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Poetry Magnum Opus

You played for me


Benjamin
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Following the excellent memorial poems of Frank and Tinker, I decided to post this one which I wrote for my own mother who died after a long illness in 1985.

 

 

You played for me lost songs of long ago,

 

whilst seated at your old harmonium.

 

The pages turned and melodies would flow

 

as hidden feet trammelled at maximum.

 

Your hands would dance along the stops and keys

 

and we would sing the words to vibrant airs.

 

Bold stories, with refrains and harmonies,

 

of lovesick swains and maids at country fairs.

 

If I could recreate that long lost time,

 

I'd whisper music softly in your ear

 

to make your suffering change into a rhyme

 

of happiness, which knows no thought of fear.

 

To see you smile once more before you die,

 

with only tears of joy for me to cry.

Edited by Benjamin
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Very gentle and intense at the same time, Benjamin! The only possible nit is the rhyming (harmonium/ unison) in the first stanza.

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

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Frank E Gibbard

An excellent sonnet Geoff, I'm sure worthy of its personal subject, thanks for sharing with us here. I'd warrant harmoniums and melodeons don't get too many name checks these days. Earlier generations with Tink's charming memorial too are prominent this week.

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Love the deeply felt sentiment. I know and share the experience. You express yourself well in general, but I had toverlook the written record to get at the essential, poetic contentcore.

 

Wonderul startig line, but the (by an large) just as well crafted others suffer due to non-contributing Italics. Do you have a style manual? You are free to use the italics, but I, no matter how much I like the spoken, fail to see how that adds anything that the content and diction do not already do.

 

Does your PC/word processor not correct punctuation or were you too much emotion driven ( I sympathize) to pay attention?

 

A few word choices and a phrase or two do not fit, at least for me, the scene or a real-time observation, e.g., one dances along w/..., but your mother's hands dance to create the music, not along with it. Similarly, "...music (does not) flow as (in the manner of) feet that are being 'trammeled'. (BTW, the verb trammel is defined as prevent, impede, catch fish in a net etc.)

 

Some words/phrasing that may take more thinking discussing are merely underlined.

 

I used a copy of the poem's text to keep my 'editorial' comments as brief as possible. Let me know if my delving into your poems this way is unacceptable, but your basic acumen is too impressive for me to abstain unless you do say nay.

 

 

 

You played for me lost songs of long ago, ~re-used in L9; implies songs are irretrievable; nothing wrong w/ "the".

whilst seated at your old harmonium.

The pages turned and melodies would flow ~ Why not "Pages were..."; verb preferable to adjective.

as hidden feet trammelled at maximum.

 

Your hands would dance along the stops and keys, ~ "above", "over" seem more pertinent.

and we would sing the words to vibrant airs.[/i]

old stories, with refrains and harmonies(,)[/i]

of lovesick swains and maids at country fairs.

 

If I could recreate that long lost time,

I'd whisper music softly in your ear ~ ... ? softly whisper...

to make your suffering change into a rhyme

of happiness, which knows no thought of fear.

 

To see you smile once more before you die,

with only tears of joy for me to cry. ~ and? (not sure whose tears)

 

BTW, why do you format font type, style, size and color for each line rather than for a block of lines.

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Hello waxwings. My thanks to you for your time in reading this and for your in depth comments. The original format of this piece was an 18 line poem. I abbreviated it into this more concise form because the other four lines contained superfluous information. I didn't want it come over as emotional 'overkill'

 

I use Word Office. Org 3.1 for my writing. The full block of text here was screened and nominated to Arial size 11. I then copied and pasted it. If you see it as otherwise I'm baffled. I have an Indian poet friend on another forum who has complained to me similarly of mixed text and it's colour. I'll look into this. Perhaps the task of typing directly into 'new topic' (although tedious) would resolve the problem.

 

Punctuation: always a moot point though as you mentioned previously, a useful tool. I punctuated this piece sparingly and with feeling after reading it aloud.

 

http://' target="_blank">Trammel (the noun) is an instrument for gauging and adjusting parts of a machine: as a verb your definition is quite correct, perhaps I should have used treadled, or pedalled. Recalling the instrument in question, it had a flat footpad for both feet, the right foot was placed slightly in front of the left to facilitate a rocking movement. This action operated a bellows and was restricted, which is why I opted for trammelled and the allusion that the hidden feet were trapped.

 

Your editorial points are all valid, particularly helpful and welcome. I shall address them in revision.

 

I have no objections at all to your “delving” into my poems. I admire and respect your intellect and ability. It would be extremely blinkered of me to refuse an opportunity to take something from your long experience. Perhaps it would be prudent of me to make future postings also in the 'workshop'. I'd hate to upset Tony on this thread. :icon_sunny: Benjamin

 

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Though I didn't see the eighteen line version, I think you did the right thing paring this down to a sonnet. The subject matter molds well into the brevity of the form. Thanks for sharing it, Benjamin.

 

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. My thanks to you for your time in reading this and for your in depth comments. The original format of this piece was an 18 line poem. I abbreviated it into this more concise form because the other four lines contained superfluous information. I didn't want it come over as emotional 'overkill'

What a delightful response! I find it makes the time I spent wort while. How else can poets progress if not by listening to each other and making honest heartfelt contributions to a discussion as I have tried to start on matters that may bear on more than just a single poem. (Do join that discussion if you find time.) It crossed my mind that you possibly did some reduction for the edits I made were motivated by a perhaps missing linkword or to.

 

I use Word Office. Org 3.1 for my writing. The full block of text here was screened and nominated to Arial size 11. I then copied and pasted it. If you see it as otherwise I'm baffled. I have an Indian poet friend on another forum who has complained to me similarly of mixed text and it's colour. I'll look into this. Perhaps the task of typing directly into 'new topic' (although tedious) would resolve the problem.

 

I am not familiar w/the whole of Office. I use Word and do my formatting, and never thought to look at my own posts as 'quotes' to see how this Editor reacts. If my formatting does not show up in Preview Post as I intended it to be, I use this Editor to alter it. It uses html which may fight the 'rich text editor' of MS Word. This site offers one too, if you so opt, but I 've gotten used to get by w/o. BTW, I use Ariel and whatever size in composing but see no need to specify color or anything else. My touch typing is nothing to brag about.

 

Punctuation: always a moot point though as you mentioned previously, a useful tool. I punctuated this piece sparingly and with feeling after reading it aloud.

 

In certain cases punctuation is more than a 'useful tool', but I share your bent for punctuating sparingly. MS word does show a wavy green underline when I mispunctuate or my syntax goes off. Since English is not my native tongue, that helps me to learn, for it is now is clear: 60 years of it is still not enough in literary art.

 

<a href="http://" target="_blank"></a>Trammel (the noun) is an instrument for gauging and adjusting parts of a machine: as a verb your definition is quite correct, perhaps I should have used treadled, or pedalled. Recalling the instrument in question, it had a flat footpad for both feet, the right foot was placed slightly in front of the left to facilitate a rocking movement. This action operated a bellows and was restricted, which is why I opted for trammelled and the allusion that the hidden feet were trapped.

 

I'm an engineer & should know what the noun means, but surprised to find it also stands for a device for fishing. BTW, I now recall feet are 'hidden' when playing a harmonium? Guess I've not paid attention to that. I could not come up with a more widely recognized word, but your "treadled" is what I was trying to recall as the need for operating a bellows. You are right in not choosing "pedaled" for that is more for organs, pipe or otherwise where the bellows are not operated by feet. Treadle is the system for converting linear motion to a circular one.

 

Your editorial points are all valid, particularly helpful and welcome. I shall address them in revision.

 

I have no objections at all to your “delving” into my poems. I admire and respect your intellect and ability. It would be extremely blinkered of me to refuse an opportunity to take something from your long experience. Perhaps it would be prudent of me to make future postings also in the 'workshop'. I'd hate to upset Tony on this thread. :icon_sunny: Benjamin

 

 

I wonder if there are some restrictions/penalties to have more than a modicum of text per post in Member Poems. It was my guess your knowledge is as substantial as mine, perhaps more so in certain areas of literary art and literature in general, beyond mere poetry. I hope tonyv straightens me out. There are nothing but good pems here, but most are not written that well, and I will not touch them, because the effort would be a multiple of this one.

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I wonder if there are some restrictions/penalties to have more than a modicum of text per post in Member Poems ... I hope tonyv straightens me out.

No, Ikars, there are no restrictions or limitations on length of posts or discussions anywhere on the board. The logic behind the separation of general comments and detailed critiques goes something like this:

 

* A member is ostensibly aware of the rules. He understands that if he desires in-depth critique of his poem he should put it in the Workshop or put (CA), which means "critique appreciated," in the title line of his poem if he chooses to place it in the Member Poetry forum. This way, other members can be sure that the member who has posted a poem desires critical analysis. Otherwise there's no way to know.

 

The Member Poetry forum is supposed to function primarily as a showcase for poems, and it shouldn't be presumed that members who post there are soliciting critical commentary. It's fine if critical commentary and such discussions take place in the Member Poetry forum so long as it's okay with the member who posted the poem. But it's important to recognize that not all members who post poems in the Member Poetry forum are soliciting workshop style comments; it's important to recognize and respect that some members post for other reasons. Perhaps they are posting works which they consider finished, and they are doing so simply for fun, hoping to receive just general feedback, not feedback that presumes they intend to gut, revise, or otherwise substantially alter their works.

 

As I said, the in depth discussion and analysis is fine in Member Poetry if it's known that the poet welcomes it. But, it's also important to remember that a member who wants workshop style comments on one or some of his poems might not want it on all of his poems. Adhering strictly to the rules is foolproof. Here's an example:

 

* William Shakespeare is an individual and valued member of the community. He's not completely satisfied with a poem he wrote and desires workshop style commentary. He puts the poem in Member Poetry and adds the requisite (CA) to the title line, so that it looks like this: Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day (CA). Thus, the rest of us well-meaning members will know that we can shred that poem (constructively, of course). Result: Shakey gets the constructive workshop-style feedback he desires from his helpful peers, and everybody is happy. Then if aspiring poet William Shakespeare decides to showcase another poem in Member Poetry (one with which he's abundantly pleased), he omits the (CA), and the rest of we members will know that this guy is posting for some other reason. Then again, I also see members who state they want criticism but are not using (CA) in the title lines. I'm unable to advise about that.

 

As for the "rules" or guidelines, so to speak, they are all logical. There are other reasons for adhering to them in the best way we practically can, too. For example, I myself welcome all feedback on all my poems no matter where I post them. But I like the topics I start in the Member Poetry showcase to contain the most recent, revised versions ... and I like those versions to be at the tops of their respective threads. That's where I want to showcase my best work. Not other versions, not three versions, the best I can do. Others can do as they please, but I'm posting my substantially completed works to both Member Poetry and the Workshop. That way, if I see my Member Poetry topic becoming too confusing with discussions about grammar and punctuation, I can move those replies to the corresponding Workshop topic while leaving the more general ones in the Member Poetry forum. And after all, not all members even want to make critical comments. I want all comments, general and specific.

 

Benjamin, sorry for all of this here in your topic. I just hope it helps anyone who comes across it. If I see another discussion topic into which this reply will fit, I'll move it there.

 

Tony

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

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Thanks, tonyv! I have understood, if not fully' and am in total agreement with the rules of this forum. I wish to somehow contribute, but while I see some essentially good/promising poems that rouse my sense of wonder if the author has missed some simple mechanism that has been long proven to make most memorable a poem of what I would think has not had the authors most serious attention.

 

In essence, if authors do remember to mark poems of somewhat risky/possibly offensive nature, should it not be a similar courtesy to add the CA, to keep those who see things in a way I do out of it.

 

I cannot help bleeding over poem that fall just an iota or two of being top notch, and it takes time to do a helpful review and not in an academic two-bit word style but in as simple tarms as is possible.

 

I think I can manage to do what I think is significant in other ways. Let's consider this question exhausted.

 

And thanks for your forbearance.

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