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Lake

His Tears

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Lake

My father is tough-minded, a man

who doesn't shed his tears easily.

 

Sometimes, there are tears

like dewdrops trembling in his laughter.

 

Last time he waved good-bye to his brother

with his head turned away, eyes misty.

 

Now, he leans back in his big armchair,

still, only tears tumbling down.

 

I search for the last words in his tears

as they fall slowly, and slowly

 

until they stop and dry up.

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badger11
like dewdrops trembling in his laughter.

 

What a beautiful line Lake.

 

Some suggestions to use the word 'tears' less, but to retain his battle to be silent.

 

My father is tough-minded.

 

Sometimes, there are tears

like dewdrops trembling in his laughter.

 

Last time he waved good-bye to his brother,

with his head turned away.

 

Now, he leans back in his big armchair,

still, only his hands moist.

 

I search for his last words

as they fall slowly, and slowly

 

until they stop and dry up.

Edited by badger11

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Benjamin

A poignant write which emphasizes the proud and tacit (although sometimes frustrating) nature that many older folk possess. 11 good lines although Badger made a valid comment on using “tears” four times. Benjamin

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tonyv

The poem gives the sense of passing time. The first couplet is like something from the past, a memory, perhaps. The rest of it concerns the present. I think it takes courage to confront something of this personal nature.

 

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 Badger,

 

Thank you for your suggestions. I also felt there were too many tears, but on the other hand I'd like to see the effect of the repetition. Apparently, it didn't work well. I'll have another think. At least I know there's one tear that can be taken out. Glad you liked the second line.

 

Many thanks for your read and thought.

 

Lake

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Lake

Hi Benjamin,

 

Thank you for your reply. Yes, 'tacit', indeed. I'll have another look at 'tear'.

 

Cheers,

 

Lake

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Lake

Yes, Tony, it is hard to write things like this. And you read it well, from the memory to the present.

 

Best,

 

Lake

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goldenlangur

Hi Lake,

 

 

Delicate and full of feeling your poem is truly beautiful.

 

For what it's worth I think beginning and closing your poem with ' tears' works for me but badge has an excellent critical eye.

 

 

I search for the last words in his tears

as they fall slowly, and slowly

 

until they stop and dry up.

 

 

I look forward to seeing what you do with this.

 

 

Thank you.


goldenlangur

 

 

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

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badger11
Hi Badger,

 

Thank you for your suggestions. I also felt there were too many tears, but on the other hand I'd like to see the effect of the repetition. Apparently, it didn't work well. I'll have another think. At least I know there's one tear that can be taken out. Glad you liked the second line.

 

Many thanks for your read and thought.

 

Lake

 

That is for you to decide Lake. You will no doubt have more positive and less positive comments from the various internet forums. I would add the pleasure of visiting a Lake poem is that you experiment with your writing. That is the courage of a writer.

 

For what it's worth I think beginning and closing your poem with ' tears' works for me

 

I think gl makes a valid point for structure, and it does make the ending both explicit and subtle (stronger than my suggestion with the implicit parallel to tears)

 

badge

Edited by badger11

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Lake

Thank Golden for you comments. I pondered over Badger's crits and will work out another version as you are expecting

 

I look forward to seeing what you do with this.

 

Thank you kindly.

 

Lake

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Lake

Hi again, Badge.

 

Thank you for your encouragement. I do need the courage and need to decide which way to go, explicit or implicit.

 

I worked out another version, taking your suggestions into consideration. let's see if it is better or worse.

 

His Tears

 

My father is a man who

doesn't shed his tears easily.

 

Sometimes, there are dewdrops

glittering in his hearty laughter.

 

Last time he waved good-bye to his

brother, a mist rose from his eyes.

 

Now, he leans back in his armchair

still, only tears tumbling down.

 

I look for his last words in them

as they fall slowly, and slowly

 

until they stop and dry up.

 

 

Any thought on this one? I may lose something or gain something.

 

Much appreciated.

 

Lake

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badger11
His Tears

 

My father is a man who

doesn't shed his tears easily.----preferred the original, 'tough-minded' had a hardness in itself

 

Sometimes, there are dewdrops ---gl made a goodpoint about tears beginning/end structure

glittering in his hearty laughter.------preferred the original simile, 'trembling' captured the tension

------------------------------------the alliterative 't' of tears/trembling threaded

------------------------------------'hearty' is loud and too descriptive, my initial picture was a man who restrained his emotions whereas 'glittering' is expressive

 

Last time he waved good-bye to his

brother, a mist rose from his eyes.-------why keep mentioning eyes/mist/tears

----------------------------------------besides mist/eyes analogy is a familiar one

----------------------------------------restraint in the form, rather than obvious repetiton

----------------------------------------again this is emotive rather than 'hard hearted'

 

Now, he leans back in his armchair

still, only tears tumbling down.-----------'tumbling' is an overflow, a breaking of the 'dam'

----------------------------------------does not thread with 'slowly' in the last lines

 

I look for his last words in them---------'in them' is far less musical than the original

as they fall slowly, and slowly

 

until they stop and dry up.

 

 

Any thought on this one? I may lose something or gain something.

 

Much appreciated.

 

Lake

 

The original is better paced and structured. My advice is to focus on his 'restraint' and 'respressed' feelings. If you stray from that intention (if that was the intention) then the picture may be more accurate to life - the person had an expressive 'hearty' laugh' - but it dilutes the poem's intensity.

 

The original poem is one to 'tinker' with rather than 'slash'. The key is to work it as a poem and not a diary entry.

 

hope that helps, ignore if it doesn't, and/or hopefully others will offer an opinion.

 

badge

Edited by badger11

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Lake

Ok, that's a failed attempt, I'll go back to the original. I have difficulty at editing .

I see 'tumbling' is not an adequate word, I'll try to find another expression.

If 'tears' are changed to 'hands' as in your suggestion, I'm not sure that readers understand what 'they' refer to. Or I may worry too much?

But I've learned something more from your comments on my edit.

Probably I'll let it sit for a while before coming back to it.

 

Thanks, Badge.

 

Lake

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Tinker

Hi Lake, This poem is quite touching. It certainly lets the reader get a glimpse of the man. A man you clearly love, our affection is evident in how you approach the subject.

 

Reading the comments and your 2nd version, I am reminded just how difficult finding just the right phrase is.

 

Please don't take away "tough minded". I immediately pictured him with those words and liked him.

 

I certainly agree with Badger, too many "tears" in the poem but you don't have to remove the word entirely. GL offers one good idea, Ultimately the removal of not of one or more is what sounds best to you. In my opinion repetition is a very effective tool but it works best when it is a phrase or a single word in the same place in each stanza or line., not simply a single word randomly placed in each stanza.

 

This as Badger already pointed out is a beautiful line.

 

Sometimes, there are tears

like dewdrops trembling in his laughter.

Your rewrite adds and loses something.

 

Sometimes, there are dewdrops

glittering in his hearty laughter.

 

I like the removal of the word "tears like" and the addition of the "hearty" but glittering is almost cliche, where trembling seemed the perfect word to me.

 

I think your poem is beaurtiful and I don't think a rewrite need be so drastic as the strip it of its life. A word removed or added might be all that is needed. Tha is yours to decide.

 

~~Tink


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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

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waxwings
My father is tough-minded, a man

who doesn't shed his tears easily.

 

Sometimes, there are tears

like dewdrops trembling in his laughter.

 

Last time he waved good-bye to his brother

with his head turned away, eyes misty.

 

Now, he leans back in his big armchair,

still, only tears tumbling down.

 

I search for the last words in his tears

as they fall slowly, and slowly

 

until they stop and dry up.

 

Other members' good suggestions notwithstanding, I would not like to see much changed, not a word left out but I wonder if it were OK to say

 

Sometimes, there are tears in his laughter

trembing like dewdrops trembling in his laughter.

 

I do admit though that even if the thought may be slightly more lucid there is less music in my version. Here is another

 

Sometimes, trembling like dewdrops,

there are tears

like dewdrops trembling in his laughter.

 

Or, perhaps,

 

Sometimes, in his laughter,

there are tears trembling

like dewdrops trembling in his laughter.

 

What I amtrying to say that there is unclarity whether the teras are trembling in his laughter, like dewdrops migh or are the tears in his laughter trembling like dewdrops.

 

The rest of you may sneer, but I am an outsider looking into English and finding that organizing the temporal order of images well, is very important, and it is an idea I have recently heard about from real experts of that language. And while I think the true poem inside this written one is marvelous, I did immediately feel uneasy and uncertain of what the complete image is, or wkat Lake wants it to be.

 

And I certainly like ev'ry other line and thought in this poignant poem.

Edited by waxwings

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Lake

Hi Tinker,

 

Thank you very much for your advice on the repetition, it reminds me now the repetition requires a pattern, doesn't it? And I'm glad that you told me what you like and what you don't. Will continue to work on it.

 

Appreciate very much your close read and careful thought.

 

Lake

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Lake

Hi WW,

 

Your rearrangement of the phrases certainly adds more for me to think. And your question at the end "whether the teras are trembling in his laughter, like dewdrops migh or are the tears in his laughter trembling like dewdrops" makes me scratch my head. :icon_redface: What I can say now is that I don't know or either way. This is like a brain teaser that is too much for my little brain to untangle.

 

I am glad that on the whole you like it though it needs more work as I am so aware of.

 

Best regards,

 

Lake

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waxwings
Hi WW,

 

Your rearrangement of the phrases certainly adds more for me to think. And your question at the end "whether the teras are trembling in his laughter, like dewdrops migh or are the tears in his laughter trembling like dewdrops" makes me scratch my head. :icon_redface: What I can say now is that I don't know or either way. This is like a brain teaser that is too much for my little brain to untangle.

 

I am glad that on the whole you like it though it needs more work as I am so aware of.

 

Best regards,

 

Lake

 

Whar I have said is that there can be complexity in a simple thought, in this case, once most of the embellishments have been removed, you give us the image of a lughter whish hides a great sadness but does so imperfectly and we who listen with empathy do 'hear' that sadness. You manage this by the simple nicely poetic idea: there are tears in his laughter. But that would be an often used phras, if you had not embellished it by saying the 'tears are not calm or just gentle but do tremble and trump that by the simile like dewdrops. That is another poetic layer because , as a rule, tears do not tremble, but tears are much=ch like dewdrops, and dewdrops hanging from leaves of grass will tremble in a way nothing else does and do so withvery little provocation, a step nearby, by a human or an animal, a dropping of a large weight in the distance, the slightest breeze.

 

What I then say is that your syntax distorts the sense of what the words would say if arrange in a different order and that English, being an uninflected language (that is, an analytical one) is more dependent on a closel to 'normal' or more common or everyday syntax, as structurel languages are said to require. It has taken me oh so many long tears to see that, and I'm not sure that I always really do. So be patient, for what counts is the excellence of your poetic central idea, no some temporary glitch in expressing it in a tongue not native to you. Or me!

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dedalus

The poem has a lot to say but you lose the reader after the first stanza when we are told the father doesn't shed tears easily, but then proceeds to cry in every stanza thereafter. You need to balance it with why he is such a tough guy. I am just critting the poem objectively, as I hope you realize, since it could be there is a lot of family emotion behind it. You need to tell us more about the times when he didn't cry, no matter how hard the times were. We need to get more of an understanding of what he lived through so that the present tears make more sense.

 

This is a storytelling rather than a poetical crit ...

 

Brendan


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

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waxwings
The poem has a lot to say but you lose the reader after the first stanza when we are told the father doesn't shed tears easily, but then proceeds to cry in every stanza thereafter. You need to balance it with why he is such a tough guy. I am just critting the poem objectively, as I hope you realize, since it could be there is a lot of family emotion behind it. You need to tell us more about the times when he didn't cry, no matter how hard the times were. We need to get more of an understanding of what he lived through so that the present tears make more sense.

 

This is a storytelling rather than a poetical crit ...

 

Brendan

 

A poetical crit, if I read you right, is seldom called for, for, first, we would have to have deeper insignt of just exactly what is poetic and what isn't. And I don't believe you mean anything re the various named tropes she may or may not use.

 

I feel that the returning to mentioning tears is mostly OK, because Lake hints well enough her father is a tough guy crying seldom and then trying to hide it.

 

What crit Lake needs is linguistic, and I have done that, wright or wrong, when I felt it is sincerely called for. You could help her and me by either supporting or countering what I say re her occasional misses in syntax and in semantics of English usage. Knowing other tongues, you are in prime position to know that a good poetic thought is the same in any language, but putting it in writing is not automatic, not a mere verbatim translation.

 

Would you agree that saying"only tears tumbling down" implies (w/o supporting what else could in the rest of the poem) a reader could needlessly ponder, what else she meant that could be "tumbling down".

 

If your contention that she 'overuses' tears is at least partially valid, then would it not be better to change L3 to "But, sometimes, they are there etc." That would reduce the repetition w/o changing the essence of her poetic/emotional thrust. I hope you read what I opined re L4. Was I wrong?

 

I further wonder about the Englishness of her contruction/semantics of L9.

 

You are a fairly accomplished writer, and I am not worried in being right always, so don't be afraid to let me have it on anything I ever say. Starting now.

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Aleksandra

Lake, hi. I've read this poem in one breath and it has power in its body. I personally like the using the word tears more than once. I think I know why you are using it that way. Good poem, and I enjoyed reading it a lot.

 

Aleksandra


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

History of Macedonia

 

 

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Lake

Thank you, Alek for your continued encouragement.

 

Lake

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Lake

Thanks again, WW. I like your idea of transition, "But sometimes". I may use it in my revision. I am glad you see the man's restrained feelings, emotions in the poem.

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Lake

Thank you Brendan for your comment. I see your point clearly.

There's a lot to say, but I'm afraid I am not capable of putting it in a few words and make it meaningful to other readers.

 

Regards,

Lake

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