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Winter Internment



Revision #1


Winter comes from far away.
The cold slick as a dinner knife;
ducks stare, zinc eyes, bottoms
brown as tobacco leaf;

December speaks Turkish or slow
Japanese I cannot translate.

Watched you sail alone,
bare headed; shouting to skeins
of green waves;

sea caps destined to reach shore,
children returning home older
than we remember.

England dark at 4 o’clock;
short days open like a dance fan,
the little orchestra. Ja Da.
a scaffold abandoned by a painter
twists to burnt iron color.






Original:

I

Postcards and a photograph

marooned on my message board,

reminds me of a funeral wreath;

winter comes from far away.

 
II

A man walks in the street,

wet shoes; somber as a small

church in Bishopsgate.

It means a woman will receive

a love letter.


Your love letter came today,

you kissed me on the mouth.

Ten years too late. My unlucky

stars and you draped across

my life the last few winters.



III

Winter, all this month.

Ice slick as a dinner knife.

Three ducks stare, zinc eyes,

bottoms brown as tobacco leaf.

 
IV

December so cerebral this year

speaking Turkish or slow Japanese

I cannot translate.

 
V

Watched the crimson billow of your sail,

only yourself as crew; bare-headed

you shout to rows of winter sea caps;

the waves destined to reach shore

as children return home from college

older than we remember.


Last edited by Bernie01, Feb/12/2013, 12:39 pm


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Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
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Christine98 Profile
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Re: Winter Internment


hi bernie,

This one really caught me. I want to come back to it before commenting, so until then,

Chris
Jan/24/2013, 9:08 am Link to this post Send Email to Christine98   Send PM to Christine98
 
arkava Profile
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Re: Winter Internment


I

Postcards and a photograph

marooned on my message

board like a funeral wreath;

winter comes from far away.

 

i love the way the distance gets established here. first the postcards and photograph—which make me think of a recent trip. then the introduction of the message board brings everything into perspective all of a sudden. this is as much looking back as the faraway. this framing works for me. if i have to stand where N is i feel almost like a point. winter stretches away to the back. nothing you can go back to or look forward to.



II

A man walks in the street,

wet shoes; somber as a small

church in Bishopsgate.

It means a woman

will receive a love letter.


again that sense of perspective carefully worked. “somber as a small church”—that line works out to a few reads. though you use “small” i kinda sense that intermingling of something bigger than the person, something weighing down on him, the culmination of course the love letter.

Your love letter came today,

you kissed me on the mouth.

Ten years too late. My unlucky

stars and you draped across

my life the last few winters.

this is a bit too personal (or looks that way) for a critique. but for me this does not work as well as the rest of the stuff. especially my unlucky stars and you etc which can possibly be done away with.


III

Winter, all this month.

Ice slick as a dinner knife.

Three ducks stare, zinc eyes,

bottoms brown as tobacco leaf.

lovely.

  
IV

The winter so cerebral this year

speaking Turkish or slow Japanese

I cannot translate.


wow. this is something which hits me hard. if i make some sort of division between this and what came before, i gotta say this has that thick guttural untranslatable quality set off against the visual ones earlier. things slowng down till incomprehensibility. wow.

  
V

Watched the crimson billow of your sail,

only yourself as crew; bare-headed

you shout to rows of winter sea caps;

the waves destined to reach shore

as children return home from college

older than we remember.


this is very cool Bernie. especially stuff like “the waves destined to reach shore “ to talk about children returning home from college “older than we remember.” mixing the personal and nature. brooding and strong. love this

arka


Last edited by arkava, Jan/25/2013, 7:49 am
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Christine98 Profile
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Re: Winter Internment


hey bernie,

Looks like arka said it all, before and better than me.

First thing that struck me was the double spacing and line breaks which caused me to read at a slow, measured pace--adding a dimension/resonance to the poem.

Was equally wowed by the I, IV and V. Not sure what to make of the italicized bit but maybe not as off-put as arka--I do think that's the weak spot in an otherwise terrific poem,

Chris

 
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Bernie01 Profile
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Re: Winter Internment


Arkava---


i'm thrilled and warmed by your detailed reading of this poem in the midst of winter.

let me focus on a weak point among others in the poem; here is a revised version:


Love letter, 10 years late;
you still draped over my milky,
brutish winter.



i think of your atatement in your own poem:

and that you love me for that
wind moving through edges and lightning
       breath held close



i loved that intimacy and want to recreate it in my own poem. the words in italics are intended to be the response of the woman who receives that love letter, a love letter 10 years too late. how terrible those words, too late. too late.

wondering if i should reinstate a final image that i removed---


I trade winter for something warm,

a fan fallen open and then closed.

England fallen dark at 4 o’clock

lengthens out, whitish sun twists

the colliery scaffold to burnt

iron color.





let me think more about a revision, but in the meantime many, many thanks.

  
Christine---

so much appreciate your letting me know which program sections work better than others.

revising now.


gee whiz. such great comments. wish i could take you both to lunch.

bernie





Last edited by Bernie01, Jan/25/2013, 3:52 pm


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Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
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Katlin Profile
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Re: Winter Internment


A haunting poem, Bernie. I like it very much. Good title. This is a strong mood/moody piece. Lightly and deftly done. I love the use of "marooned" in S1L2.

Two possible tweaks:

drop "my" before unlucky in S3L3 (I'm not sold on "my milky, brutish winter" as a possible revision for that stanza. I did understand the part in italics was the woman's response to the love letter she received.)

drop "Winter" in S4L1

RE: The final image you mention possibly reinstating, would it follow the final stanza or replace it? I like the final stanza you have now, so I would not vote to replace it. In fact, I like that stanza so much I would vote against following it up with the stanza you removed. Just my 2 cents.

Sorry for the long delayed response time. Thanks for posting this one, Bernie. It strikes me just right as I sit here today looking at my postcard festooned bulletin board and anticipating the big snowstorm they are predicting here on Friday. Much enjoyed.

Last edited by Katlin, Feb/7/2013, 8:13 am
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vkp Profile
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Re: Winter Internment


Bernie, I had the most uncanny feeling as I read this that I had read it before -- or parts of it before. Maybe the italicized section? Maybe the immediacy of the woman's speaking to the N of the poem drew me in. I know others thought that a weak spot and maybe it is in that it chops into the flow somehow or sidetackles the reader a bit. But it has an amazing familiarity.

I am also a little thrown (maybe I'm just being too literal or something) by the two times when you use the second person -- in that italicized section, II, and then again in V. Different "yous"....

This is my favorite part:
quote:

Ice slick as a dinner knife.

Three ducks stare, zinc eyes,

bottoms brown as tobacco leaf.



I'm a sucker for a visual that leaves my mouth open a bit.

I love the sections and the way they work together. I agree that the format itself works, taking the reader through the paces gently and patiently.

The comment about children home from college is interesting because it, combined with the "you" on the boat and the woman who got the letter too late, make me wonder. I am a story teller so immediately imagine that the N has children who come home from college. Is the sailing "you" their mother? Different from the lost love? Or a recaptured lost love? There need be no answers. Questions alone are delicious in a poem like this, where we are invited to peer through the windows into the house, but not to open them and climb through.
vkp
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Bernie01 Profile
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Re: Winter Internment


K---

i like the word, haunting.

light and deft, i sure would like to think so; and as much as i like the Poe short stories, i ain't no Poe...alas.

A haunting poem, Bernie. I like it very much. Good title. This is a strong mood/moody piece. Lightly and deftly done. I love the use of "marooned" in S1L2.

glad i took your advice and avoided:

"my milky, brutish winter"

thank you for your helpful comments.

bernie




VKP---

Maybe the immediacy of the woman's speaking to the N of the poem drew me

i always feel that a reader deserves a line of clear reality, a place where any proposed lyric meets and greets....reality.

i too like the direct address you highlight.

pleased to learn the format itself worked for you...what wonderful words you used, gentle and patient.

this montage that hopefully forms a movie, story or poem.

Is the sailing "you" their mother? Different from the lost love? Or a recaptured lost love? There need be no answers. Questions alone are delicious in a poem like this, where we are invited to peer through the windows into the house, but not to open them and climb through.

what a generous and deep reading, not just of this poem, but poetry overall.

bernie





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Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
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Terreson Profile
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Re: Winter Internment


There is something inauthentic here, I think in the language, that keeps me from engaging in the poetic moment. Think it comes down to too many cliches:

marooned on my message board.

funeral wreath.

somber as a small church.

my unlucky stars and you draped across my life.

December so cerebral etc.

Crimson billow of your sail.

winter sea caps.

I'm sure the poem will do well in certain quarters. But to me sentimentality, even in mourning, falsifies.

Tere

quote:

Bernie01 wrote:

I

Postcards and a photograph

marooned on my message board,

reminds me of a funeral wreath;

winter comes from far away.

 
II

A man walks in the street,

wet shoes; somber as a small

church in Bishopsgate.

It means a woman will receive

a love letter.


Your love letter came today,

you kissed me on the mouth.

Ten years too late. My unlucky

stars and you draped across

my life the last few winters.



III

Winter, all this month.

Ice slick as a dinner knife.

Three ducks stare, zinc eyes,

bottoms brown as tobacco leaf.

 
IV

December so cerebral this year

speaking Turkish or slow Japanese

I cannot translate.

 
V

Watched the crimson billow of your sail,

only yourself as crew; bare-headed

you shout to rows of winter sea caps;

the waves destined to reach shore

as children return home from college

older than we remember.



Feb/11/2013, 10:21 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Bernie01 Profile
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Re: Winter Internment


Tere---



sentimentality, of course a poet thinks he/she is writing sentiment.
probably an issue of sensibility---unless clear examples that most readers might agree are bromides.

you find them here.

alas. seven.

i wonder if this missing verse strikes you the same way:




I trade winter for something warm,

a fan fallen open and then closed.

England dark at 4 o’clock; twilight

twists the artist's scaffold to burnt

iron color.




one approach that i like, is to quote writing examples that uphold or explain my view that a poem contains or does not contain a cliche. what do you think?

opinions by the dozen, but i like to see writing samples, that's how i learn. and you? quotes, of course, pitched closely to reflect the poem under discussion.

I like the Forum process, IBPC and submisssion for publication because each of the three offer a differing view of the same poem; some poets spend time explaining their poem or process, i prefer to guage success without putting my fingerprints on the reader; the explication process of one poet, seems manipulative when viewed by another.

by the way, i never thought of this posted poem as being about mourning, more like a meditative mood as we associate with winter, i could have sworn.



thanks for stopping by.


bernie


Winter comes from far away.
The cold slick as a dinner knife;
ducks stare, zinc eyes, bottoms
brown as tobacco leaf;

December speaks Turkish or slow
Japanese I cannot translate.

Watched you sail alone,
bare headed; shouting to skeins
of green waves;

sea caps destined to reach shore,
children returning home older
than we remember.

England dark at 4 o’clock;
short days open like a dance fan,
the little orchestra. Ja Da.
a scaffold abandoned by a painter
twists to burnt iron color.





and my first two contributions for the gallery of great modern poms:




Aubade

By Philip Larkin 1922–1985

 
I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.
Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.
In time the curtain-edges will grow light.
Till then I see what’s really always there:
Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,
Making all thought impossible but how
And where and when I shall myself die.
Arid interrogation: yet the dread
Of dying, and being dead,
Flashes afresh to hold and horrify….


…Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.
It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,
Have always known, know that we can’t escape,
Yet can’t accept. One side will have to go.
Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring
In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring
Intricate rented world begins to rouse.
The sky is white as clay, with no sun.
Work has to be done.
Postmen like doctors go from house to house.


I May After Leaving You Walk Quickly or Even Run


by Matthea Harvey


Rain fell in a post-romantic way.
Heads in the planets, toes tucked

under carpets, that’s how we got our bodies
through. The translator made the sign

for twenty horses backing away from
a lump of sugar. Yes, you.

When I said did you want me
I meant me in the general sense.

The drink we drank was cordial.
In a spoon, the ceiling fan whirled.

The Old World smoked in the fireplace.
Glum was the woman in the ostrich feather hat.












Last edited by Bernie01, Feb/12/2013, 12:37 pm


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Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
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Terreson Profile
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Re: Winter Internment


Why in the world did you take out that stanza? That alone is worth the price of admission. Anyway, my crit reads as a bit harsh to me now. Thank you for taking it in the right spirit.

Tere
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Re: Winter Internment


Tere---


thanks for stopping back. sometime i think of Pound:


And then went down to the ship,
Set keel to breakers, forth on the godly sea, and
We set up mast and sail on that swart ship,
Bore sheep aboard her, and our bodies also
Heavy with weeping, and winds from sternward
Bore us out onward with bellying canvas,
Circe's this craft, the trim-coifed goddess.
Then sat we amidships, wind jamming the tiller,
Thus with stretched sail, we went over sea til day's end.

from The Cantos, Canto I (1917)


Do not move
 Let the wind speak
  that is paradise.
Let the Gods forgive what I
  have made
Let those I love try to forgive
  what I have made.
—from Canto 120


Pound, Aldington, and Doolittle:

Imagism movement. The aim was clarity: a fight against abstraction, romanticism, rhetoric, inversion of word order, and over-use of adjectives. Pound later said they agreed in the spring or early summer of 1912 on three principles:

1. Direct treatment of the "thing" whether subjective or objective.
2. To use absolutely no word that does not contribute to the presentation.
3. As regarding rhythm: to compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in sequence of a metronome



other times, dylan thomas.

bernie
 





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Re: Winter Internment


Smiling. Yes. Other times Dylan Thomas. Get your drift.

Tere
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ineese Profile
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Re: Winter Internment


The poem helped me a lot in remembering
the reward of a good image.

Thank you.
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Re: Winter Internment


Kathleen---


i love images, grounded in reality---usually.

concise, clear, original---

Kavanagh:

But now I am back in her briary arms;
The dew of an Indian Summer morning lies
On the bleached potato stalks –


T.S. Eliot:
Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;


T.S. Eliot:
The worlds revolve like ancient women
Gathering fuel in vacant lots…



do you have any favorites you would like to share?


bernie

---
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Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
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