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Kristallnacht


dedalus
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As rude armed men

shatter the windows,

my cat, forever

feminine, dreams of food

and simple affection.

She leaps upon the page

in want of both,

here and now.

 

A separate arrogance

lies behind these

eternal scribblings,

I say to the cat, as I

stroke her softness,

hide the parchment,

then head for the door

for what will follow.

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

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Exceptionally well-composed, Brendan. Your use of the first person is perfect. The first verse imparts a detached mood -- almost cozy! -- while the ominous ending leaves this reader understandably unsettled.

 

Tony

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

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A very incisive poem, considering you most likely were not born then or not old enough to know the true experience.

Even I, having spoken to one who knew, could not bring it off. It is proof that a poem may be fiction and that thoughtful immersion in history can bear unexpected fruit.

 

I am specially impressed by the second stanza, even as I wonder why you ascribe a special arrogance to self, or so it seems.

 

I still fail to grasp why do English speakers use "as" in cases where either "when" or "while" (depending on other detail,seem to be the more pertinent term. Am I totally wrong in thinking that what is precisely meant is 'my cat dreams of food and simple affection [in the same way] as men shatter windows'. The reason I ask is that my linguistic sense tells me that, unless two actios are both: and instantaneous the two alternatives to "as" I mentioned are more pertinent even if in common speach it may not matter either way, but seems do in poetry. Does my grasp of English not subject to that notion?

 

In the second stanza, would it be uncalled for to omitt the 'as I', which I think does nothing to add to already a very poignant observation.

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Hi Brendan, You forever educate me. I love reading your work and this was no exception. Of course I know of the Holacaust but I was unaware there was a single night of terror that seems to have jumpstarted the whole thing. I would say they were more than "rude men". Your poem seems so calm, in light of what I just read of Kristallnacht.

 

Of course as a beginning of something terrible, we don't always understand what is happening. I think of 9-11 and wonder about the planes that flew into the Trade Center and flight 93, the plane that crashed in a field. The passengers of flight 93 fought back knowing the purpose of the hijacking. While the passengers of the planes that took down the Trade Center were ignorant of the impact of the mission, they didn't understand what was happening. I think the concept of an attack of such magnitude, so inconcievable that it didn't occur to them. If they did have some inkling it came too late, they stayed calm too long.

 

~~Tink

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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

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I applaud your excellent poem: It offers a small insight to a much larger issue which can be summed up in the words of Edmund Burke. “"All that is required for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing."” The madness of what happened in Germany during the 1930's was the culmination of a nation impoverished after the first world war; coupled with clever manipulation by disciples of a ruthless single minded ideology. It's a fascinating subject, for the leader tried to emulate Ancient Rome, down to the 'Hail Caesar' salute. Repercussions shaped the way our modern world now stands. I agree with Tinker, they were more than just “"Rude men".” Benjamin

Edited by Benjamin
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This came to me as a whole and I didn't have to make many changes ...

 

Tony - thanks, I guess, but it came out in a burst.

 

Waxy - English comes naturally, and the use of the most difficult and inexplicable features of the language, such as prepositions, two-word verbs and time markers, is a matter of long usage. As an English teacher myself I understand your occasional queries. In many cases there are no grammatical rules laid down. In a number of cases words such as 'while', 'as', 'during', 'when' can be (sometimes) used interchangably and so can the relative pronouns of 'that' and 'which'. It's all very confusing. English, shall we say, is not a logical language grammatically, possibly because of its mongel heritage from Anglo-Saxon, Norse, Norman French (a dialect) and borrowings from Latin and Greek. The spelling system - another feature of its variegated history - is probably one of the most illogical, difficult and frustrating systems in the world. That's why even native speakers depend on Spell-Check. I welcome your questions about usage but I cannot always defend them on grammatical grounds. Take a simple example: "Who's there?" -- "It's me!". This is wrong, wrong, wrong! The copula (Be-verb) can never take the objective me and so the obviously correct response should be "It is I!" Who the hell ever says that? Some weird people. 'Oh, you must come and have dinner with my wife and I' is equally wrong because the object of the preposition 'with' puts all following nouns into the objective case, i.e. not 'I' but 'me'. And so on forever and ever. When in doubt, go with usage not grammar .... !

 

Incidentally, poetry is a great play on language: defy rules, see how far you can go!

 

Benjamin -

Burke and me attended the same college in Dublin. We didn't hang about, he was there a bit before me ....

 

Tink - As a European (no matter how far West) the Nazis scared the bejesus out of my parents' and grandparents' generation in Ireland. We remained rather shamefacedly neutral because our government of the time was composed of people who had actively rebelled against the British Empire and were not going to concede an inch to the bastards, never mind that the threat of the Nazis was 100 times worse. In effect, the way the Brits held off the Nazi invasion in 1940 also protected us. I'm glad to say a lot of Irish boys went over to fight against the Nazis, often against the active disapproval of their republican parents. Nobody went to fight for the Germans. The older generations were blinded because of the 700-year struggle against the English: they couldn't conceive of a more deadly enemy. I was surprised you had to look up "Kristallnacht". I suppose a lot of Americans see Europe as a quaint faraway place suitable for holidays when there isn't a war or a government terror alert going on. For us it's where we live. Geography explains a lot. So does an understanding of history. Among other reasons, it helps to explain why the Irish identify more with the Palestinians than the Israelis. Been there, done it, I suppose. Seven hundred years, got rid of the bastards at last ....

 

Is Mise,

Breandán

Edited by dedalus

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

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This came to me as a whole and I didn't have to make many changes ...

 

Waxy - English comes naturally, and the use of the most difficult and inexplicable features of the language, such as prepositions, two-word verbs and time markers, is a matter of long usage. As an English teacher myself I understand your occasional queries. In many cases there are no grammatical rules laid down. In a number of cases words such as 'while', 'as', 'during', 'when' can be (sometimes) used interchangably and so can the relative pronouns of 'that' and 'which'. It's all very confusing. English, shall we say, is not a logical language grammatically, possibly because of its mongel heritage from Anglo-Saxon, Norse, Norman French (a dialect) and borrowings from Latin and Greek. The spelling system - another feature of its variegated history - is probably one of the most illogical, difficult and frustrating systems in the world. That's why even native speakers depend on Spell-Check. I welcome your questions about usage but I cannot always defend them on grammatical grounds. Take a simple example: "Who's there?" -- "It's me!". This is wrong, wrong, wrong! The copula (Be-verb) can never take the objective me and so the obviously correct response should be "It is I!" Who the hell ever says that? Some weird people. 'Oh, you must come and have dinner with my wife and I' is equally wrong because the object of the preposition 'with' puts all following nouns into the objective case, i.e. not 'I' but 'me'. And so on forever and ever. When in doubt, go with usage not grammar .... !

 

Incidentally, poetry is a great play on language: defy rules, see how far you can go!

 

Is Mise,

Breandán

 

Since I can read (not speak, for that equires a full vocabulary) some 13 languages almost w/o accent and understand most, I must argue (most peoples have layers of popularion that don't give a damn as long as they can cay "Pass the f whatever") that if we are to be taken seriously as literary, reasonably literate and reasonably educated writers we must l;ean towarf better than vernacular.

 

My sense of as, while and when not being interchangeable comes from understanding the semantics of several languages andin the end this sense is the same. So when something stinks of phoney in any language I feel it and feel compelled to point to it. That does not mean I want the author to change anything but hope she or he may find it useful in the future.

 

And I do much appreciate it when you respond and give me something new to think about.

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