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SallyMaria Profile
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The Winter Before the Flood


The winter before the flood, he crawled into himself.

He slept through ice singing on branches,
the clamor of buds pressing through bark,
he slept as water bounded past rocks
and trees, to cover his nose and feet.

His woke to koi tickling his toes,
to weightless waves of morphine.
If you have a place, I have some fish
he said, Some are fourteen inches.

With child-like delight he swam
through the doors of sand castles,
mastered the movement of his once
frozen legs. I can walk now he said

talking to me, or someone named Tom..
That's great I say, wishing I had known him
like this before the flood, before the piano
began to play the last notes of his song.


Note: I have the quotes in italics on the original, which isn't easy to do here....
Feb/2/2009, 6:14 pm Link to this post Send Email to SallyMaria   Send PM to SallyMaria Blog
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: The Winter Before the Flood


The poem has essential, organic, unity mostly. I say mostly because the ending, piano image seems arbitary to me. Why a piano? Why not a guitar. Also, there is nothing to prepare me for the last line, what predicates itself on that the subject is a musician. I confess that "last notes of his song" strikes me as a cliche, an easy way out.

The poem has me up to the last two lines. I get the projections, the touch of magic realism, the morphine induced delirium, and the tenderness of the narrator having to bear witness.

Tere
Feb/4/2009, 7:38 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
SallyMaria Profile
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Re: The Winter Before the Flood


Hi Terre,

Thanks for responding. Actually, I came in to take the poem down because someone told me the poem could be viewed as demeaning. I was afraid the reader would not be able to tell just how tender and intimate a moment this captured. But you did.

I will think about the ending. The instrument was arbitrary. I happened to be listening to a piano as I wrote. So I'll work on the cliche. And if you think this could be taken other than how it was meant, please tell me that too.

sally



Feb/5/2009, 3:43 pm Link to this post Send Email to SallyMaria   Send PM to SallyMaria Blog
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: The Winter Before the Flood


Well, Sally Maria, without wishing to show disrespect, all I can say is that your reader must have been smoking crack cocaine.

Goodness! The narrator's tender attentiveness is salient. It's what comes through. And it is the poem's glue or mortar or whatever you want to call it. This or I am missing something.

As I said, until the poem's last two lines it had me in the way a poem can carry up its reader.

Tere
Feb/5/2009, 4:03 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
SallyMaria Profile
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Re: The Winter Before the Flood


Thank you. THANK YOU!
Feb/6/2009, 8:28 am Link to this post Send Email to SallyMaria   Send PM to SallyMaria Blog
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
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Re: The Winter Before the Flood


Sally,

This is a good poem. You've written good ones in the past and this is has qualities of one of your best. It probably could be tightened and smoothed even more, like a fine stone, but it's almost there. As it is, if you did nothing with it except maybe in the piano line (not sure I would have noticed it on my own), it's very good. Zak

quote:

SallyMaria wrote:

The winter before the flood, he crawled into himself. [This is a wonderful title.]

He slept through ice singing on branches,
the clamor of buds pressing through bark,
he slept as water bounded past rocks
and trees, to cover his nose and feet. [You succeed in transcending normal existence, IMHO. I want to say dreamlike quality, but I think it's a step even beyond that. Into myth, maybe. "Nose" bothered me a bit because we tend to think of nose as humorous, but maybe you need it for "immersion."]

His woke to koi tickling his toes,
to weightless waves of morphine.
If you have a place, I have some fish
he said, Some are fourteen inches.

With child-like delight he swam
through the doors of sand castles,
mastered the movement of his once
frozen legs. I can walk now he said
Both of these stanzas, while wasting no time in introducing situation and scenery, are fabulous in the new sense and in the old. Also, I see how life blends with dream and myth. Good work, Sally.]

talking to me, or someone named Tom..
That's great I say, wishing I had known him
like this before the flood, before the piano
began to play the last notes of his song. [I see the objection to piano. My objection isn't as strong, though I agree this isn't your strongest line. How about the wind began to play the last notes of his song? No total objection to piano. Victrola [that pops up from some piece of memory].


Note: I have the quotes in italics on the original, which isn't easy to do here....



 
        
		
Feb/7/2009, 6:08 am Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: The Winter Before the Flood


Hi Sally Maria,

I read this poem when you first posted it but didn't have time to comment. I really like the poem, especially the lines:

"His woke to koi tickling his toes,
to weightless waves of morphine."

and

"I can walk now he said

talking to me, or someone named Tom.."

My only quibble is with the ending, which was a bit of a letdown for the reasons Tere stated.

The tenderness and intimacy you hoped to capture came through to me.

Feb/9/2009, 1:48 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
SallyMaria Profile
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Re: The Winter Before the Flood


Thanks so much Zak - I want to work on this today - I can't express how much I want this poem to be the best it can be - a smoothe stone - how beautifully put.
Feb/9/2009, 2:02 pm Link to this post Send Email to SallyMaria   Send PM to SallyMaria Blog
 
deepwaters Profile
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Re: The Winter Before the Flood


SallyMaria-

Did you write this on a day that you were Maria? emoticon What I feel the strongest in this piece is the poet's tenderness and affection towards the subject of the poem. That comes through loud and clear.

I wonder if what your other reader felt was not your conveying that the subject was no longer adult/macho/strong/something to the effect, and that it was a projection on the reader's part, this feeling pitty for a person in that state... I don't know; I just don't think the poem is in danger of that at all. In fact, there is a sense of pleasure I get from the poet - as if this state of affairs has wonderful side effects. Maybe I am reading too much into this?

If I may, I would like to add my two rusty cents to the pile of last-2-lines-are-let-down. 'last notes of his song' is too cliche for a piece that includes
His woke to koi tickling his toes,
to weightless waves of morphine.


Also, is the only purpose of the piano to tell us the subject is a musician? a pianist perhaps? otherwise, it come from the left field.

Thanks for the read.
-shab

Feb/12/2009, 9:55 pm Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 
SallyMaria Profile
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Re: The Winter Before the Flood


Shab, (and all)

This was an incredibly tender moment.

But with respect to the last lines -
It may be that I'm stuck in place - and only think I need something there, but let me explain why it is there.

talking to me, or someone named Tom..
(I felt this was the only way to really define that this is a real story, that it isn't a folk tale. This is where the hallucination joins the real world, and there is that moment of confusion (ie, who is Tom)

That's great I say, wishing I had known him
like this before the flood,(actually, I have edited this to read: wishing we had talked like this before the flood. This seems so important to me because it shows that this relationship hasn't been smoothe. In fact, communication was key to the fact that they had problems.)

 before the piano
began to play the last notes of his song.
(It is too flat to just remove the lines to end it there and I do need to communicate that this was their last conversation before he died. Unfortunately, every other option I see would also be deemed cliche. He wasn't a musician, but life can be seen as a song - which is why I chose those lines. Life is less understood as a poem.... I can go back to the flood of the disease with the dual symbolism of water which is often spiritual.....but it felt I had done so much with water that it would seem that I was hammering it home.

Sorry to belabor this..... I really don't want anyone to finish the poem, but perhaps some ideas about the mechanics of how to get it said?

Thanks so much for y'alls patience with this...

s
Feb/13/2009, 2:02 am Link to this post Send Email to SallyMaria   Send PM to SallyMaria Blog
 
ChrisD1 Profile
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Re: The Winter Before the Flood


Sally,

I think the poem conveys the sense that this is a "last" conversation, that the person described is passing. So I think it would be OK to end on, "before the flood." whether it is preceded by "wishing I had know him like this" or "wishing we had talked like this."

Then the poem would end in a kind of resonance or lingering feeling...not so conclusive an ending. I think these last lines are very important and maybe best to sit with the scene, piano and all, and see what else it gives rise to.

My two cents hopefully not nonsense.

Best,

Chris

Feb/13/2009, 10:18 am Link to this post Send Email to ChrisD1   Send PM to ChrisD1
 
SallyMaria Profile
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Re: The Winter Before the Flood


Chris - Wow...... so far I like your suggestion - however duh I feel for not seeing it.


Thank you everyone for your input...it means so much.
Feb/13/2009, 10:32 am Link to this post Send Email to SallyMaria   Send PM to SallyMaria Blog
 
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Re: The Winter Before the Flood


sorry, pressed the button twice

Last edited by SallyMaria, Feb/13/2009, 10:33 am
Feb/13/2009, 10:32 am Link to this post Send Email to SallyMaria   Send PM to SallyMaria Blog
 


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