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Zakzzz5 Profile
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Growing Older Past My Brother (Original restored to top)


[note: Thank you all for the quick response. I tend to agree that the original is better. Undoubtedly, it can be improved, but it's more difficult than easy.]

Growing Older Past My Brother - ORIGINAL

beneath sullen dead skies
we three ladle thin soup
fronted by lazy ember spirals

and wheeling birds
spread wings on winter’s canvas
in wheat driven wind
where I grow older faster

on wall of the rail car
where we’ve sheltered,
brother older than you now,
you fiercer still
 
brother love I am alone
my wife is here repeating words,
driven soul, I pierce the rain,
flood waters sand I dimly

pierce the blue
I’ve outrun you.
---------------------------------------
Revision #1

beneath formidable winter skies
we three ladle thin soup
in front of lazy ember spirals

and wheeling shadows
in wheat strewn driven wind
with weathered wings
these blackbirds steer the sky
while I grow older faster

on a bare wall of a rail car
where we keep shelter,
brother older than you now,
you fiercer still
 
brother love I am alone
my wife is here repeating words,
driven soul, I pierce the rain,
flood waters sand I dimly

pierce the blue
I’ve outrun you.
 



Last edited by Zakzzz5, Dec/15/2009, 9:05 am
Dec/14/2009, 9:16 am Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Growing Older Past My Brother (Revision #1 & original)


Hi Zak,

As I mentioned in another thread when I first read this poem elsewhere, I really liked it. If I'm not mistaken you dropped the last stanza from the original poem when you copied it over:

"pierce the blue
I’ve outrun you."

Tere often talks about the way a good poem gives him a shiver. I remember the ending of this poem because after I read the last lines I felt as if I couldn't breathe--just the way grief usually makes me feel.

Now that I've read the revision, I have to say I prefer the original. It feels rawer, more stripped down and immediate, which in this case is the right way to go I think.

Someone, I can't remember who, once said that one and two syllables words are better for expressing feeling whereas words of more than two syllables are better for expressing ideas, thinking. That's one reason I prefer the opening line in the original to the opening line in the revision. I like the sound work in S2 of the original more than the sound work in the revision as well. Overall, I think there is something mysterious about the original, which adds to the haunting quality of the poem and which the revision has undercut somehow.

I love the lines "brother love I am alone" and "I've out run you." as well as the title. I think you even get away with using the word soul, always tricky in today's (poetry) world. Those last two stanzas hit me in the solar plexus, take away my breath as well as my words. Again, as grief itself is wont to do.

As always, just my 2 cents. Thanks for posting this here.
Dec/14/2009, 2:55 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
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Re: Growing Older Past My Brother (Revision #1 & original)


Katlin,

I asked someone on the other board for a comparison and got the same response. That's always my fear, and most of the time it plays out that way; that is, most of the time by the time I've posted something, if it happens to have quality, the original is usually better.Again, thanks. Zak
  
-----------------------------------
Katlin wrote:

Hi Zak,

As I mentioned in another thread when I first read this poem elsewhere, I really liked it. If I'm not mistaken you dropped the last stanza from the original poem when you copied it over:

"pierce the blue
I’ve outrun you."

Tere often talks about the way a good poem gives him a shiver. I remember the ending of this poem because after I read the last lines I felt as if I couldn't breathe--just the way grief usually makes me feel.

Now that I've read the revision, I have to say I prefer the original. It feels rawer, more stripped down and immediate, which in this case is the right way to go I think.

Someone, I can't remember who, once said that one and two syllables words are better for expressing feeling whereas words of more than two syllables are better for expressing ideas, thinking. That's one reason I prefer the opening line in the original to the opening line in the revision. I like the sound work in S2 of the original more than the sound work in the revision as well. Overall, I think there is something mysterious about the original, which adds to the haunting quality of the poem and which the revision has undercut somehow.

I love the lines "brother love I am alone" and "I've out run you." as well as the title. I think you even get away with using the word soul, always tricky in today's (poetry) world. Those last two stanzas hit me in the solar plexus, take away my breath as well as my words. Again, as grief itself is wont to do.

As always, just my 2 cents. Thanks for posting this here.

Dec/14/2009, 6:47 pm Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Growing Older Past My Brother (Revision #1 & original)


For me at least the original is better, more effective. Its cadence gives it drive or kinetic energy. Image play sharper. And I think also the original places more trust in its reader, which amounts to engagement.

Words can do double duty. They can amount to an applique or they can get clinically sharp. I always prefer the latter, which I guess might amount to a bias.

Tere
Dec/14/2009, 8:32 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Patricia Jones Profile
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Re: Growing Older Past My Brother (Revision #1 & original)


I prefer the original, too, Zak...either way, it is a powerful poem, has all the elements I love in a poem...gestalt, a bit of mystery and visual description I can see and feel.

Pat

---
"Don't you worry--I ain't evil, I'm just bad".
~Chris Smither~
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Dragon59 Profile
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Re: Growing Older Past My Brother (Revision #1 & original)


In "correcting" the language in your revision, in smoothing out and expanding some hard-edged phrases, you've weakened the power of the poem. So, while the original version has some problems (a few cliché images, in this context), it is the stronger version of the two. Your revisions seemed designed to polish of the rougher edges, but this is the kind of poem that NEEDS rough edges, those rough-hewn granite boulders of the soul, rather than polished pearls. The mood of the piece speaks to the feelings behind it, and polishing the language takes away the force of the mood.

This is a good example of matching the style of the poem to the contents: finding the right container (style) in which to hold the poem's imagery, mood, and content.

So obviously I prefer the original version here, even though there are a few problems with it.

---
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Dec/15/2009, 1:50 am Link to this post Send Email to Dragon59   Send PM to Dragon59
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
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Re: Growing Older Past My Brother (Original restored to top)


Terreson, Pat, Dragon,

Yes, the original is probably more stripped down, less smooth. As I said above, many times as I respond to the criticism, I end up crippling the original effort. Or at least not really improving it. Thank you for the descriptions, reasons, why the original, with its faults, is still better than the other.

On the other board, it appears a new person (or at least a new name) just gave me a lengthy review. I'll have to find the time to read it. Good or bad, we still have to read them. Zak

ps -- I should mention that this poem has some Terreson influences in it, good ones (I hope). Thanks Terreson.

Last edited by Zakzzz5, Dec/16/2009, 7:39 pm
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