows.”Then he appears,

unshaved for as long as he's gone. ~~~~~~ unshaven is proper; the -ed suggests it's not been done to him.-Are they the same thing like "got" and "gotten"? That's how the dictionary tells: shave-shaved-shaved, or shaven.

Perhaps, but the serious difference is between “he is (looks) shaven” and "he has been shaved.”, a fine point.He is quiet like the grave,

and light as the squirrel.

Oh, Does he see the Christmas-wreath? ~~~~~~ is the oh really necessary - I thought about it, yes, it can go.

Does he know whose foot prints before the tomb? ~~~~~~~~ verb? e.g., ... whose prints are they/u] before...... - I have realized that a verb is missing, just trying to be poetic. haha... It can be written as Does he know whose foot prints these are before his tomb?

I missed seeing the “before”, not the best preposition, since it primarily pertains to location in time more than in space. Try “next to”, “beside” or “in front of”.

I extend my hand to touch

a flake of snow,

a flake of his skin.

Edited by waxwings

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dedalus

This is so good ... haven't read any of the comments at all, just the poem.

I'll read the comments later, find out what a fool I've been ....

 

First thing that strikes me is, you got the order wrong.

You may not agree. Gentlemen in this .. ahh .. business, nevah agree.

May I be allowed the duty, sah?

 

(slight rev)

 

The graveyard is silent.

Only a few rusty leaves lie lifeless

amid tombstones, low and high, crude and grand,

standing, leaning, bearing secrets still in rows.

There is a squirrel leaping high upon the pine.

With snow needles falling softly down

comes the shriek and whistle of the north wind

blowing: caw, caw cry the crows.

 

 

 

After that, I'm afraid, you're on your own, because I can't be sure what you want to say.

 

 

Then he appears,

unshaved for as long as he's gone.

He is quiet like the grave,

and light as the squirrel.

Oh, does he see the Christmas-wreath?

Does he know whose foot prints before the tomb?

I extend my hand to touch

a flake of snow,

a flake of his skin.

Edited by dedalus

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

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Lake

Come on, dedalus. Don't leave it unfinished.

I'd love to see your rewrite on the second part.

This is so good... the first part of the rewrite is already wonderful!

 

This is so good ... haven't read any of the comments at all, just the poem.

I'll read the comments later, find out what a fool I've been ....

 

First thing that strikes me is, you got the order wrong.

You may not agree. Gentlemen in this .. ahh .. business, nevah agree.

May I be allowed the duty, sah?

 

The graveyard is silent

only a few rusty leaves lie lifeless

amid tombstones, low and high, crude and grand,

standing, leaning, bearing secrets still in rows;

there is a squirrel leaping high upon the pine

and with snow needles falling falling down

comes the shriek and whistle of the north wind,

whistling: caw, caw cry the crows

 

After that, I'm afraid, you're on your own, because I can't be sure what you want to say.

 

 

Then he appears,

unshaved for as long as he's gone.

He is quiet like the grave,

and light as the squirrel.

Oh, does he see the Christmas-wreath?

Does he know whose foot prints before the tomb?

I extend my hand to touch

a flake of snow,

a flake of his skin.

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waxwings

For daedalus and all you others.

 

To make your own comments first, before reading those of others, is a most laudable approach.

 

To have a gentlemanly disagreement is a way to honor others. To not have disagreement would make this a pale, flat world indeed. Without disagreement we would never learn anything and go on drowning in the fat of our own contentment and self-importance.

 

Therefore, what of is the order wrong? Chances are good I could agree, but you should be more specific.

 

You have given a very nice alternate rendition of Lake's poetic idea. I am itching to purify the English, but it is perhaps better to leave it for later.

 

Therefore, would it not be nice if more of us would comment on their take not only of the poem but the English it is fashioned in.

 

Let us look at that kind of an analysis in the light of what is done in lit courses, to more fully appreciate, via examination and better understanding, the works of noted poets.

Edited by waxwings

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dedalus

Whew! ... I was afraid you'd be offended. Thank goodness for that. Returning to the poem, I honestly don't quite understand what you want to get at in the closing stanza. Elucidate!


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

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Lake

Thank you waxwings and dedalus for helping me in different aspect of the poem. I learn different things from your comments and suggestions.

 

"where there are three men walking together, one of them is bound to be able to teah me something"

 

Is there pure English at all? I'm not saying there are no mistakes in my writing, but just wondering if the language is changing all the time.

 

Thank you both!

 

Lake

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Lake
Elucidate!

 

 

I'm afraid I'm not even clear what I was trying to say. Illusion, longing, memory...?

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Lake

Revision 1

 

A squirrel in the pine tree,

snow-flattened shrubs,

rusty leaves lie lifeless amid

tombstones, low and high, crude and grand,

standing, bearing secrets still in rows.

Here, only the north wind whistles and shrieks,

only the squirrel leaps from tree to tree

brushing down a few pine needles

and startling a few crows.

 

Then he appears,

unshaven.

He is silent like the grave

and cunning as the squirrel.

Does he smell the fragrant wreath?

Does he see the footprints in front of his tomb?

I extend my hand to touch

a flake of snow,

a flake of his skin.

 

 

( I incorporated some suggestions in this revision, not sure if it is getting any better. I still like yours, dedalus, the fluidity of the language, the sound, the texture of the content, the tone... But you have to finish the whole thing, putting the two parts in unison.) :)

Edited by Lake

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worm

great job lake!

 

Then he appears,

unshaven.

He is silent like the grave

and cunning as the squirrel.

Does he smell the fragrant wreath?

Does he see the footprints in front of his tomb?

I extend my hand to touch

a flake of snow,

a flake of his skin.

 

but I would make some minor changes for this almost perfect revision, just for me,

 

Then he appears,

unshaven,

silent as the grave

and cunning as the squirrel.

Does he smell the fragrant wreath?

Does he see the footprints in front of his tomb?

I extend my hand

feeling the soft touch of

a flake of snow,

a flake of his skin.

 

for your reference.

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