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Benjamin

I chase the day

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Benjamin

Plucked from ancient Celtic dreams, I chase the day

 

where blackhead gulls and falcons

 

twist and spiral on the towering wind,

 

And the pastel painted buildings

 

of a little harbour town

 

keep well their secrets of the surging tides.

 

 

 

 

Salt air and smells of burning peat commingle,

 

dispersing the grey knit souls

 

of cottages to heaven. And fishers

 

on the quay prepare their tackle

 

eager for the bobbing tide

 

when smacks and hookers strain to cross the bar.

 

 

 

 

Looking out toward the rolling western foam

 

thrashing on volcanic rocks,

 

I witness light and dark of heaven's will.

 

Abundance and uncertainty,

 

life and death, both singing tunes

 

and made melodious by their distance.

 

 

 

 

Old words that “men must work and women must weep”

 

echo hard on precious days.

 

For happiness is the hunter's return

 

and joyful music will be heard,

 

fiddles, whisky and good cheer,

 

the celebrations of a simple life.

Edited by Benjamin

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tonyv

I love the setting. The entire poem reminds me of Tuckerman's lines:

 

... Like those vast weeds that off d'Acunha's isle

Wash with the surf, & flap their mighty fronds

Mournfully to the dipping of the wave:

Yet cannot be disrupted from their deeps

By the whole heave & settle of the sea.

 

Yours (I presume) is North Atlantic (and syllabic), and Tristan da Cunha is South Atlantic, but the maritime locale in both poems is similar. Though I have had almost no exposure to syllabic meter, you write so well I'm starting to get excited by it.

 

Tony


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

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waxwings

This is, by an large, beautifully and unusually cadenced and has too many fab and fresh (not seen times before) images for me to feel bound or able to identify one by one. The quite outstanding one is "dispersing the grey knit souls of cottages." I'd drop "the". It distorts a, to me, most lovely cadence.

 

"And fishers on the quay || mend nets to * mark time" makes me stumble in reading, because you have a fabulous natural amphibrach-anapest combo followed by one of a iamb and something that is not a comfortable anapest. I could not decide if "mark" should be stressed or not. If yes then some may want to stress both the two monosyllabic words ending the line. In English, it seems, two such are less troublesome when there is a caesura between them, letting some iambs and trochees co-exist. Might try "just" where I have placed the asterisk.

 

How about "fall 'on', not "upon" for sake of rhythm if perhaps not for grammar.

 

 

The period in L3 breaks a perfectly wrought cocompund sentence. Comma will do.

 

Do you mean smells of both: peat and salt air. If not, then "Salt air and smells of burning peat commingle" repl. "intermingle" to agree in rhythm with adjacent lines.

Edited by waxwings

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Benjamin

Hi Tony, your comments are appreciated. The setting of this poem is a result of travels along the west coasts of Scotland and Ireland, in particular West Cork.

 

Syllabic verse offers much freedom yet requires a discipline to operate within the frame. :icon_cyclops:

 

 

 

 

waxwings: Your incisive and learned input is very much appreciated.

 

A couple of points you raised were there to satisfy syllabic count, “"upon"” in particular, I was unsatisfied with grammatically. Your comments have convinced me to relax the discipline for the sake of rhythm and overall effect.

 

I confess that I spent more time wrestling and juggling with the first two lines of the second stanza than it took to write the rest of the poem. I've taken up your suggestions and now look 'upon' the poem with some satisfaction. Thank you. :icon_sunny: Benjamin

Edited by Benjamin

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waxwings

Offhand, I am unsure of how to interpret your notion of 'satisfying syllabic count'. 'Syllabic verse' is, for one, such that the syllable count for a given line has to be satisfied. Since there can be, theoretically, innnumerabll 'syllabic' forms/models, 'named' or un-named, I would like to learn what is your model. tinker is the local expert on such forms.; have you read over her 'glossaries' cum form collections forum?

 

I am exhilarated to have at least one other who delves into crafting lines beyond the immediate effect. One whose vocabulary is quite large is likely to overlook, while in the throes of composing something new and exciting, some words, and more likely to do that the larger one's vocabulary is.

 

I'm still a bit unsure if "towering" makes sense in describing a "wind" for it implies a high velocity upward/vertical air motion such as in thermals soaring birds use naturally to rise to great hights. I thought thermals to be rater slow. Of course, poetic license says that a wind does not have to have a specific overall velocity. I do believe in poetic license, but resist cases where the plausibility of a strange verbal concoction is a bit on the thin side.

 

I have some qualms about my suggestion re marking time. It is a compact abstraction not easily modified and perhaps "...just to mark time..." might be preferable. I love experimenting, so do not ever rush into following my suggestions/ideas w/o giving considerable thought to see it is something you might have come upon by your very own self.

 

What about the comma, instead of period in that compound sentence.

Edited by waxwings

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Tinker

Hi Goeff/Benjamin,

 

First I want to say how much I enjoyed reading this poem. The imagery is extraordinary. I couldn't take it all in with only one or two readings. Reading aloud the sonics resonate, you marry sounds like a musician creating harmony. Just BEAUTIFUL.

 

Second, reading the comments, I may have missed something.

 

What I see structurally is a stanzaic poem written in sixains.

 

The meter is Sprung Rhythm rather than syllabic. The only consistent syllabic pattern I see is in the first line of each stanza which is 11 syllables. After that L2-L6 use variable numbers which are not consistent throughout the poem. But it appears that as in sprung rhythm there are a consistent number of metric feet from line to line within the poem. It is just metric pattern that is inconsistent, which in my understanding is the definition of "Sprung Rhythm". Each stanza of this poem is primarily L1 5 feet, L3-L5 3 feet, L6 5 feet. Of course I could be totally wrong here, my understanding of meter may never come together.

 

I couldn't match the structure of this poem with any of the syllabic forms I have researched but then again, I don't have it all memorized and there are close to 1000 identified and my memory is not that good.


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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

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Benjamin

Tink. Thanks for reading and for your comments.

 

At the risk of digressing: Musical bars are usually constant and symmetrical throughout a piece. Celtic airs however,sometimes deviate from this. You could have a bar i.e: of 1 semi-breve (2 beats) or 3 semibreves (6 beats) interspersed with bars of 4 beats. The effect can be perplexing and haunting at the same time. This may be a somewhat imprecise analogy technically, for ultimately the poem is just a reflection of my mind at the time of writing. G.

 

waxwings. I have read much poetry over many years and if I come across a format I like, will note it and at some stage perhaps make use of it. You may wish to read articles on the link provided http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syllabic_verse

 

Your comments have been most useful in pointing certain things out to me. St,2 L4 I'm still considering using a two syllable verb “ to mark - - time” Benjamin

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waxwings
Tink. Thanks for reading and for your comments.

 

At the risk of digressing: Musical bars are usually constant and symmetrical throughout a piece. Celtic airs however,sometimes deviate from this. You could have a bar i.e: of 1 semi-breve (2 beats) or 3 semibreves (6 beats) interspersed with bars of 4 beats. The effect can be perplexing and haunting at the same time. This may be a somewhat imprecise analogy technically, for ultimately the poem is just a reflection of my mind at the time of writing. G.

 

waxwings. I have read much poetry over many years and if I come across a format I like, will note it and at some stage perhaps make use of it. You may wish to read articles on the link provided http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syllabic_verse

 

Your comments have been most useful in pointing certain things out to me. St,2 L4 I'm still considering using a two syllable verb “ to mark - - time” Benjamin

 

I hope I am not overdoing/confusing you but to mark time is the infinitive of looks what like a two word or compound verb for , in the US military, mark-time means like jogging in place (I think). Thus, to say "just to mark time" does not seem to violate either plain common usege or or grammar/syntax.

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Benjamin

My thanks to Tink for pointing out some things which I had overlooked and also to waxwings for your incisive and helpful input. I have edited the poem a little further (gasp!) but intend let it stand as it is for now. I'll spend some more time with it privately. Time now to focus on something else. Benjamin :icon_sunny:

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moonqueen

Well, G., you know me, nothing intellectual or educated to say, but I did enjoy it so much. You have a beautiful knack for taking your reader with you, wherever you go. If I were to travel to these places, I would catch whiff of a familiarity, that feeling of having been there, before, so revealing is your imagery.

 

Tammi

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fdelano

Geoff, I would need months to fully comprehend this, or I can simply take it in with all its moods and smells and memories. I especially like that you are writing real memories.

Franklin/Paco

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Benjamin

Hello Tammi and Franklin. My thanks for reading and leaving comment, it's good to hear from you both. I feel sure that you will enjoy reading and posting here. The feedback is generally very helpful,intelligent, learned and mature. I look forward to reading your postings. Kindest regards Geoff.

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waxwings
Tink. Thanks for reading and for your comments.

 

At the risk of digressing: Musical bars are usually constant and symmetrical throughout a piece. Celtic airs however,sometimes deviate from this. You could have a bar i.e: of 1 semi-breve (2 beats) or 3 semibreves (6 beats) interspersed with bars of 4 beats. The effect can be perplexing and haunting at the same time. This may be a somewhat imprecise analogy technically, for ultimately the poem is just a reflection of my mind at the time of writing. G.

 

waxwings. I have read much poetry over many years and if I come across a format I like, will note it and at some stage perhaps make use of it. You may wish to read articles on the link provided http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syllabic_verse

 

Your comments have been most useful in pointing certain things out to me. St,2 L4 I'm still considering using a two syllable verb “ to mark - - time” Benjamin

 

Thanks for bringing up the matter of musical analogs. It seems that too many arguments about the musicality of poems ignore the fact that a poem may exhibit certain sonic features that cannot be completely defined by just stress-, syllable- or mora timing. I have come to realize that, in any language, each possible syllable has more than one 'note' and its current 'note' is altered by its neighboring syllables.

 

Impossible as it may seem, I googled for syllabic verse and found a totally different view of that notion. It seems I posted some comments under a different topic on what I found. In short, that article did not restrict syllabic verse to lines of same syllabic count.

 

There is a need to know that there are syllabic forms which specify a count for each line, which count is not necessarily the same. throughout the poem. What is more, those 'forms' are not necessarily 'syllabic verse'.

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Benjamin

My thanks waxwings. I respect your learned comments both on my work and that of others. I have a little knowledge of many things although boast no great knowledge of any one thing in particular. A long association with traditional/contemporary song lyrics prompts me to express myself in a certain way. And although this is not a song lyric, I do believe that if a resultant effect is to stir the imagination of the reader/listener, then the effort to produce the piece (in whatever shape or form) surely has been worthwhile. Benjamin

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