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Poetry Magnum Opus

In Mourning

Terry A

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     Did you say anything?
When the dark came seeping in
a deathly pall pouring over light
    Did you plan?
That warm hand reaching for yours
should in the end find cold the thing
left behind?     That your leaving
found others huddling for the warmth
your words could fashion into blankets; 
   no priest caste stepping to the plate
to build roads of traverse
the world you touched by sun     not contained
by sound bites or collectors of unusual things or by
songs played at midnight in cafes going to sleep
and that even that one kiss
might fly into the night too puzzled to ever alight
to some knowing it could keep.     While

the centre of the Earth holds tight
   to its moon churning mantle
and the singing sloughs off the chaos
circling like ravens looking for fresh kill.    Until 

all the anchors lift and hurtle into space, 
settling time in back and forward forward and back  
the confusion of love looking over how many ways
     we could die, have died, will die
                     could live, have lived, will live.


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David W. Parsley

Terry, I won't pretend I know what is going on here.  But the imagery and diction, internal and external rhymes, the mild motion of refrain: works for this reader!

- Dave

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Thank you for your comments. The poem was intended as a eulogy for a friend at a funeral that never happened. At least some of the attendees would have nodded knowing its meaning. I do think it succeeds adequately in its poeming but too cryptic in meaning it fails. It belongs in a book that has a more established basis for it. I might have titled it- Eulogy for a Time-Traveller, but do not know if that would have served understanding any better.

Sometimes it's difficult for a writer to estimate a poem themselves. That's where feedback is so valuable. Thanks again, David.


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David W. Parsley

Hi Terry, glad my comments are helpful, but please don't take them as coming from some infallible touchstone.  There are brilliant images and eruptions of thought here that should not be disturbed.  Even without fully comprehending the thing, I am taken to places not quite familiar and I touch the Mystery of things like im/mortality and the reach of our most precious communities, their place in the broader sense of inquiry and Existence itself.  Please be careful with this creation of yours.

Maybe something could be done with the title or a subtitle, to bring just a little more of the literal context?  Hopefully others on the forum will bring their own insights to this work.  That's part of the privilege of coming here.

With Admiration and Humility,
 - Dave

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Hi Terry,   The reader always brings something to the plate and in this case, the first strophe of this piece was almost a reenactment of my experience at my husband's passing.  There is always something the reader grasps and makes their own.  Even though you meant this for a specific audience parts still translate to the outsider. 


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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

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Thank you both! I will work on poeming that synthesizes more inclusive understanding for the reader, after all, poems are for readers.  The esteemed critic R.P. Blackmur said "Poems fail if the reader must supply too much from outside the poem". Mind you he was talking about Elliot's 'Wasteland' where he felt this failing was evident.  But in my younger days, I loved Elliot's poem, feeling it and its power.  Now there are whole books written on interpreting it, whereas 'Prufrock' is every bit as wonderful without being quite so complicated.  And so, to my mind now, the better poem.


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