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The grandchild sleeps

next to me,

on his left side,

his favorite position,

because

he has, not yet

learned to roll

unto his right.

 

His hands

are clasped, but,

occasionally

one stirs the air

above him

as if to ward off

evil spirits.

 

There is something

almost surreal

about the stillness

around us

broken only by

the rapid passage

of his breath.

 

There is a peace.

I...

frozen in admiration,

and he...

he is beautiful.

 

i APOLOGIZE FOR THE BAD EXAMPLE OF TELLING NOT SHOWING how beautiful. Its is your turn, y'all to comment. No holds barred, please.

Edited by waxwings
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Hi waxwings,

 

Before my first reaction is gone, I'll throw it here.

 

I feel your poems and your critiques are written by two different writers. It's not a good or bad thing, it's just different.

 

The poem is so tender, loving, detailed in describing the little guy's movement in his sleep, therefore I'd say it's beautiful.

 

The opening line reads

 

The grandchild sleeps

 

why not "My grandson sleeps"? What made you choose "the grandchild"? It first gave me an impression that you're talking about some other people's grandchild, or it felt like that you kept a distance from the baby.

 

The last stanza,

 

There is a peace.

I...

frozen in admiration,

and he...

he is beautiful.

 

I don't care it is telling. He IS beautiful, what else can I say? I'm hesitant to ask, can we leave out "he" at the beginning of the last line?

 

These are not critiques, just some random, not well-thought thoughts.

 

Enjoyed.

 

Lake

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WW,

 

A beautiful reflection and a very strong piece;-) Very much enjoyed!

 

Now due to my overuse of "..." I stop, it breaks my thought, when I encounter ellipses. This is a problem for me not necessarily the poet's, but I would recommend removing them entirely replacing with a comma after he...

 

There is a distinct quietude to this poem, a sense of hushed discovery, which makes me question the Title- Since 'Discovery' alone feels masculine and clinical, which to my mind does not do the poem justice;-)

 

Excellent! and as always, these are my thoughts, and do not necessarily reflect a consensus grammar.

 

DC

Gate(less.thumb.png.dc23b19d2478d37a9f6fcdc563973026.pnghttps://conjurd.substack.com/welcome Come on over and check out my poetry substack y'all;-)

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Thanks, Lake. I am glad you enjoyed the poem. I write poems mostly when triggered by some emotionally charged to me experience, one not fettered by my analytical editorial side. My critiques dare not be emotional and are meant to be of some value to my fellow poets.

 

I want you to never say "not well-though thoughts", for it is your immdiate reaction that matters to me. Such messages are valuable, for they make me stop and think whether I should or should not make changes to make my poem stronger, more accessible to readers. Thank you much, again.

 

I chose grandchild perhaps because my emotion then was tied to the miracle of having one when my wife and I thought that, at our age (and that of our children) we would not have any grandkids, and it seems now I must have felt that, at that point, a baby is what is precious, and its sex is immaterial. I do establish the sex in L3, and other poets I know would say that is the more effective way. We now have both, a grandson and a granddaughter.

 

In the last stanza, I repeat "he" as a way to re-inforce and show how overwhelmed I was by the experience (note the ellipsis) that I stopped as if to let out my breath. Moreover, when resuming to write my thoughts, I felt a complete clause (w/ he as subject) is needed.

 

Your queries are fair, I welcome more if you have them later and will give all further thought.

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WW,

 

A beautiful reflection and a very strong piece;-) Very much enjoyed!

 

Now due to my overuse of "..." I stop, it breaks my thought, when I encounter ellipses. This is a problem for me not necessarily the poet's, but I would recommend removing them entirely replacing with a comma after he...

 

There is a distinct quietude to this poem, a sense of hushed discovery, which makes me question the Title- Since 'Discovery' alone feels masculine and clinical, which to my mind does not do the poem justice;-)

 

Excellent! and as always, these are my thoughts, and do not necessarily reflect a consensus grammar.

 

DC

 

Thanks for fair and kind coments, dr_c. Your message came in while I was replying to Lake's (which see).

 

Did you mean "your (my) overuse of '...' "? Traditionally, ellipsis is to indicate a pause in the flow of thought: some incoherency, inability to articulate a thought, or lack of proper words at the moment; which the author is willing to have the reader interpret. I use it since I am committed to writing in a generally recognized way. It is intended for the reader to stop and recognize/summarize what has been said so far. But you are right that a comma may do, depending on if, and how many, other commas are in the vicinity, possibly causing a gross distortion of syntax. Please note that ellipsis, double dash and comma are, in that order of strength, accepted interruptions of thoughts written.

 

BTW, re your closing line, your thoughts are entirely proper and welcomed by me. It is the dialogue that counts.

I am a bit mistified by what "consensus grammar" is meant to mean.

 

waxy

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Hi waxwings,

 

Thanks for your explanation, it really helps.

 

Now let me try to articulate what I thought about the last stanza.

There is a peace.

I...

frozen in admiration,

and he...

he is beautiful.

 

In my previous reply, I said if we can leave "he" in the last line out. I think, I think, what's in my mind is the parallel sentence structure in

 

I...

frozen xxx,

and he...

xxx beautiful.

 

This is kind of conventional. After second thought, I feel your ending has a special effect.

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Thoughts of 'telling/showing' didn't enter my head since the writer has brought the reader into the experience of observing.

 

 

The grandchild sleeps

 

The use of 'The' established the sense of 'distance' for observing and reflecting.

 

 

next to me,

on his left side,

his favorite position,

because

he has, not yet

learned to roll

to his right.

 

 

For me 'favorite' suggests an element of choice, but he has no choice? He can therefore have no preference. Alternatives? 'dreaming' 'fixed' 'instinctive' 'defined' 'sleeping' etc. The insight that he has not 'yet learned' not only pinpoints the present, but resonates and unfolds to the future. The image will conjure up memories and an empathy from many readers.

 

 

His hands

are clasped, but,

occasionally

one stirs the air

above him

as if to ward off

evil spirits.

 

The clasping of hands made me think of prayer and so this threaded with the 'evil spirits'. The image is of innocence and vulnerability.

 

There is something

almost surreal

about the stillness

around us

broken only by

the rapid passage

of his breath.

 

'surreal' this takes the reader away from the intimacy and magic, the diction not within the lexis of the poem. Maybe just delete to leave:

 

There is something

about this stillness

wrapping

around us

broken only by

the rapid passage

of his breath.

 

 

 

 

There is a peace.

I...

frozen in admiration,

and he...

he is beautiful.

 

 

The simplicity works for me.

 

badge

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Thanks for the thoughtful dissection, badge. It is almost entirely acceptable, but below are excerpts from your response which touch upon what I am not sure I am immediately willing to change.

 

next to me,

on his left side,

his favorite position,

because

he has, not yet

learned to roll

to his right.

 

 

You say "For me 'favorite' suggests an element of choice, but he has no choice? He can therefore have no preference. Alternatives? 'dreaming' 'fixed' 'instinctive' 'defined' 'sleeping' etc. The insight that he has not 'yet learned' not only pinpoints the present, but resonates and unfolds to the future. The image will conjure up memories and an empathy from many readers."

 

He had been trying, as yet unsuccessfully, to turn to the other side but not as hard as he had insinuate to his left. Therefore, I chose the 'poetic license' to insinuate I had a reason. Your suggestions made me think, but none of them seem truer possibilities. He might be dreaming or not; the position certainly was not fixed for later he would roll on to his stomach; it certainly could not be said to be defined; what reason could I claim to say it was instinctive; it was not his only sleeping position. Help! Anyone?

 

There is something

almost surreal

about the stillness

around us

broken only by

the rapid passage

of his breath.

 

To the above, you say: 'surreal' this takes the reader away from the intimacy and magic, the diction not within the lexis of the poem. Maybe just delete to leave:

 

I know surreal is not the very best word here. Would unreal do? It was my take at that time. I had heard "lexis" but never used the word. Glad you did, but it has a series of alternate denotations. I would greatly appreciate you telling me your choice denotation. And seems you left unfinished the suggestion "just delete to leave..."

 

You then suggest the version below, but do I read it right?

 

 

There is something

about this stillness

wrapping

around us

broken only by

the rapid passage

of his breath.

 

Above, you say there is "something about this stillness" but do not outrightly declare what the "something" is. The continuation/verb "wrapping" could have either "something" or "stillness" as its subject and therefore unclear which one of the two is "broken". The for me unresolved dichotomy is irksome. Help!!!!

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I messed up and created another version of my last post.

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The continuation/verb "wrapping" could have either "something" or "stillness" as its subject and therefore unclear which one of the two is "broken". The for me unresolved dichotomy is irksome.

 

I must admit I didn't have this problem. Maybe some punctuation would resolve the perceived 'problem' or some feedback from another reader.

 

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The continuation/verb "wrapping" could have either "something" or "stillness" as its subject and therefore unclear which one of the two is "broken". The for me unresolved dichotomy is irksome.

 

I must admit I didn't have this problem. Maybe some punctuation would resolve the perceived 'problem' or some feedback from another reader.

 

badge

 

 

I do not see how it could be your problem because you knew when writing whether you meant it was the something or the stillness that was "wrapping around" Of course, one should deduce that it was almost certain it was the stillness that was broken by the sound of his breathing,though barely.

 

There was a feeling about it that I experienced that needs to be articulated with more than an unnamed something. You have left me with a dilemma, an unfulfilled need to express that, but I cannot will not resent that. I would not post a poem in this thread/major topic if I felt it was totally perfect/satisfactory. Hope other do chime in. icon_cyclops.gif

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There was a feeling about it that I experienced that needs to be articulated with more than an unnamed something.

 

I thought that the poem was reaching for this, but the concluding lines conveyed an acceptance. Reminded me of Keats' Ode: "Beauty is truth, truth beauty".

 

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I enjoyed the poem, Waxwings. In some ways it reminded me of Coleridge's "Frost at Midnight":

 

The Frost performs its secret ministry,

Unhelped by any wind. The owlet's cry

Came loud--and hark, again ! loud as before.

The inmates of my cottage, all at rest,

Have left me to that solitude, which suits

Abstruser musings : save that at my side

My cradled infant slumbers peacefully.

'Tis calm indeed ! so calm, that it disturbs

And vexes meditation with its strange

And extreme silentness ...

 

The affection for the infant grandchild is felt throughout. Very serene.

 

Tony

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

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Hello waxwings. I am impresed by this poem it is written in wonderful word-order. Really when you watch the child sleeping you can discover many things, and to think about something what usualy never comes in that way. Thats the reason what can bring a poem like this one.

 

Enjoyable read.

 

Aleksandra

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

History of Macedonia

 

 

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