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In a Dead Swirl (Revision 1)


REVISION 1:

I

Truth is:
I don’t know
the truth anymore.

Branches
break, roots of sense
shake, leaves of reason fall.

I find
myself sitting on a dead-
tree trunk amidst the swamps.

Knees
submerged in a swirl that does
not stir, let them not find me here:

the price of escape is life.

They will
drag me up the mountain-side
for the ultimate sacrifice.

My body,
will be placed on burning logs,
as the sun sinks, flames will lick it clean.

But the brain
does not burn. They will have
to prod the ashes, take out the skull,
 
split it open, by the time I spill…

II

Truth is:
I don’t know
the truth anymore.

The train
lurches forwards like a drunk.
Everyone looks familiar, I don’t know anyone.

Flames
reflect in their eyes: I’m still on fire.
Shrill screams flatten under steel wheels.

Bags whizz
up and down the escalators –
past men in uniforms, with sniffer-dogs.

Children
line the streets, scarlet
flowers droop into their begging bowls.

Their death-sentence is life.

III

I’m waiting
for movement, worms to wiggle
and mulch the drying rot, break new ground –

soft green,
instead of this leathery feel.
I’m not in control, life is dragging me,

my heels
are marking ground.
Blood has spilled the streets.

Mothers
are beating their breasts.
Fathers look stone-eyed at the flesh of their flesh,

scattered
like blossoms, flowers to be picked –
gathered in caskets - planted under the earth.

Vampires
are holding a party in formal dress.
A ghost band is playing, former victims are rattling


their bones –
Bob Dylan is singing masters of war:
as young people's blood flows out of their bodies

buried in the mud, truth… lies…




ORIGINAL

I

Truth is:
I don’t know
the truth anymore.

Branches
break, roots of sense
shake, leaves of reason fall.

I find
myself, sitting on a dead-
tree trunk, amidst the swamps.

Knees
submerged in a swirl that does
not stir, let them not find me here:

the price of escape is life.

Decked
like a bride, they will drag me up
the mountain-side, for the ultimate sacrifice.

Rubies
will dig the throat, sapphires
will pierce the ears in blue flames of heat.

My body,
will be placed on burning logs,
as the sun sinks, flames will lick it clean.

But the brain
does not burn. They will have
to prod the ashes, take out the skull,

split it open, by the time I spill…

it will
be midnight, hard glints,
the stars; there will be no moon.

II

Truth is:
I don’t know
the truth anymore.

The train
is lurching forwards like a drunk.
I don’t know anyone, everyone looks familiar.

Flames
reflect in their eyes: I’m still on fire.
Shrill screams flatten under steel wheels.

Bags whizz
up and down the escalators –
past men in uniforms, with sniffer-dogs.

Children
line the streets, scarlet
flowers droop into their begging bowls.

Their death-sentence is life.

I’m waiting
for movement, worms to wiggle
and mulch the drying rot, break new ground –

soft green,
instead of this leathery feel.
I’m not in control, life is dragging me,

my heels
are marking ground.
Blood has spilled the streets.

Mothers
are beating their breasts.
Fathers look stone-eyed at the flesh of their flesh,

scattered
like blossoms, flowers to be picked –
gathered in caskets - planted under the earth.

Vampires
are holding a party in formal dress.
A ghost band is playing, former victims are rattling

their bones –
Bob Dylan is singing Masters of War:
‘as young people's blood flows out of their bodies

buried in the mud.’
Truth lies…bites the dust…






Last edited by queenfisher, Jul/4/2013, 3:43 am
May/23/2013, 1:55 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 
Bernie01 Profile
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Re: In a Dead Swirl


Queen

cascade of focused images, in a symetry on the page that welcomes a reader.

i just mentioned dylan---bob dylan.

this poem reminds me of his 1960's recording, It's a hard Rain Gonna Fall.


images i liked especially:

1. My body,
will be placed on burning logs,
as the sun sinks, flames will lick it clean.

But the brain
does not burn. They will have
to prod the ashes, take out the skull,



would prefer the poem did not end with this line---

bites the dust…


a poem of charged imagination, i was drawn in and my attention remained focused.


bernie






Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin’
Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
Heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin’
Heard ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin’
Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin’
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, who did you meet, my blue-eyed son?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony
I met a white man who walked a black dog
I met a young woman whose body was burning
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow
I met one man who was wounded in love
I met another man who was wounded with hatred
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what’ll you do now, my darling young one?
I’m a-goin’ back out ’fore the rain starts a-fallin’
I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
Where the executioner’s face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it
Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’
But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
May/23/2013, 4:46 am Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
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Re: In a Dead Swirl


queenfisher,

I found some good things in the poem. I kept the lines that resonated with me, that seemed to be the unifying images for the poem. The other images, the deleted ones, had a place in the poem as you intended but for me they seemed to pull the poem apart rather than to drive it together. If it were my poem I would develop it along these lines, but then it's not my poem, and it's quite possible I missed some major point. Thanks for posting. Zak

]queenfisher wrote:

I

Branches
break, roots of sense
shake, leaves of reason fall.

I find
myself, sitting on a dead-
tree trunk, amidst the swamps.

Knees
submerged in a swirl that does
not stir, let them not find me here:

My body,
will be placed on burning logs,
as the sun sinks, flames will lick it clean.

But the brain
does not burn. They will have
to prod the ashes, take out the skull,

split it open, by the time I spill…

it will
be midnight, hard glints,
the stars; there will be no moon.

II


The train
is lurching forwards like a drunk.
I don’t know anyone, everyone looks familiar.

Flames
reflect in their eyes: I’m still on fire.

I’m waiting
for movement, worms to wiggle
and mulch the drying rot, break new ground –

soft green,
instead of this leathery feel.
I’m not in control, life is dragging me,

my heels
are marking ground.
 
scattered
like blossoms, flowers to be picked –
 
buried in the mud.’
 




 

May/24/2013, 6:29 am Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
arkava Profile
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Re: In a Dead Swirl


queen, i couldn't reconcile bob marley w/ the rest. the first three strophes sound the most powerful. (something as forceful as all the action verbs in S2)nor the vampires in formal dress. maybe it's just me. but as the poem progresses there is an overload of symbols. not saying the poem can't handle it. but to this reader it all kept slipping away after a while. but i am going to read and reread what i liked here.

sincerely,
arka



quote:

queenfisher wrote:

I

Truth is:
I don’t know
the truth anymore.

Branches
break, roots of sense
shake, leaves of reason fall.

I find
myself, sitting on a dead-
tree trunk, amidst the swamps.

Knees
submerged in a swirl that does
not stir, let them not find me here:

the price of escape is life.

Decked
like a bride, they will drag me up
the mountain-side, for the ultimate sacrifice.

Rubies
will dig the throat, sapphires
will pierce the ears in blue flames of heat.

My body,
will be placed on burning logs,
as the sun sinks, flames will lick it clean.

But the brain
does not burn. They will have
to prod the ashes, take out the skull,

split it open, by the time I spill…

it will
be midnight, hard glints,
the stars; there will be no moon.

II

Truth is:
I don’t know
the truth anymore.

The train
is lurching forwards like a drunk.
I don’t know anyone, everyone looks familiar.

Flames
reflect in their eyes: I’m still on fire.
Shrill screams flatten under steel wheels.

Bags whizz
up and down the escalators –
past men in uniforms, with sniffer-dogs.

Children
line the streets, scarlet
flowers droop into their begging bowls.

Their death-sentence is life.

I’m waiting
for movement, worms to wiggle
and mulch the drying rot, break new ground –

soft green,
instead of this leathery feel.
I’m not in control, life is dragging me,

my heels
are marking ground.
Blood has spilled the streets.

Mothers
are beating their breasts.
Fathers look stone-eyed at the flesh of their flesh,

scattered
like blossoms, flowers to be picked –
gathered in caskets - planted under the earth.

Vampires
are holding a party in formal dress.
A ghost band is playing, former victims are rattling

their bones –
Bob Dylan is singing Masters of War:
‘as young people's blood flows out of their bodies

buried in the mud.’
Truth lies…bites the dust…






May/26/2013, 5:21 am Link to this post Send Email to arkava   Send PM to arkava Blog
 
queenfisher Profile
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Re: In a Dead Swirl


dear bernie

thanks for reading & the comments & for posting baby blue - one of my fav!

i don't like the ending either
maybe just: truth...lies

greatly appreciate the feedback
Jun/3/2013, 2:25 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 
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Re: In a Dead Swirl


dear zak

thank you so much - you're absolutely pointing me in the right direction! yes that's the way to go - i'm beginning to see where i can take this weird piece!

so i will be posting revisions - thanks ever so much!
Jun/3/2013, 2:29 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 
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Re: In a Dead Swirl


dear arkava

i guess i know what you mean - about slipping away...

& yes there was this temptation to overload - which i must lighten.

i do so love the vampires in formal dress - tho - it will be difficult to let go - they have me by the throat!

that song i was refering to is bob dylan not marley

thanks for the suggestions
Jun/3/2013, 2:34 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: In a Dead Swirl


Hi queenfisher,

This is an ambitious poem and a difficult one. Not difficult in the sense of hard to understand but in the sense of emotionally challenging. I like that the poem is broken into two parts, each beginning with the same stanza:

Truth is:
I don’t know
the truth anymore.


I found this altered parallelism very effective:

the price of escape is life.

Their death-sentence is life.


This is my favorite image in the poem:

Children
line the streets, scarlet
flowers droop into their begging bowls.

Simple and devastating. Love the use of "droop" there.


I wondered if there could be a third section:

III

Truth is:
I don’t know
the truth anymore.

Blood has spilled the streets.

Mothers
are beating their breasts.
Fathers look stone-eyed at the flesh of their flesh,

scattered
like blossoms, flowers to be picked –
gathered in caskets - planted under the earth.

Vampires
are holding a party in formal dress.
A ghost band is playing, former victims are rattling

their bones –
Bob Dylan is singing Masters of War:
‘as young people's blood flows out of their bodies

buried in the mud.’
Truth lies…bites the dust… ["bites the dust" has got to go!]


The line and stanza breaks would have to be fixed and maybe you wouldn't want to repeat the "Truth is" stanza, but feels like there might be a natural break there between the N "waiting" and all hell breaking loose. Starting a new section might lessen that sense of "overload" and of the poem "slipping away" because a new section would indicate to the reader a slight shift or pause in momentum. Just a thought.

HTH.
Jun/7/2013, 9:41 am Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: In a Dead Swirl


This is, indeed, an ambitious poem. I don't normally bring down the whole of a poem's text in a comment, but this time I need to.

A close friend likes to tease me. She knows I'd rather be thought of as a poet first, a philosopher a distant second. So she digs a little, and with justification, tells me I've always been a philosopher first. What comes through in your poem is the stance of a poet, one for whom sensual-speak speaks first, one whose piety is a "natural piety", this-worldly, a reverence tied to the here and now, the stance of such a personality type taking on the largest of all philosophical questions: what is truth, is life real or illusory? In brief, the poem strikes an existential chord.

In the history of philosophical inquiry, philosophy itself started out, branched off from poetry. The first philosophers were the Greek pre-Socratics. They were looking for First Principles, the roots of existence. Thales said it was water. Democritus said it was atoms. Heraclitus, still my favorite, said the First Principle was fire. In other words, the first philosophers still proceeded in mytho-poeic terms, what kept them tied to the tradition of poetry out of which their enquiries sprang. It is no accident that the pre-Socratics were said to belong to the Orphic tradition, Orpheus himself still the archetype of all poets. I mention this because, by my reading, poem is trying for the exact same thing: asking the big question and proceeding to answer it, deny it or affirm it, mytho-poeicly. That is the sense I make of intention, possibly even of motive.

I say it so often I've long since become boring, or, worse, a broken record. There is in all successful poetry this thing I call the holy trinity. I got the term from Cajun cuisine. In everything down here there are green peppers, onions, and celery. Cajuns call it the holy trinity. In poetry I also find a holy trinity: kinetic drive, tension (of its parts), gestalt (organic unity). In your poem, Part 1 meets my test. Part 2 becomes discursive, meditative, reflective, becomes, in fact, more philosophical than poetic. This is not to say second part should be dropped. That is not my place to say. This is, however, to say, that the whole of the poem is in the first part, the more discursive questioning in the second. Through out both parts I can say I am seduced by the rich image play, the image-tumble so to speak.

I wish I knew more about you, Queen. I know you live in India. My sense is that you do not proceed within the context of the Western tradition. Is your cultural context Hindu? I wish I knew. It would help me find the right orientation for approaching your poetry.

I think I've forgotten to say this is a mighty poem, sense-rich and layered, no matter what you decide to do with it.

Tere

quote:

queenfisher wrote:

I

Truth is:
I don’t know
the truth anymore.

Branches
break, roots of sense
shake, leaves of reason fall.

I find
myself, sitting on a dead-
tree trunk, amidst the swamps.

Knees
submerged in a swirl that does
not stir, let them not find me here:

the price of escape is life.

Decked
like a bride, they will drag me up
the mountain-side, for the ultimate sacrifice.

Rubies
will dig the throat, sapphires
will pierce the ears in blue flames of heat.

My body,
will be placed on burning logs,
as the sun sinks, flames will lick it clean.

But the brain
does not burn. They will have
to prod the ashes, take out the skull,

split it open, by the time I spill…

it will
be midnight, hard glints,
the stars; there will be no moon.

II

Truth is:
I don’t know
the truth anymore.

The train
is lurching forwards like a drunk.
I don’t know anyone, everyone looks familiar.

Flames
reflect in their eyes: I’m still on fire.
Shrill screams flatten under steel wheels.

Bags whizz
up and down the escalators –
past men in uniforms, with sniffer-dogs.

Children
line the streets, scarlet
flowers droop into their begging bowls.

Their death-sentence is life.

I’m waiting
for movement, worms to wiggle
and mulch the drying rot, break new ground –

soft green,
instead of this leathery feel.
I’m not in control, life is dragging me,

my heels
are marking ground.
Blood has spilled the streets.

Mothers
are beating their breasts.
Fathers look stone-eyed at the flesh of their flesh,

scattered
like blossoms, flowers to be picked –
gathered in caskets - planted under the earth.

Vampires
are holding a party in formal dress.
A ghost band is playing, former victims are rattling

their bones –
Bob Dylan is singing Masters of War:
‘as young people's blood flows out of their bodies

buried in the mud.’
Truth lies…bites the dust…







Jun/8/2013, 1:52 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
queenfisher Profile
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Re: In a Dead Swirl


Dear katlin

thanks for the feedback - 3 stanza's make a lot of sense

thanks for pointing what you like - helps a lot with editing.

i will rework this out with all the input i've got.

at times we journey so far away from basic truths, simplicity, beauty that things get complex & distroted & ugly - whether it's individual perception, politics, war, terrorism - all a result of bending , distorting, stretching the truth till it becomes unrecognizable & turns monstrous - like vampires...confusion rules. i guess i was attempting something like that. so in that sense it is ambitious altho i was not trying to be...!
Jun/27/2013, 1:31 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 
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Re: In a Dead Swirl


dear tere

thanks for your comments - there's always so much to learn from them - so i really appreciate your time spent.

philosophy & poetry do complement each other - altho i've not read much philosophy& am no philosopher - but i guess the spirit of inquiry is in all of us & that leads in a sense to creativity - so maybe we can say with some truth that we're all thinkers & poets! no matter what our profession. i was watching a prog. on Marlyin Munroe - on t.v. a very well-made biopic on her life & death & was pleasantly surprised to learn that she wrote poetry - at least whatever she wrote in her diary reads out as poetry - as some eminent actors read it aloud - i was amazed at the simple truths revealed in her writing with such incisive vision.

& very similar to her we had a beautiful famous heroine called Meena Kumari - extremely successful - all her films were box-office hits. but again emotionally unstable, insecure, she was in love with love but never found THE MAN, turned to alcohol & died young. her last film was released after her death & was a major hit. anyways...i'm deviating as usual - but the point is - she wrote great poetry - & her poems have been published.

what's amazing to me - & this actually concerns more with your women portrait - is that there are many such women in india - beautiful, glamourous, successful . accomplished - with the world at their feet & yet their writing is full of loneliness & pain. here i'm specifically talking about celebrity women -i suppose - as they say - it all comes for a price!

yes i do live in India - Mumbai to be precise - the big bad city - it's called the city of dreams - but looked like a nightmare when i first come! my childood was spent in Delhi - the capital of india - so was college - then lots of time in Rajasthan - in a city called Jaipur - & now Mumbai - the finacial capital - also we have the biggest movie making industry - called bollywood.
& yes i am hindu but i like to call myself indian.

yes i cannot proceed entirely in the context of western tradition - (whatever that might be! what the hell is it? - just joking!)
'cos after all i'm from the eastern tradition - which i think is pretty well-known! - altho there's a large cross-section of society - with people like us - somewhere in the middle! the buddha path!

hope that will give you the right orientation to approach my writing - but you already have it. just as i think some westerners may also be treading the middle path!
Jun/27/2013, 2:16 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: In a Dead Swirl


Thank you for responding to my inquiry, Queen. This helps. And that is a good question, your joking question. Answer to which wholly dependant upon who you ask.

Tere
Jul/3/2013, 6:16 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Re: In a Dead Swirl


ha!

i don't think i should trouble you by asking what your answer would be!
Jul/4/2013, 2:35 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: In a Dead Swirl (Revision 1)


Yes you can, Queen. But it would be impolite and insensitive of me to post in your poem's thread a lengthy tangent involving how I would characterize Western Civ. I'm going to create a thread, instead, in the forum Discussion II. I'll call it something like Queenfisher's question, come back here and give the link.

Tere

Here you go. http://bdelectablemnts.runboard.com/t2244,offset=0#post15917

Last edited by Terreson, Jul/4/2013, 4:45 pm
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Re: In a Dead Swirl (Revision 1)


absolutely lovely.

The mind listlessly folding back on itself, Stevens' sempiturnal winter of the mind. 'gubbinal' comes to the fore especially, the perpetual image milling its way through a groping consciousness for 'Truth' whatever in hell that means!

I picture a visage through the fog, eyes peering sidelong, until birds greet me fluttering. Very mannered, controlled, concise poem. Love it. Have it your way, it's the time of the year, and the time of the day. ---satdoc
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dear satandoc

sorry for the delay.

thanks so much for the appreciation - love it!
Aug/12/2013, 4:23 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 


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