Author Topic: heron (swearing - one eff-word)  (Read 3295 times)

Offline pnokio

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heron (swearing - one eff-word)
« on: May 31, 2014, 03:48:31 PM »
heron

that retiring tenant of the broken
branch, loitering beside the bulrushes
like an apparently dysfunctional   
gibbet, is hunched so merrily about
his business – he trades in live of-a-sudden
lunches all the livelong day, lingering
in grey invisible boredom till comes,
down below the spyglass of his spear,
innocents wide-eyed and all unknowing –
the small wandering frog, a silver bleak’s
final sparkle: mute inertia erupts
to a cataclysm of immediate
thank you and farewell - and stasis resumes:
here’s a fellow who does not fuck about.



Flew in out of nowhere in two hours this morning

Offline bri h

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Re: heron (swearing - one eff-word)
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2014, 03:52:07 PM »
And very good it is too. How the hell did you manage to make this: apparently dysfunctional gibbet, into a poetic line? It surprised me, and yet I still found it poetic. Well done, Bri.
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Offline 510bhan

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Re: heron (swearing - one eff-word)
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2014, 04:30:58 PM »
The line breaks for me seem too contrived as they don't provide genuine enjambments where the line can almost stand alone before it is continued on the next.

heron

that retiring tenant of the broken
branch, loitering beside the bulrushes
like an apparently dysfunctional   
gibbet, is hunched so merrily about
his business – he trades in live of-a-sudden
lunches all the livelong day, lingering
in grey invisible boredom till comes,
down below the spyglass of his spear,
innocents wide-eyed and all unknowing –
the small wandering frog, a silver bleak’s
final sparkle: mute inertia erupts
to a cataclysm of immediate
thank you and farewell - and stasis resumes:
here’s a fellow who does not fuck about.


heron      change of line breaks fiddle-twiddle ::) :-[

that retiring tenant of the broken branch,
loitering beside bulrushes
like an apparently dysfunctional gibbet,
is hunched so merrily about his business
– he trades in live of-a-sudden lunches
all the livelong day, lingering in grey
invisible boredom, till comes down
below the spyglass of his spear,
innocents wide-eyed and all unknowing –
the small wandering frog,
a silver bleak’s final sparkle:
mute inertia erupts to a cataclysm
of immediate thank you and farewell
- and stasis resumes:
here’s a fellow who does not fuck about.



Offline CorneliusPoe

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Re: heron (swearing - one eff-word)
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2014, 06:10:23 PM »
I love it.

I'm amazed at how you and others here can paint a picture. No real crit other than, I agree with Sio on the breaks.

Love your pacing and use of language. The wrap up was unexpected and extremely effective.
"Poetry is not speech raised to the level of music, but music brought down to the level of speech." - Paul Valery

Offline Tom 10

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Re: heron (swearing - one eff-word)
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2014, 07:44:57 PM »
Pnokio --
Excellent poem -- I think this is thus far the best you've posted.  If I've got it right, it is pretty much a blank verse sonnet.  The "form" has not constricted the presentation in any respect, that i can see.  About three weeks ago I spent about 45 minutes with my camera watching a great (white) egrit fishing in a small stream.  the egrit looks much like the great blue heron, except for color, and their fishing habits are near identical.  Your description of the feeding is perfect, and precious.  I caught some of it on camera, but of course your poem treats the "eatee" as well. 8) 8)   Love it.  Very well done.  My only quibble is based solely on my parochialism.  The last line doesn't work for me, but I'm sure works for most everyone else.  In my area  the word "fellow" is used only to mock someone as being pompous.  And "fucking about" is not a phrase here, it would just be considered a Brittishism.  The phrase here would be "doesn't fuck around".  But don't change the poem to fit west central Minnesota. 8) 8)

Offline heidi52

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Re: heron (swearing - one eff-word)
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2014, 06:45:22 AM »
Enjoyed this a lot. I'm very fond of herons and their workman like attitude. You captured it perfectly, so well done.

I'm no stranger to the f word but I don't really think it adds much here and will turn some folks off. The poem is just as strong if the last line is cut entirely. IMO.

One niggle, in line 10 shouldn't it be beak's instead of bleak's?
« Last Edit: June 01, 2014, 09:09:30 AM by heidi52 »

Offline Gyppo

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Re: heron (swearing - one eff-word)
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2014, 08:00:12 AM »
Lovely description.  I've shared an early morning riverbank with a heron on a few occasions.  He is indeed a fellow who doesn't mess about.

But so inelegant, and audibly creaking when he starts to fly, looking like a pterodactyl.  Hard to believe it's the same animal as the lightning fast fish killer.

=====

Mini-factoid:

The Bleak is a small silvery species of freshwater fish.

A singularly inappropriate name in my opinion.  When there's a shoal of them milling and flickering around a food source they can positively shimmer in the sunlight.  Their scales are very loose and get everywhere when you handle them.

This is one reason why, in Victorian times, they were netted by the ton from the Thames and other major rivers, where they seemed to be an inexhaustible supply.  The scales were pressed into slabs and used to make fake Mother-of-pearl, used as inlays for decorating trinket boxes and the 'scales' for the sides of gentleman's penknives.

Bleak were also eaten by the poor people, but seeing as they thrived in sewage polluted waters I prefer not to dwell on this.

As recently as fifty years ago The Thames and its tributaries were 'positively heaving' with them.
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

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Offline heidi52

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Re: heron (swearing - one eff-word)
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2014, 09:08:59 AM »
Thanks for the factoid Gyp. Had no idea about Bleaks.

Do know the pteradactyl on the wing though. There is a big blue heron who commutes to the large pond up the road, he flies across my property twice a day, early and late. Same time, same route, rain or shine.

Offline duck

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Re: heron (swearing - one eff-word)
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2014, 11:07:11 AM »
Hi Ian
On the whole a lovely portrait. Two things jarred for me: the last line indeed contrasts somewhat sharply with the overall tone and the emphasis on lingering and loitering, rather slow words. The not fucking about refers purely to the fishing. The 'live of-a-sudden' is (excuse the pun) a bit of a mouthful especially paired with live (life)long in the next line.
Otherwise great observation.
Dave

Offline lan

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Re: heron (swearing - one eff-word)
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2014, 11:29:06 AM »
Hey Dave,
thank you for the positive feedback, which I turn over to pnokio since the poem is his  :P

pnokio, I found a delightful melange of sound and rhythm, thoughtfully orchestrated and only slightly losing style in the last lines. The f-word makes it sound like you yourself don't give much value to your own work and it's not worth the time to come up with a powerful ending.  

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Offline duck

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Re: heron (swearing - one eff-word)
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2014, 11:40:57 AM »
Thanks Ian and sorry pnokio, no offence intended, too much flitting back and forth.
Dave

Offline pnokio

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Re: heron (swearing - one eff-word)
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2014, 01:37:20 PM »
Just quickly to say thank you all very much for your comments - will get back tomorrow with some more personal (in the nicest possible sense *_~) comments on your comments - everything is very interesting and valuable.  This is some group.  Later: *_~

Offline pnokio

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Re: heron (swearing - one eff-word)
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2014, 09:38:35 AM »
Thanks so much for all your comments and ideas.  The heron fascinates me.  I thought about writing a poem about him long ago, but never till I sat down with this had I put down one word – and it fell out of its own accord, just like that in about, in about 2 hours.  Amazing. 

Bri – pleased you liked it – and that you picked out that awkward phrase that somehow seems to fit in *_~

Siobhan, it may be better the way you suggest, but I really don’t think it matters at all, that the top line of an enjambment should stand on its own.  Possibly, were a swan being focused, I may have tried to make those lines kind of swan smoothly over – but whatever else he is Mr H is no swan *_~  Whatever, I enjoyed your rearrangement – quite something you know reading thru that, and new to me, my words coming out in different places while you kept the rhythm held firm.  A bit like reading through an old poem, or an old short story, when you’re quite amazed at how good and fresh it all sounds – when really you’re just reading and listening to your own voice all along :o)  The one thing not so good about it is the way the internal rhyme day/grey is too close there, too pat.  I want bleak humour but not too much.

CP – Your first three words were all I really needed *_~  As for the wrap up, maybe take a look at my thank-you to Ian?

Wow Tom, your comments were lovely to read.  A sonnet?  Well it has 14 lines *_~ but I don’t think it’s clever enough to be a sonnet, it doesn’t attend to this or that formal scheme.  I tend not to want to try to do that kind of thing, not to be fussed like that, but the fact of the matter is writing a formal sonnet is a high challenge.  Maybe one day. //   I’m going to paste below a extract from Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain, about the Great Blue Heron.  A fabulous piece of writing.  Roundabout the time I read Frazier’s account, I was standing still by the pond of a local park, Peckham Rye Park, when a heron came down not eight feet from me.  It was one of those moments in movies, where a stunning moment is sustained by a singing note held high on the strings.  Everything Frazier said was bang on, but of course my camera was on the side at home!  The movie Cold Mountain was, well, not so good to say the least, but the novel is a masterpiece.  //  Ah, The Great Blue Heron - America is bigger and better even in these things – we only have our little grey guy over here :o)  //  ‘fuck around’ vs ‘fuck about’, I thought awhile on that one – both phrases mean the same in London UK, but ‘fuck around’ has the sound lingering, so eventually that went out.  But either would have done.  See the note to Ian re ‘fuck’ and ‘fellow’.

Heidi – thanks for your comments, and I’m so pleased you liked the poem, but the eff-word is absolutely integral *_~  When thinking of getting down to the piece, that was the line that came to mind first of all: ‘Here’s a fellow who does not fuck about’ – in a way, maybe, it’s what the poem is trying to say.  I’ll say more about this to Ian later – maybe of interest to you?

Glad you got something from it Dave – from what you were saying you might find the thank-you to Ian interesting.  Maybe.  The ‘lingering loitering, livelong, etc.’ are supposed to help convey the idea of the heron’s simply apparently hanging around fed-up with nothing better to do *_~


So pleased you enjoyed it Gyppo – and yes, they are the pterodactyls of this age.  Am going to paste an extract from Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain regarding the Great Blue Heron – do please read it – I’m sure it’ll get to you.


Ian, thanks so much for your comments – pleased you enjoyed it – and I like that word ‘melange’ - although it’s a bit too posh for where I live in downtown Peckham UK *_~ – though somewhere there perhaps is where that ‘fuck about’ in the closing line comes from.  I’ve thought about what I’m now going to try to say, but I’m not sure how to say it.  Bit like writing poetry.  Well I’ve wanted to write this poem for a very long time, and when I finally knew I was going to sit down and give it a go, that was the first idea to come to mind.  The previous thirteen lines leading into it are, you could say, maybe poetry poetry - an effort to try and get near to what I wanted to convey – whereas that final line is the local person in me that smiles and admires and pokes a guy beside me and says, ‘fuck me, did you see that?!’  It’s there in deep admiration, that last line, and in no way turns away from the poem with a shrug.  //  Tom had a problem with ‘fellow’, which in the States is used to refer to pompous men.  (Years ago someone in the States picked me up when referring to ‘the Head’, meaning the Headmaster of a school, whereas where he lived, Kentucky, around the Appalachian Mountains, ‘head’ is used to refer to the urinal *_~).  It’s very much the opposite here with ‘fellow’.  ‘Fellow’, although it’s not often used, is at least some kind of friend or partner, and it goes upwards from there towards distinguished persons of a college or some such – so that plays well against ‘fuck about’ *_~

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

from Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain

They had not walked far above the fork when Ruby stopped and squared her body to the water, sighting on something in it as if to take range. She sank down in her knees just a notch, like a fighter lowering his center of gravity to compose himself for attack. She said, Well, look there. That's not a common sight.
Off in the river stood a great blue heron. It was a tall bird to begin with, but something about the angle from which they viewed it and the cast of low sun made it seem even taller. It looked high as a man in the slant light with its long shadow blown out across the water. Its legs and the tips of its wings were black as the river. The beak of it was black on top and yellow underneath, and the light shone off it with muted sheen as from satin or chipped flint. The heron stared down into the water with fierce concentration. At wide intervals it took delicate slow steps, lifting a foot from out the water and pausing, as if waiting for it to quit dripping, and then placing it back on the river bottom in a new spot apparently chosen only after deep reflection.
Ruby said, He's looking for a frog or a fish.
But his staring so heedfully into the water reminded Ada of Narcissus, and to further their continuing studies of the Greeks, she told Ruby a brief version of the tale.
-- That bird's not thinking about himself at all, Ruby said, when Ada had finished the story. Look at that beak on him. Stab wounds; that's his main nature. He's thinking about what other thing he can stab and eat.
They stepped slowly toward the river edge and the heron turned to look at them with some interest. He made tiny precise adjustments of his narrow head as if having trouble sighting around his blade of beak. His eyes seemed to Ada to be searching for her merits and coming up short.
-- What are you doing up here? she said aloud to the heron. But she knew by the look of him that his nature was anchorite and mystic. Like all of his kind, he was a solitary pilgrim, strange in his ways and governed by no policy or creed common to flocking birds. Ada wondered that herons could tolerate each other close enough to breed. She had seen a scant number in her life, and those so lonesome as to make the heart sting on their behalf. Exile birds. Everywhere they were seemed far from home.
The heron walked toward them to the river edge and stood on a welt of mud. He was not ten feet away. He tipped his head a notch off level, raised a black leg, scales as big as fingernails, the foot held just off the ground. Ada stared down at the strange footprint in the mud. When she looked up, the bird was staring at her as at someone met long ago, dimly registered in memory.
Then the heron slowly opened its wings. The process was carried out as if it were a matter of hinges and levers, cranks and pulleys. All the long bones under feathers and skin were much in evidence. When it was done the wings were so broad that Ada could not imagine how it would get out among the trees. The bird took a step toward Ada, lifted itself from the ground, and with only a slow beat or two of the immense wings soared just above her head and up and away through the forest canopy. Ada felt the sweep of wings, the stir of air, a cold blue shadow across the ground, across the skin of her face. She wheeled and watched until the heron was gone into the sky. She threw up a hand like waving 'bye to visiting kin. What would that be? she wondered. A blessing? A warning beacon? Picket of the spirit world?




Offline pnokio

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Re: heron (swearing - one eff-word)
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2014, 11:46:27 AM »
I think this'll be the final effort with this - minor changes the three lines before the last.

heron

that retiring tenant of the broken
branch, loitering beside the bulrushes
like an apparently dysfunctional   
gibbet, is hunched so merrily about
his business – he trades in live of-a-sudden
lunches all the livelong day, lingering
in grey invisible boredom till comes,
down below the spyglass of his spear,
innocents wide-eyed and all unknowing –
a small wandering frog, the silver bleak’s
final exit: mute inertia erupts
to a cataclysm of immediate
thank you sir and farewell - stasis resumes:
here’s a fellow who does not fuck about.

Offline CorneliusPoe

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Re: heron (swearing - one eff-word)
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2014, 01:46:44 PM »
P.

Thanks for adding the detailed replies to everyone. They did little to help with the appreciation of the poem, which in my eyes is a good thing. I still love it. That said, any chance to get a glimpse behind such lush curtains is of value.

For what's its worth, I prefer the original:

Quote
thank you and farewell - and stasis resumes

to:

Quote
thank you sir and farewell - stasis resumes:

The first has the feel of a winding down, or of air being let out of a balloon. It makes the impact of the pinnacle statement in the next line that much more pronounced. The new version rises to a peak on the hard stress of "sir" giving the line a new internal balance, but deadening the effect mentioned above. The line itself feels more complete where the earlier form seems more like a lead-in.  Hope that makes sense.

Please take all qualifications about it being one opinion and my high regard for granted.

Marc
"Poetry is not speech raised to the level of music, but music brought down to the level of speech." - Paul Valery