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Poetry Magnum Opus

The Chinese Sprinter


JoelJosol

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He lies on the ground, fallen

like a house collapsed by a great quake

whose door was used for his makeshift bed,

after clearing debris off him.

 

The tremor was like a sprinter

running past him,

but his legs failed to deliver more,

stumbling over the shaking earth.

 

His friend later found him

among the rows of the dead,

found him curled,

as if running away still.

 

He was identified by these:

white rubber shoes,

jogging suit in red and blue,

a Chinese textbook over his face.

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

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The sprinter metaphor works well, Joel, and you captured the devastation of the natural disaster quite effectively by focusing on one of the victims. I especially like the "identification":

JoelJosol wrote:

 

He was identified by these:

white rubber shoes,

jogging suit in red and blue,

a Chinese textbook over his face.

It adds a level of anonymity: he was obviously someone, but he could have been anyone.

 

Tony

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

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Thank you, Tony. It's my way of expressing grief that I felt upon seeing the victims.

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

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Frank E Gibbard

Very effective engaging with the individual caught up in tragedy as illustrated by Tony's extract keeping abreast of current sad events. Put over with your usual grasp of occasion and your empathy. Frank

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Aleksandra

Wonderful and strong expressing Joel. I agree with Tony, it could be anyone. The grief is so big and you are making so close to the reader. this poem works so well. The metaphors and imageries are done on right and quality way.

 

I loved this poem Joel. It's so strong and sensitive.

 

Thanks for sharing my friend.

 

Aleksandra

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

History of Macedonia

 

 

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Thank you, Frank and Alek.

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

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Thanks Joel for writing this earthquake poem. Like Tony, I also like the metaphor 'sprinter' and the images of suits, shoes, textbooks as identifiers of the dead one. My thoughts are with those who are suffering in the quake.

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You're welcome, Lake.

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

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goldenlangur

Hi JoelJosol,

 

You manage to convey a vivid sense of a life interrupted, a dream extinguished. The "unnamed" victim is quite a poignant image - makes the reader think more about all the possible scenarios about his life, identity and even hopes. That these questions cannot be answered adds to the tragedy.

 

goldenlangur

goldenlangur

 

 

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

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Hi Joel, The "everyman" you create to deliver the metaphor gave your poem skin and bone, someone we could touch, someone we could mourn. This is the power of your poem. And I love the title, it was irrisistible.

 

In the way of critique, there was a little conflict for me. I wasn't sure if the sprinter was the earthquake or the victim of the earthquake. The 1st stanza "he" was the victim. The 2nd stanza "he" was the earthquake. The 3rd stanza he again is the victim and the last stanza "he" is dressed in running clothes. I went back and forth with the imagery, a little unsure.

 

Dispelling my confusion, the poem was thoughtful and moving.

 

~~Tink

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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

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The confusion was intentional, Tinker. The sprinter really refers to the quake but the data on the victim, a Chinese, in jogging suit, running in the face of the quake, tries to compete with the actual sprinter.

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

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