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sambyfield Profile
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Split Earth


Split Earth

Morpeth’s loose river and farmlands,
the sky heaving itself
down in great drapes.

We broused the brick-a-bracks
and lolly shops, climbed over
an old steam engine and listened

to the rainsong of frogs amongst
the ferns and old stone walls.
The bridge rattled, its heavy presence

hanging on into its third century,
shadowing the flash of reeds
and river mullet. While the women

drank coffee I walked with Thom
through gardens and down
to the water, took a photo of us,

arm-in-arm, obviously brothers
despite the different hair lengths,
despite his axeman shoulders

and my clean shave; our eyes
an identical blue, though
not long since the accident his smile

didn’t reach them, hesitant behind
his new fear of the world, an animal
crouched in barnyard shadows,

relearning trust; his scars jagged
and red, like split earth.
All this year I’ve carried the photo

with me like a talisman, watched
his eyes and mouth telling
different stories, as if I could stop

the world from hurting him,
from taking any more Byfield men
too soon.


Last edited by sambyfield, May/31/2009, 1:32 am
May/28/2009, 9:00 pm Link to this post Send Email to sambyfield   Send PM to sambyfield
 
ChrisD1 Profile
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Re: Split Earth


Sam,

The world of this poem is active and ominous. Seems to embody an energy seperate and apart: "the sky heaving itself/down in great drapes..."The bridge rattled its heavy presence..." This ominous quality interwoven with "brick-a-bracks/and lolly shops," and "the rainsong of frogs..."

Then the introduction of the injured brother
with "his new fear of the world," and the narrator who feels both powerless and protective, "as if I could/stop the world from hurting him,"

The last two lines threw me a little out of the experience. Up till there, nothing to crit. Just appreciation.

Chris
May/31/2009, 8:14 am Link to this post Send Email to ChrisD1   Send PM to ChrisD1
 
sambyfield Profile
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Re: Split Earth


Hey Chris, thanks for reading, you're probably right about the last two lines.
Jun/1/2009, 6:24 am Link to this post Send Email to sambyfield   Send PM to sambyfield
 
dmanister Profile
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Re: Split Earth


Sam,

This is the best poem I've read in a workshop in a very long time. The last line is a bit cryptic, but intriguing. I would think hard about it before taking it out.

I was ready to pounce on this as being sentimental, but it won me over.

A bit boring in the beginning; maybe you could set the scene up a bit more efficiently and get into the heart of the matter sooner.

Really wonderful, publishable, can't think of any more nits.

I'm speechless really. Tere will tell you how rare that is.

Diana

.
Jun/3/2009, 8:28 am Link to this post Send Email to dmanister   Send PM to dmanister
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Split Earth


Sam, this is as good, maybe more seasoned, than was your China poetry of some three to five years ago. You remember that poetry when crowded trains and crowded streets cleared your poetic sinuses? I sure remember.

This poem has pathos, without which I am not convinced there is poetry. The little stuff of syntax you'll figure out.

Tere
Jun/6/2009, 7:15 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
sambyfield Profile
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Re: Split Earth


Thanks Di for some excellently positive comments, and apologies for not acknowledging them sooner.

Thanks too Tere for some interesting thoughts- I agree that it's a bit evolved from some of my earlier poetry, 'more seasoned' is a good way of putting it. Not really a conscious thing, to be honest, but just the way my sub conscious is lately. The issue of quality, in an objective sort of sense, is interesting- while i think this poem works, whether it's better than my early stuff i'm no sure. I had a china poem several years old picked up by as pretty prestigious journal a few weeks ago, and it's such a different piece than this one ('Writing my way Back to her', from my chapbook, luckily i don't think the crossover audience is too big in this instance).

Thanks again

sam
Jun/23/2009, 7:11 pm Link to this post Send Email to sambyfield   Send PM to sambyfield
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
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Re: Split Earth


Sam,

Besides the writing being very good, I was struck by how you worked your way into the story slowly. Or without being hurried. In the end there is a definite and real human concern there, the look in the eyes and the scar. A nice evolution from the very comfortable writing early in the poem. Zak
Jul/12/2009, 11:50 am Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 


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