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GaryBFitzgerald Profile
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Human Kindness


I haven't looked at this poem in some time. I think it may need a little work. I'm hoping that someone may be able to offer a little constructive critique.


        Human Kindness

Milk. She needed some milk
so I went to the grocery store.
I waited for a parking space
listening to the radio. War!
Violence and terror and war
everywhere. More like a
geography lesson than news:
Iraq, Iran, the Congo, Afghanistan.
Chad, Sudan, North Korea,
Pakistan. Seems like the whole
world’s gone crazy. So much anger.
So much hate.Why all this strife,
all these people with time to fight
and kill and their bloodlust sate?
Just too many rats in the field,
I guess.

Parking spot finally opened up.
I started to roll. A woman in a
red car pulled into it right in
front of me. She got out and
threw me the finger.
Jul/6/2013, 9:03 pm Link to this post Send Email to GaryBFitzgerald   Send PM to GaryBFitzgerald
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Human Kindness


Hi Gary,

I like the way the poem starts with a one word sentence: “Milk.” I also like the fact that the word can be taken both literally and, coupled with the title, figuratively: the milk of human kindness. Nice touch.

I like this pithy line: “More like a/geography lesson than news.” And your use of another one word sentence: “War!” I don’t think you need to repeat it in the following sentence, however. It feels like you are trying to drive home the point too much. For me simply saying: “Violence and terror/everywhere.” would work better.

Nice tie-in and shift to parking lot rage in the last S as a way to demonstrate the roots of anger in everyday life. I couldn’t help wondering what the N’s response was. Other than going home and writing a poem that is. emoticon What I mean is, the poem makes me wonder what the N has done with his anger, how he handles it, keeps it in perspective and from getting out of control. Maybe that's not something to be addressed in this poem but in a companion piece?

Overall, I like the natural tone of the poem and the N’s down-to-earth voice. Without those two elements a poem on this subject matter could quickly become self-righteous and preachy.

Thanks for posting, Gary. Your poem reminded me of a little book I have, Practicing Peace in Times of War by Pema Chodron.

HTH. As always, use or lose as you see fit.
Jul/9/2013, 9:20 am Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
GaryBFitzgerald Profile
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Re: Human Kindness


Kat:

Wow! You nailed it. You are very astute. You should do critiques on a regular basis. Oh, I forgot…you do. emoticon

I concur with your observation about repeating the word “war”, but since war and its origins in basic human nature is actually the subject of the poem, I think I like the repetition. Kind of a foreshadowing thing. But I agree with you about the placement so, in the interest of prosody, I think I should change the lines to:


listening to the radio. War!
War and terror and violence
everywhere. More like a
geography lesson than news:

Is that better?

Regarding the narrator’s response, in this case I think the narrator would have just thought “Huh?”, smiled and shaken his head.

Thanks,
Gary


Last edited by GaryBFitzgerald, Jul/10/2013, 7:56 pm
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Katlin Profile
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Re: Human Kindness


Hi Gary,

Yes, the revision you've made is better. I wouldn't have thought to make that change, but I think it works. Good call.

I'm sorry for the delay in getting back to you. When I tried to sign onto DM this morning, Runboard was down (for several hours!). I read your post last night, but I was too tired to comment. I think you said you wanted to post two additional poems in this thread to demonstrate something about voice in your poems and asked if that would be okay. Yes, it would be okay. Bernie has done that a few times in the past, and it seemed to work out just fine. Tere once started a thread in which he posted a number of different poems to be critiqued and some people got confused, so I wouldn't necessarily recommend doing that. But if you want post additional poems as examples and/or to further the discussion, I don't think that will be problem. BTW, thanks for asking first.

Last edited by Katlin, Jul/10/2013, 10:03 pm
Jul/10/2013, 9:58 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
GaryBFitzgerald Profile
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Re: Human Kindness


Kat:

You will note that I revised my previous post and deleted my mention of the two additional poems. I think it was probably a bad idea and I changed my mind.

You have just confirmed that I made the right decision. This thread should be a discussion about A POEM, not a given poet's style, technique or body of work.

Maybe on a different thread some day.

Thank you for taking the time and helping me with my poem.

Gary
Jul/10/2013, 10:34 pm Link to this post Send Email to GaryBFitzgerald   Send PM to GaryBFitzgerald
 
Christine98 Profile
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Re: Human Kindness


Gary, I enjoyed reading your poem. The last line was unexpected and made me laugh. It's good to see you posting here,

Chris
Jul/11/2013, 8:17 am Link to this post Send Email to Christine98   Send PM to Christine98
 
GaryBFitzgerald Profile
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Re: Human Kindness


Thanks, Christine. I am happy that you enjoyed the poem.

Here's another poem that you might like with a completely opposite take on the subject. Sort of the Yin to the Yang.


           The Misanthrope

Yes, humans are the problem, I always said,
why so many innocent now lay dead.
It’s the unrelenting, driving need, the primitive fire
that consumes all required to nurture self,
produce more seed, to achieve another birth.
The ultimate proverbial selfish gene,
like vermin in the pantry of the Earth.

Malaria, diphtheria, suburbia…
what difference among disease?
The destruction is the same despite the size.
The scale does not obscure the fact
of its effect, despite the lies, prevent
the gruesome truth of its result.
Yes, humans are the problem, I say,
by no selection of their own, just the unstoppable
unthinking base desire. Some like wolves,
some like rats, a virus in the body of the world.
I pretty much just hate them all.
I wish they’d pass like their empires do,
relinquish the realm to those who truly love it.

Later, at the store to get some beer,
a little girl, maybe seven, maybe eight,
made it to the door before me…little brat!
I reached to open it for her, she being a kid
and all, but she, being quicker, opened it first,
held it open with a great big smile of victory.
“Well, thank you.” I said gruffly, in my most adult
and appreciative voice. “You’re welcome.”
the little angel said sincerely, without judgment,
without fear of the grumpy old man with the beard.
She skipped off after her mother. I stood there.
Sh*t! There goes the whole damned theory.
Maybe there’s hope for us after all.


Copyright 2008 – Softwood: Seventy-eight Poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald


Last edited by GaryBFitzgerald, Jul/11/2013, 9:33 pm
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GaryBFitzgerald Profile
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Re: Human Kindness


Here is my revised version of 'Human Kindness'. Thank you, Kat.


        Human Kindness

Milk. She needed some milk
so I went to the grocery store.
I waited for a parking space
listening to the radio. War!
War and terror and violence
everywhere. More like a
geography lesson than news:
Iraq, Iran, the Congo, Afghanistan.
Chad, Sudan, North Korea,
Pakistan. What a mess!
Seems like the whole world’s
gone crazy. So much anger.
So much hate. Why all this strife,
all these people with time to fight
and kill and their bloodlust sate?
Just too many rats in the field,
I guess.

Parking spot finally opened up.
I started to roll. A woman in a
red car pulled into it right in
front of me. She got out and
threw me the finger
Jul/14/2013, 7:41 pm Link to this post Send Email to GaryBFitzgerald   Send PM to GaryBFitzgerald
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Human Kindness


Well, the poem works, if a bit with a heavy, didactic hand. Starting with the abstract, going down to the personal. That works.

Tere
Jul/20/2013, 10:15 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
GaryBFitzgerald Profile
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Re: Human Kindness


Thanks, Tere. I’m glad that you like my poem.

As you probably remember, though, Didactic R Us.

I closely follow the contemporary poetry scene on the blogosphere and try to keep up with all the modern trends. We have our ‘difficult’ and ‘elliptical’ poetry, our humorous poetry, our political poetry. Some think poetry should either entertain or challenge. None of this has swayed me from my belief that the true purpose of poetry is to enlighten and teach, to lead us into a deeper understanding of life and being through the beauty and music of words.

GBF

Last edited by GaryBFitzgerald, Jul/30/2013, 8:32 pm
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arkava Profile
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Re: Human Kindness


quote:

Some think poetry should either entertain or challenge. None of this has swayed me from my belief that the true purpose of poetry is to enlighten and teach, to lead us into a deeper understanding of life and being through the beauty and music of words.



amen to that gary. poem here seems no-nonsense and, like kat said, down-to-earth. love it.

thanks
arja
Aug/12/2013, 10:26 pm Link to this post Send Email to arkava   Send PM to arkava Blog
 
GaryBFitzgerald Profile
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Re: Human Kindness


Thank you, Arja. Very kind of you.

I hope you enjoy my other poems here.

Or...YOU COULD JUST BUY THE BOOKS!!!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon


Aug/14/2013, 7:35 pm Link to this post Send Email to GaryBFitzgerald   Send PM to GaryBFitzgerald
 


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