I am totally overwhelmed at the size of my response, here. I appreciate any and everyone's comments---it certainly has been giving me a lot of pleasure to read such a generally positive response.
Alicat: Thank you for your comments. I can't help but get the impression that you're using my critique message as an excuse to censor yourself, though---is there something you'd like to critique that it doesn't seem like I'm giving you permission for?
By the way, are you referring to my choice of stanza in particular when you say "forms easily consumed and devoured by rapturous orisons enamored?" It's been done before, with this stanza. Though I agree that Tennyson's "The Lotos Eaters" is probably not the best example of the Spenserian stanza (it gets weighed down by, like you say, "rapturous orisons enamored"), Shelley's elegy "Adonais" is a fantastic application of the felt, pastoral tone I was trying to reach with in this poem. I think this stanza is very capable of that very thing, though I haven't fully taken advantage of the essential couplet right at the center of the stanza which makes it so pleasurable in form. I guess I got weighed down.
Midnitesun: Still haven't caught your breath, eh? That's a high compliment! Thanks for reading me.
Martie: You know that your opinions are very valuable to me. The fact that anything I write could "absorb" you makes me think that I must, indeed, be doing something right, considering the high standard of "absorbedness" in subject that you demonstrate in your own poetry. You do this much better than I (writing from experiences, I mean)... I am much more an allegorical writer than a romantic, and your approval is something I take as encouragement to go into this form a lot more in the future. Thank you very much for reading and giving me your response, you marvellous woman.
Capricious: Thank you for reading. I don't think this is quite "masterful" yet, but it is at least worthy of revision, I should hope.
Mysteria: Your opinion counts more to me than you might realize. I'm glad that the doubleness of those lines you cite aren't entirely beyond comprehension---I was trying to write of the mist of the fountain and the possibility of tears in her eyes (though I don't think there were any---she was so happy, as I remember).
You say "sentimental," too. Did I remind you of something personal? I'd really like to hear more about that, if so.
Balladeer: Would you believe me if I said the time period was Summer 2003? Heh... I was basing this poem on a sort of Wordsworthian starting point, a "rememberance of things past," but it was my intention to appeal it to the pastoral tradition of "Arcadia," the ancient Greek pre-civilized "Utopia." Everything in this poem happened to me, and the "chosen words" were meant to create some kind of ambiguity in time period without taking away from the sincerity of what I was interpreting. This is why I prefer to stay away from words like "bus" (which I grudgingly used), and appeal to more permanent things like natural imagery or timeless human traditions.
I'm grateful that you should say there was no loss of quality whatsoever, but skeptical. Though, the poet is his own worst critic, of course, knowing every compromise that was made for the sake of his format... a formalist such as yourself, though, knows these things as well as I do, and I do believe that you are being honest, so I'd like to thank you for specifically commenting on the effect of the form I chose. It's something I meant to use for sentimental purposes, because the Spenserian stanza can be extremely beautiful when used correctly (far beyond anything I've done here), and I really want to make it mine. Again, thank you for reading and responding, as the opinion of a poet of your caliber means to me a great deal.
Dark Angel: I'm so glad to hear that I'm leaving the women breathless. There's one woman I have yet to show this to (the woman about whom it's written), and I only hope that her response is as positive. It's also nice to have found my way into your library! You gave me a big smile, thank you for reading and responding.
Toerag: Thanks for your comments... I must say that it's probably best that Balladeer hasn't commented on any of the "masterpieces" of your personal life, and I wouldn't give him any ideas if I were you.
Gary's Girl: Thank you so much for reading me! It's so nice to know that you enjoyed this one in particular, enough to give me that coveted title of "Poet." You know, I really did enjoy reading your more recent poem in Open, and plan on keeping my eye out for more in the near future. You're quite the poet yourself!
JM: You know, whenever I use seasonal imagery, I have you in mind, and I'm glad that you put the last stanza among your chosen few, because it's one that I wrote in particular hoping that it would meet your standard of seasonal interpretation. I tried to follow the hair colour of the girl in the poem (who, I might add, did have her hair dyed green at the time of the events in the poem, and whose hair has since gone from dyed red to her natural brown), and it means a lot to me that it should merit your praise.
Also, I have to say that you and Balladeer are both right. Many stanzas here honestly had me stumped, and it took me a while to figure out precisely how to say what I meant to say (especially the stanza of her sitting in the grass, an image I really wanted but could barely manage, and one that Carly wants me to work on). On the other hand, the majority of the lines in this poem were written and revised in my brain throughout the day, and eagerly scribbled onto several pieces of paper before I could make them into a poem. I also have a few of the "scraps" that didn't make the cut for having too difficult of rhymes for this stanza.
Again, thank you so much for reading, JM. Yours means a lot to me.
Enchantress: That really does mean a lot to me, considering you've got such a vast post history here at piptalk. I appreciate very much your compliments.
Littlewing: I haven't read a reply from you in ages (or a poem, for that matter, but I will right after I post this). It's wonderful to hear from you again, and I wish we were still in touch through instant message programs or something like that... I miss chatting with you about every little thing.
I guess you also figured I was writing allegorically, right? I still come across that way, I guess, even if I am trying to write from experience. Carly interpreted me the same way as you did, but I tried to avoid that confusion by pluralizing Muses and addressing them later by taking the girl in the poem as specimen, or evidence, of what had once been the home of the muses. I did mean to give her a kind of goddess-like quality, and she is (of course) a source of inspiration for me. Maybe I should work on the human element of this poem more, so that it's more clear.
I know, on the other hand, that you love pluralism of interpretation, and you would probably prefer that I leave this vague enough that you can interpret from it as you please, correct? I might do that as well, because I think I like this less-intended, though profound, interpretation you've given---if there is any duality between the girl in the poem and the Muses themselves, it comes from the fact that I modelled this poem on a variety of literary conventions and did not make any formal innovations of my own, so that in a way I was guided by convention.
I was honestly going for more of Plato, Coleridge and Wordsworth than Freud, Whitman, or Joyce, but it still means a lot to me that I should bring those names to mind. Anything I can do to help the cause of higher learning, my lady!
Serenity: I was secretly hoping that you would read this poem, because I tried to utilize the spiritual, pre-Christian paganism of the Arcadian pastoral in a less Christian but more literary fashion, and you are my best authority. That one stanza you picked out is something I'm very glad has found your approval, and I am happy that you have spared me your "accolades" as I am rather spoiled as it is when it comes to the response I've gotten to this poem. Thank you so much for reading... it's wonderful to hear that I can still impress the likes of you.
Iliana: I'm so glad that you enjoyed this enough to put it into your personal library. It means a lot to me. Thank you very much.
Everyone, I don't know who spread the word about this, but it was a wonderful surprise for this old PIP veteran to be read by so many old friends. If ever I had forgotten that this place is a home to me, my doubts have been cleared and my appreciation and gratitude for all of you renewed. I will try to be less of a ghost around here, and repay the favour by giving audience to all of your writing in return. Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart, you wonderful people!
"God becomes as we are that we may be as he is." ~William Blake