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Aleksandra

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You know how long it has been

since I've thrown out the trash.

The smell weaves drapes

out of cobwebs.

The rug, with its open mouth, screams

from the pain of years, under two heavy feet

on its crushed body.

I would die in the rat hole

if I wasn't too drunk to find it.

Would you come to me,

to this burdensome house, filled

with shades of spent lives,

baggage, and a voice from the roof

where the rats, dancing with the homers

who never left,

lurk and laugh at me?

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

History of Macedonia

 

 

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I'm having trouble commenting on this one, Alek. Though relatively short, the poem is supercharged with novel imagery which stands on its own and defies being reduced to an analytical reply. Everything here, from the "home," to how the narrator feels about the home, to how she feels about herself, her past, her present, and her future paints a picture -- one of stagnation and despair. Thank you for another world-class poem.

 

Tony

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

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The poem successfully painted to me the pain of the N in this house. The "you" was addressed twice. There is some level of intimacy but at the same distance with the "you". Hence, the desire for change is somehow dependent with the response of the "you". The reader is left with the pain of uncertainty in the end.

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

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Just read Tony's Pest House and then came to visit your home.

It's dark, descriptive and sentimental. The feeling is well presented.

"homers" is new to me, I took it as the residents of the house, is it right?

 

Hope your life is just the opposite. :icon_sunny:

 

Lake

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"homers" is new to me, I took it as the residents of the house, is it right?

I'll jump in here for a moment, and I hope that's okay. With "homers," Alek is referring to homing pigeons! I thought it was quite clever myself! Ok ... Tony out.

 

Tony :)

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

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Thanks Tony. I looked it up and saw the definition but poor me didn't pick this meaning. Then there's still some hope in the poem with the image of pigeons since pigeon is a symbol of peace.

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Thanks Tony. I looked it up and saw the definition but poor me didn't pick this meaning. Then there's still some hope in the poem with the image of pigeons since pigeon is a symbol of peace.

Yes, except these pigeons never left and dance with rats. :blush: I like your double-meaning read, Lake. I had that sentiment in the backdrop of my mind also, but you expressed it well:

 

I took it as the residents of the house

Works well!

 

Tony

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

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First class poem, Alek. Having spent years to acquire a passable knowledge of English, I was blown by the poetic and the linguistic excellence of the first four lines.

 

Poetically, the rest are excellent as well, as tonyv has noted. However, some of the images could be strengthened by more conventional syntax and/or verbiage.

 

A major confusion for us foreigners is that English use of prepositions and pronouns can be slightly different than what other languages think is right. Think over lines 6 and 8.

 

Are you comparing "home" to a "rathole" (note spelling)?. If , not, then there is no clear notion why you mention the "rathole".

 

Also, the word "baggage" seems somewhat naked among its companions. It could stand some modifier (not "spent") to make it belong. And sometimes, a repeated word can make a stronger image.

Edited by waxwings
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Larsen M. Callirhoe

i think she means the mood she is in with the reminder of her chores. that is my take waxwing. thoughts are random in poetry that is why poetic words touch us because it is random. thanks aleks i get this. i love it.

Larsen M. Callirhoe

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i think she means the mood she is in with the reminder of her chores. that is my take waxwing. thoughts are random in poetry that is why poetic words touch us because it is random. thanks aleks i get this. i love it.

 

I have never heard it said or seen it written that thoughts are random: in poetry, or in most other literary (esp. written) work/communication. I cannot, at this moment, think of any well known poems where that is true. Can you quote an example or a source? Same goes for that there is such a thing as 'poetic words'.

 

I like Aleks' poem and think it significant. Moods certainly are part of what poems are about, in general. My comments show factual concerns re time proven ways to make a good poem stronger by appropriate writing technique. Writing is an art in itself, apart from the genre it is employed in, and the more thorough the writer’s/poet’s grasp of the language the work is written in, the stronger is the impact of the poem.

 

I came to USA in the early part of 1950, when my English was rudimentary, i.e., not more than what a diligent student could learn in 6 years of formal lessons but very little actual use. Ever since, I have striven to improve it in order to be able to obtain the education that has put bread on my table and to pursue my love for writing.

 

I believe sharing the lore with my fellow poets for whom English is not the native language, and hope my comments would not be taken as criticism or faultfinding.

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Larsen M. Callirhoe

waxwings if i knew what i was gouing to be thinking tomorrow my thoughtswould not be random. maybe you have studied martial arts and focus to act and think a certain way but when you see a naked person the thoughts will be random in your head. i don't have works to quote by emerson and therauo bad spellings wrote random stuff when they lived in nature. if my memory serves me corrext thoughts can cause fantasies of all sorts when you are a child. i have written whole poems because of random thoughts that popped into my head. you must not of had a childhood to explore be your reasoning, please don't take that as bad bu thoughts are random. that is my belief or i would know everything already.

Larsen M. Callirhoe

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I am with you on that a poem very often starts with a random thought. But I can hardly conceive a poem made up of random and mutually and totally disconnected mutually unrelated (at least to the reader) thoughts. And that is not the case with this poem.

I truly relish this kind of conversation with fellow poets, but it should not reduce to a total disagreement. I must say again that my comments are primarily aimed at illiterate use of language which I as a bloody former foreigner have caught myself at many times in my earlier attempts to write.

 

Alexandra is a very bright and competent poet in her heart, but her struggles with English are apparent, should be respected and everything we can, as her friends, do, to help and point out the slips and encourage her and say she is on the right track, cannot be bad.

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Poetically, the rest are excellent as well, as tonyv has noted. However, some of the images could be strengthened by more conventional syntaxand/or verbiage.

 

A major confusion for us foreigners is that English use of prepositions and pronouns can be slightly different than what. Think over lines 6 and 8.

 

Are you comparing "home" to a "rathole" (note spelling)?. If , not, then there is no clear notion why you mention the "rathole".

 

Also, the word "baggage" seems somewhat naked among its companions. It could stand some modifier (e.g., "spent") to make it belong. And sometimes, a repeated word can make a stronger image.

I must interject here. While I can certainly appreciate this view about the syntax and verbiage, I can attest to the fact that Alek is very much aware of the nuances and distinctions of the conventional versus non-conventional uses of language in this poem (and in other poems of hers). I know, because I was involved in the editing of it, and we talked about the various options. True, the language in line six was challenging, even a bit problematic, and we considered various other ways, but, in the end, what is there is what Alek decided upon. My point: it was a conscious decision. As native English speakers, we may be accustomed to reading/hearing "screams in pain" or "screams of pain" as opposed to "screams from pain," but I don't think it's a far stretch as it stands now, because "the pain of years" rather than just "pain" itself is the object of the preposition. Though unconventional, I don't see how it is wrong. However, your point about the relationship among choice of syntax, strength of images, and impact is very well expressed, agreed to, and duly noted.

 

As for line eight, I have to disagree. While it would certainly make things crystal clear if one were to say, I would die in a rat hole/if I wasn't too drunk to find one, I think, in this case, it's obvious the poet isn't equating the rat hole to the house itself, for if she was, she would not have any trouble finding it; she's already in the house.

 

 

I like Aleks' poem and think it significant. Moods certainly are part of what poems are about, in general. My comments show factual concerns re time proven ways to make a good poem stronger by appropriate writing technique. Writing is an art in itself, apart from the genre it is employed in, and the more thorough the writer’s/poet’s grasp of the language the work is written in, the stronger is the impact of the poem.

Agreed.

 

Alexandra is a very bright and competent poet in her heart, but her struggles with English are apparent, should be respected and everything we can, as her friends, do, to help and point out the slips and encourage her and say she is on the right track, cannot be bad.

Though generally I don't edit Alek's comments (she tells me to :icon_razz: , but I do so only when she specifically asks me to :@@ ), I did help with editing this poem. Though I can't see any unforgivable errors in grammar and/or syntax, I'm always willing to learn.

 

Tony

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

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I'm having trouble commenting on this one, Alek.

 

Sorry Tony for the trouble :). I didn't meant to. I am always making troubles with my English poetry to the English readers :D.

 

Thank you for another world-class poem.

 

Tony

Wow Tony you make me smile. I am pleased to see what you have to say. I enjoy your comments :).

Thank you.

 

The poem successfully painted to me the pain of the N in this house.

 

How glad that the poem did that for you Joel, that is the way how this poem is written.

 

The reader is left with the pain of uncertainty in the end.

 

That is compliment for me because for me as a writer is supposed to be like that :).

 

Just read Tony's Pest House and then came to visit your home.

It's dark, descriptive and sentimental. The feeling is well presented.

"homers" is new to me, I took it as the residents of the house, is it right?

 

Hope your life is just the opposite. :icon_sunny:

 

Thank you Lake for your comment. I like how you read the " homers " and yes indeed make the sense, but as Tony pointed out I refer to the homing pigeons.

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

History of Macedonia

 

 

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First class poem, Alek. Having spent years to acquire a passable knowledge of English, I was blown by the poetic and the linguistic excellence of the first four lines.

Thank you, waxwings, for the nice words.

 

Poetically, the rest are excellent as well, as tonyv has noted. However, some of the images could be strengthened by more conventional syntax and/or verbiage.

 

A major confusion for us foreigners is that English use of prepositions and pronouns can be slightly different than what. Think over lines 6 and 8.

There's always another way to express a thought. That has a lot to do with the deepness and poetical level of the poet, his knowledge, his experience, his culture, and (I would say) his fantasy and goal as to what he wants to say. The only thing that I wasn't happy with were lines five, six, and seven. Tony suggested --

 

The rug, with its open mouth, screams

in pain inflicted over the course of years

by two heavy feet on its crushed body

 

-- but I didn't like inflicted. I became tired of looking for a better way to express this to an English-speaking audience. :)

 

Are you comparing "home" to a "rathole" (note spelling)?. If , not, then there is no clear notion why you mention the "rathole".

Why wouldn't the mention of the "rathole" be a clear notion? It's very well known that houses can have rat holes. :) The house I am referring to has some... So, I am not comparing the home to a rathole even when taking into consideration that this kind of home could be called a rathole. (Yes, the right spelling of rat hole is with two words, but sometimes I like to use it as one word ... in a poetic sense.)

 

Also, the word "baggage" seems somewhat naked among its companions. It could stand some modifier (e.g., "spent") to make it belong. And sometimes, a repeated word can make a stronger image.

Yes, I agree, but here I think the word baggage makes sense as an expression and metaphor for the memories that the narrator holds in her heart. Are you saying that spent baggage is a better expression than baggage itself?

 

I like your reading waxwings. It's always helpful get such detailed comments.

Thank you.

 

i think she means the mood she is in with the reminder of her chores. that is my take waxwing. thoughts are random in poetry that is why poetic words touch us because it is random. thanks aleks i get this. i love it.

 

I think I might agree with the part about the use of random thoughts in poetry, because we never know exactly what is in the head of the poet. We can only guess and make our own sense out of what is written.

Thank you Vic for your comment. I am glad you like my Home poem.

 

Aleksandra

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

History of Macedonia

 

 

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Moods certainly are part of what poems are about, in general. My comments show factual concerns re time proven ways to make a good poem stronger by appropriate writing technique. Writing is an art in itself, apart from the genre it is employed in, and the more thorough the writer's/poet's grasp of the language the work is written in, the stronger is the impact of the poem.

I agree with that. It's true.

 

I believe sharing the lore with my fellow poets for whom English is not the native language, and hope my comments would not be taken as criticism or faultfinding.

Definitely not waxwings. Comments on work are always welcome, not only to those poets for whom English is not the native language, but to all, I think. To us, for whom English is not the first language, they are even more welcome, because it's harder to make a poem in a different language with all the differences that exist between expressions. Many expressions which are very common in Macedonian poetry would not make sense in English just because fish can't fly. But I guess that's the case with many languages. That's why I personally have some limits when writing in English. In my experience, poetry is very free and without limits. So, to make a good poem in English, I must think differently and run the risk of an expression entirely changing the meaning of my thoughts. That's why I am not always so concerned about how an expression sounds in English. Maybe I'm wrong for approacing things this way, but I won't change my definition of poetry. I'm primarily a Macedonian poet who is writing in English, too. Tony knows very well the trouble I'm going through. I really do strive for clarity, but I also want to stay honest to my writing style and feelings.

 

But I do want to explore and learn. So, of course I appreciate all the comments, and I never feel bad even if I read something that I don't like. This is a place for challenge and improvement. Please feel free to say all that you think should be said.

 

Alexandra is a very bright and competent poet in her heart, but her struggles with English are apparent, should be respected and everything we can, as her friends, do, to help and point out the slips and encourage her and say she is on the right track, cannot be bad.

Being on the right track means to learn and try. And of course poetry is not at all easy. It's always helpful to see what others think, to compare, and then to find the best way. But everything is easier when I have friends as all of you here.

 

Thanks for the encouragement.

 

Aleksandra

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

History of Macedonia

 

 

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I must interject here. While I can certainly appreciate this view about the syntax and verbiage, I can attest to the fact that Alek is very much aware of the nuances and distinctions of the conventional versus non-conventional uses of language in this poem (and in other poems of hers)

 

I am pleased to hear this Tony, especially from you :) . And always there is you who jumps in and helps. So I am happy to have you by my side and get help whenever I need it.

 

As native English speakers, we may be accustomed to reading/hearing "screams in pain" or "screams of pain" as opposed to "screams from pain," but I don't think it's a far stretch as it stands now, because "the pain of years" rather than just "pain" itself is the object of the preposition. Though unconventional, I don't see how it is wrong. However, your point about the relationship among choice of syntax, strength of images, and impact is very well expressed, agreed to, and duly noted.

 

As for line eight, I have to disagree. While it would certainly make things crystal clear if one were to say, I would die in a rat hole/if I wasn't too drunk to find one, I think, in this case, it's obvious the poet isn't equating the rat hole to the house itself, for if she was, she would not have any trouble finding it; she's already in the house.

 

Thank you my dear Tony for helping me here with explanations, so I don't have to say more and get lost in this deep and rich poetry discussion :) . You are always making things clearer. What I would do without you :@ - Thank you.

 

Though generally I don't edit Alek's comments (she tells me to :icon_razz: , but I do so only when she specifically asks me to :@@ ), I did help with editing this poem. Though I can't see any unforgivable errors in grammar and/or syntax, I'm always willing to learn.

 

Yea yea sure :D . Don't complain now, you agreed to be my teacher :D . And even if there are some errors it's gonna be your fault like a mentor of mine. :P

 

PS: Really Tony, thank you so much for your help - always. You are helping me improve my English and my poetry in English. I know I can be a bad student, but still I wouldn't even get this far if I didn't have you by my side in this world.

 

Aleksandra

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

History of Macedonia

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Tony,

 

The issues here are important. Your arguments make sense, but we can go a bit further, not argue against them. Alex can use all the help we can give her. I'm sure she can make an intelligent choice of what to accept. It is difficult to write in a foreign tongue (I do know!). Time is needed for total immersion until one thinks in that tongue when writing in it. I have used two Slavic languages, as well as Latvian, for as long as I could speak and can detect the native pattern behind her choice of words. It is quite obvious which parts you have or have not edited in all her poems I have had time to read. She has talent that needs polish and should not be alowed to go to waste.

 

My best (educated, I hope) opinion is still opinion. To keep it brief, I wrote a possible edit, with arguments for each case given as numbered notes. Some edits are syntactic, some point to a perhaps more literary diction. There are levels of language, any language. In poetry we seek a more literary not a vernacular level, the latter being OK when we imitate someone's speech.

 

I have done my best to avoid overdoing punctuation beyond what is needed to support syntax.

 

Do you know how long it has been

since I've thrown out the trash? 1)

The smell weaves drapes

out of cobwebs.

The rug, its mouth open, screams 2)

in pain from years under heavy feet 3)

on its crushed body.

I would die in a rat hole 4)

if I wasn't too drunk to find it.

 

Would you come to me,

to this burdensome house, filled

with baggage, the shades of spent lives, 5)

and a voice from the roof

where the rats, dancing with the homers

who never left,

lurk and laugh at me?

 

1)Conversational tone better than an assertion or assumption that reader knows "how long etc."

 

2) "its open mouth" tends to suggest it has more or at least one other that is "the closed mouth"

 

3) This confirms (per your note) that the object is a noun phrase and not "pain". "two" is superfluous unless there is only one person living here.

 

4) A definite article tends to refer to a single, specific item, most likely the subject/title of poem, i.e., "home", esp. since in that home there would be more than one "rat hole". Using the indefinite "a" removes guessing.

 

5) "baggage" is an excellent symbol for things accumulated (not suitcases, bags). Using the appositive, "shades etc.", could give it aperhaps more poetic, fuller feel.does this.

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Hi Ikars,

 

I had sent a PM to you on November 5th which addressed some of what you mention in your most recent reply. I can see from the pm tracker that you have not read that pm. Did you delete it by mistake? If so, I can resend it. It has titled "Re:help in ?navigation?"

 

I do like a few of the potential improvements you mentioned. Most notably, I agree that "two" is superfluous when "under heavy feet" will do. I didn't catch that in my editing, so thank you. The point about the open mouth is well-taken, but, as I mentioned in the pm, there were several things that were conscious decisions on Alek's part. She had articulable reasons for her choices. So, I must stress that it's not my poem. I'm merely replying from within the scope of my editorial involvement.

 

Let me know if I should resend the pm. I could, of course, just integrate the relevant parts from that into the thread here, but the pm is easier -- already done.

 

Tony

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

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Hi Ikars,

 

I had sent a PM to you on November 5th which addressed some of what you mention in your most recent reply. I can see from the pm tracker that you have not read that pm. Did you delete it by mistake? If so, I can resend it. It has titled "Re:help in ?navigation?"

 

I do like a few of the potential improvements you mentioned. Most notably, I agree that "two" is superfluous when "under heavy feet" will do. I didn't catch that in my editing, so thank you. The point about the open mouth is well-taken, but, as I mentioned in the pm, there were several things that were conscious decisions on Alek's part. She had articulable reasons for her choices. So, I must stress that it's not my poem. I'm merely replying from within the scope of my editorial involvement.

 

Let me know if I should resend the pm. I could, of course, just integrate the relevant parts from that into the thread here, but the pm is easier -- already done.

 

Tony

 

I might have erased the PM you sent inadvertently. Please do resend it. I have figured out most of it but the function of [+ QUOTE] eludes me.

 

It took me quite a while to reduce all that Alek's poem brought to mind to a more sensible brief. Her responses seem to show that my observations are not mostly BS. Looking back at my post I found a few things I let slip, esp. from the point that any word that does little to contribute to the sense of the poem is superfluous (e.g. "with", in L5), and I often find that I have to edit what I say more than once.

 

I would truely like to know the feeling/notion that would make me see "with its open mouth" as the choice, for it could be, and if I knew why, I would have grown wiser than I think I am.

 

You did not react to my edit re: baggage.

 

Ike

Edited by waxwings
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The pm sheds light on the reason for some of the choices in a more general sense. You do make some great points -- I really like how you reversed the order of baggage and shades -- but I'll defer to Alek and let her address the imagery itself (i.e. open mouth, baggage, etc.) and expressions. Otherwise, I'm likely to muddy the waters and cause confusion. In any case, I'll resend the pm, because it addresses a few other (unrelated) things you had inquired about.

 

Tony

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

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Aleks,

 

This is truly remarkable: solid images and a deep sense of the immediate horror in living- as if Dostoevsky had commented on the immediacy of his dwelling. As to the larger discussion of improving the poem- For what it’s worth- You can change and play infinitely- I think Ikars has a point about the syntax but native English speakers often spend years playing with language to create the unique perspective communicated in your lines- deliberately going against the grammar grain to reveal structural subtleties that communicate more than the standard innate syntax could-

Leslie Scalipino and other LANGUAGE poets come to mind- So, in my opinion the final success or failure is the response to the piece as a poem- and in that sense you have succeeded admirably and created a unique and powerful piece bust awful and Awe-Full…

 

Many, many thanks…

 

Dr. Con & Juris

(Who often battled with my grammarian Latvian mother ;-)

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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Tony,

The issues here are important. Your arguments make sense, but we can go a bit further, not argue against them. Alex can use all the help we can give her. I'm sure she can make an intelligent choice of what to accept. It is difficult to write in a foreign tongue (I do know!). Time is needed for total immersion until one thinks in that tongue when writing in it. I have used two Slavic languages, as well as Latvian, for as long as I could speak and can detect the native pattern behind her choice of words. It is quite obvious which parts you have or have not edited in all her poems I have had time to read. She has talent that needs polish and should not be alowed to go to waste.

 

Waxwings, let me first thank you for the effort of yours, for looking closely at this poem. I am thankful for the help and for your time. That shows me that the poem is worth talikng about :) . I am not so sure that you can tell with which parts Tony helped, because Tony doesn't edit my poems in the classical sense by taking them and changing them. It's not like that. So, nice that you had time to look in all the poems looking for Tony's edits, but I don't agree that you can tell which parts. About polishing the talent, yes, I agree. Every talent should be polished and never wasted. Thank you for that.

 

My best (educated, I hope) opinion is still opinion.

That is true. So long as there are different opinions, it's even better. It shows that the goal has been achieved.

 

I have done my best to avoid overdoing punctuation beyond what is needed to support syntax.

 

Do you know how long it has been

since I've thrown out the trash? 1)

***

1)Conversational tone better than an assertion or assumption that reader knows "how long etc."

Here, in this part, the reader should not even need to know. S/he can just guess, because here the narrator is talking to the house, in silence.

 

The rug, its mouth open, screams 2)

in pain from years under heavy feet 3)

on its crushed body.

***

2) "its open mouth" tends to suggest it has more or at least one other that is "the closed mouth"

 

3) This confirms (per your note) that the object is a noun phrase and not "pain". "two" is superfluous unless there is only one person living here.

About the expression: The rug with its open mouth screams * I am talking about an old rug with holes in it, so in that case the open mouth represents the hole in the rug. So, that's why that rug screams with its open mouth. I expressed it as a metaphor (from my imagination), knowing that I should feel it first before I present it to the reader.

 

As for suggestion 3), I would say that I agree about: in pain from years / BUT about heavy feet I would leave as it is two heavy feet. Why? Because it's under Two heavy feet, not under 4, 6 etc. So there I am making it clear that it's talking about one person there.

 

I would die in a rat hole 4)

if I wasn't too drunk to find it.

***

4) A definite article tends to refer to a single, specific item, most likely the subject/title of poem, i.e., "home", esp. since in that home there would be more than one "rat hole". Using the indefinite "a" removes guessing.

Yes waxwings, it would be used "a" if I was writing about more than one. In this poem, I am talking about the rathole -- the only one I know about.

 

Would you come to me,

to this burdensome house, filled

with baggage, the shades of spent lives, 5)

***

5) "baggage" is an excellent symbol for things accumulated (not suitcases, bags). Using the appositive, "shades etc.", could give it aperhaps more poetic, fuller feel.does this.

This make sense, I like it. It looks even better with the order changed.

 

Aleksandra

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

History of Macedonia

 

 

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It took me quite a while to reduce all that Alek's poem brought to mind to a more sensible brief. Her responses seem to show that my observations are not mostly BS. Looking back at my post I found a few things I let slip, esp. from the point that any word that does little to contribute to the sense of the poem is superfluous (e.g. "with", in L5), and I often find that I have to edit what I say more than once.

 

Definitely your observations are not mostly BS, I appreciate all observations waxwings, so I am not ignoring them ever.

 

I would truely like to know the feeling/notion that would make me see "with its open mouth" as the choice, for it could be, and if I knew why, I would have grown wiser than I think I am.

 

I hope now it's more clear after I declared about "with its open mouth" in my recent reply to you.

 

Aleksandra

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

History of Macedonia

 

 

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The pm sheds light on the reason for some of the choices in a more general sense. You do make some great points -- I really like how you reversed the order of baggage and shades -- but I'll defer to Alek and let her address the imagery itself (i.e. open mouth, baggage, etc.) and expressions. Otherwise, I'm likely to muddy the waters and cause confusion. In any case, I'll resend the pm, because it addresses a few other (unrelated) things you had inquired about.

 

Tony

 

Ah Tony, you are the only one who truly understands my poetry :) so you can't cause confusion. ( ok you can once in a while, when you are confused yourself but that is when I can't express myself :D ) - even this was confusing to say :D.

 

But as always, thank you for learning my poetry language :)

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

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Aleks,

 

This is truly remarkable: solid images and a deep sense of the immediate horror in living- as if Dostoevsky had commented on the immediacy of his dwelling. As to the larger discussion of improving the poem- For what it's worth- You can change and play infinitely- I think Ikars has a point about the syntax but native English speakers often spend years playing with language to create the unique perspective communicated in your lines- deliberately going against the grammar grain to reveal structural subtleties that communicate more than the standard innate syntax could-

Leslie Scalipino and other LANGUAGE poets come to mind- So, in my opinion the final success or failure is the response to the piece as a poem- and in that sense you have succeeded admirably and created a unique and powerful piece bust awful and Awe-Full…

 

Many, many thanks…

 

Dr. Con & Juris

(Who often battled with my grammarian Latvian mother ;-)

 

So Juris, this comment makes me feel better after this long discussion :). Thank you for your nice observations about my style.

 

Aleksandra

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

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I have just read your last and most illuminating reaction to all I have said re tightening up your poem. In a way, I guessed you were using symbols and speak allegorically.

 

Let me summarize.

 

L10 most definitely tells you are talking to someone, not the house. The opening line does not declare firmly who you are speaking to and it really does not matter, but you drift away from that and talk about other things until you get to L10. That is why I think you could use some other verbiage than "You know", but that is for you to resolve and all I can do is supply my unvarnished reaction to a most promising poem.

 

As for the rug, you do not make reader surmise there is that one hole you call its "open mouth". A mouth, more generally, can be closed too, but no one can scream with her/his/its mouth closed. You could work in that by merely saying, more or less, "its one and only mouth is open and screaming." The word order in English, an analytic language is a sure way to drastically change the meaning of a notion.

 

As for the "rathole", it is always one word and can mean either a "hole made by a rat" or any place that is run down and unatractive. If you have rats, it is more likely, whether you know it or not, that there are more than one rathole (they leave escape routes). It seems more poetically effective to crawl down "a rathole", any rathole and not "that rathole", the one you then appear to have visited before, are visitting habitually. Yes , in English, an analytic languagu, such small things do matter.

 

I hope you do not take my observations as put-downs. This is an excellent poem and yours to do with as you wish. I would hope you take what others have to say in account, but do resist any changes, unless you have taken time to see if they are worth it.

 

Your last post on this thread also proves that your English can be most eloquent and elegant.

 

waxwings

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As for the "rathole", it is always one word ...

I'll let Alek comment on the rest, Ike, but I will say that she went with two words (rat hole) because I said rathole is not a word found in my dictionary. It even comes up as an error, if it is used as one word, in the spell check feature here on the site.

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

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As for the "rathole", it is always one word ...

I'll let Alek comment on the rest, Ike, but I will say that she went with two words (rat hole) because I said rathole is not a word found in my dictionary. It even comes up as an error, if it is used as one word, in the spell check feature here on the site.

 

My spell-checker agrees with yours, but while my Webster's Collegiate does not even carry the word, the Unabridged and the huge International (I got it from our main library when they replaced it due to excessive wear) show it as one word, as does the Wicktionary. Go figure, but I am sure there are dictionaries which disagree.

 

Let's leave it up to Aleks, for this poem is not the issue, but it is of huge concern to me (who suffered for years till starting to try poetry in '83) to not let others (for whom English is not native) overlook that, in English, alternate ordering of same words can change the sense of what is being said and can do so drastically. Same goes for the specificity of such adjectives as the definite and the indefinite article.

 

Ike

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... but it is of huge concern to me (who suffered for years till starting to try poetry in '83) to not let others (for whom English is not native) overlook that, in English, alternate ordering of same words can change the sense of what is being said and can do so drastically. Same goes for the specificity of such adjectives as the definite and the indefinite article.

I will agree with you there. Word order and even how we pronounce a word as seemingly insignificant as an article -- with extra stress or without -- can make a world of difference in meaning, mood, tone, etc. Fortunately, typography (like italicization) can sometimes be used to help with exactness when communicating in literary modes.

 

Tony

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

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My God! That you can write like this in English ... I mean no offense, you know that, I live in a country where another language is spoken. I doubt I could write such a forceful poem in Japanese! This is excellent, Aleks, and I salute you!

 

Bren

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

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I have just read your last and most illuminating reaction to all I have said re tightening up your poem. In a way, I guessed you were using symbols and speak allegorically.

 

Let me summarize.

 

L10 most definitely tells you are talking to someone, not the house. The opening line does not declare firmly who you are speaking to and it really does not matter, but you drift away from that and talk about other things until you get to L10. That is why I think you could use some other verbiage than "You know", but that is for you to resolve and all I can do is supply my unvarnished reaction to a most promising poem.

I understand what you mean, waxwings. In L10, I do not speak to the house; I speak to somebody else. But, at the very beginning, there is different situation. That's why I wrote it the way I did.

 

As for the rug, you do not make reader surmise there is that one hole you call its "open mouth". A mouth, more generally, can be closed too, but no one can scream with her/his/its mouth closed. You could work in that by merely saying, more or less, "its one and only mouth is open and screaming."

I think you are wrong here. Have you ever felt some anger and pain in a moment when you can't scream loudly :) ?! Okay, that's not a very good example. But, my opinion is that one can even scream in an inner world ... without using the mouth. And, as far as the rug's (screaming) mouth / hole is concerned, I was hoping to show that kind of pain in a metaphorical way in which it is not so important how many holes there actually are. I wrote it in one metaphorical way: " The rug, with its open mouth screams ".

 

The word order in English, an analytic language is a sure way to drastically change the meaning of a notion.

I agree with this, waxwings. And I am aware of my way of writing in the English language. I am doing my best, but I'm not really trying to write a perfect English poem in which everything is totally clear. Why? Because I don't like that kind of poetry very much. I never read somewhere that poetry must be completely logical and appeal to every audience. What I mean is that poetry should have a free spirit and deep soul. I think that, instead of a poet explaining his poem, it would be better if the reader were to contemplate it. In other words, nothing can be "wrong" in poetry. A poem can only be clear or unclear to the reader, and that could very well be what determines whether or not a particular reader likes a particular poem. What I have to work on the most in my writing is grammar, so that it doesn't always end up like my fast comments :) ).

 

As for the "rathole", it is always one word and can mean either a "hole made by a rat" or any place that is run down and unatractive. If you have rats, it is more likely, whether you know it or not, that there are more than one rathole (they leave escape routes). It seems more poetically effective to crawl down "a rathole", any rathole and not "that rathole", the one you then appear to have visited before, are visitting habitually. Yes , in English, an analytic languagu, such small things do matter.

Don't you think that the narrator might have reasons to imagine only one rat hole? One thing is not clear to me. While reading all that you have written, I am wondering why you compare things in a poem, in a poetical world, with things in the real world? For example, in this case, you compare one house from a poem with a real house, etc. I don't think that poetry must always place clear picture in front of the reader. Of course, I know that there can be more rat holes in a house, but, in this poem (and in this house), I know that there is one.

 

I hope you do not take my observations as put-downs. This is an excellent poem and yours to do with as you wish. I would hope you take what others have to say in account, but do resist any changes, unless you have taken time to see if they are worth it.

 

Your last post on this thread also proves that your English can be most eloquent and elegant.

 

waxwings

 

Dear waxwings, you know that always I love to read what everybody has to say. And, if there is discussion, it's always useful to the writer. It all helps the writer to gain more experience and improve, even if he doesn't agree with everything others say. It's still worthwhile, and I appreciate it always. Thank you for the time and for your compliment :) .

 

Aleksandra

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

History of Macedonia

 

 

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My God! That you can write like this in English ... I mean no offense, you know that, I live in a country where another language is spoken. I doubt I could write such a forceful poem in Japanese! This is excellent, Aleks, and I salute you!

 

Bren

 

Bren, thank you for your kind compliment and perceptive comment. You're a kindred spirit.

 

Aleksandra :)

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

History of Macedonia

 

 

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