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Prudhoe Bay

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tonyv

A vastness, leaching into estuaries,
------empties into a brackish inland sea.
---But there's no passage to an arctic ocean,
------no outlet from this inlet here for me.
I want to look straight up at luminaries
------whirling around the north star's steadfast light,
---to slumber in the star trails' dizzy motion
------where every day is but an endless night.

At ninety degrees north, whichever way
---one turns is south. I want to reach the cap,
------that polar ice pack far from every shore,
then to submerge. May colder currents sway
---an ambered me, extinct and trapped in sap,
------and plant me in the Baltic's muddy floor.

_____________________________

PRUDHOE BAY
STAR TRAILS
"Steadfast" -- an allusion to KEATS

Images which inspired this poem:
AURORA
SIGN
North Pole #4


19.jpg


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waxwings

This is a grand tour, and I love it, not to say your treatmant of the Baltic made me cry. You have a rare gift being able to do poems that echo what Norton calls the classic ode form. Yes, it is that form that has given breast milk to all the sonnet and certain related forms, e.g., the Onegin stanza, and quatorzains in general. I can hardly give it enough praise.

 

Anyone who does not spend some time on studying this is unlikely to discover the fact that, even though there are trochaic pieces (some quite huge) and, therefore, a slight reading difficulty, most is a most wonderfully varied iambic pentameter.

 

For purposes of perfecting your marvelous rhythms, I would start the first line w/ "A vastness..." So what if it is hypermetric pentameter. For same reason I see nothing wrong about "around" in line 6.

 

I wish there was some way to replace "luminaries", for even though, in modern parlance it is a synonym for stars, it is a bit of bathos, a bit of poeticism. The dictionary holds it to mean primarily the sun, the moon. Of course, suns are stars. This is strictly due to a feeling I had and not a real criticism. [?!diamonds!?]

 

I feel another rhythmic roughness in line 8, which would be no worse as "where every day is one more polar night". The metaphor between "cap" and "axis" is not entirely clean. Would replacing "far" w/ "point" hurt? The "remote" too says what "far" does and does it more poignantly. And that "and" at start of line 12 seems superfluos for both purposes: meaning and, esp. meter. I would support those who say that starting a line w/ "and" is better avoided unless it is indisputably needed for every possible style argument. Therefore, a "to" to start the last line would seem better and make the closure even stronger than it is. My last nit-pick is that the Baltic shores are known for the whitest, cleanest "sandy" beaches ever, not "muddy" by any stretch of imagination.

 

Yes, if at all possible I too would want to end my lif like an ant caught in amber for eternity. Thank you so very much for this fantastic poem.

 

See what you get for praising my linguistic acumen(?s). So ignore this, but write more of this kind. I do expevt you to take my poems to task whenever you can.

Edited by waxwings

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badger11

I admire the rich word choice that you seamlessly thread into this poetry. I read this 'fantasy' as seeking a place of identity, a place to be at peace, a place to experience a freedom. Perhaps a poem is such a place.

 

badge

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goldenlangur

Hi Tony,

 

The images which inspired this poem certainly touch a chord with me, particularly your evocation the light of the night sky. :D

 

 

There are several great details in your poem. I quote a few of my favourites:

 

no outlet from this inlet

 

 

The play in both the metaphorical and physical senses here, is inspired.

 

 

an ambered me, extinct and trapped in sap,

 

 

This is another unforgettable line and the echoing rhyme in trapped and sap works well.

 

 

If one could describe a personal paradise, I imagine this is yours :D

 

 

 

There's a pervading sense of immersion in a moment here.

 

 

Thank you.


goldenlangur

 

 

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

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tonyv
A beautiful and inspiring work- steadfast and true... just lovely Tony!

 

DC&J

Thanks, Juris ... I aim to please, and I'm glad my aim was true!

 

Tony :D


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tonyv

Thank you, Ikars, for your kind compliments and thorough analysis. I'll address each of your well-taken recommendations.

 

re:

For purposes of perfecting your marvelous rhythms, I would start the first line w/ "A vastness..." So what if it is hypermetric pentameter. For same reason I see nothing wrong about "around" in line 6.

I had considered a couple of possibilities before settling on vastness. I toyed with both a vastness (as you recommend), and a vast land. I don't know why I settled simply on vastness. Now that you've pointed it out, I can see a definite metrical flaw in my choice. Because I have the hypermetrical, I cannot use the headless iamb as I tried to. With your way, the line is a perfect iambic pentameter even with the hypermetrical. I will adopt your suggestion forthwith. (Note: Instead of "a vast land," I opted for "a vastness" because it evokes more than the geography e.g. some abstract concepts, too.)

 

I like your suggestion re around, too. Though (in this case) both my version and your suggestion are each perfect iambic pentameters, with the improvement made in the first line, I think the poem flows better with around. Also, use of around in lieu of the contraction 'round results in less of a poeticism. I'll apply this suggestion right away, too.

 

 

re:

I wish there was some way to replace "luminaries", for even though, in modern parlance it is a synonym for stars, it is a bit of bathos, a bit of poeticism. The dictionary holds it to mean primarily the sun, the moon. Of course, suns are stars. This is strictly due to a feeling I had and not a real criticism. [?!diamonds!?]

I hear what you're saying, but I was intent on using estuaries in L1, and I really wanted L5 to rhyme with L1. Problem is, there aren't too many words that will yield even a near rhyme with estuaries and still be applicable. Therefore, since it makes sense (my dictionary says a luminary is "an object, such as a celestial body, that gives light"), and it's use is not outright offensive, I'll keep it.

 

 

re:

I feel another rhythmic roughness in line 8, which would be no worse as "where every day is one more polar night".

I changed the line to "where every day is but an endless night." The polar night is, metaphorically speaking, an endless night, and I've decided to use the word polar later on in the poem in L11.

 

 

[i reconsidered the omission of "there." Explanation to follow.]

 

Explanation:

 

I decided to keep the word "there" in L8 for clarity. Star trails, though not really able to be seen by the human eye alone, can be captured by a camera set for a long time exposure from anywhere, not just at the north pole. That's why I think "there" is critical, so the reader doesn't infer that the "endless night" is connected to the star trails or that wherever there are star trails there is polar night. Rather the endless night is there ... at the north pole.

 

 

re:

The metaphor between "cap" and "axis" is not entirely clean. Would replacing "far" w/ "point" hurt? The "remote" too says what "far" does and does it more poignantly.

Agreed. I made it even less of a stretch by eliminating any mention of the axis and focusing on the cap/polar ice pack.

 

 

re:

And that "and" at start of line 12 seems superfluos for both purposes: meaning and, esp. meter. I would support those who say that starting a line w/ "and" is better avoided unless it is indisputably needed for every possible style argument. Therefore, a "to" to start the last line would seem better and make the closure even stronger than it is.

Agreed. I eliminated the and at the beginning of L12, but I kept it in the last line. I feel that there it's necessary for clarity.

 

 

re:

My last nit-pick is that the Baltic shores are known for the whitest, cleanest "sandy" beaches ever, not "muddy" by any stretch of imagination.

I believe you, and my parents would probably corroborate what you have said, but I'll keep muddy because I'm referring to the ocean floor at its deepest points. And even if that's not in fact muddy, I'll invoke a bit of poetic license to better express my sentiment.

 

 

re:

See what you get for praising my linguistic acumen(?s). So ignore this, but write more of this kind. I do expevt you to take my poems to task whenever you can.

I'm glad I did. No regrets here. Your suggestions have yielded major improvements.

 

 

With appreciation,

 

Tony

 

 

PS -- I haven't overlooked your recently submitted villanelle. I look forward to delighting in it after some sleep.

 

 

 

Original Version:

 

Vastness, leaching into estuaries,

------empties into a brackish inland sea.

---But there's no passage to an arctic ocean,

------no outlet from this inlet here for me.

I want to look straight up at luminaries

------whirling 'round the north star's steadfast light,

---to slumber in the star trails' dizzy motion

------there where every day it's polar night.

 

At ninety degrees north, whichever way

---one turns is south. I want to reach the cap,

------that axis far removed from any shore,

and then to submerge. May colder currents sway

---an ambered me, extinct and trapped in sap,

------and plant me in the Baltic's muddy floor.


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tonyv
I admire the rich word choice that you seamlessly thread into this poetry.

Aw, Badge.:blush: Thank you, but unfortunately my vocabulary isn't really as rich as the vocabulary of my peers from across the pond (esp. you and Frank). In my case, most of the credit goes to my trusty thesaurus and dictionary, working in tandem, of course.

 

I read this 'fantasy' as seeking a place of identity, a place to be at peace, a place to experience a freedom. Perhaps a poem is such a place.

It's an extension of my "far-seeing place." :icon_cool:

 

Thank you!

 

Tony :D


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tonyv

Thank you, Goldenlangur! I, too, was kind of excited about the parts you've highlighted. I feel they make the poem, and I'm delighted that you've taken note of them. :D

 

Tony :icon_sunny:


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Lake

Beautiful! You're good at such (science) poems. It is very admirable. The vacab is rich and fresh as others commented. The line "and plant me in the Baltic's muddy floor" is a strong ending, wraps up the poem nicely.

 

Very enjoyable read.

 

Lake

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tonyv
Beautiful! You're good at such (science) poems. It is very admirable. The vacab is rich and fresh as others commented. The line "and plant me in the Baltic's muddy floor" is a strong ending, wraps up the poem nicely.

 

Very enjoyable read.

 

Lake

Thank you, Lake! I'm glad you liked the earth science aspects of the poem and the last line.

 

Tony :)


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waxwings
Thank you, Ikars, for your kind compliments and thorough analysis. I'll address each of your well-taken recommendations.

 

I am glad I was able to touch on just the places that seemed worth while scrutiny.

 

I will need aday or so, to make sure (now that you have given me some background) to respond in a fruitful manner. Repeated readings having that make me see things better, and I am likely to reverse/refine my arguments. Of course, while seeing some of the original better than I thought, there are a few minors I'd like to air. Copying your two versions I find my spell and grammar check disagrees with some ideas a had before.

 

As for my villanelle, take your time. Even though I think the central poem is solid there are some rough edges and spots I would really love to have some help with/second opinion.

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worm

Hi Tony:

At first glance, I was overwhelmed by the vastness and thought I could only make a pig of myself . The abstruseness mysteriously allures me here again. I want to decipher the secrets behind the cryptic words.

 

There are numerous ways to south but I chooses onward to the north cap, where the star conducts, where I could be fossilized in the deep muddy ground for eternity. The luminaries up in the sky, and muddy floor down to Baltic floor are two great imageries, in my understanding, I aim high while setting the feet rooted down into the earth.

 

one concern here, in L5,

 

there where every day is endless night.

 

the tongue tumbles with ‘there’, the musical flow a little broken. just my read..

 

for the last line, an ambered me, very beautiful, and muddy is very poetical. I know from your explanation the floor is a flawless take considering the rhyme and meaning, but is there any possibility for a replacement of ‘land’, rhyming with ‘sap’, ‘cap’?

 

that axis far removed from any shore, revised by that polar ice pack far from every shore, makes the perspective more tangible to the cap.

 

This poem creates a spectacular sight, far-reaching. I appreciate the angle you adopted. despite the regret that version starts from grandeur, yet obstructed by no excess to the grandest, the emotion is so strongly expressed in the second part, penetrating into the laudable ambitious vastness, deepness and highness, overflowing an admirable heroic and unconstrained air.

 

thanks for your poem.

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tonyv
Thank you, Ikars, for your kind compliments and thorough analysis. I'll address each of your well-taken recommendations.

 

I am glad I was able to touch on just the places that seemed worth while scrutiny.

 

I will need aday or so, to make sure (now that you have given me some background) to respond in a fruitful manner. Repeated readings having that make me see things better, and I am likely to reverse/refine my arguments. Of course, while seeing some of the original better than I thought, there are a few minors I'd like to air. Copying your two versions I find my spell and grammar check disagrees with some ideas a had before.

 

As for my villanelle, take your time. Even though I think the central poem is solid there are some rough edges and spots I would really love to have some help with/second opinion.

Thanks again, Ikars. And also, there's no hurry. This poem is already greatly improved, thanks to your discerning eye. And I haven't forgotten about your villanelle. I don't want to rush through it. I'm just a bit behind on my work here, but I intend to catch up soon!

 

Tony


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tonyv

Worm! I'm excited and thrilled by your contemplative review!

 

There are numerous ways to south but I chooses onward to the north cap, where the star conducts, where I could be fossilized in the deep muddy ground for eternity. The luminaries up in the sky, and muddy floor down to Baltic floor are two great imageries, in my understanding, I aim high while setting the feet rooted down into the earth.

I love how you express this. And true, the muddy floor is where the speaker wants to be.

 

one concern here, in L5,

 

there where every day is endless night.

 

the tongue tumbles with ‘there’, the musical flow a little broken. just my read..

Yes, you're not alone on this one. I liken my use of there to Edgar Bowers' use of the same in L10 of the following poem:

 

 

The Astronomers of Mont Blanc

 

Who are you there that, from your icy tower,

Explore the colder distances, the far

Escape of your whole universe to night;

That watch the moon’s blue craters, shadowy crust,

And blunted mountains mildly drift and glare,

Ballooned in ghostly earnest on your sight;

Who are you, and what hope persuades your trust?

 

It is your hope that you will know the end

And compass of our ignorant restraint

There in lost time, where what was done is done

Forever as a havoc overhead.

Aging, you search to master in the faint

Persistent fortune which you gaze upon

The perfect order trusted to the dead.

 

 

I would love to know if you and waxwings have the same type of difficulty with the use and placement of "there" in the Bowers poem as in mine.

 

for the last line, an ambered me, very beautiful, and muddy is very poetical. I know from your explanation the floor is a flawless take considering the rhyme and meaning, but is there any possibility for a replacement of ‘land’, rhyming with ‘sap’, ‘cap’?

There is something along the lines of what you're suggesting. "Shore" in L11 could be changed to "land" and the last two words of the poem could be changed to something like "pristine sand." Here's the sestet with this modification:

 

 

At ninety degrees north, whichever way

---one turns is south. I want to reach the cap,

------that polar ice pack far from every land,

then to submerge. May colder currents sway

---an ambered me, extinct and trapped in sap,

------and plant me in the Baltic's pristine sand.

 

 

Of course, a better word could be found for "pristine," but I wanted to illustrate how it could be made to work metrically and how it could be used to alter the meaning in a subtle fashion. This is an astute observation and keen idea worthy of serious consideration, Worm. But I'll probably leave it with shore/floor for now, because I have my heart set on the mud.

 

that axis far removed from any shore, revised by that polar ice pack far from every shore, makes the perspective more tangible to the cap.

I'm indeed pleased with the outcome of that fix. Glad it worked.

 

This poem creates a spectacular sight, far-reaching. I appreciate the angle you adopted. despite the regret that version starts from grandeur, yet obstructed by no excess to the grandest, the emotion is so strongly expressed in the second part, penetrating into the laudable ambitious vastness, deepness and highness, overflowing an admirable heroic and unconstrained air.

 

thanks for your poem.

I very much like your input on this one. Thanks again!

 

Tony


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waxwings

To do what you intended (and I am not totally sure I'd advise it for the line may be longer to be sustained by the rhythm and does soundharsh/jammed as worm says, put a comma between there and where. The problem is re audience will ignore the comma and still hear that sound collision.

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tonyv
To do what you intended (and I am not totally sure I'd advise it for the line may be longer to be sustained by the rhythm and does soundharsh/jammed as worm says, put a comma between there and where. The problem is re audience will ignore the comma and still hear that sound collision.

Ike, I was wondering about that. I, myself, like the prospect of the comma and would not be averse to using it so long as it doesn't alter meaning. Would meaning be the same with the addition of a comma between there and where?


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worm
Worm! I'm excited and thrilled by your contemplative review!

Thanks Tony! I feel extremely flattered at your words.

It is your hope that you will know the end

And compass of our ignorant restraint

There in lost time, where what was done is done

Forever as a havoc overhead.

 

There is a differnece Tony, his there and yours, coz he steers clear of the where, both of which supplement each other spontaneously without a sound collision(as is put by waxwings). Beside, the word there for his poem is necessary, separated by a line’s space away from the end , the central word (if not misconceived). A comma, apparently is not a cure for the sound problem, even we don't consider loyalty of the changed. If we forget there, what you attempt to convey is still clear? I read so.

 

Of course, a better word could be found for "pristine," but I wanted to illustrate how it could be made to work metrically and how it could be used to alter the meaning in a subtle fashion. This is an astute observation and keen idea worthy of serious consideration, Worm. But I'll probably leave it with shore/floor for now, because I have my heart set on the mud.

 

Obviously your clench to shore and floor is convincing, making the rhymes diversified, otherwise monotone. I appreciate your seriousness to every detail from your readers.

 

I very much like your input on this one. Thanks again!

 

Your favorable response, like all others' I’ve received, is an extra bonus to me, which I would take to sustain my long journey. Thanks very much!

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tonyv
To do what you intended (and I am not totally sure I'd advise it for the line may be longer to be sustained by the rhythm and does soundharsh/jammed as worm says, put a comma between there and where. The problem is re audience will ignore the comma and still hear that sound collision.

Yes, Ike, that seems to be the consensus. I've decided to change the line again to what I had changed it (before I changed it back) when I replied to you above. (Explanation follows in reply to Worm in this post.)

 

 

Worm! I'm excited and thrilled by your contemplative review!

Thanks Tony! I feel extremely flattered at your words.

It is your hope that you will know the end

And compass of our ignorant restraint

There in lost time, where what was done is done

Forever as a havoc overhead.

 

There is a differnece Tony, his there and yours, coz he steers clear of the where, both of which supplement each other spontaneously without a sound collision(as is put by waxwings). Beside, the word there for his poem is necessary, separated by a line’s space away from the end , the central word (if not misconceived).

Thanks for taking a look at the other poem and for answering that for me, Worm! The difference between the ways the word is used in each poem and the resulting sound effects of each are considerably more clear for me now.

 

A comma, apparently is not a cure for the sound problem, even we don't consider loyalty of the changed. If we forget there, what you attempt to convey is still clear? I read so.

Settled. I will change the last line to read (as I had mentioned in my reply to Waxwings in Post #7) to read as follows:

 

where every day is but an endless night ....

 

You have told me that the meaning is not lost to the reader, and I accept that, with gratitude. Furthermore, I like the way the poem reads without there/where to "muddy the waters." I'll add that, even if the meaning is slightly altered or read a bit differently by another reader, it's still okay. That's part of the fun of it! It's a poem and not a legal document or instruction manual. Thank you both again for all your time and effort to help me!

 

Tony


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waxwings
You have told me that the meaning is not lost to the reader, and I accept that, with gratitude. Furthermore, I like the way the poem reads without there/where to "muddy the waters." I'll add that, even if the meaning is slightly altered or read a bit differently by another reader, it's still okay. That's part of the fun of it! It's a poem and not a legal document or instruction manual. Thank you both again for all your time and effort to help me!

 

Tony

 

I have removed most of tony's reply to worm except for what, as far as I have heard, may not be a smart thing to do in a poem and that is that although a poem is not a legal document nor an instruction manual, it is considered poor practice to contradict reality.

 

That is why I felt saying "muddy bottom" is not right unless the poet knows what the bottom is like but say what is generally assumed to be true. Of course, you tony are entitled to write what you feel emotionally is the case, although then I would think you should somehow convince the reader that that is the case.

 

All the above has no bearing on the excellence of this poem.

 

BTW, I still think "luminaries" is much too fancy a word. I find "armillaries" a rhyme and a word that has to do w/rotating frameworks!!!!!!

Edited by waxwings

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tonyv

Your points are again well taken, Ikars.

 

I have removed most of tony's reply to worm except for what, as far as I have heard, may not be a smart thing to do in a poem and that is that although a poem is not a legal document nor an instruction manual, it is considered poor practice to contradict reality.

 

That is why I felt saying "muddy bottom" is not right unless the poet knows what the bottom is like but say what is generally assumed to be true. Of course, you tony are entitled to write what you feel emotionally is the case, although then I would think you should somehow convince the reader that that is the case.

 

All the above has no bearing on the excellence of this poem.

I'll just hide behind the shield of ARTISTIC LICENSE and cite the following points from a wiki article:

 

"For example, if a visual artist decided it was more artistically desirable to portray St. Paul's Cathedral next to the Houses of Parliament in a scene of London, even though in reality they are not close together, that would be artistic license ....

 

"In summary, artistic license is:

 

* Entirely at the artist's discretion

* Intended to be tolerated by the viewer (cf. "willing suspension of disbelief")[3]

* Useful for filling in gaps, whether they be factual, compositional, historical or other gaps[4]

* Used consciously or unconsciously, intentionally or unintentionally or in tandem[5]

 

Artistic license often provokes controversy by offending those who resent the reinterpretation of cherished beliefs or previous works ...."

 

BTW, I still think "luminaries" is much too fancy a word. I find "armillaries" a rhyme and a word that has to do w/rotating frameworks!!!!!!

I understand, but I'll keep luminaries for now. But incorporating the ARMILLARY SPHERE into this poem (or another one like it) is a novel idea for exploration.

 

Thanks again for your thoughts and ideas. The poem is a better work as a result of them!

 

Tony


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waxwings
Your points are again well taken, Ikars.

 

I'll just hide behind the shield of ARTISTIC LICENSE and cite the following points from a wiki article:

 

I have no cherished ideas and am in favor but must add that "willingness to suspend disbelief" must be invoked (per my daughter w/degree in theatre arts), and it is the responsibilityof the artist to charm, with her/his acumen, the beholder.... There is nothing wrong with the word "muddy" except, in my supposedly artistic sensibility, it is a relatively lowly one among nobler, loftier words of the poem, and you, a fine fellow, being stuck in "mud". Moreover, "sandy" would be 'cleaner', more along lines of 'poetic/artistic license' regardless of what the bottom is truly like.

 

BTW, I still think "luminaries" is much too fancy a word. I find "armillaries" a rhyme and a word that has to do w/rotating frameworks!!!!!!

 

I understand, but I'll keep luminaries for now. But incorporating the ARMILLARY SPHERE into this poem (or another one like it) is a novel idea for exploration.

 

I did not suggest "armillary sphere" but "armillary" only, a 'construct of loops and rings' much in keeping w/tracks stars leave after time exposure.

 

Thanks again for your thoughts and ideas. The poem is a better work as a result of them!

 

Tony

Edited by waxwings

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tonyv
There is nothing wrong with the word "muddy" except, in my supposedly artistic sensibility, it is a relatively lowly one among nobler, loftier words of the poem, and you, a fine fellow, being stuck in "mud".

Thank you again, Ikars. As upstanding as I may appear to be :icon_cool:, I often find myself relegated to "stuck in mud." :)

 

I did not suggest "armillary sphere" but "armillary" only, a 'construct of loops and rings' much in keeping w/tracks stars leave after time exposure.[/color]

I did get the gist of what you were saying. I just couldn't express what I wanted to say very well. And I do like the image evoked by "armillary." Thanks again for that!

 

Tony

 

 

PS -- I received your pm, and I'll reply soon.


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dedalus

Tony,

 

Sorry for the delay in reading and responding to this ... it is totally bleedin' EXCELLENT! This, in all honesty, is one of the finest poems of yours I think I've ever seen, and certainly one of the best poems I've read for quite some time! Kudos, my friend!! Can we nominate this for something??

 

Bren (bedazzled and broadly grinning)


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

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tonyv

Thank you, Brendan. I'm humbled ...

 

Delighted that you enjoyed it,

 

Tony


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