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Poets Corner => Review My Poetry => Topic started by: Tom 10 on November 28, 2014, 11:05:24 AM

Title: Return of the Sun Dogs
Post by: Tom 10 on November 28, 2014, 11:05:24 AM
 

    Return of the Sun Dogs

Angels encircle a frozen field.
Finger drifts form themselves
sharp enough to blind the penitent.
Silence collects among the cottonwoods
as dogs gather like death above these trees.




Title: Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
Post by: heidi52 on November 28, 2014, 06:05:06 PM
Have come back to read several times, still need more. Will comment once I've digested.  8)
Title: Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
Post by: CorneliusPoe on December 01, 2014, 08:38:56 AM
Hey T.

I really had to work to put myself in that place. I have a hard time visualizing so it took several reads to get close to it and several more to appreciate it.

Love the title and stark description of a winter desert. Lines 2 and 3 are key. They are central literally and to my ability to get into the piece.

A minor suggestion. Please forgive or forget the intrusion:

Angels encircle a frozen field.
Finger drifts form themselves
sharp enough to blind the penitent.
Silence collects among the cottonwoods
as dogs gather like death above these trees.
 
Title: Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
Post by: heidi52 on December 01, 2014, 08:50:31 AM
I'm back.  ;D

Love the first line to describe the sun dogs, it probably helped that I knew what they were going in, but even knowing I can not get a visual from L2. L3 is spot on, great line.

The next 2 lines seem like a different poem. Are we still talking about sundogs? And are they the same as the dogs in the last line. I've read it 17 times and still can't figure it out. Maybe a comma would help.
Title: Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
Post by: Tom 10 on December 01, 2014, 11:26:15 AM
Hello Heidi and CP,

Thanks for taking a stab at this.  I appreciate your feedback.


Maybe this helps:


Its winter blustery and cold.
Cottonwood trees accumulated with snow and ice
look like angels
standing in a perimeter around a field. 
The sun dogs also look like angels as they too ring the fields.
Wind blows the snow across the field in lines
which form like fingers stretching outward from the trees.

These finger drifts become, figuratively, sharp on their distal ends
and thus pose threat to such hypothetical souls
as may unadvisedly be out in this arctic desert
ostensibly doing penance.  And if you happen
to be out here, the rawness of this
can make you feel like the penitent.

There is no answer, just silence, which
seems to gather in the cottonwoods - there are no leaves
to make noise in the wind, there is no one talking to you.  
And even if you are doing penance
the angels may not be here for you this time.

Sun dogs look like fragments of rainbow
above the dead-appearing cottonwoods.  
If the cottonwoods are like angels,
then the rainbow fragments can be like
what the rising soul of a dead angel may appear to be
but whether or not that be true
the dogs still gather, certain, like death.

 :-\ :-\

Title: Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
Post by: Tom 10 on December 01, 2014, 12:01:03 PM
This is not an attempt to illustrate the poem, which is usually a dumb idea, but here are two pics of sun dogs and ground drifting and cottonwoods.


(http://i1287.photobucket.com/albums/a640/titan685/Winter%20Pictures/winter023_zpsfc77c4d6.jpg)
(http://i1287.photobucket.com/albums/a640/titan685/Winter%20Pictures/sundawgdrifts_zps8eda3be0.jpg)
Title: Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
Post by: Tom 10 on December 01, 2014, 12:20:34 PM
Here is one with the start of some finger drifts onto the road (foreground):

(http://i1287.photobucket.com/albums/a640/titan685/Winter%20Pictures/sundogcottonwoods_zps4fe19368.jpg)
Title: Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
Post by: rapriss on December 03, 2014, 08:35:20 AM
Hi Tom10,

I really enjoyed this, very evocative!

I am with Cornelius Poe and think L4 sounds better with 'the' removed and in turn would prefer 'the' in line 5 instead of 'these' - somehow, I find 'these' awkward here.  :-\

Also wondering whether 'form themselves' in L2 is a little 'heavy'? How about just 'finger drifts form' with a comma at the end of the line?

I like this stanza a lot, I find it so much more powerful in style than the full length version of the poem...

Oh, hold on! me thinks these are just your notes / prompts re a longer version of a poem :-[ duh!!!!! ehm... embarrassed grin!  ::)]

Can wait to see the finished product!

cheers
Bern
Title: Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
Post by: heidi52 on December 03, 2014, 09:43:10 AM
Glad this got brought back to the top. I have to apologize for not seeing the period at the end of the first line. Not knowing what finger drifts were, I got caught up trying to visualize the angel's fingers drifting and forming as I thought it was a continuation of L1.

I need stronger glasses.
Title: Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
Post by: Tom 10 on December 03, 2014, 10:55:52 AM
Hi Bern,

Thanks for reading and commenting. 
You and CPoe may very well be right about L.4: the cottonwoods .  I agree its reads smoother without that syllable.  I understand that each use of "a", "the" can have a strong effect on the sense of the text, so I try to be sensitive to these matters.  I chose the cottonwoods to indicate specific cottonwoods, those looking like angels in L.1 (as apposed to cottonwoods generally or some heretofore unmentioned cottonwoods).  As I type this and again think about it, it does seem weak.  "The probably should come out, but needs to be decided in unison with the decision on "these" in the next line.

In L.5 I felt the repeat of cottonwood/trees was unfortunate, but necessary, and highlighting it with "these" would mitigate.  I also relied on the utility of the nice vowel repeat of these/trees.  Additionally, the use of these rather than the takes a little of the hop out of the closing iambs, which I thought was a good thing. 

You are right about the heaviness of "form themselves".  There was the trade-off in the writing.  Without "themselves" the line becomes untenably short, and the rhythm, such as it is, would be lost.  I also like the suggestion from the use of "themselves" of some being-ness to the finger drifts.  The poem suggests at least semi-sentience for the cottonwoods and the sun dogs, and seems to me to add if the same is ascribed to the finger drifts as well.

This was meant as explanation rather than defense.  I think your points are well taken, and you're right, this piece is far from finished.

Thanks so much for reading and commenting, and welcome to MWC.

T
 
Title: Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
Post by: Tom 10 on December 03, 2014, 10:59:26 AM
Hi Ms 52,

You get plenty of snow, but don't have the open expanses to create finger drifts apparently 8)
I don't think it was a glasses thing, I think this is too cryptic.  You know I always occasionally have a problem striking the balance.
Thanks for coming back to it.
 :)
T
Title: Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
Post by: Biola on December 03, 2014, 02:26:42 PM
Hi Tom,
I just sneaked in and I hope nobody is noticing it, I liked your poem from a spiritual point of view. I live in a country that does not have snow so I have no concept of it , but I read just like me and I saw your angels silent in their purity, the light of the sun dogs coming and despair like death dogs on the trees evoking despair even in the penitent. Life, achievement, remorse and expectation in the cold whiteness of a strangled earth,
Sshhh I am out of here.
biola
Title: Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
Post by: Tom 10 on December 03, 2014, 02:41:12 PM
Biola!!

This is a wonderful appearance - thank you so much for your comments on this poem. I appreciate your take because of the spirituality of your poems.  And yes, I would expect no sun dog visits to your land, but I learn from your writing that there is much afoot there nevertheless. 8)

And okay, I'll be silent. This is just between you and me. ;D ;D

T
Title: Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
Post by: Alita Patel on December 03, 2014, 09:18:49 PM
Hi there,
Interesting read.
Title: Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
Post by: shadowdrifter on December 04, 2014, 01:44:16 AM
Hi Tom

I think the photos definitely help to illustrate the poem, especially when you have no idea what a sun dog looks like.  I would suggest losing 'themselves' on the second line.
Title: Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
Post by: Tom 10 on December 04, 2014, 12:55:44 PM
Hi Shadowdrifter,

Nice to see you around again.  That's another vote for deleting themselves.  So that may be the way to go.

As far as the pics, I don't know what's harder to do right - get a sun dog in a picture or in a poem. 8)

Thanks.

T
Title: Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
Post by: CorneliusPoe on December 04, 2014, 01:35:57 PM
Adding a vote against the deletion of "themselves". Your use of "S" sounds is a major contributor to the poem's appeal. The interplay between "themselves" and "sharp" is one of the sonic highlights.

Also the notion of the drifts forming themselves sharp just seems right and makes the image that much more real.

Not looking for a fight, but am most definitely advocating. :)


[ Edited to make sense and look less stupid :) ]
Title: Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
Post by: Tom 10 on December 04, 2014, 01:41:26 PM
Cool.  Thanks CP for a return to this. 8)
Title: Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
Post by: CorneliusPoe on December 04, 2014, 01:56:35 PM
Evidently I had 'highlights" stuck in my head. :P I will now edit that reply and pretend that it always made sense.
Title: Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
Post by: Tom 10 on December 04, 2014, 02:52:02 PM
It always made sense to me, and i much appreciate how you have the uncanny ability to see so many of the moving parts of a poem all at one time.  Thanks for your help on this.

T
Title: Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
Post by: TOTIBP on December 05, 2014, 07:53:04 PM
Reading this with a pre-existing fascination of sun dogs made the poem much more enjoyable. Loved the first line. However, I don't think many people are aware of what a sun dog is, so writing poetry on a subject someone is unaware of kinda ruins the poem, but that's not something you can really fix. Anyway, loved it!
Title: Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
Post by: Tom 10 on December 05, 2014, 11:04:20 PM
 I abused the readership here about a year ago with a previous sun dog poem. 8)  You are right, because of wide diversity of participants here at MWC, not that many people are familiar with sun dogs.  Still, its part of my world and that's what I write about.  Glad you enjoyed.

T
Title: Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
Post by: heidi52 on December 06, 2014, 03:38:59 PM
writing poetry on a subject someone is unaware of kinda ruins the poem

Surely you aren't suggesting we limit ourselves to only writing poems about things that everyone is aware of? That sounds pretty limiting.  ::)

In the age of google, ignorance is no longer an excuse.
Title: Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
Post by: Tom 10 on December 06, 2014, 03:56:12 PM
Good point, Heidi. :)

I took TOTIBP's comment to mean that lack of info can spoil the reader's appreciation of a poem rather than spoiling the poem itself.  And of course you suggest the perfect solution.

This has come up before - how much background info is a writer obligated to try to pack into a poem?  Wiki in iambs?  Maybe that's a poetry challenge in the future.

I'm generally sold on Indar's view that links to information that give some assistance in understanding the poem are entirely proper.  We are in a new age for which we need to fashion new rules and customs that fit today and not the days of King Henry's court.

I ramble.  Maybe this should be taken to Poetic This! if we want to continue.  Or here, I don't care. ::) ::)
Title: Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
Post by: TOTIBP on December 06, 2014, 08:25:46 PM
Yea that's what I meant, reading back I was kinda worried you might take it the other way. stupid words.... being all confusing and stuff. :P
Title: Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
Post by: Tom 10 on December 07, 2014, 10:20:06 AM
Yea that's what I meant, reading back I was kinda worried you might take it the other way. stupid words.... being all confusing and stuff. :P

No problem, I got what you meant. :)  And thanks again.

T