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ineese Profile
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Woman of Grace


slight edits:


An old woman, dry as an earth without blossom,
lies down and her breasts disappear.
Each arm a tassel of corn,
hair brittle and white winged.
Once a complexion born
into the loveliest day.
Never without earrings long and thin as skeins of ice.
Her eyes were blue, each one small as a bird
carrying the weight of sea.
I expect if visions do exist, she took them with her.
Near the grave site it begins to rain.
Night becomes the last exchange between us.
Her favorite scarf, hand rolled into fog,
warms my neck.
I chose geraniums,
puffy and red
because a rose is rarely
noticed when laid to rest alone.



original:







One old woman lies down and her breasts disappear
dry as the earth without blossom
each arm a tassel of corn,
hair brittle and white winged.
Once a complexion born
into the loveliest day.
Never without earrings
long and thin as skeins of ice.
Blue. Her eyes.
Each one a bird carrying the weight of sea.
I expect if visions exist, she took them with her.
Arriving at her grave it begins to rain.
Night becomes an exchange between us.
Her favorite scarf around my neck, hand rolled into fog.
I chose geraniums,
puffy and red
because a rose is never noticed
when laid to rest alone.


Last edited by ineese, Nov/2/2012, 9:56 pm
Oct/28/2012, 3:45 pm Link to this post Send PM to ineese Blog
 
vkp Profile
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Re: Woman of Grace


Ineese, So often your poetry has the effect of piercing me. I try to read without expectation or demands, quietly allowing the experience to enter me. Then, BAM. Something, or many things, jangle down into my inner spaces and I feel something very strong. And then I ask myself, "Okay, what just happened?"

With this poem, you immediately grab me with an image quite familiar to me. I tended my mother throughout her dying and I was so struck by the childlike frailty of the wasting body of age -- no breasts to speak of and an innocent, hairless nakedness that reflects backward as if time had folded back on itself. I have some thoughts, mostly praise, for specifics, which I note below.

quote:

One old woman lies down and her breasts disappear


This is the only line that really does not work for me -- something about "one old woman". Not sure what might fix it, but I'd prefer "The old woman". Or "an old woman." But we want her to be a specific person. Even a name might be a beautiful thing here, "Norma, at 85, lies down...." I don't know. It's my only quibble, really, and coming right at the beginning, it is (to me) a problem.

quote:

dry as the earth without blossom
each arm a tassel of corn,
hair brittle and white winged.


All gorgeous imagery, especially the arms -- tassels of corn -- frail, pale, without form and seemingly boneless and without muscle. Exactly right.
 
quote:

Once a complexion born
into the loveliest day.
Never without earrings
long and thin as skeins of ice.


Second two lines here are what strike me -- a telling detail about this woman. Her beauty is implied by the fact that she would never leave the house without earrings: elegant. "Skeins of ice" is excellent. Envy worthy.
 
quote:

Blue. Her eyes.
Each one a bird carrying the weight of sea.


Unusual phrasing (Blue. Her eyes.) that grabs the reader as if to say, "Pay attention; this is important." And it is; all of it. The metaphor that follows works for me though I have not figured out why. Maybe the bird idea evokes this woman being freed from life, flying away, seeing to her future and the "weight of sea" for me carries the weight of what is ancient, even eternal,and feminine.

quote:

I expect if visions exist, she took them with her.


They do exist and yes, she took them. That I know.
 
quote:

Arriving at her grave it begins to rain.


The editor in me must point out that this is not grammatically correct. "Arriving at her grave" modifies "it" and the obtuseness of the construction leaves this reader wondering if it is the arrival of the old woman (now dead) or the arrival of the narrator at the grave. But "it" did not arrive.... This can be easily fixed.
 
quote:

Night becomes an exchange between us.
Her favorite scarf around my neck, hand rolled into fog.


This makes me cry. And it is beautiful.
 
quote:

I chose geraniums,
puffy and red
because a rose is never noticed
when laid to rest alone.


Geraniums are flowers for real people. Thank you for this poem.
vkp
Oct/29/2012, 5:27 pm Link to this post Send Email to vkp   Send PM to vkp Blog
 
ineese Profile
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Re: Woman of Grace


vkp,

first, let me say I'm very honored that you follow
my poetry and that you get something from reading it.
That means a lot to me. Believe me

All your suggestions are right on.Especially the opening
which is really bad! I see that now and in revision
it will be taken care of. I kind of like the idea of giving
the woman a name so I might do that.

i've also picked up on that line "arriving at the grave"
and it can be easily fixed. I always appreciate an editorial
eye as mine are battle weary!

Thank you so much again for the kind respons and the very helpful
critique.
Oct/30/2012, 11:00 am Link to this post Send PM to ineese Blog
 
queenfisher Profile
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Re: Woman of Grace


dear ineese

a poem of grace & quiet dignity

universally personifies women - the ageing & death.

the images cut deep with a unique beauty of its own:

each arm a tassel of corn,

these lines are outstanding:

Never without earrings
long and thin as skeins of ice.
Blue. Her eyes.
Each one a bird carrying the weight of sea.
I expect if visions exist, she took them with her.

it is a very moving poem - the reality of death here does not strike me as harsh or ugly the withered stalk has its own grace & beauty.
Oct/31/2012, 1:15 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
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Re: Woman of Grace


ineese,

I wish I had not read vkp's comments because I'm not sure that her/his two major objections would have been my objections. I did trip over the ungrammatical line, but only temporarily and thought, "This is poetry, it doesn't always have to be grammatical." So I will leave it up to you. I think I actually liked "One old woman" because it made it more universal. I know the theory that by making it specific, such as "Mrs. Larkin, 75," itself makes it universal, but I think the counter-argument can be made, too. For example, in Dylan Thomas's "Do not go gentle into that good night" the subjects, the men, mentioned are not specified. In "A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London" the subject is a child, but neither the name nor her age are mentioned. It just set me to thinking. I could be wrong. I often am.

BTW, I liked the poem. I thought it was very good. First class. Zak

quote:

ineese wrote:

One old woman lies down and her breasts disappear
dry as the earth without blossom
each arm a tassel of corn,
hair brittle and white winged.
Once a complexion born
into the loveliest day.
Never without earrings
long and thin as skeins of ice.
Blue. Her eyes.
Each one a bird carrying the weight of sea.
I expect if visions exist, she took them with her.
Arriving at her grave it begins to rain.
Night becomes an exchange between us.
Her favorite scarf around my neck, hand rolled into fog.
I chose geraniums,
puffy and red
because a rose is never noticed
when laid to rest alone.



Oct/31/2012, 5:47 am Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
Christine98 Profile
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Re: Woman of Grace


hi ineese,

I agree with the others; this is a beautiful poem. Two suggestions:

"An" old woman

Delete L4 from S1: the preceding three lines
culminating in, "each arm a tassel of corn," are so strong they create a kind of resonance which the 4th (and weaker line) steps on.

As always, use or lose,

Chris
Oct/31/2012, 9:19 am Link to this post Send Email to Christine98   Send PM to Christine98
 
vkp Profile
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Re: Woman of Grace


I love "hair brittle and white winged" personally -- it is just right, and the white wings presage the angels....
Oct/31/2012, 2:17 pm Link to this post Send Email to vkp   Send PM to vkp Blog
 
ineese Profile
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Re: Woman of Grace


Thank you everyone for the great feedback.
Excuse the lateness of my reply.

Going to revise this. I appreciate the thoughts
so much.
Nov/14/2012, 9:37 pm Link to this post Send PM to ineese Blog
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Woman of Grace


Hi ineese,

Sorry to be so late responding to this, but respond I did--to the combination of precise imagery and careful tenderness that is (at) the heart of this piece.

I only have one nit:

"Her favorite scarf around my neck"

feels like a lost opportunity to convey something more about "her" to the reader. Perhaps word or two to indicate the color or texture of her "favorite scarf" to give us a hint about her character?

Overall, a quiet, respectful poem that manages to both move and still my heart.
Nov/19/2012, 3:33 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
ineese Profile
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Re: Woman of Grace



Katlin


Thank you! That may be the gentle nod I need
to begin writing again!
Nov/23/2012, 6:46 pm Link to this post Send PM to ineese Blog
 
vkp Profile
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Re: Woman of Grace


Ineese: I like the subtle changes but not sure about the blue eyes revisions. I liked it so much the first time around. Glad you are still with this poem....
Nov/24/2012, 1:33 pm Link to this post Send Email to vkp   Send PM to vkp Blog
 
ineese Profile
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Re: Woman of Grace


Thanks! It may be spring by the time I get this
one done. I'm just taking my time throughout
the holidays.
Nov/27/2012, 2:54 pm Link to this post Send PM to ineese Blog
 
36064 Profile
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Re: Woman of Grace


I---

i prefer the directness of the original opening line; the clauses in the current draft did not add intimacy for me.



An old woman, dry as an earth without blossom,
lies down and her breasts disappear.
Each arm a tassel of corn,
hair brittle and white winged.


Once a complexion born
into the loveliest day.


i especially liked the lines here all the way to the end:

 
Never without earrings long and thin as skeins of ice.
Her eyes were blue, each one small as a bird
carrying the weight of sea.


I expect if visions do exist, she took them with her.


Near the grave site it begins to rain.
Night becomes the last exchange between us.
Her favorite scarf, hand rolled into fog,
warms my neck.


I chose geraniums,
puffy and red
because a rose is rarely
noticed when laid to rest alone.

very nice close.


bernie


   

Last edited by 36064, Nov/28/2012, 8:56 pm
Nov/28/2012, 8:44 pm Link to this post Send Email to 36064   Send PM to 36064 Blog
 
ineese Profile
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Re: Woman of Grace


Thank you Bernie, I didn't recognize your "number" there. I need to revisit this and see if its going anywhere (smile) I'm so
far behind.
Dec/1/2012, 3:50 pm Link to this post Send PM to ineese Blog
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Woman of Grace


Poem works for me. L10 is where I'm engaged completely in the scene.

Tere
Dec/7/2012, 3:59 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
ineese Profile
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Re: Woman of Grace


Tere,

Thank you! I am glad.
Dec/7/2012, 6:35 pm Link to this post Send PM to ineese Blog
 


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