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Poetry Magnum Opus

Truth


Benjamin
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2

A grey coastline that stretches into mist

between the ebb and flow of euphemism

and vulgarity-- A vagrant wind

charged with the semi-tone required to shape

major to minor and then back again

The detached solitude of a book and a droll finger

that rubs old lamps of words to raise the new--

A bead of mercury pressed through the grooves

on a laboratory desk Ingrained

with the names of all of those who went before

 

 

1

A grey coastline that stretches into mist

between the ebb and flow of euphemism

and exaggeration A vagrant wind

of logic and compassion filling sails

of human interaction and ambition

A sculptors battered chisel that turns over

and back to pierce his flesh and make him bleed

The detached solitude of a book And a dry finger

that tries in vain to touch elusive words

Like a blob of mercury spilt in the groove

of a laboratory desk Ingrained

with the names of all of those who went before

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Very powerful and very good! The work is indeed excellent but some parts of it remain unclear/ underdeveloped:

a) "ebb and flow of euphemism/ and exaggeration.": Ebb and flow are opposites but euphemism and exaggeration are not, and the apparent intention to compare eb & fl, with euph. and exagg. fails in consequence.

b)the vagrant wind(s) of logic and compassion fill the sails, not TO fill.

c) How does one go about comparing and contrasting "logic and compassion" with "human iteraction and ambition"? See a) above.

d) an unwarned and unexplained jump to violent images after the 8 rather cool Latinate abstractions preceding.

e) what is a 'dry' finger?

f) of a laboratory desk, a desk ingrained/

with (the) names of all who went before.

The poem is excellent in terms of its theme or driving idea, but needs more work in terms of structure.

Cheers, Bren

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

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Thanks for the constructive comments Bren which I will take on board.. I agree the piece is in need of further work but felt I had to get something down while the initial thoughts were still fresh in mind. The sculptors chisel was intended as a metaphor (clumsy perhaps) for ideals that have been hammered home yet curl back as barbs that cause injury.

From the innocence of childhood onwards most humans learn to 'spin' the truth for their own reasons. Pinning it down to a tangible 'par' is like pressing on a blob of mercury that shifts with the lightest of touches. The ability to reason separates us from the rest of nature, whose constancy perhaps is the real seat of truth.

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I think it's a marvelous poem and agree that one should write these things down before they disappear with the evanescence of dreams. What to do with them next is a problem, of course, but in this case my advice would be to stick with it. It's always easier to write a new poem, something fresh and just out of the oven, but there are also times when one is obliged to stay with a poem and make alterations , not only for the sake of one's readers and critics but ultimately for oneself as well.

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

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David W. Parsley

Hi Geoff, thanks for sharing this view of a poem in-the-making. It affords the further view of two poets exchanging thoughts on the creative process in general, and the vicissitudes of this particular piece (thanks, Brendan!). I very much like the theme and the wrestling of symbol. I will try to come back with some insights of my own when I feel ready.

 

- Dave

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