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Yaël


tonyv

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I never built a cabin in the woods
or worked for longer than a few straight days
on anything. I can't even count the ways
I've squandered all my time and worldly goods.
And no one ever brought me Chinese birds
for a job well done, because a job not done
is not well done. I've neither fought, nor won.

She has always been more good with words,
and work, and money. Even her old man,
made of medals, scored in lustrous wars.
And now, she has her own fine man who can
do anything with all those open doors,
bonuses, when she is in his plan!
And I am stealing small things from big stores.
________________________________

Yaël (a given name)
Chinese Duck

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Hi Tony,

 

I agree with badge's comment - this poem seems eminently publishable. I hope you're working towards publication with a collection. Rich in tone, imagery and resonance:

 

..... Even her old man,

made of medals, scored in lustrous wars. ....

 

This is quite unforgettable!

 

 

Thank you.

goldenlangur

 

 

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

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Tony,

 

Agree whole heartedly with the sentiments expressed by my peers- Seriously. This is very, very, very good- Simple, direct, modern and yet Timeless- as all great poetry is- Time to put a collection together-

 

Dr. Con & Juris

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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Larsen M. Callirhoe

tony this is a treat to read. one of your best. mesmerising and tantalizing it grabs you as though this was meant to be. this is why i read and write poetry. several lines are very memorable. i just hope one of my lines in any of my poems is just as memorable as this whole poem. your whole poem made me think of a few strong images. mostly i want to know more from the writer's memory and mind. bravo.

Larsen M. Callirhoe

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And I would give all my poem, to have such a wonderful comments :) . Tony count on me when you publish a book ;) .

 

This is wonderful poem with interesting expression and imagery. The narrator seems to be anger with him self in some melancholy way. Full of desires and watching in his own mirror someone's else reflection. You break the poem on two parts while making some invisible connection. In the first part is the narrator and in the second one the ideal, the example on which you make a comparison. The self criticism is expressed in the best ironical way. There is the feeling of guilty, accusing, weakness. All of that provokes the last line, where you are saying: -- And I am stealing small things from big stores. -- That shows the paradox in life, on having and loosing, or image of what we are in real -- so small.

But all is game, you take it or leave it. The life is offering always.

 

I needed a time to get this poem done in my mind, in real way. And now I happy because I can relate to the same.

 

Tony, you have a strong literal tongue. Your rich vocabulary and sense for unique expressions never stops to attract me.

 

Aleksandra

 

PS: The title is as always. Brilliant and very questionable. Always makes me wonder.

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

History of Macedonia

 

 

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Larsen M. Callirhoe

another comment by me if i may please. i have studied hebrew immesilby and yael is a hebrew word. fast scrolling led me to the song new soul. a powerful song. if this is not a tribute to her yael naim i am clueless. this poem is so deep and cleverly weaved. i can't stop thinking about this one. i haven't touched reality with the world especially the music world since my accident. i have over 200 music cd that i listen very little to the radio anymore. sad because i didnt realise how much i listed to the radio as mainstream music back then. i missed a gem alright in yael niam;s song.

Edited by Larsen M. Callirhoe

Larsen M. Callirhoe

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I may need more time to do justice to this.

 

This poem has a classic feel to it and, though a few minor corrections are needed, I would call it one of the best 10 or 20 poems of the countless many it has been my pleasure to read in my lifetime.

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A. Baez

We have talked about this privately and I have elaborated upon my agreement with the general accolades of all. I was just now revisiting this and thinking more deeply about it. A few things have occurred to me.

I am uncertain as to the intended reference and relevance to the poem of the title (did you explain this to me?); to me, this confusion does not work to support the poem's narrative.

Quote

for a job well done. For a job not done

I realize I've been tripping over the second sentence because I expect "for" to follow the same meaning as it does in the preceding line, not to mean "because." Perhaps just

for a job well done--a job not done

would work? (I love the irony of this line.)

Quote

But now, she has a young man. Here he can
do anything with all those open doors,
bonuses, when she is in the plan!

I'm getting a bit caught up here even since you've adopted my suggestion revision of "how" to "here." For one thing, I realize that "young man" has me debating as to whether this refers to the woman's husband/partner or her son, since the expression "young man" is so often used to address a male kid. I also keep thinking "when she is" sounds like a convoluted variant on "with her," contrived to fit the meter. "When" sounds like it could be referring to some future and/or conditional time, not the present reality that you intend. I was wondering if these three lines might flow somewhat more clearly and smoothly in some variation like the following:

And now she has her own fine man, who can

do anything with all those open doors,

bonuses, with her ace in the plan!

 

I won't repeat all my accolades here, but I will say that I love that last line, which has a universal, symbolic resonance. 🙂

 

 

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9 hours ago, A. Baez said:

I am uncertain as to the intended reference and relevance to the poem of the title (did you explain this to me?); to me, this confusion does not work to support the poem's narrative.

I did mention to you that I used a footnote and that the word used as the title is a Nubian ibex and a given name. In the case of this poem, it's a woman's name.

9 hours ago, A. Baez said:

I realize I've been tripping over the second sentence because I expect "for" to follow the same meaning as it does in the preceding line, not to mean "because." Perhaps just

for a job well done--a job not done

The bigger problem I see in this line is a metrical flaw!!! It's short a foot! That's just wrong. "Because" in lieu of "for" would fix the flaw:

for a job well done, because a job not done ...

I'll have to think about all of this and look at this line in context, not just by itself. Good catch!

9 hours ago, A. Baez said:

(I love the irony of this line.)

I do, too. 

9 hours ago, A. Baez said:

I'm getting a bit caught up here even since you've adopted my suggestion revision of "how" to "here." For one thing, I realize that "young man" has me debating as to whether this refers to the woman's husband/partner or her son, since the expression "young man" is so often used to address a male kid. I also keep thinking "when she is" sounds like a convoluted variant on "with her," contrived to fit the meter. "When" sounds like it could be referring to some future and/or conditional time, not the present reality that you intend. I was wondering if these three lines might flow somewhat more clearly and smoothly in some variation like the following:

And now she has her own fine man, who can

do anything with all those open doors,

bonuses, with her ace in the plan!

That's close. Maybe something like this:

And now she has her own fine man, who can
do anything with all those open doors,
bonuses, when she is in his plan!

9 hours ago, A. Baez said:

... I will say that I love that last line ...

It's one of my best lines in one of my best poem, I think. :-8) Thank you for resurrecting this old one and for all the thought you've put into it. I will let you know as soon as I deal with these issues, and I think it will be soon! 🙂

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A. Baez
Quote

I did mention to you that I used a footnote and that the word used as the title is a Nubian ibex and a given name. In the case of this poem, it's a woman's name.

You know I'm observant and that I would have seen the footnote whether you mentioned it to me or not. 😘 But my point is twofold--1) why even mention the freaking Nubian ibex in the footnote if it has zero to do with the poem? and 2) why is this poem, if it is named after a female, apparently named after the female character in it? To me, the narrator stands out definitively as being the subject of the poem: he dominates the first stanza and he gets the last line. You could just call the poem "Tõnis"! 😀

Quote

The bigger problem I see in this line is a metrical flaw!!! It's short a foot! That's just wrong.

Well, the line seemed clunky to me, but you used subs in such a way here that I couldn't really tell what was trying to happen metrically. If "because" fixes things, that's ideal, imo.

Quote

And now she has her own fine man, who can
do anything with all those open doors,
bonuses, when she is in his plan!

Now, I'm not a big fan of "her ace" in the third line here either, either in terms of meaning or flow, and what I really wanted to say was just "with her;" which of course didn't fit metrically. But you've already heard my concerns about "when" and its surrounding phraseology. My other idea was to use "now" instead of "when," since at least "now" doesn't carry a connotation of futurity or conditionality. However, that would give you two "nows" repeating in these three lines. I do like your change of "the" to "his"--the loss of slangy feel is made up for by the gain in specificity, I think. So maybe your latest version is the best overall.

Quote

Thank you for resurrecting this old one

I had read it before you personally brought it to my attention; I wish I had the time to comment on all the older works of yours that I've read so far! They certainly have prompted thought. 💡

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3 minutes ago, A. Baez said:

You know I'm observant and that I would have seen the footnote whether you mentioned it to me or not.

Yes, I do. 😏

4 minutes ago, A. Baez said:

To me, the narrator stands out definitively as being the subject of the poem: he dominates the first stanza and he gets the last line. You could just call the poem "Tõnis"! 😀

You are too funny! 🤣 You know I'm way to shy to name it after myself and much too whipped to not name it after the idealized woman who is the subject of the poem. The title stays!

8 minutes ago, A. Baez said:

Well, the line seemed clunky to me, but you used subs in such a way here that I couldn't really tell what was trying to happen metrically. If "because" fixes things, that's ideal.

Actually, taken by itself the line isn't metrically flawed:

/ ^FOR / a JOB / well DONE / for a JOB / NOT DONE /
/ headless iamb / iamb / iamb / anapest / spondee / 

-- but when reading from the preceding line, the first foot comes across as an anapest, and the flaw becomes apparent:

/ for a JOB / well DONE / for a JOB / not DONE /

With "because" it would look like this:

/ for a JOB / well DONE / beCAUSE / a JOB / not DONE /
/ anapest / iamb / iamb / iamb / iamb /

I'll read the poem a bunch more times and decide.

25 minutes ago, A. Baez said:

Now, I'm not a big fan of "her ace" in the third line here either, either in terms of meaning or flow, and what I really wanted to say was just "with her;" which of course didn't fit metrically. But you've already heard my concerns about "when" and its surrounding phraseology. My other idea was to use "now" instead of "when," since at least "now" doesn't carry a connotation of futurity or conditionality. I do like your change of "the" to "his"--it adds to specificity. So how about this?

Perhaps "since" would work. I'll ponder this some more.

26 minutes ago, A. Baez said:

I had read it before you personally brought it to my attention; I wish I had the time to comment on all the older works of yours that I've read so far! They certainly have prompted thought. 💡

We can always talk about them. It's faster! 😉 Thank you, again.

 

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

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A. Baez

"You know I'm way too shy to name it after myself and much too whipped to not name it after the idealized woman who is the subject of the poem."

My my point was that she is not the subject of the poem! Frankly, I think you're just infatuated with the exotic sound of her name. 😉 And you didn't answer my Nubian ibex question. Now, I wasn't seriously suggesting you name the poem after yourself, but I do think that as an artist, you'd be greatly served by stepping back and trying to see this poem as a reader is more likely to see it. Yael in this poem is just a catalyst that brings out the narrator's long-standing struggles--if it were not her, it would have been someone or something else, and it likely has been other things, both before and since. The best that this poem has to offer is not about her, per se; I see it as along the lines of Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology poems--narrators' lives distilled into a few telling particulars. Notice that these poems, even ones that feature love stories, are all titled after their narrators. However, I can see an ideal title for your poem as not necessarily a person's name (which could be fictional, you know) but something more general. Again, I think that where you trip up most in your poems is when you get wrapped up in yourself to the extent that you start losing sight of the bigger artistic picture. People are generally most affected by poems in which they perceive some aspect of universal truth, not just enter an unguided tour of someone else's jagged and quirky reality. In this poem, I think you hit this ideal on the head everywhere except for in the title.

I think you pinpointed what I was experiencing with the meter in the "job well done" line: it's experienced differently on its own than it is in context. So now, go at it accordingly!

Please refresh my above comments because I rethought the ones about "when"/"now" before you answered them. I don't care overly for "since," but I recognize that you have a conundrum here.

"We can always talk about them. It's faster😉"

Well, it may seem that way, but as you see in this case, my more incisive thoughts all came after the fact, in writing. 😉

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  • 4 weeks later...
David W. Parsley

First time I have seen this one, Tony.  I like the supple, almost invisible use of form.  The irony paired with an ability to at least self-critique if not actually change.  Looks like a castle to me!

- Dave

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Dave, thank you for your kind reply on this old favorite of mine. It's a pleasure to see you!

Tony

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