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Anna Livia


dedalus

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liffeyswim.jpg

 

Old lazy lizardslither

you come swiftly softly down

concomitantly coiling

on your way to Dublin Town.

 

Here be a bridge, be water,

be people walking, talking

in a rapid half-sung dialect,

warbling inta mobile phones.

 

I hear tones of sub-aqueous

subterranean splendour, raising

the heads of sleeping river gods,

the Lord of Light, hidden spirits

within ancient aching stones.

 

picture: Jack B. Yeats: The Liffey Swim

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

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I love this compact, lyrical work, Brendan, and how you personify/address the river. I also love how you introduce the human element into the mix.

 

Thanks also for including the colorful image. Was it inspirational or simply incidental to the poem?

 

Tony

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

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I like how you changed the first line ... for sound. I present another option: O you lazy lizardslither, omitting "old."

 

I also like what you did by omitting the colon, but keeping it would have been okay, too. That is, so long as the following line were to begin with a lower case letter (the word "here").

 

Tony

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

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I like the way you make me feel part of the scene w/ folks around talking in that mellow Irish brougue, and I love rereading a nice poem, but to do so just because I must figure where and how long the pauses should be for better transmission of your observation is not it.

 

I may be all wrong/wet, but meseems you are telling of some ancient beliefs/practices which could enchant the reader but are unfamiliar to her/him, even to the point I feel robbed by not knowing enough of that background to enjoy this poem even more.

 

A few comments, below, on parts I have a quibble on. The main such is your disdain of punctuation in whose absence/overkill apparently sweet images seem to be too vague to be enjoyed fully.

 

 

You old lazy lizardslither,

you come swiftly, softly down, ~~~~ meaning? swiftly and softly or swiftly-softly

concomitantly coiling

on your way to Dublin Town.

Here be a bridge, be water,

be people walking, talking ~ by comparison, this is definitely "walking and talking"

in their half-sung dialect,

warbling inta mobile phones. (:) colon has no guessable function but to confuse; what follows is not a clarification of the preceding but a new sentence.

Here be tones of sub-aqueous, ~~~ again, do you mean "and" or a compond (by hyphenation) adjective

subterranean splendour(,) raising ~~~ why separate the subject, "splendour", from its predicate.

the heads of sleeping River Gods, ~~~ another instance of wondering who they are, beyond being seemingly important ,due to that capitalization.

the Lord of Light, hidden spirits ~~~~~ Gods and spirits are plural but are paralleled/lumped w/ a singular "Lord", christian?, meriting u.c.?

within ancient, aching stones. ~~~~~~same "and" question.

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Brilliant Bren,

 

Reminds me of my immersion in FW all those many years ago: Good old HCE and ALP- a very musical, very entertaining very grand piece!

 

 

Appreciate Greatly!

 

DC&J

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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Sincere thanks to Tony (as ever) and to the Doctor, and a special mark of gratitude to waxwings for taking the time and trouble to go into the poem in detail. I could learn from your example :blush: .

 

I could go into the various queries you raise in detail but the precision points of grammar are not much in my mind when I write these things; naturally, I think about them a bit more when I go back to brush up. In fact, I did think about them to some extent, as the revision from the previous version shows quite clearly: the wording alters here and there but so does the grammar. Why? I need to refer to your critique on a separate screen as the points come up!

 

Well, no, that's too clumsy: let's just print it out.

 

You old lazy lizardslither,

you come swiftly, softly down, ~~~~ meaning? swiftly and softly or swiftly-softly

concomitantly coiling

on your way to Dublin Town.

Here be a bridge, be water,

be people walking, talking ~ by comparison, this is definitely "walking and talking"

in their half-sung dialect,

warbling inta mobile phones. ( :) colon has no guessable function but to confuse; what follows is not a clarification of the preceding but a new sentence.

Here be tones of sub-aqueous, ~~~ again, do you mean "and" or a compond (by hyphenation) adjective

subterranean splendour(,) raising ~~~ why separate the subject, "splendour", from its predicate.

the heads of sleeping River Gods, ~~~ another instance of wondering who they are, beyond being seemingly important ,due to that capitalization.

the Lord of Light, hidden spirits ~~~~~ Gods and spirits are plural but are paralleled/lumped w/ a singular "Lord", christian?, meriting u.c.?

within ancient, aching stones. ~~~~~~same "and" question.

 

There's no real conflict in the 2nd and 6th lines, commas or no: there's no real distinction in L.2, and L.6 is a run-on implying that while walking people are talking on their mobile phones.

 

The colon after mobile phones is considered. I want to keep the first four lines separate as an Intro. The following nine lines are connected by two linked but separate thoughts and should therefore NOT be divided without risk of losing the unity, or in other words, the essence of their connectivity. What happens here is a clarification in the sense that it connects the quotidian daily instantaneous events to the underlying (subterranean, sub-aqueous, too, since we're talking about a river and water!) mythical past.

 

'Splendour' is not a subject in this wording: it is the object of the preposition "of" in which the main sentence is "here be tones" and there is an attempt by euphony to connect these tones to the phones of the previous line and thus reinforce the connection while also suggesting the ambiguity of its meaning: vibrations from the past plus ring tones.

 

The River Gods are capitalised (being gods, it seems the least one can do!) to match the Lord of Light, a specific quite singular figure in Celtic mythology, a gentleman by the name of Lugh -- after which Lugh-Dunum (the Fort of Lugh) is named: present-day London. The river gods (they look puny in lower-case letters, admit it) are plural and so are the spirits in the stones (by which I mean to imply the long-dead builders) whereas Lugh was splendidly solitary.

 

I appreciate the way you look at a poem and try to take it apart. In an equal and opposite way that's how I write them ... well, the good and serious ones, anyway. Grammar and punctuation is not a pooh-pooh don't bother me deal. It's an essential part of how a poem is put together. I know that. I also think I knew what I was doing here.

 

My explanations may fail to convince you but at least you will know where I'm coming from. This is kind of a first for me. I have talked about poetry in general terms many times before but I have never (to my knowledge) gone into any detail about how I deal with technical problems. Thanks for that!

 

Slán mo chara,

dedalus

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

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Me again

 

On second thoughts, I have reduced the River Gods to lower-case river gods. They were, come to think of it, rather puny. Only Lugh, the Lord of Light, deserves his capitals! But so does Mananaan -- the Lord of the Sea:

 

Flow over them

with your waves and with your waters,

Mananaan, Mananaan MacLir!

 

D.

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

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  • 2 weeks later...
Aleksandra

Bren, this poem is one of your best. I love the second stanza where you got almost the sacred tone in your lines:

 

Here be a bridge, be water,

be people walking, talking

in a rapid half-sung dialect,

warbling inta mobile phones.

 

Anna Livia, is very inspirational term and I am not wondering how you wrote this wonderful piece.

Thanks for sharing this poem and the image also.

 

Aleksandra

 

PS: You can also include that link of your blog in our Promotions forum, if you want of course. I think it belongs there.

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

History of Macedonia

 

 

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Hi Brennan, The musicality of your words flow like the sounds of the river itself... I find myself not caring what you are saying as much as getting lost in listening to how you say it. As always I loved it.

 

~~Tink

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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

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