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Passions in Poetry

Quest for Grace (revised) - would like feedback

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Marc-Andre
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0 posted 01-21-2009 02:06 PM       View Profile for Marc-Andre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Marc-Andre


In the inner court aborning fog adorned the cold March morning
As I trod the herringbone brick path that led me to a place
Seen in one disturbing vision, at the time of the collision,
In my mind a sharp incision time would neither purge nor case,
On my quest of revelations the dark maze I had to trace:
                                         Track a lady christened Grace.

Eerily, no sound would jostle sacred mystic nature’s rustle,
Hooded crows there pillage garbage as black cats deer mice deface;
Swiftly northern winds got fuming, frozen sparrows started screaming,
In the sky a pale sun gleaming through the haze-invaded space,
Molecules of smoke and humus polkaed deftly on my face;
                                          But of Grace there was no trace.

When I reached the stairwell landing of the tan torn face brick building
Soon my iced up nostrils thawed with the bouquet of bouillabaisse;
T’was so still you’d hear the echo of the motions of a gecko;
On the inner walls a fresco, on the floor a broken vase
And some weathered relics from a golden age we can’t replace:
                                                        Then I heard a double bass.

As my heart was wildly pounding, towards depths my way was winding
Leaden double bass still droning, charcoal sweat flowed down my face;
As I dropped, a decrescendo while my pulse reached a stringendo,
Clammy walls gave innuendo there my ghost I would encase,
My remaining lifeblood wasted in a fatal chase for Grace;
                                        On the wall there leaned a mace.

Rusty shovels draped with dank clay, in a spandrel on red shale lay,
Through a cleft I saw a shadow, could it be the one of Grace?
It was then I heard a rumble as the string of stairs would crumble,
Walls shook plaster off in tumble, thus revealing the high place
As I clutched the cast iron handrail, dangling feet in empty space -
                                                     Struggling to the spandrel brace.

Through the cleft I penetrated one grand sulphur-permeated
Hall whose walls the still lifes of Picasso and Cezanne would trace,
In the corner black antique hearse, blanketed by scrolls of dark curse,
And graffitied with Rimbaud’s verse, sketches of the Virgin’s face;
Soon there closed a lady donning frock made of Chantilly lace:
                                                  Thus appeared my lady Grace.

Ashen was her smooth complexion, and her visage pure perfection
Though coagulated blood had smeared her angelical face;
Her plush breasts and tempting lush hips matched her charming purple full lips
But her neck and shoulders bore rips that e’en time could not efface;
On the ebony four-poster bed I was soon laid by Grace,
                                         Strongly held in her embrace.

First as hard and cold as marble, murmuring exotic garble,
She was like basalt that fused and melted, bonding in embrace;
And inside her flowed pure manna as she wildly cried “hosanna”
In the temple of Diana, love profaning sacred place;
Thus my conscience captured in the existential prisoner’s base,
                                                         In  temptation of her grace.

“Welcome, darling, to the life’s swath, realm where reigns the death’s-head hawk moth;
Trapped between Sheol and foul Gehanna is this Hilbert space:
Our Rosetta stone decipher or condemned here to be lifer,
Is the only choice on offer;  I have made mine,” whispered Grace
With a  kiss  suppressing  pining to rejoin the livings’ base;
                                                    In a coma I’d found Grace.



Copyright 2009 by Marc-Andre Germain  -  All Rights Reserved
Dr.Moose1
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1 posted 01-22-2009 07:59 AM       View Profile for Dr.Moose1   Email Dr.Moose1   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Dr.Moose1

Marc Andre,
While I'm not familiar with this form, at first reading it reminded me of something Poe may have written. Overall it struck me as intricately crafted with its use of internal rhyme and intriguing story line. That being said, the only things I felt detracted from its impact were the use of some rather obscure words and the occasional use of what seemed to me to be a forced rhyme( bouillabaisse ?). However, I'm hardly qualified to comment on anothers' work, and certainly admire the thought and skill that went into a piece that I probably couldn't write on one of my best days. I'll be interested in seeing what Balladeers' take is on this.
Doc

Oh, as an afterthought, I don't remember this as an assignment, you may want to repost in critical analysis and let Pete have a whack at it. Regards,
Doc
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2 posted 01-22-2009 09:22 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Marc, rest assured I'm working on this.Time has bee limited lately and there is much to do with this poem.

For the rest of you, this is an excellent opportunity to play teacher and critic here, also. Let's see some in-depth review here. Save the "great poem!" for Open and see how deeply you can get into the construction of this piece. How is the vocabulary? The rhyming? The rhythm and the flow? What do you get out of it? Your critiques don't even have to be right but they will be honest in the way the poem strikes YOU. You may read it differently than the author assumes it will be read...and that is very important information to any author.

Let's see what some of you have to say here...
Alison
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3 posted 01-22-2009 11:09 PM       View Profile for Alison   Email Alison   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alison

Hi Marc-Andre,

I don't offer critique often, but will take a look at your poem and see what I can write up for tomorrow evening.

Take care.

A
Marc-Andre
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4 posted 01-23-2009 03:44 AM       View Profile for Marc-Andre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Marc-Andre

Thanks for the feedback, Doc Moose. It is actually written with the metrical and rhyming structure of The Raven by Poe. I thought that would provide me with a challenging exercise Bouillabaisse is probably one of those words I sometimes taken for granted, not obscure at all where I come from. This is valuable feedback.

Thanks Balladeer, I can appreciate that you've got your own life schedule. I've posted the revision here, as I've made major corrections since the first version (surely, further ones will be needed .) Reading Doc's postscript, I've got one question: is the poetry workshop only for assignements, and would it be better to post in critical analysis? I would not want to invade sacred space

Alison, I actually look forward to reading your critique.

Which makes me want to bring this up. I believe that criticism is a valuable exercise for poets. I personaly graduated in English literature. Perhaps we should select say one poem a month, from a willing member or a past master and share our critiques of the work. I think we'd all have something to gain. Just expanding on Balladeer's idea.

Have a marvelous day, and thanks for reading! Mark
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5 posted 01-23-2009 09:11 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Maec, the workshop is normally for assignments and CA for critiques. In this case, however, I have used your poem as an assignment, since it includes many areas of poetry we have been studying and I'd like the members to dissect it a bit and look for those things. If they do, they will benefit from the journey.
Marc-Andre
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6 posted 01-23-2009 10:39 AM       View Profile for Marc-Andre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Marc-Andre

Thanks for letting me know, Balladeer, I'll keep that in mind and post in CA from now on. I 'll be glad if we (myself included, of course) can all benefit from the exercise. Wow! I'm "actually having something to contribute." I'm flattered LOL. Have a marvelous day! Mark
Dr.Moose1
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7 posted 01-23-2009 07:16 PM       View Profile for Dr.Moose1   Email Dr.Moose1   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Dr.Moose1

Marc,
I only mentioned the "obscure" wording as a detraction, as I believe your vocabulary exceeds that of the "average" reader. Myself, I had to look up "spandrel" and "stringendo", not that I mind, I'm always looking to expand my own vocabulary, it's just that my own short-comings detracted from the impact of the poem. "Bouillabaisse" I mentioned as being a "forced" rhyme as I did not find enough context for using the word ( were you going for dinner?) Again, these are just my thoughts, such as they are, and in no way are they meant to be anything but constructive.
Doc
Marc-Andre
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8 posted 01-23-2009 07:44 PM       View Profile for Marc-Andre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Marc-Andre

Doc, rest assured I do welcome and appreciate your input. Actually, more than a forced rhyme, "bouillabaisse" is perhaps forced "sense." Lately, I am trying to include the five senses (sight, sound, taste, smell and touch) into my writing. When the narrator begins his journey, he is still in the land of the livings; later on, the prevailing scent will be that of sulphur. Hmmm, come to think of it, there indeed seems to be a lack of clarity...As for the vocabulary, it is a common fault of mine. By the way, you might want to have a look at "high place", not as common as it sounds.

Heartfelt thanks again, Doc, your feedback in invaluable. Mark
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9 posted 01-23-2009 10:43 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Well, Marc. I've gone over this poem half a dozen times and it looks better every time I read it. Your syllable counts are exact. In the third lines containing the internal rhyme, you seperate them at exactly the right place every time and follow through with the third internal rhyme in the following line, also exactly in the right place. None of this is easy to do and I admire the work you put into it to get it done. I've compared all the first lines, all the second, etc and, for the most part thay all pass the test.

There are, however, a couple of areas where the meter breaks down a little. The way I read your meter can be one of two ways...either trochaic or iambic leading off with an anapest. Actually, The Raven can be read exactly the same way!

IN the second line of the the first stanza, herringbone kills the meter. To use the meter you incorporate, one would have to read that line as " as I TROD the HERRingBONE brick PATH", which is not the way it is read. It reads as "as I TROD the HERRingbone BRICK path". Herringbone is a very difficult word to use in either iambic or anapestic rhyme, unless it is correctly placed, such as "as I trod the path of herringbone brick". In the fifth line of the same stanza "the" is not strong enough in that position to assume an accent and breaks down the flow.

Thied stanza, second line, the "the" also is not strong enough to be accented and throws it off. I would suggest something like replacing "the" with strong or faint or something similar.

As my heart was wildly pounding, towards depths my way was winding  I just can't read this line right because the word is toWARD, not TOward.

Walls shook plaster off in tumble, thus revealing *the* high place Once again, THE hurts the meter by it's position. Perhaps you could say "high the place"?

Though coagulated blood had smeared her angelical face;  meter is gone with "her anGELiCAL" face.

You are extremely liberal in your use of near-rhymes, many of them not too near. Poe almost NEVER used near-rhymes!!!!

Ok, having gotten all of my little nit-picking out of the way, let me applaud you on a brilliant piece of work. Some of the lines are pure genius and the poem has a flavor to it that permeates the mind of the reader.It falls into the IWIHWT category (I Wish I Had Written That).

Hats off to you

Marc-Andre
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10 posted 01-24-2009 04:58 AM       View Profile for Marc-Andre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Marc-Andre

Balladeer, I really appreciate the time you have taken for this critique, your input is priceless.

The first version, which I had posted in Open contained a lot of near rhymes. However, I believe that all the rhymes in this revised version are solid. Here are the rhymes:

Aborning/morning; place/case/trace/Grace; vision/collision/incision

Jostle/rustle; deface/space/face/trace; fuming/screaming/gleaming

Landing/building; bouillabaisse/vase/replace/bass; echo/gecko/fresco
(“vase” has two accepted pronunciations in North America)

pounding/ winding; face/encase/Grace/mace; decrescendo/stringendo/innuendo

clay/lay; Grace/place/space/ brace; rumble/crumble/tumble

penetrated/permeated; trace/face/lace/Grace; hearse/curse/verse

complexion/perfection; face/efface/Grace/embrace; hips/lips/rips

marble/garble; embrace/place/base/grace; manna/hosanna/Diana

swath/moth; space/Grace/base/Grace; decipher/lifer/offer

Could you let me know if any of them is not a solid rhyme, and why? I really am confused by your comment on my being liberal with near rhymes, unless you were referring to the older version.

"High place" really is one word, a Semite temple or altar usually built on elevations such as hills. I therefore think I cannot split them.

"Herringbone" has a secondary stress on the third syllable, and the substitution phrase you suggest confuses me a bit.

"Toward" can be pronounced with a stress on either syllable, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

I will eventually come back to this poem and make it immaculate.

Again, heartfelt thanks for your critique. It really helps. Hopefully, I will hear from other readers too. Any critique that goes beyond "well done" or "it sucks" is valuable.

Mark
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11 posted 01-24-2009 09:33 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Hi, Mark..

Yes, you cleaned up the near rhymes a lot from the original post and I commend you for that. The ones in question are...

fuming/screaming/gleaming
Landing/building
pounding/ winding

When words use the same ending, like "ing", then it falls upon the preceeding syllable to maintain the rhyme, such as cooking and looking.

In the examples above, fume does not even come near to rhyming with scream or gleam.
Land has no rhyme with build
Pound has no rhyme with wind.

Ok, I can understand that high place should not be separated, based on your explanation but something needs to be done because "the" deviates from the meter by breaking the iambic flow.

toward

Merriam-Webster may say that but the dictionary is not reading your poem and I can assure you that those who are will not put the accent on the first syllable, even when you can point out that it is deemed to be accepted by such a prestigious publication. Your major concern as a poet putting work out for the public to read is to know how it will be read.

As I trod the herringbone brick path

Well,, if you want to put a secondary stress on the third syllable, ok but you can't have it both ways. It will either be "the HER-ring-BONE BRICK path" or "the HER-ring-bone BRICK path", in which both cases break the iambic flow. See, it all depends where you put it in the sentence which means everything. If I say "the PATH of HER-ring-BONE", with the word in a different position the secondary accent on the third syllable works perfectly. Where you have it placed, however, does not afford that leeway.

If these little nitpicks of mine are all I can come up with in your poem of your length, degree of difficulty and magnitude, then I reiterate that this is one great piece of writing and I continue to applaud you.
Marc-Andre
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12 posted 01-24-2009 09:54 AM       View Profile for Marc-Andre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Marc-Andre

Balladeer, heartfelt thanks for the clarifications, I really learned something new today   By the way, that would be the same thing for decipher/lifer/offer, right? I am starting another revision at once, this poem WILL be immaculate! (After all the time and efforts I've put into it, I cannot let it stand at anything less than perfect...) Mark
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13 posted 01-24-2009 11:21 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

decipher/lifer/offer

Well, I let that one slide by because it was fairly mellow but, yes, offer does not fit in there. Decipher and lifer are perfect.

If you want to try an interesting exercise sometime, see how far you can carry that thought, how many syllables you can extend the rhyme to, such as..

may - play
carry - marry
marigold - very old
human nature - you can make sure
etc etc etc
Alison
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14 posted 01-26-2009 01:18 AM       View Profile for Alison   Email Alison   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alison

Marc-Andre,

I am still going to give you feedback on this poem if you don't mind.  I know that you have already revised this poem, but I want to see what I can come up with.  I haven't read any of the responses that you have received so far as I don't want my opinion colored by others.  

I probably won't get this done until tomorrow.  I am coming out of a flu like thing.

Thank you.

A
Marc-Andre
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15 posted 01-26-2009 03:59 AM       View Profile for Marc-Andre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Marc-Andre

Thanks, Alison. I'd perhaps prefer a critique on the revised version, but critique of either will sure prove valuable. As you wish, my friend Mark
 
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