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Passions in Poetry

My Center Cannot Hold

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Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


0 posted 10-07-1999 08:20 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to Submit your Poem to Passions  View IP for Brad

They finally let me move to the top
Of a high rise apartment building.
In the afternoon, I sat on my veranda,
In my comfortable lounge chair
And poured myself a glass of cognac;
Then began to indulge in poetry:

Turning and turning in a widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer.
A resounding sound from up the street,
Interrupted my Saturday.
The table where I had placed my glass
Had begun to shake and then attack me
In gray ash and smelling alcohol.

My hands gripped the safety rail as I saw
The nose that thrust in front of two dark eyes,
The tail that raised itself from behind,
A body that was turquoise on top and gray below.
I ducked to avoid my head being taken off
By the wing that flew across my balcony:
A seven-forty-seven jumbo jet

Flew slowly down the narrow corridor
Made by the road between the skyscrapers.
And just as I saw it fly away
Another came from behind.
How was I supposed to enjoy my time
With fourteen hundred of them waiting
To roar so near my chosen home?

I saw my father, further down the hill.
He was on a roof of a Burger King
Smiling at me, a knowing smile, he returned
To reading his Popular Science magazine.
© Copyright 1999 Brad - All Rights Reserved
Martie
Moderator
Member Empyrean
since 09-21-1999
Posts 28608
California


1 posted 10-07-1999 09:18 PM       View Profile for Martie   Email Martie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Martie's Home Page   View IP for Martie

I liked this Brad. It flowed so smoothly, that I didn't notice the care you took to cadance, it was just there. I could picture it, after sumbling a little on the falcon. I thought at first you were intruding on a nest. I really liked the last-- your father on the roof of the Burger King as if to say, you see son, moving to the top does not always get you what you want--wonderful ending sentiment.
rachana.s
Member
since 09-16-99
Posts 59
madras,tamil nadu,India


2 posted 10-09-1999 04:38 AM       View Profile for rachana.s   Email rachana.s   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rachana.s

brad,

I liked everthing about this poem other than the second verse.

Every other verse had a flow that had no interruption in the free form (that you so much like)

Turning and turning in a widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer.

brad, I got stuck on this line for a moment.
When I read the poem, the image that was in my mind was of you sitting relaxed and writing poetry. Then suddenly you jumped to this line with no preliminaries. The flow was interrupted.

Somehow to me this line was standing disembodied. The reason being that even if I take away these two lines, the poem sounds complete and good. Nowhere else in the poem does this happen.

May be you could try to gel these lines into the poem. But I liked the poem without those two lines.

rachi
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


3 posted 10-09-1999 07:19 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Rachi,
I was actually expecting the other reaction. The two lines you mention come from Yeats and the poem is the 'The Second Coming', one of the most popular poems you're ever going to find.
Just thought I'd add that the 'disembodied' effect is intended. They obviously stand out but do you think they need quotes around it. I want the image of the poem 'I'm' reading to mesh with what 'really' happens -- I think quotes would diminish that effect but what do you think?

Rachi,(again)
You have the talent to see the difference. You can do it. You can help everyone here by telling your honest opinion. Help us!!!

Brad

[This message has been edited by Brad (edited 10-09-1999).]
merlynh
Member
since 09-26-1999
Posts 444
deer park, wa


4 posted 10-10-1999 12:04 PM       View Profile for merlynh   Email merlynh   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for merlynh

All in all. It's a nice read. A good piece.
The second verse seemed to be a deeper thought the poem was expressing, pulls it all together. Well done. But what do I know? The man has an innate capabity.
Trevor
Senior Member
since 08-12-99
Posts 744
Canada


5 posted 10-11-1999 12:42 AM       View Profile for Trevor   Email Trevor   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Trevor

I hope you don't think just cause I know ya you're going to get off easy

And with one mighty blink the fingers danced like a Russian boot salesman.

"They finally let me move to the top
Of a high rise apartment building.
In the afternoon, I sat on my veranda,
In my comfortable lounge chair
And poured myself a glass of cognac;
Then began to indulge in poetry:"
I found this to be an o.k. stanza, a little more flat than I'm used to seeing from you but not bad as far as set-up goes. I thought it could use more descriptions especially regarding the chair and sitting in it. It seemed prose than poetry.

"Turning and turning in a widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer."
I can't believe you stole from Yeats....for shame Bradly, now I must scold you like I do everyone else. I always have a hard time enjoying a poem when people intentionally use quotes from other writers within their own piece. I know you can easily come up with your own stuff so why bother with someone elses work....kind of seems like a shortcut to me. Now here's my pitch line....it's your job as a writer to make quotes, not use them.

"A resounding sound from up the street,
Interrupted my Saturday.
The table where I had placed my glass
Had begun to shake and then attack me
In gray ash and smelling alcohol."
I like this part however I think that it could use a little tightening and maybe rewording....here's my version of these lines,
"A resounding sound from up the street,
Interrupted my Saturday.
The table where I placed my glass
began to shake and attack
with gray ash
and smelling alcohol."
I dunno....you know me....only a suggestion to help the cause....or hinder unintentionally

"My hands gripped the safety rail as I saw
The nose that thrust in front of two dark eyes,
The tail that raised itself from behind,
A body that was turquoise on top and gray below.
I ducked to avoid my head being taken off
By the wing that flew across my balcony:
A seven-forty-seven jumbo jet"
Consider omitting "as I saw" on the first line, the rest is darn'd solid until "...flew", personally I thought you could have used some more power in that statement and also you use "Flew" to start the next stanza.

"Flew slowly down the narrow corridor
Made by the road between the skyscrapers.
And just as I saw it fly away
Another came from behind.
How was I supposed to enjoy my time
With fourteen hundred of them waiting
To roar so near my chosen home?"
I thought "Made by the road" could have used more "umpppff!"...maybe think of one word that could enrapture that....maybe "seamed" or "seam'd" or "hollowed". "Fly away" and "Another came from behind" seemed flat too.

"I saw my father, further down the hill.
He was on a roof of a Burger King
Smiling at me, a knowing smile, he returned
To reading his Popular Science magazine."
Good last stanza, and I usually hate references to well known things but it fits too well not to have it.

All in all it's a great story, loved the theme but I thought it was a little too flat and lacking in descriptions. Anyways buddy, I hope I've been somewhat helpful to you. Take care,
Trevor
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


6 posted 10-11-1999 01:02 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Thanks for the responses.

Trevor,
I knew you'd hate that quote thing but I also didn't care. I was originally planning something from Gerard Manley Hopkins (I was shooting for a poetry/life mix and I don't think you can convince me I'm wrong but you never know)

However, you've got some great ideas on the transition between the third and forth stanzas that I really have to study. I just realized that I use 'flew' twice unintentionally (please forgive me, O Great One). Damn. I also think you're right, maybe, about the 'made by the road' part. Oh well, back to work.

Brad
Trevor
Senior Member
since 08-12-99
Posts 744
Canada


7 posted 10-11-1999 04:58 AM       View Profile for Trevor   Email Trevor   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Trevor

Okay I guess it's up to me to save you once again from yourself Personally I think you should be saying F*** Yeats, F*** Cohen, F*** Frost....there no more original than you....wait a minute....except you've used their lines and they haven't used yours J/K....I personally have always felt that using other's quotes in a poem takes away from the originality....However I now realize how your reference to a poem is not really a quote but rather what a character is reading so THE GREAT ONE will almost forgive you ....but what if the character is reading a poem by Brad within a poem by Brad....just a thought.
Take care,
Trevor
Iloveit
Senior Member
since 09-02-99
Posts 1168
NM


8 posted 10-12-1999 10:19 AM       View Profile for Iloveit   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Iloveit

well, I just have to say I love reading you guys go back and forth at each other, I wish we could do this with every poem but time wise I know it isn't possible, but great reading

oh, and the poem?......I liked it, and yep, trevor had some great suggestions.....
rachana.s
Member
since 09-16-99
Posts 59
madras,tamil nadu,India


9 posted 10-16-1999 03:58 PM       View Profile for rachana.s   Email rachana.s   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rachana.s

brad,

thanks for the encouragement. I've been off for a week. So the late reply.

I do have to say that using Yeats in your poem did not do any justice to the poem ( I did not recognize him). If you had planned on a disembodied effect, it should have been done in your own style. Somehow those two lines stood out like a sore thumb. maybe you could try using some simili of your own. I'm sure they would not sound this disembodied

rachi
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


10 posted 10-17-1999 12:29 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Thanks for all the comments, replies and re-replies. I am still not convinced that using Yeats was a mistake (boy, talk about being stubborn ). Just curious: did anybody look up the poem? It is a general, abstract lament on WWI; this is a personal poem dealing with the inability to control the world around you (I think one of the basic functions of fabulism). I was using Yeats's poem, I had hoped, to enhance this effect.

Oh well, you can't win'em all.

Brad
hoot_owl_rn
Member Patricius
since 07-05-99
Posts 11105
Glen Hope, PA USA


11 posted 10-21-1999 03:43 PM       View Profile for hoot_owl_rn   Email hoot_owl_rn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit hoot_owl_rn's Home Page   View IP for hoot_owl_rn

I've read this poem about 5 times now before making my reply. I guess the best thing I can say is I haven't a clue as to what this poem is about.
"Turning and turning in a widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer" I think perhaps Yeats should be kept to Yeats or at least from this standpoint.
Granted, there is some wonderful imagery in this piece, but the over all picture lays beyond my grasp somewhere.
Perhaps without the final stanza:
"I saw my father, further down the hill.
He was on a roof of a Burger King
Smiling at me, a knowing smile, he returned
To reading his Popular Science magazine."
I could see this piece, but as it stands now, I the reader am left grasping for straws.
I feel like I've just gotten off of a maddening rollorcoaster ride and am still a bit unsure as to how I got on to begin with.



------------------
This is courage...to bear unflinchingly what heaven sends. ~Eurpides
Ron
Administrator
Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


12 posted 10-22-1999 06:48 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Hoot, I think that last stanza is the point of the whole poem. I'm sure I'm over-simplifying, but the theme seems to suggest that success (as defined by society) doesn't mean life is suddenly comfortable or easy. There will always be something that intrudes on our inner tranquility (especially if we've based that tranquility on materialism). The father/Burger King/Popular Science juxtapositioning says simpler is often better.

Okay, ya got me started, so I might as well throw in my usual two cents. First, since everyone has mentioned it, let's talk about the Yeats quote. Unlike Trevor, I have no problem with using the known to explore the unknown (familiarity can lessen the shock), but I do think you need to make the lines less confusing. Don't like quotes? Use italics. Make it clear these are lines from a book being read. Better yet, because these lines start a stanza, they hold too much significance - so use the line above them to tell us about the book (heavy, hardcover, small and plastic?). I also think you could come up with a better quotation. In a short piece, especially a poem, no line can be there simply because; rather, everything has to contribute to the theme, and in most strong works everything has to do double-duty. Using "a" quote lends to the atmosphere, but using a pertinent quote could do much more. Find something that either compliments the theme or (I think better) something that is in direct conflict with your theme.

Brad, I've heard you voice these words maybe once or twice before - give me more description! And, no, I'm not going to ask you to describe the chair and table, 'cause extraneous description doesn't equal good description (though I will kinda mention the word "comfortable" is pretty weak - tell me the chair is leather and I'll see it better and know it's a comfortable one without being told). The description I think you're missing and could add tremendously to the poem is one about the height.

Don't just tell me it's a high-rise building. Make me feel it. Make me dizzy from the height, looking down at Ford and Chevy bugs marching off to war while pigeons circle - three floors below the veranda - as if hunting their next meal. The whole crux of the poem seems to depend on being high (too high?), yet I never get that feeling of height. Even when the jets appear (and that description sings), it's more as if they are flying too low rather than the character sitting too high.

All in all, I like the theme and I love the reversal that highlights it.


[This message has been edited by Ron (edited 10-22-1999).]
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


13 posted 10-23-1999 05:36 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Thanks for reading the poem. Ron, I like the whole idea of pigeons and such but dizziness wasn't really what I was shooting for (I tried that with The Talk Show). Actually, I was trying to show height only in a secondary sense: a penthouse apartment, then the falcons, then the airplanes and the final scene of having the skyscraper itself at the summit of a hill. Obviously, I didn't pull it off very well but I was thinking more like a movie scene that slowly backs up to give you the whole picture.

On Yeats again: My problem with quotes or italics (and I'm still thinking; I change my mind too much to have anything set in stone) is that it indeed does sets off the poem from, well, the poem (There is a colon at the end of the first stanza). I was trying to show there that a poem can be just as important to one's life, it indeed becomes a part of your life. I've read more than one place (at a poetry forum no less) that 'real life' is more important than just a poem. This bothers me, not because I don't think 'real life' is important but that you forget the experience of the poem itself. So, the character looks down and 'indulges in poetry' of falcons that no longer here the falconer but is forced to look up to see airplanes. Life and poetry are part of the same thing.

I'm not disagreeing with you because you've given me some really interesting ideas to play with (for this poem or another one) as have many people here have. Just one more point: The speaker on top is reading poetry; his father is reading a PS magazine -- this is another attempt at a reversal as I'm intending to question a straight,set materialist/spiritualist value system. It seems to me that aesthetic pursuits are just as materialistic as anything else.

But what do I know?

Thanks to Hoot as well (sorry it didn't do anything for you. Maybe next time?)
Brad
hoot_owl_rn
Member Patricius
since 07-05-99
Posts 11105
Glen Hope, PA USA


14 posted 10-23-1999 09:05 PM       View Profile for hoot_owl_rn   Email hoot_owl_rn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit hoot_owl_rn's Home Page   View IP for hoot_owl_rn

Brad...looking forward to it
Seoulair
Senior Member
since 03-27-2008
Posts 776
Seoul S.Korea


15 posted 04-25-2008 05:42 PM       View Profile for Seoulair   Email Seoulair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seoulair

If you have revised version. Not as good as your others. Clear but loose.
Ron's comment was to the point. No. You give too much details in this poem. But no space to extent the reader's view. I did not see what you saw but shared your frustrated mood. That is not fair and esp from you , Sir Brad.  

(Ron could have guided out many good poets for those years)

But not very bad though. enjoyed the read.
(my English is getting worse lately)

[This message has been edited by Seoulair (04-25-2008 09:55 PM).]

 
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