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A. Baez

For Tony

 

 

I fear the places I might never reach

In you—where stars encircle arctic capes

Or ice shelves stretch on, winklessly unthawed

Or oceans whirlpool round an invisible God.

But sweet, I sink into your balmy beach

And stretch where the wisteria tendril drapes

In dappled summer plats around Cape Cod;

I stroll its boardwalks by your side, unshod.

Between the stoic polar ends of earth

Abides this antidote to chilled extremes:

Say, will you stay, for what a season’s worth?

I throw my arms around your sunny beams!

So moor here; pause your journeys past the pale;

Greet your Calypso; let her stash your sail.

 

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Tinker

Now this is nice,  a seductive sonnet with an interesting rhyme scheme abccabccdedeff.   It moves through a moment of doubt, to surrender, to a little flirting then at the pivot, full out seduction. Loved it.

~~Judi

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~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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

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badger11

hi AB,

        Always been interested in the 'conversation', how poems thread to other poems (Tony's work comes to mind here). The endline rhymes are well done and, as usual, there is an emotional dynamic that engages and gives a dynamic to the read. Enjoyed the sonics of pause/past/pale. Not so sure about winklessly, sonically a bit of a lead weight.

best

Phil

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A. Baez

Ah, Phil, good, you have made the conversational connection. For the record, I actually wrote this poem before Tony wrote his "Home (a Goodbye to Wanderlust)"--I simply have been tied up in taxes, so I delayed posting this. I was hoping that the actual sequence would come through, though, in the respective invitation/response characteristics of the two poems. I love the idea of a poetic conversation like you do and I had expressed that as a suggestion to Tony, which I think may have served as a nudge to him (along with the simple desire to keep up board activity) to craft his "Home"--despite his current confessed issues with writer's block. 😉 And of course, there are connections to other poems of his here, too in the references to cold, remote places and in Calypso as a sort of benign, terrestrial converse to his Sirens (of which he's created three, only one [the one that did not represent me] of which has been posted here so far). In turn, that brings up another related dynamic at play--poems by the same poet sub-conversing with each other in the process of conversing with those of another poet.

In any case, I'm glad you enjoyed the rhymes, the emotional dynamic, and the sonics that you mention. That's interesting that you responded as you did to "winklessly." I'm wondering why it comes across to you as a lead weight--is it because it takes relatively long to speak for a three-syllable word?

Incidentally, I have peered in on your very interesting poem "Ain Sakhri Lovers" in the Workshop and the equally interesting surrounding conversation, and I still would like to say a few words about it all, although I think you have the poem in quite nice shape at this point. Again, I was restrained only by taxes; I will always do my part to support Workshop activity here, as I think it is so valuable.

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badger11
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I'm wondering why it comes across to you as a lead weight--is it because it takes relatively long to speak for a three-syllable word?

Could be AB. Just could be subjective.😀

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A. Baez

Yes, Phil, I'm sure subjectivity does play a role, as Tony had told me that he loved that particular word here. 😃

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badger11
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my craze was a far cry from summers' climb.

Yes, you did critique Tony's line above, which I particularly enjoyed for its sound. And now Tony particularly highlights a word that is a blemish for me. I think that is okay. My wife likes the scents of sweet peas, not me, but I do love the colours. For me, there is a sensory experience in poetry, which is, obviously, subjective.

best

Phil

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A. Baez

It's interesting that the example you favor is a line composed primarily of monosyllabic words which features two stressed syllables in succession, while the example that causes trouble for you is a three-syllable word featuring two unstressed syllables in succession. Do you know Welsh? I imagine that, along with other factors, the rhythms of one's blood language may play a role in informing one's prosodic preferences (not that I am intimately familiar with Welsh).

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badger11
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I imagine that, along with other factors, the rhythms of one's blood language may play a role in informing one's prosodic preferences (not that I am intimately familiar with Welsh).

Interesting thought AB. I don't speak Welsh, though language patterns here are often described as 'Wenglish'😀 and Welsh words are used in the local vocabulary and influence pronunciation. I'd probably reference that threading of consonance/assonance rather than stress in Tony's line. What is your scansion of your line?

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A. Baez
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...language patterns here are often described as 'Wenglish'😀 and Welsh words are used in the local vocabulary and influence pronunciation.

In that case, it sounds like Welsh could have a consequential influence on your perceptions of written and spoken English. But if consonance and assonance are the prime features that attracted you to Tony's line, then probably a direct comparison cannot be formed between our respective tastes regarding it and my "winklessly" line (since rhythm was apparently your problem with the latter). However, it had also occurred to me before that consonance and assonance may have played a role in your response to Tony's line and that there might be a "Welsh connection" in that regard, too. I would probably have enjoyed that line's consonance and assonance more myself if my prevailing impression of the line had not been formed by its metrical/syllabic flow and its obscurity of meaning (to me).

I'd scan my line

or ICE/shelves STRETCH/ON, WINK/lessly/unTHAWED

but I could also see

or ICE/shelves STRETCH/ON, WINK/lessly/UNTHAWED

placing it out of strict IP; and I could even see the first two feet being scanned

or ICE/SHELVES STRETCH

placing it out of strict IP, as well.

The stress distinctions seem quite subtle in the places where I've offered multiple scans. But in all cases, I thought that the double trochee in the third and fourth feet would emphasize the feeling of stretching on relentlessly, both in distance and in time; in my second and third scans, this effect would be intensified by spondees. Perhaps your ear was craving an iamb in the fourth foot, in which case you would have been unpleasantly disappointed. 

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badger11
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ICE/shelves STRETCH/ON, WINK/lessly/unTHAWED

Quote

But in all cases, I thought that the double trochee in the third and fourth feet would emphasize the feeling of stretching on relentlessly, both in distance and in time; in my second and third scans, this effect would be intensified by spondees. Perhaps your ear was craving an iamb in the fourth foot, in which case you would have been unpleasantly disappointed. 

Thanks AB for taking time to articulate your thinking here. Very interesting, and certainlty I feel you have achieved the desired effect. Perhaps, that comma break also brings a stress emphasis for 'WINK/lessly/unTHAWED'

best

Phil

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A. Baez
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...certainly I feel you have achieved the desired effect.

Well, good--maybe the core problem for you is that the effect I desired was somewhat unpleasant! 😏

Quote

Perhaps, that comma break also brings a stress emphasis for 'WINK/lessly/unTHAWED'

Yes, I'm certain that it does. 🙂

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JoelJosol

When I read this poem, I found the rhythm and rhyme familiar. I enjoyed its musicality and the tone of the monologue. I love such genre. Then, I realized with Tinker's response that it was a sonnet. 

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

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A. Baez

Thanks, Joel--the sonnet is one of my favorite forms, though I often improvise the rhymes schemes of mine, as I did here.

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tonyv

What a wonderful discussion taking place around this impeccable poem! I thought Judi summed up the mood especially well:

On 7/23/2020 at 10:20 AM, Tinker said:

 It moves through a moment of doubt, to surrender, to a little flirting then at the pivot, full out seduction.

I also enjoyed Phil's lead and the author's follow-up re discernable poetic exchanges.

The first four lines are "close to home" because "arctic capes" where "ice shelves" abound are such an inherent part of my own poetic "core." (I talk a little bit about this in my topic "Where's Your 'Place?'")

"Encircle" is a perfect choice for a word in L2, because that's exactly what stars appear to do, in the night sky, when photographed from earth using long exposure times which yield a "star trail" effect. (I mention star trails in my own poem "Prudhoe Bay.")

The second four lines are even closer to home. I live less than an hour's drive from Cape Cod, MA. I've been there plenty, and I can imagine the speaker-poet walking those sandy beaches by my side, "unshod." 

The last six lines present a synthesis. Acumen and intuition intermingle and offer an "antidote" to this reader's patent "wanderlust." This amounts to an invitation, a question which is also a request: 

"Say, will you stay, for what a season's worth?" [emphasis mine]

How perfectly expressed -- I love it! This line, along with the last line, where the speaker-poet raises the stakes and the call escalates almost to the level of a charge --

"Greet your Calypso; let her stash your sail." 

-- are my favorite lines in this poem. 


Ms. Baez,

The poem bears no dedication line, but whoever this poem is for is very lucky. In this reader's singular grasp, "Here" lies somewhere between the the 38th and 41st parallel, Atlantic Seaboard, USA. Perfect title, perfect meter, perfect sonnet -- I think this is one of your finest works.

Yours,

Tony

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

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A. Baez

Everybody, I have Tony to thank for the excellent word choice of "encircle" in this poem. I had had "ensorcell" in its place but Tony pointed out that this brings in a potentially complicating factor of animistic magic. On the other hand, "encircle" preserves much of the mystical feeling of the word "ensorcell" while leaving behind its supernatural element. As I've told you before, Tony, the way you achieve lyricism in your own poems seemingly without ever departing from scientific verities is a feature that I much admire. So I'm particularly thrilled to be able to incorporate into this poem a word that you yourself have suggested to me and that embodies this characteristic--for as you well know, this poem is about you. I did not include a dedication on this post because I was interested in seeing whether members would be able to draw the connection on their own. Now that Phil has, and you, Tony, have publicly acknowledged this connection, I am delighted to add a dedication. 

I enjoyed bringing in Cape Cod for its whimsical rhyme and its introduction of a precisely located, physically and psychologically accessible counterpoint to the preceding "arctic capes," but its proximity to you did not even dawn on me at first, and it was not until later that I realized that it might be close, at which point I looked it up on a map that I confirmed that it was. That sealed the deal on this choice of words for me; there must have been something divine leading me to them. I'm glad you can visualize me ambling in this spot by your side as I can; but as you know, my allusions in this poem to Cape Cod--like my allusions to cold, remote places--are really meant to represent psychic locations within yourself. For I have to believe that you have been drawn to write of chilly, forbidding locales--most of which you've never seen firsthand--as a result of some psychic affinity. As to a literal Cape Cod, I would hardly entreat you to stay with me physically so close to where you already spend most of your time anyway--a place I've never been! I'm interested to know whether the Cape Cod metaphor here is clear to other readers; I rather fear it may not be despite the clear frigid-place-metaphors in the first four lines.

Quote

This amounts to an invitation, a question which is also a request: 

"Say, will you stay, for what a season's worth?" [emphasis mine]

You got that right--it's an invitation and a request; I find that the latter are often more persuasive when leavened by the former. 😉

Quote

This line, along with the last line, where the speaker-poet raises the stakes and the call escalates almost to the level of a charge --

"Greet your Calypso; let her stash your sail." 

-- are my favorite lines in this poem.

I'm so glad--me too! I've found that invitations and requests are often most persuasive when backed up by charges! 😉

From now on, on this board, I invite you and everyone else to call me Lexi--the pseudonym that you, Tony, have employed here to dedicate a couple of your poems to me.

Yours,

Lexi

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