Jump to content
Poetry Magnum Opus
JoelJosol

Not Being Here

Recommended Posts

JoelJosol

On the window, sunlight flashes on and off

as clouds assemble overhead.

 

Daylight, streaming through the curtains,

is a false hope once overcast gets here.

 

There is no breeze to cool the skin.

It is likely too soon for a thunderstorm.

 

But, what do I know? Your cancer spread

like clouds in what had been a blue sky.

 

At 8pm this evening, the rains came.

It was a downpour.

Edited by JoelJosol

"Words are not things, and yet they are not non-things either." - Ann Lauterbach

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tinker

Hi Joel, Wow this was a kick in the gut. The ambivlence of the weather, the oppression, the forboding is present in your images yet when it hits it is a surprise.

 

This isn't in the workshop so I am to assume this is the completed poem however I know you are open to listening to other's perspectives. I note, your usual lyrical sense of rhythm wasn't present in the first phrase. "From window," sounds curt and awkward to me. If it were mine, I would add "the" or "my" or "our" before the word window.

 

I also wanted to see the clouds a little better...I wanted to see the shape or color or expanse. I felt a little cheated on the image which you normally do so well. These nits are very minor in the big picture. Just throwing out ideas.

 

This poem has impact, it is felt as well as heard. A good one.

 

~~Tink


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
waxwings

A short but impressive and convincing poem, Joel.

 

It is difficult for me to not throw in a linguistic/semantic quibble.

 

To begin with, I wholly agree with tink about the impact and enjoyment this poem brings. I would say she is right about "From window" being awkward English. But I do not see that "My window" would be the solution because, in the context, sense and thrust(?) of this poem, it matters not whose window it is. It is obviously yours as the poem is a result of what you observe/feel. What bothers me is, semantically, that sunlight comes/flashes/whatever NOT from but through a window, i.e., your telling seems to say that it is the window, as it were, that makes the sunlight.

 

Mine is a very tiny objection, but one not utmostly weighed word can reduce the quality of a significant poem such as this.

 

tinker says you dont mind, but if me sticking my editing nose into a finished poem is objectionable, please, please let me know. Even more dear would be a short reply whether my suggestion is reasonable or not. I mean well, but, if it is not, I surely would love being corrected.

 

Thanks for the satisfying read.

Edited by waxwings

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JoelJosol

Thanks for your feedback, Tinker and waxwings. I don't consider my poems as complete though. They are always on a journey. And I do value crits. It's the only way to learn and grow.

 

I caught that awkwardness but in the opening line, but was not sure that dropping article 'the' which was there originally disrupted the flow. I decided to use 'on' to replace the 'from'. Hopefully that clarified the image semantically. Maybe some other preposition could be appropriate but this one came to top of mind. I have no time to review my English here but am glad there is waxwings.

 

I wrote this poem for my two friends who each lost a wife in their family's battle with breast cancer. It's Breast Cancer Awareness month in the Philippines.


"Words are not things, and yet they are not non-things either." - Ann Lauterbach

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tinker
I wrote this poem for my two friends who each lost a wife in their family's battle with breast cancer. It's Breast Cancer Awareness month in the Philippines.

 

Thanks for this Joel, I am a breast cancer survivor. It has been 16 years since my diagnosis. Awareness is key to survival. I was blessed to catch it in the early stages.

 

~~Tink


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JoelJosol

Yes, Tink. Catching it early makes all the difference.


"Words are not things, and yet they are not non-things either." - Ann Lauterbach

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tonyv

A well composed and hard hitting poem, Joel, as others have already remarked. The way the sunlight "flashes on and off" as "clouds assemble overhead" is novel. I also like how you personify "overcast":

 

Daylight streaming through the curtains

is a false hope once overcast gets here.

I'm not sure, but I wonder if "has" in L8 should be "had"?

 

Tony


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
waxwings

Now that I think I see what you experienced, I would make some changes that should not in the least affect the emotional message you are sharing with us. I am addressing each pair of lines separately and in turn. I am delighted if my horning in helps you to polish your excellent poem. Of course, tinker and toni have been equally helpful and have made me a more attentive reader.

 

As clouds assemble overhead,

sunlight flashes on and off my windowpane.

 

The argument for the change is that the conditions causing the flashing precede it in real time, therefore why not in the poem..

 

I would placed the interjective phrase (in line 3) in commas to help the reader immediately grasp that it is the main clause that is of serious import.

 

Daylight, streaming through the curtains,

is a false hope once the sky gets overcast.

 

I believe that as time goes on and people (not you) in general get sloppier and insert "gets" in places literary speech would not have it. To say that "when the train gets here" is OK, but "overcast" is not that kind of a noun/thing, i.e. one that is known 'to arrive on time'. And giving it the definite article is tantamount to saying "that overcast", i.e. the one that is , say, darker than the other overcasts we have seen.

- - - Please note: I think this carries a most excellent metaphor to what you are writing the poem about.

 

Lines 5&6 carry on marvelously what the others began, but there is one too formal/mechanistic/scientific word that hints of either a wild guess or a mathematically calculated chance.

 

There is no breeze to cool the skin.

It is likely (probably) too soon for a thunderstorm.

 

toni said it, and the rationale is that, grammatically, "has" points to a condition that did prevail in some more distant past but not up to the immediate present. That seems counter to what you are experiencing as a friend. The ellision "it's" seems a bit frivolous in view of the poem's tenor.

 

But, what do I know? Your cancer spread

like clouds in what had been a blue sky.

 

At 8pm this evening, the rains came.

It was a downpour.

 

An excellent, wonderful allegory to close a fine poem.

Edited by waxwings

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JoelJosol

Thanks tony and waxwings for your feedback. I learned a lot. As a second language, I tap English as I had known it. I might need to do some review of my usage.


"Words are not things, and yet they are not non-things either." - Ann Lauterbach

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JoelJosol

I applied all your feedback to the poem.

 

The reason I stayed with L1L2 as is, is that I was not into the cause-and-effect in the stanza. I was more leading the reader to get ahead and figure out what probably causes the behavior, and validate his thought process as the poem unfolds.

 

The progression went from affirmation to negation.

 

On the overcast line, I was after the alliteration of 'o' (once overcast) and the sound of 'c' and 'g' with 's' (overCast Gets). Unless that is semantically not possible, I am willing to make that change.


"Words are not things, and yet they are not non-things either." - Ann Lauterbach

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tonyv
Thanks tony and waxwings for your feedback. I learned a lot. As a second language, I tap English as I had known it. I might need to do some review of my usage.

I think your usage is just fine. I thought that perhaps "has" should be past tense, because "spread" was past tense.

I love the poem.

 

Tony


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
waxwings
I applied all your feedback to the poem.

 

The reason I stayed with L1L2 as is, is that I was not into the cause-and-effect in the stanza. I was more leading the reader to get ahead and figure out what probably causes the behavior, and validate his thought process as the poem unfolds.

 

The progression went from affirmation to negation.

 

On the overcast line, I was after the alliteration of 'o' (once overcast) and the sound of 'c' and 'g' with 's' (overCast Gets). Unless that is semantically not possible, I am willing to make that change.

 

Your ability to grasp the fine differences between ways of speaking about the same subject and theme is admirable.

 

Because you have affirmed that cause and effect in L's 1&2 was not of interest to you, I am forced to re-examine the reason why I thought switching lines 1 & 2 would smoothe the Englishness. Actually, I now see the problem is in the use of the "as" and I see many native English speakers misuse that preposition istead of "when" and "while".

 

To say "sunlight flashing as the clouds gather", invokes what in English could well be taken as a comparison or a simile, i.e., the flashing occurs in a manner similar to that in which clouds gather. Of course, "as" can be a substitute for "when" but not for "while. One can say, he opened the door as I arrived, but a better way to say it would be, he opened the door just as I arrived. In effect, in the second "as" marks a moment when two thevents take place simultaneously. Other ways of saying almost the same include: He opened the door when I arrived, or, he opened the door the instant I arrived (veddy British, that).

 

Thus, the edit I should have suggesred would be:

 

Sunlight flashes on and off the window panes

while clouds assemble overhead.

 

As long as you can feel the differences between those various ways, you should certainly use whichever makes it feel right for you. I hope you do not consider my lengthy elaboration as an unnecessary burden on your time and thinking.

Edited by waxwings

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JoelJosol

No worries, waxwings. It is education for me on the English language. I will use 'while'. It works sonically too with 'window panes'.


"Words are not things, and yet they are not non-things either." - Ann Lauterbach

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Aleksandra

Lovely, moving poem. Joel, I got the grief part, from the first time I read this poem .

 

Here is very clear:

 

At 8pm this evening, the rains came.

It was a downpour.

 

This is a class poem. The metaphors are amazing and offers a sad feeling to the reader.

 

Aleksandra


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

History of Macedonia

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.