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queenfisher Profile
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Act of Faith


Steel claws clang,
rip the road into chunks
of concrete puzzle pieces.
A drum of hot tar spews black
and grey, gobbles the blue
sky in a huge
…gulp.

The battery of our car
dies in the middle of nowhere,
on this: ‘Very Happy New Year’.
We push the dead weight
as much to the side as
we can.

Help is at hand -
the road is being repaired.

I find myself a piece
of shade, light a cigarette.
A bundle of tattered patchwork
cloth suddenly moves at my feet,
I’d almost stepped
on it!

A pink little face
gone red - eyes closed, fists
clenched, lets out a piercing yell.
I stay rooted on the ground.
A woman laborer comes
running...

In one fell-swoop
she unburdens her head
of mud, bricks, a mixture of
concrete, picks the bundle,
places it at her breast,
gives me a shy
smile.

Within minutes
the bundle is blissfully satisfied.

Carefully she places it
at my feet. I bend down
to help her lift the load up –
on her head. She walks back
with bare feet on the freshly
tarred road, hardly feeling
the heat.

I notice
her feet are unscathed.






Last edited by queenfisher, Jan/29/2013, 1:56 am
Jan/8/2013, 6:12 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Act of Faith


Hi Queenfisher,

What a story! Is this one of those instances where truth is stranger than fiction? I'm hoping so, but if not, it's still a good story, well told.

S1 is strong in terms of imagery & sound and really sets the scene for what's to follow. The description of the baby in S5 is also very strong. Did the two women in the poem speak? I get the impression they didn't, but I'm not sure why. Class and/or language barrier, perhaps? The difference in the lifestyles between the two women is subtly done and effective, as is "shy" moment they both share.

The only other question I have is about your use of ellipses. Not something one sees done that way everyday in a poem. I think I understand the way you are using them--for pacing and dramatic effect. On first assessment, their use seems to work better in some stanzas than in others, but let me think on it. I don't want to dismiss what is unfamiliar out of hand.

Oh, I forgot to mention I like the title. It resonates nicely in the context of the poem.
Jan/8/2013, 7:24 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Bernie01 Profile
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Re: Act of Faith


QF---

the details are impressive and help give the poem a strong foundation---and then the story, the narrative moves quickly, but never forgets the reader.

great job.


bernie

---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
Jan/10/2013, 10:25 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 
vkp Profile
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Re: Act of Faith


Queen, This is an amazing story-poem with some truly captivating details along the way. The first strophe sets the scene vividly, and the moment when the woman takes the baby to nurse it, in the midst of the chaos, is magical. I would love a few more visuals there, actually.

I, too, was stopped by the ellipses. They were an impediment, for me, to the flow of the poem. I could not quite get what you were going for with them. You use them non-traditionally. If you feel like sharing what your intentions were regarding them I'd be quite interested.

Thank you for posting this!
vkp
Jan/11/2013, 1:55 pm Link to this post Send Email to vkp   Send PM to vkp Blog
 
queenfisher Profile
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Re: Act of Faith


Dear Katlin

this is a very common sight here - roads are always being ripped & repaired.

the woman laborers are many - with children - some really tiny ones - they rig up a small makeshift hammock like thing with branches & cloth - or just bundle them up on the ground as in this case. younger children playing all along the road - keep an eye on the infants. the women doing a man's job & more...hot tarred roads are layed - most walk around with bare feet - here the roads get so hot - that walking even on an 'old' road is unbearable - it really burns - so i'm just amazed to see them working in those very 'hot' conditions - summers can be boiling at 45 deg & more & walking about with bare feet - & it's quite amazing to see them look after their kids nurse them etc. in those condtions without a fuss. whereas a new mother with a baby of a diff. class - well things are quite diff there - all the fuss etc.

these are not the abject poor - both parents working - mostly physical labor - the kids all look healthy & well fed!

the feet of the mothers - as far as i could see - had no burn marks!

i had a line in the poem saying 'trial by fire' & 'what miracles do we need to believe?' - but i was told that would be overstating - so i left it out - this was written many new year's ago!

yes the ellipses - are too many - i need to curb that i'm also a great fan of the dash like sweet Emily!

thanks for the close read.
Jan/16/2013, 1:43 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 
queenfisher Profile
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Re: Act of Faith


thanks bernie - really appreciate that!

Dear vkp - glad you liked - thank you so much - very encouraging for me!

yes there are one too many ellipses - as katlin also pointed out & i realized myself

the ellipses in the stanza 1 2 4 - seem appropriate to me - giving just that much pause - i did it for the readers to imagine the action through the ellipses! sounds crazy! but all the other ellipses serve no purpose. so i will get rid...
i think ellipses keep things nicely hanging in the air - & also instead of committing oneself with a word...might work for the unspoken...!
Jan/16/2013, 1:55 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Act of Faith


Well, I'm a little bowled over. Excellent. Guess I'm not as bothered by the ellipses. They're used in a predictable way, and so I'm able to respond to the rhythm of it. Speaking of rhythm, your sense of line rhythm was quite good. Seems I've commented on it before. Line rhythm is so hard to make effective, except in traditional forms such as anything working in IP. Like with meter it requires an ear acutely sensible to sound. But mostly I'm blown away by the moment turned to near perfect conception. Just a fine poem.

Tere
Jan/19/2013, 2:59 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
queenfisher Profile
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Re: Act of Faith


hi tere

thanks a lot...well i've edited some ellipses

i'm thrilled you liked the poem so much - means a lot!
Jan/28/2013, 2:33 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 
Bernie01 Profile
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Re: Act of Faith


QF---


just talking with K about publication; sorry, i didn't mention the apple valley review.

twice a year publication.

editor leah browning is a fine poet herself, and the work she selects for the magazine always entertains and pleases me.

http://www.applevalleyreview.com/


should have mentioned this before.


bernie

Last edited by Bernie01, Feb/9/2013, 4:26 pm


---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
Feb/9/2013, 3:56 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 
ineese Profile
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Re: Act of Faith---


Queenfisher,

I was wondering if the first stanza is needed. I think a less dramatic entrance might
help this poem. Maybe begin with the battery
going dead and take it from there.
Feb/13/2013, 1:12 pm Link to this post Send PM to ineese Blog
 
queenfisher Profile
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Re: Act of Faith


hi bernie - thanks for the link

dear ineese - you're probably right - it was so in the original - thanks!
Feb/19/2013, 1:50 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 


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