Author Topic: Return of the Sun Dogs  (Read 4231 times)

Offline Tom 10

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Return of the Sun Dogs
« 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.




« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 05:16:13 PM by Tom 10 »

Offline heidi52

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Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
« Reply #1 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)

Offline CorneliusPoe

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Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
« Reply #2 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.
 
"Poetry is not speech raised to the level of music, but music brought down to the level of speech." - Paul Valery

Offline heidi52

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Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
« Reply #3 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.

Offline Tom 10

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Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
« Reply #4 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.

 :-\ :-\

« Last Edit: December 01, 2014, 12:03:21 PM by Tom 10 »

Offline Tom 10

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Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
« Reply #5 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.




Offline Tom 10

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Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2014, 12:20:34 PM »
Here is one with the start of some finger drifts onto the road (foreground):

« Last Edit: December 01, 2014, 07:05:36 PM by Tom 10 »

Offline rapriss

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Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
« Reply #7 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

Offline heidi52

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Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
« Reply #8 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.

Offline Tom 10

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Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
« Reply #9 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
 

Offline Tom 10

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Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
« Reply #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

Offline Biola

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Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
« Reply #11 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
we learn every day if we want. check my blog http://biola-ephesus-ephesus.blogspot.com, Ephesus@Wordpress.com
buy my books, BLOOD CONTRACT,NUMEN YEYE at amazon.com

Offline Tom 10

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Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
« Reply #12 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
« Last Edit: December 03, 2014, 02:43:20 PM by Tom 10 »

Offline Alita Patel

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Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2014, 09:18:49 PM »
Hi there,
Interesting read.
Alita Patel

Offline shadowdrifter

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Re: Return of the Sun Dogs
« Reply #14 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.