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carolinex Profile
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Maternal Instincts, possible revise


v2

Old bones trip
over a garden hose.
Mother,
face down in the dirt,
thousands of miles away.


As a dinosaur,
with wings,
I rescue you with my beak,
strap you to my belly,
disregard useless struggling.

We soar across Laurasia to Gondwana,
leave past misunderstandings
beneath the ginkgoes and evergreens.


I hold you
in forgiving branches,
dig down to the center,
ciphon nectar for your bath
and ripen seeds for breakfast.


With roots and wings, I flap backwards,
pull us together
like heaven once embraced earth,

like before we separated–


I don't know how
to be a daughter who
returns to care for you.

v1
Old bones trip
over a garden hose.
Mother,
face down in the dirt,
thousands of miles away.


If I could be a dinosaur,
I'd have wings
and rescue you with my beak,
strap you to my belly,
ignore useless struggling.

We'd soar across Laurasia to Gondwana
and leave past misunderstandings
beneath the ginkgoes and evergreens.


If I could hold you
in forgiving branches,
I'd dig down to the center,
ciphon nectar for your bath
and ripen seeds for breakfast.


With roots and wings, I'd flap backwards,
to pull us together
like heaven once embraced earth,

like before we separated–


I don't know how
to be a daughter who
returns to care for you.

Last edited by carolinex, Feb/19/2010, 5:17 pm
Feb/4/2010, 6:02 pm Link to this post Send PM to carolinex
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Maternal Instincts


Caroline, you and I don't crit the same way. I hope you allow the difference.

Paleontoligists have a notion they call deep time. Not past time or dead time, but deep time. It kind of makes sense to me, since, the past never dies, just lives on in our soma. This is how I take in your poem.

In the whole the poem works for me. One I will remember if and when met with again. I am not sure what a ginkgoe tree is. I do know that a ginko is a prehistoric tree, one of the few such to still be around, and I think one of the first of trees to go deciduous and fruit bearing. But maybe you have something else in mind and I am not getting it.

I like how the poem wraps up a child/mother relationship in the context of deep time. That is how the case of such relationships seem to me too. First strophe sets up the accident that can stupidly call down mortality on the elderly. Third strophe and I ask why Gondwhana? Why not Pangea, the original (mothering?) continent? Fourth strophe is the poem's fulcrum point on which the poem's emotional energy turns. What follows is denouement. The stand alone line speaks to the poem's argument. With the last strophe I first think 'it can go away.' But then I think, no, it grounds the poem personally, which is a good thing.

Good poem, my friend. Not unlike your collages.

Tere

quote:

CarolineX wrote:

Old bones trip
over a garden hose.
Mother,
face down in the dirt,
thousands of miles away.


If I could be a dinosaur,
I'd have wings
and rescue you with my beak,
strap you to my belly,
ignore useless struggling.

We'd soar across Laurasia to Gondwana
and leave past misunderstandings
beneath the ginkgoes and evergreens.


If I could hold you
in forgiving branches,
I'd dig down to the center,
ciphon nectar for your bath
and ripen seeds for breakfast.


With roots and wings, I'd flap backwards,
to pull us together
like heaven once embraced earth,

like before we separated–


I don't know how
to be a daughter who
returns to care for you.



Feb/4/2010, 9:28 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
ChrisD1 Profile
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Re: Maternal Instincts


hi Caroline,

I got the same sense as Tere for "deep time," in this poem.

In S1, I'd go with the first two lines alone,
leaving out the last three. The last lines,
"I don't know how/to be a daughter..." tell enough about the relationship. For me anyway, the poem could shed some unweildy baggage there.

I think this captures a child-like, magical thinking quality that we employ sometimes when confronted by the grim-unbearables of life--that and deep time, like Tere said.

Chris
Feb/5/2010, 9:42 am Link to this post Send Email to ChrisD1   Send PM to ChrisD1
 
carolinex Profile
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Re: Maternal Instincts


I feel the same way when I comment on your poems Tere. I hope you will let me know if I do anything that offends. I tend to read a poem and only crit at points where I feel something jerks me out of the experience. But then sometimes that could be a good thing in a poem who knows. You often speak to the poem as a whole which I do value.

Maybe I should switch to Pangea. In my earlier version I used ""gigantoraptor" which was a dinosaur in a later time period. It actually has wings but they were useless for flying. I guess I should check if there were dinosaurs in Pangea time. I think ginkgo and ginko are two spellings of the same tree.

It's such a weird poem I will be very happy if it works.

Hi Chris,
Thank you much. Your interpretation is spot on with my intent. I just added daughter at the end so maybe a bit of crop at the beginning would work.
Feb/5/2010, 5:19 pm Link to this post Send PM to carolinex
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Maternal Instincts


First off, Caroline, this is not a weird poem. I got this rule and it hasn't failed me yet. If the poem, on first reading and immediately, touches, tickles, scrapes against or punctures my soma, then I am looking at a poem, no matter the stylistic or structural stuff involved. It could be the poem seems weird to you because of the layered experience it draws on. That happens to me sometimes and I feel like I am awkwardly standing on one leg and sure of nothing. Cocteau said this can be a good sign, that the poet has stepped outside her own comfort zone.

About the Pangea/Gondwhana thing. I am remembering that many modern species of animals came from the second continental shift in tectonics. For example, it was when honey bees evolved out of an ancestral wasp. Either way I enjoy the poem's deep time resonance.

And, yes, your critical manner works fine by me. Were you to change procedure I might be disappointed. It is your way. It is a good way.

Now for something fun. Remember your other screen name? Here is a link to an audio of different wrens songs. Kind of cool.

http://www.naturesongs.com/trogpeuc.html#trog

Tere

Last edited by Terreson, Feb/6/2010, 6:10 pm
Feb/5/2010, 6:59 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
carolinex Profile
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Re: Maternal Instincts


Well thank you Tere. Now I feel more normal. emoticon
I want this one to work especially because it touches on two bodies of art. One about flying and the other about grounding.

Thank you for the wren songs. Enjoyed them.
Feb/6/2010, 5:14 pm Link to this post Send PM to carolinex
 
deepwaters Profile
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Re: Maternal Instincts


Caroline –

I really like this poem. It is so emotional but doesn’t fall over itself with over-sentimentality. There is something raw about it, at least for this reader. Here are some thoughts:

Old bones trip
over a garden hose.
Mother,
face down in the dirt,
thousands of miles away.

I agree with Chris about axing the last three lines.

If I could be a dinosaur,
I'd have wings
and rescue you with my beak,
strap you to my belly,
ignore useless struggling.

How do you feel about getting rid of ‘and’ in L3? I also itch for a word better than “ignore” – I feel that there is more than simple ignoring going on. But maybe that’s just me.

We'd soar across Laurasia to Gondwana
and leave past misunderstandings
beneath the ginkgoes and evergreens.

nice

If I could hold you
in forgiving branches,
I'd dig down to the center,
ciphon nectar for your bath
and ripen seeds for breakfast.

I love holding you in forgiving branches. I must be having an anti-“and” day today, because I also don’t think you need the one in L5 here.

With roots and wings, I'd flap backwards,
to pull us together
like heaven once embraced earth,

like before we separated–

I don't know how
to be a daughter who
returns to care for you.

Good ending. I like the images, the sentiments; the whole thing works for me.

Just my two cents. Thanks for the read.
-s
Feb/7/2010, 6:46 pm Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 
SteveParker Profile
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Re: Maternal Instincts


Hi, Caroline. This one makes me feel close to you somehow. Reminds me of dem old fairy tale days maybe. The first strophe is just all there entirely. It is a poem complete in itself. No one would know whether these tripping bones were those of the mother or the narrator. That is a cool poem where these things coalesce. I almost just want to leave it there because that in itself is such a complete poem, but I see you moved on. I am stirring myself, spitting out the Lotus.

Okay, after that we are into rather less impact with a conditional tense. We are in what could be and not what is like we were in S1. I'm a little deflated by that, and I wonder why this can't all be made 'real' and not conditional. The conditional seems almost apologetic somehow after that opening. Can't it just be made real?

I suppose I have read too many of these 'if only' poems, and I would just love one of them to say oh well actually I am digging down to the centre, I am siphoning nectar for your bath etc... !@#$ these distances and conditionalities, let's enter each other. Let's not pretend any of us are gone just because of societal conventions. Caroline, you are not in the business of losing people, so while it's entirely cool to acknowledge a level of loss, why not stick with your fantastic, mythic, engaged matériel, and keep the whole thing in Present Time?

Just a thought.

Steve.


for you.
Feb/7/2010, 8:04 pm Link to this post Send Email to SteveParker   Send PM to SteveParker
 
carolinex Profile
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Re: Maternal Instincts


Cool Shab. I will ponder your little suggestions. All workable.

Steve--I think that's it! I was struggling over the whole tense thing. So glad you gifted me that thought. I will give it a try and repost.

Thank you also for the confidence in moi.
Feb/8/2010, 4:50 pm Link to this post Send PM to carolinex
 
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Re: Maternal Instincts


CarolineX,

This made me think about poetry, how we use it to try to say things that are difficult to say. For example, this appears to be a poem about the deep need to help a mother, and about the difficulties in trying to do that. But if said prosaically, it might not have the same impact. Instead, first there is a picture of the mother tripping over a garden hose. Even that is given a poetic treatment; it isn't my elderly mother tripped over a garden hose, instead it's "old bones" trip over a garden hose. (I'm left to wonder if there is "guilt" there on the part of the narrator: she is "thousands" of miles away?).

Then we get poetic; the dinosaur is able to strap the mother to her belly???? Cartoonish (but effective) and talking simultaneously about leaving past misunderstandings behind, and so forth. I'm left feeling like I'm swimming underwater. I think by removing herself from the immediacy of the problem through the use of the dinosaur, the effect is the same as dulliing one's pain with painkillers or drugs, or dulling one's aches (arthritis) by floating in water. Being drugged is akin to floating too. Interesting that the dinosaur is soaring or floating in the air: the air is like water. Hmmmmmm?

I like this poem, but I would prefer something more direct. This poem kind of floats around the edges. I think you have several more poems in you about this. But I oculd be wrong. Have been wrong before. Come to think of it, the subject might be too painful to handle in any other way at this time. We all have areas like this, believe me. Enjoyed. Thanks for posting. Zak

quote:

CarolineX wrote:

Old bones trip
over a garden hose.
Mother,
face down in the dirt,
thousands of miles away.


If I could be a dinosaur,
I'd have wings
and rescue you with my beak,
strap you to my belly,
ignore useless struggling.

We'd soar across Laurasia to Gondwana
and leave past misunderstandings
beneath the ginkgoes and evergreens.


If I could hold you
in forgiving branches,
I'd dig down to the center,
ciphon nectar for your bath
and ripen seeds for breakfast.


With roots and wings, I'd flap backwards,
to pull us together
like heaven once embraced earth,

like before we separated–


I don't know how
to be a daughter who
returns to care for you.



Feb/10/2010, 8:42 am Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
carolinex Profile
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Re: Maternal Instincts, possible revise


Hi Zak

Thanks for your impressions. You seem to have spent a good deal of thought on this poem despite it not working for you.


---
I'm posting a possible revise. Trying out Steve's idea to change the tense. Would really appreciate feedback on if this seems to work.
Feb/17/2010, 6:13 pm Link to this post Send PM to carolinex
 
pjouissance Profile
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Re: Maternal Instincts, possible revise


Hi, Caroline,

This poem has a lot of beauty. The images are comforting somehow. I suppose we are talking about the processes of nature. I believe nature brings a particular comfort to each stage of life, and wonder if the guilt of the daughter here is actually in response to a need or reproach of the mother. Maybe the mother is accepting and without pain.

I think the last stanza is blatant and sentimental, though. It sums it up for us. It is a simplistic cap to a more subtle poem which has already been written around the thought. I would stay with the primeval images and not zoom in to the reality - no need, and I would not be quite so conclusory.

That said, again, it's beautiful.

Thanks for the posting, caroline,

Auto
Feb/17/2010, 6:30 pm Link to this post Send Email to pjouissance   Send PM to pjouissance
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Maternal Instincts, possible revise


Caroline, when I say 'this is a poem,' sometimes poets think I am being stupid or maybe just flippant. They don't get that I say it in the same way a film director might say 'this is a take.'

V2 is a poem.

Tere
Feb/17/2010, 8:18 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Re: Maternal Instincts, possible revise


Hi Caroline,

This is such a tender poem. I especially like the leap of imagination to the dinosaur with wings. I agree with Auto about dropping the last stanza. I don't think you need it. These stanzas reverberate with feeling:

"With roots and wings, I'd flap backwards,
to pull us together
like heaven once embraced earth,

like before we separated–"

I can relate to this poem in the same way I related to the one with the butterfly earring. Thank you for posting.

 
Feb/17/2010, 9:01 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
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Re: Maternal Instincts, possible revise


Caroline,
The revision doesn't work as well as the original because the "If I could" ties in better with the final stanza. In the "If I could" there is a longing which is missing in the revision. Zak

quote:

CarolineX wrote:

v2

Old bones trip
over a garden hose.
Mother,
face down in the dirt,
thousands of miles away.


As a dinosaur,
with wings,
I rescue you with my beak,
strap you to my belly,
disregard useless struggling.

We'd soar across Laurasia to Gondwana,
leave past misunderstandings
beneath the ginkgoes and evergreens.


I hold you
in forgiving branches,
dig down to the center,
ciphon nectar for your bath
and ripen seeds for breakfast.


With roots and wings, I flap backwards,
pull us together
like heaven once embraced earth,

like before we separated–


I don't know how
to be a daughter who
returns to care for you.

v1
Old bones trip
over a garden hose.
Mother,
face down in the dirt,
thousands of miles away.


If I could be a dinosaur,
I'd have wings
and rescue you with my beak,
strap you to my belly,
ignore useless struggling.

We'd soar across Laurasia to Gondwana
and leave past misunderstandings
beneath the ginkgoes and evergreens.


If I could hold you
in forgiving branches,
I'd dig down to the center,
ciphon nectar for your bath
and ripen seeds for breakfast.


With roots and wings, I'd flap backwards,
to pull us together
like heaven once embraced earth,

like before we separated–


I don't know how
to be a daughter who
returns to care for you.



Feb/18/2010, 4:47 am Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
ChrisD1 Profile
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Re: Maternal Instincts, possible revise


hi Caroline,

This is a stronger, more focused poem than the first, imo. Shouldn't the "we'd" that begins S3 be "we"?

I agree with the others who advised dropping the last three lines.

It's true the poem has lost its overt sense of longing, as Zak points out. Seems like a poem can be generated/triggered by an overt sense of something that can fall away as the poem develops. Seems OK to let that happen.

Chris

Last edited by ChrisD1, Feb/19/2010, 9:59 am
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carolinex Profile
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Re: Maternal Instincts, possible revise


Thank each of you so much. I really appreciate the response.
It's true when I wrote the poem I was feeling especially frustrated with my dream side countered by a lack of practical abilities and I still feel this way.

I guess they are two different poems. But where would I be without imagination? I think v2 gives power back to the poet and to poetry.

I'll think abut dropping the last stanza. I understand why and that also means really dropping my earlier impulse for the poem so I have to think about it.

Thanks also for catching that 'd Chris.
Feb/19/2010, 5:16 pm Link to this post Send PM to carolinex
 
deepwaters Profile
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Re: Maternal Instincts, possible revise


quote:

CarolineX wrote:

I'll think abut dropping the last stanza. I understand why and that also means really dropping my earlier impulse for the poem so I have to think about it.



I have not read every post in detail, so apologies in advance if my comment is not making sense.

To me, the poem says what the last stanza reiterates. I would add my two rusty cents to the "delete" pile.
-s

Feb/19/2010, 5:22 pm Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 


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