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What Holds?


A. Baez

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Do all the laws of physics still apply;

Does one and one and one still equal three;

Is south the way that geese in autumn fly

Today, or do they now go northerly?

 

Does June still ripen vows in lovers’ hearts,

And are the infants yet born free of guile;

Does blood still well up where the cut flesh parts,

And is there timeless tenor in a smile?

 

For recent days have seen such bended rules

Of precedent and decency and truth

That, doubting left and right, I take for fools

All those who cling to verities of youth:

 

The terra firma world (or so it seemed)

Collapses like a pit trapscrappily dreamed!

 

 

Revisions:

Poem was untitled and identified by its first line in quotes

There were no stanza breaks

 

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I wrote this before I'd heard of (but not before the advent of) COVID-19. Now it seems more timely than ever.

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I'm struggling with the rhythm of that final line AB. Is that intentional? In terms of bending rules, and terms from physics, perhaps you could work the term refracted in there? L2 was more maths. There seemed more biology than physics in general.

If I remember correctly, microbes defeated the alien invaders in War of the Worlds...perhaps 'nature' is taking its course with humans.

best

Phil

A stanza option for your sonnet...

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Do all the laws of physics still apply;
Does one and one and one still equal three;
Is south the way that geese in autumn fly
Today, or do they now go northerly?

Does June still ripen vows in lovers’ hearts,
And are the infants yet born free of guile;
Does blood still well up where the cut flesh parts,
And is there timeless tenor in a smile?

For recent days have seen such bended rules
Of precedent and decency and truth
That, doubting left and right, I take for fools
All those who cling to verities of youth:

The terra firma world (or so it seemed)
Collapses like a pit trap—scrappily dreamed!

 

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42 minutes ago, badger11 said:

I'm struggling with the rhythm of that final line AB. Is that intentional?

She ends with an anapest. I didn't like it that Yeats threw in those anapests in the ultimate line of "Leda and the Swan," but I learned to like them (or at least appreciate them). 🙂

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

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Phil--Yes, the meter in the last line in no accident, as Tony seems to have divined. My natural instinct was to write "Collapses like a pit trap--madly dreamed!" but I realized that that just didn't sound irregular enough, given that that line was trying to convey the idea of the dissolution of all order. So I actually spent several days brainstorming more irregular alternatives and finally settled on "scrappily"! These days, I actually have to force myself sometimes to strategically break meter; some online poets gradually trained me into the strict discipline of meter some years ago, and since then, I've even started to become accused by some such poets of cleaving to a metrical baseline too tightly.

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In terms of bending rules, and terms from physics, perhaps you could work the term refracted in there? L2 was more maths. There seemed more biology than physics in general.

It seems like I may have led you astray by using the first line in lieu of a title. This first line wasn't meant to strictly represent the (metaphorical) theme of the whole poem; it was simply meant as the first item in a long list of various norms that most of us take for granted. That's why I put a semicolon at the end of that first line rather than a colon, which would have signaled that what follows extrapolates upon that first line. But perhaps I should select a title that conveys the overaching theme of the poem (the disruption of all norms). I had already considered doing this for added clarity. 

Sure, breaking the poem up into quatrains plus one couplet seems to work fine; do you feel it holds a definite advantage? Since it's a Shakespearean sonnet, if I chose to be true to the form, I should actually keep it stanzaless and insert a tab on the couplet.

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If I remember correctly, microbes defeated the alien invaders in War of the Worlds...perhaps 'nature' is taking its course with humans.

Microbes are probably our deadliest predator, but luckily, Vedic predictions assure us we are still here to stay for many millenia!

Thanks for your substantive feedback. That's always the kind I like best. 🙂

Tony--

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I dunno, I think one and one and one equals one hundred eleven ...

Don't get stupid on me! Is that all you can think of to say about this poem? :tongue: Well, you did better with your comment to Phil. But really--what do you think of the poem overall??

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5 minutes ago, A. Baez said:

Is that all you can think of to say about this poem?

Oh comeon, you know I need more time to give this the response it deserves, but I so wanted to participate today. Besides, I just learned that substantive feedback is the kind you like best. 😉

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

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Tony, okay, you really had me worried there. Because I have seen you give such responses to others at times and that has been it. Makes me picture you on a couch with a beer in one hand and a case by your side, typing with the other hand while watching some stupid flick...

Betcha you wouldna said anything more if I hadn't spoken up. Betcha! 🤥

And hey, what is this with the neologism "comeon"?

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2 minutes ago, A. Baez said:

Makes me picture you on a couch with a beer in one hand and a case by your side, typing with the other hand while watching some stupid flick...

Nah, I can't right now, I'm on my way out to hook up with some prostitutes, but I promise, as soon as I'm five minutes sober, I will reply meaningfully ...

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

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Have fun at The Orchid! How are Vin and Steffi?

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I meant how are they doing? I assume you made the rounds to their place earlier this evening. Don't staff get free drinks?

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Yeah, really. So the virus hasn't shut it down yet?

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Just now, A. Baez said:

Yeah, really. So the virus hasn't shut it down yet?

Much worse things than The Covid 19 Common Cold ™ running around there on some nights, but it's don't ask, don't tell in these social venues. Thankfully, they're not allowed to ask or I'd be in trouble, asked to leave maybe!

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

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Lol! Omg, drink some chamomile tea and go to bed! 🤣

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Sure, breaking the poem up into quatrains plus one couplet seems to work fine; do you feel it holds a definite advantage?

In this instance, it aided my reading experience. The spacing gave space for thought - the metre rather powered on, strident, which is one reason that final gear change was something of a 'car crash'. A rule bend too far, despite the intentional effect? Reading is, of course, personal and prosody is not a straightjacket in that reading. So much depends on the reader😀

The title is better for directing a reading of your poem.

best

Phil

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Phil--very interesting; I appreciate the feedback. In that case, I'm happy to break up the poem as you suggest. I suppose it's quite hard for the author of a poem to ever read it with eyes as fresh as those of anyone else. I'm glad, too, that the title works better for you. Thanks for helping to fortify my poem!

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I think this is a perfect Shakespearean sonnet. The meter is perfect all the way up to the last foot. Though an anapest at the end of an iambic pentameter would normally be a metrical flaw, it's not a fatal flaw here, rather it's far from it. In this case, it crowns the poem like the star on top of a Christmas tree. This is not like my remix in which I corrected a metrical flaw that served no purpose. You mentioned it was deliberate, and from your use of the em-dash where it ordinarily would not be needed, the reader can tell. The other aspect that delights is the change of pace in the sestet; the octet poses questions and doesn't use enjambment, while the sestet presents like an answer to a call by making use of enjambment all the way to the epiphanic couplet.

I said, in an earlier reply, the part about one and one and one mostly in humor, but I'm partly serious. I'm irritated to the max when "consensus" is presented as fact to advance political goals. But even in hard science, there must be some consensus or we can't proceed. If we can't agree first that one and one equals two and not eleven, we won't get anywhere. Maybe somehow it can be "proved" that one and one equals two -- I don't know, and I don't care -- but I know there are things that can't be proved now or maybe ever, and I think it's arrogant of mankind to insist, or pretend, that they can.

The stanza breaks work for me. Excellent work.

Tony

 

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

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Oh, wow, Tony, your alternate self has come back to the forefront! :biggrin:

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This is not like my remix in which I corrected a metrical flaw that served no purpose.

You're talking about "Tentsmuir"?

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You mentioned it was deliberate, and from your use of the em-dash where it ordinarily would not be needed, the reader can tell.

Well, the em dash does set off the anapest, but that's actually not why I included it. I did so because the phrase would mean something different without that dash:

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The terra firma world (or so it seemed)

Collapses like a pit trapscrappily dreamed!

 

Without the em dash, the implication would be that the pit trap was scrappily dreamed, whereas my intent was to convey that the terra firma world was scrappily dreamed. There's a big difference, since the two represent opposites. I actually had thought the line would be closer to the right degree of jarring (a little bit less than it is currently) without the em dash, but I felt obliged to include it just to convey my intended meaning. So if that dash represents a broader gain, at least in your eyes, so much the bette

Quote

 

The other aspect that delights is the change of pace in the sestet; the octet poses questions and doesn't use enjambment, while the sestet presents like an answer to a call by making use of enjambment all the way to the epiphanic couplet.

 

Thanks! It always pleases me when people notice details like this. "Epiphanic couplet"--what an ennobling term!

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I said, in an earlier reply, the part about one and one and one mostly in humor, but I'm partly serious. I'm irritated to the max when "consensus" is presented as fact to advance political goals. But even in hard science, there must be some consensus or we can't proceed. If we can't agree first that one and one equals two and not eleven, we won't get anywhere. Maybe somehow it can be "proved" that one and one equals two -- I don't know, and I don't care -- but I know there are things that can't be proved now or maybe ever, and I think it's arrogant of mankind to insist, or pretend, that they can.

Okay; I guess I can take from this that you're all right with accepting the premise that one and one and one equals three--if only provisionally? My brother's a mathematician, and from conversations I've had with him, I do have the distinct impression that such things can be proven--at least insofar as mathematics itself can be "proven." Some philosophers would hold that nothing can be proven!  

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19 minutes ago, A. Baez said:

Oh, wow, Tony, your alternate self has come back to the forefront! :biggrin:

^If I could click LIKE for this alone, I would. :blush:

19 minutes ago, A. Baez said:

You're talking about "Tentsmuir"?

Yes.

19 minutes ago, A. Baez said:

Well, the em dash does set off the anapest, but that's actually not why I included it. I did so because the phrase would mean something different without that dash ... Without the em dash, the implication would be that the pit trap was scrappily dreamed, whereas my intent was to convey that the terra firma world was scrappily dreamed. There's a big difference, since the two represent opposites. I actually had thought the line would be closer to the right degree of jarring (a little bit less than it is currently) without the em dash, but I felt obliged to include it just to convey my intended meaning. So if that dash represents a broader gain, at least in your eyes, so much the better!

Yes, I understood, and I should have been more clear. All of if, taken together with appropriate punctuation, did the trick. 😉

19 minutes ago, A. Baez said:

Okay; I guess I can take from this that you're all right with accepting the premise that one and one and one equals three--if only provisionally? My brother's a mathematician, and from conversations I've had with him, I do have the distinct impression that such things can be proven--at least insofar as mathematics itself can be "proven." Some philosophers would hold that nothing can be proven!

Yes, I was 90% kidding when I made that reply, but what I said fits. In the poem you're questioning things. High math is, of course, above my pay grade, but I would not be surprised if there are things that even mathematicians have to approach with consensus at the starting point. (Perhaps you could ask him.) And I am to some degree on board with the philosophical supposition you referenced leaning more toward "much of what people think they can prove can't really be proven." 

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

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AB,  I'm finally back to read, enjoy and comment but it appears with all of the dialogue that has gone before, there isn't much to say.  Just, the stanza breaks make it easier reading, good title,  and you are right, perfect timing even if you didn't know.   Nice Shakespearean Sonnet, I'm linking it to the form description to benefit anyone interested in reading examples of the form.  Thanks.

~~Judi

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~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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

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