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Poets Corner => Review My Poetry => Topic started by: Tom 10 on September 30, 2014, 03:32:46 PM

Title: Bladeís Edge
Post by: Tom 10 on September 30, 2014, 03:32:46 PM
 
     Bladeís Edge

I pulse again toward
the bladeís edge and think
itís the big events that define us.
But that was never true.

Instead itís the way a creek works
the bank at each curve, the heat
between spoons, a finger
faintly tracing flesh.

Our small hesitanciesĖ
the space between days, the eyes
in the mirror, and who rises each morning
to slice peaches and crack eggs.




Title: Re: Bladeís Edge
Post by: indar on September 30, 2014, 03:47:51 PM
Instead itís the way a creek works
the bank at each curve, the heat
between spoons, a finger
faintly tracing flesh.

Hi Tom,

I rarely suggest deleting a stanza but in this case I think S1 is a case of throat-clearing. Perhaps something like:

Big events do not define us
but the way the creek works

Lovely, lovely writing second and third stanzas.
Title: Re: Bladeís Edge
Post by: 510bhan on September 30, 2014, 04:18:12 PM
Gentle, thought-provoking, delightful. ;)
Title: Re: Bladeís Edge
Post by: Tom 10 on September 30, 2014, 05:50:59 PM
Sio, thanks for reading and commenting.  Get healthy soon.
Indar - Maybe I should revise S.1 but I think that there much of it the poem needs. 

Appreciate. :)

T
Title: Re: Bladeís Edge
Post by: CorneliusPoe on September 30, 2014, 07:12:28 PM
I have no idea how to approach this poem other than to say what I see.

My first impression was negative. I saw the title and was like, "isn't that an prime-time TV drama?". That impression faded at the first line, which in turn led me to another negative: "again". To me "pulse" implies "again", but the important thing is "again" is a long slow sounding word. "I pulse toward" has an immediacy to it and leads brilliantly into the tension of the rest of the poem.

That's it for the negatives. It amazes me how important a single word choice can be. In this case "pulse". N pulses so we know this is about N and that N's been here before, but it's also a quiet word describing a dull throbó more of an incoming tide than the violent crash of a wave. The connection between pulse and the veins of the wrist is automatic. The mind makes it instantly and proximity of "blade" to the pulsing creates considerable dramatic tension.

Then we come to this bit:

"itís the big events that define us.
But that was never true."


and feel a little safer. Had the pulse met the blade it would be a "big event". "But that was never true." signals the diastolic, the down beat, and we breathe through the retreating tide of S2, the most beautiful sequence of lines in the poem. I can't overstate the impact of this stanza. I'm envious.

First the opening:

"Instead itís the way a creek works
the bank at each curve,"


is just lovely in sound and imagery. On top of that it maintains a fluidity. The creek could be a vein as well and at the same time it serves the dual purpose as the clichťd river of life or passage of time, the turning of events in N's life.

"the heat
between spoons"


If I read the above right, you're doing a couple things. First "spoons" instantly recalls the blade, so we know the tension is still there, but you are describing love or loves, and quite beautifully. Between the spoons, not during and the word, "between" itself indicate another so there's no doubt at your intent even if the particulars are slightly different.

This:

"a finger
faintly tracing flesh."


for me is the most potent line in the poem. We can see in it a person gently running their fingers along the lover's face, the areola of a breast, whatever, its a tender delicate gesture. At the same time it recalls the wrist as if maybe N is tracing across the vein, thinking. I really can't capture the power of this. T. if I'm wrong here please lie about it.

This leads right into:"Our small hesitanciesĖ" We just witnessed one!

"the space between days" is simply beautiful. I know I'm wearing that one out, but it's true.
 
The poem concludes with N briefly taking stock and getting on with what might be a mundane day, but it's one flavored with peaches. And the blade gets put to its mundane use and life goes on.

I think it's brilliant. I'll bash another of yours later to regain some credibility.
 
Title: Re: Bladeís Edge
Post by: Tom 10 on September 30, 2014, 10:34:43 PM
CP - I'm blown away by your review.  Sometimes I can't put words to what I think I am writing, I am totally flattered by the words you found.  I am tickled beyond words by these comments.  8)

T
 
Title: Re: Bladeís Edge
Post by: rosez on October 03, 2014, 02:28:57 PM
Hi Tom, I really like the first two lines of S2. ' Hesitancies' is a great connector used here.

" and who rises each morning
to slice peaches and crack eggs." makes a beautiful conclusion.

It's great to see how you toss the words and place them in the right place.
ps: great review by Marc.
Title: Re: Bladeís Edge
Post by: Tom 10 on October 03, 2014, 02:44:46 PM
Thank you Rosez.

T
Title: Re: Bladeís Edge
Post by: Alita Patel on November 19, 2014, 06:02:39 PM
Hello Tom,

Your poem makes me think.  Can you tell me what you were thinking based on this poem?  Thanks. 



Alita
Title: Re: Bladeís Edge
Post by: Tom 10 on November 19, 2014, 06:35:09 PM
Hi Alita,
I was thinking lots of things, from questioning word choices to testing word order, line endings, thinking about the sounds and how one sound follows another, and how a word says one thing and sometimes suggests something additional, and what those might be to help or hinder the poem, and finding a way to say what, etc.  I'm not sure if this is what you were asking about.
Welcome to MWC. :)

T
Title: Re: Bladeís Edge
Post by: duck on November 20, 2014, 06:36:34 AM
Hi Tom
Its hard to comment now that Marc has blasted all available options out of the water. This is indeed the most subtle and evocative writing. Controlled without the control being visible. Obvious in image without the meaning being bluntly obvious. The beautiful phrases have been highlighted by others bt I would highlight another stong word in this context - edge - the fulcrum on which everything rests in this poem. Delightfully the word sharp is missing so the word edge egst to retain its several meanings from sharp to the line between.
If there is a slight mismatch it might be in shifting from the creek to the spoons as the spoon image has a follow-up with finger tracing whereas the creek must hold its own alone unless your creek should have an adult warning tag in the title.
Beautiful work to envy.
Dave
Title: Re: Bladeís Edge
Post by: Amie on November 20, 2014, 09:40:02 AM
Great writing Tom.

I was not keen on the initial metaphor of the blade against the throat, but the rest of it is fantastic enough to excuse the overused image at the start :)
Title: Re: Bladeís Edge
Post by: Tom 10 on November 20, 2014, 10:25:52 AM
Thanks Amie,
I'd like to find a way to shit-can the first stanza, or as much of it as possible.  I finally agree with Indar.  Any thoughts about how?
Title: Re: Bladeís Edge
Post by: Mark T on November 20, 2014, 10:29:11 AM

Hi Tom

I really like this piece. It resonates in a strangely coincidental way, and Iím sure it did for others too.

Iím late to this and am doing you that courtesy of skipping the other comments... so I may be redundant in my observations, forgive me if so. I do see in scrolling by that Zipho ( ;D) has been breaking the piece down nicely. Iím not too enthusiastic about the title as itís echoed in L2 of the poem Ė a title can be used to add something further or to clarify/introduce the poem but that doesnít seem to apply here. For example in my second case, it could be 9/11 or The Funeral and that would add context. Other than the title, I have only one other hopefully helpful nit.

The theme examines a premise that is self-evident in the writing so Iím not going to repeat it but would like to add that (in my view) the pieceís subtheme also implies that it is the small things that actually define a person and how we deal with the big events when they do occur. The subjects introduced are handled in the delightfully quirky odd angles of reflection that characterise your poeming and are a pleasure to read.

My nit relates to the syntax employed in that the balance of the writing after Ďitísí - word 2, line 2, stanza 2 - is the pivot upon which the poem runs to its conclusion. It seems the lines in S3 are a continuation of those in S2. If I am incorrect with this, then my nit falls flat and S3 works in isolation as a free-floating list. The bugbear for me is Ďandí in L3 S3 and also that Ďitísí has to stretch a long way, including crossing a stanza enjambment but this second nit-element does nevertheless work if Ďandí is eliminated.
Rearranged for illustration.

Instead,
itís the way a creek works the bank at each curve,
(itís) the heat between spoons,
(itís) a finger faintly tracing flesh.

(itís) Our small hesitanciesĖ
(itís) the space between days,
(itís) the eyes in the mirror,
(itís) and who rises each morning to slice peaches and crack eggs.

One other thing striking me now is the ambiguity in L4 S1. What was never true Ė the pulsing/thinking or the big events defining us? I think itís the tense used in L4 that contributes to this (perceived) diffusion of intended meaning, which is admittedly clear enough.

I like this piece so much Iím copying and sending to K.  ::)
Very nice work, Tom. Thank you.

(Peaches and eggs, that a Minnesota or Tom thing?)   






               
Title: Re: Bladeís Edge
Post by: Tom 10 on November 21, 2014, 09:53:09 AM
Hi Mark,

Thanks for the close read and good FB.  You are right about the implied "it's" that haunts the balance of the poem beyond S.2 L.1, and maybe that's too long of a carry.  I had hoped that the insistence of the syntax may fade a bit and as you say, S.3 could perhaps float at least a little bit.  As you formulate the closing lines, I see the problematic reading you identify:

(itís) the eyes in the mirror,
(itís) and who rises each morning to slice peaches and crack eggs.


I had thought the implied "it's" would (not) appear after the "and", to wit:

(itís) the eyes in the mirror,
and (itís) who rises each morning to slice peaches and crack eggs.


The Title - yes it does not carry much water.  I intend to delete the word "blade" from L.2 to avoid the total repeat, but hat is no cure.  I am diddling with a revision of S.1 and am unsure just what to do with it.   

Breakfasts can include eggs, meat - generally bacon, sausage or ham, fried potatoes, etc, and fruit.  When peaches are in season they can be included.  Same with grapes, bananas, oranges, etc.  I'm getting hungry.  Of course there is the default of wearing bunny slippers, eating cold cereal and watching cartoons. 8)

Yes Zippo broke it good.   ::)

Thanks Mark. 
Title: Re: Bladeís Edge
Post by: Mark T on November 21, 2014, 10:10:23 AM

You're making me hungry, Tom. I look forward to any tinkering you add to this great piece. K liked it too.  :)
Title: Re: Bladeís Edge
Post by: Tom 10 on November 21, 2014, 10:15:45 AM
Thanks again Mark.  S.1's got me flummoxed.  Greetings to K.  ::)
Title: Re: Bladeís Edge
Post by: Mark T on November 21, 2014, 10:17:42 AM

Want me to have a bash at it? Might give you a new angle to work with... PM?
Title: Re: Bladeís Edge
Post by: Tom 10 on November 21, 2014, 10:44:08 AM
Sure - more the merrier.  :)
And maybe later it can get run through the car wash down at Fiddle U Fingers, if the proprietor ever gets back.   8)
Title: Re: Bladeís Edge
Post by: Mark T on November 21, 2014, 10:46:03 AM
 
;D ;D
Title: Re: Bladeís Edge
Post by: Ursinewave on November 21, 2014, 02:00:28 PM
I agree with CP about most of this. My one reservation about this poem is the phrase "the eyes in the mirror." In a poem about love, I found this kind of self-referentiality out of place. And I think the metaphors connecting love and vision are on the whole played out.

Great work overall, though. That line "the way the creek works the bank around every curve" is truly stunning. That it's a creek and not a river fortifies the argument of the poem about little things and small hesitancies so well.
Title: Re: Bladeís Edge
Post by: heidi52 on November 21, 2014, 02:03:57 PM
Glad this got brought back to the top. Very nice writing. I wouldn't change a thing.

I too love the creek - perfect.
Title: Re: Bladeís Edge
Post by: Tom 10 on November 22, 2014, 09:31:55 AM
Ursinewave - thanks for the close reading and feedback.  Much appreciated.

Heidi, thanks for your kind comments.  I'm usually thankful when a poem fades to back pages, but am surprised and pleased that this one bounced back- as I am still in the process of revision.  I am trying to get it right and am struggling to figure out exactly what S.1 should be.  I much appreciate the view that its okay as is.  thanks.
 :)
T