Author Topic: The shortcut  (Read 985 times)

Offline drab

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The shortcut
« on: November 09, 2017, 09:58:47 PM »
The shortcut, from a mountain lane
first passes a brook
and a few postcard cottages.                         
Miniature gardens of herbs and vegetables
and low, rough pitched granite walls
afford no privacy or separation,
their invitations built
when neighbours relied on each other
for survival.

It opens to a short steep field
that sponges underfoot even mid Summer,
an anomaly, all around, a thin layer of dry clay clings
and creeps over the solid granite core.
Dublin Bay fades from view
as Walkers Wood's canopy absorbs the senses.
Here it becomes a path,
deep, worn and barren,
the earthy damp smell
permanent.

Below, the main road's hum not yet audible
but the exit is closer with each step.
Exposed and tangled roots
reach out and up
in a thick
strong confusion.

The hard mud path
compressed,
almost polished, almost shines,
evidence of
countless feet and occasional crimes.

Strong branches cross overhead
beckon another noose.

They come here,
right here, so dark and quiet
just before they're close enough
to hear the noise of life

and just when they're so close to the exit

they exit.


This is about a shortcut a mile from my house where many people have hanged themselves. It's a really scary place! And I can't understand the attraction of killing yourself in such a horrible location. I'd do it on a sunny day, in a pretty place.

Please no comments on my attitude to how to....




 

     
To live, with gentle but cunning deceit, and accept the consequences, is the destiny of every man.

Offline duck

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Re: The shortcut
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2017, 05:25:07 AM »
Macabre, creepy but really well written. Draws the reader graudually in and the end has real impact.
Dave

Offline drab

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Re: The shortcut
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2017, 05:28:25 AM »
Thanks Dave, glad you like it.
To live, with gentle but cunning deceit, and accept the consequences, is the destiny of every man.

Offline Gyppo

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Re: The shortcut
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2017, 06:36:31 AM »
You've created a vortex, Drab.  Starts off broad and slow, and possibly even sun-drenched even though it's not mentioned, then a gentle stroll through a little bit of history with the homes, where neighbours were neighbours and not strangers who just happened to live next door.  Then the spongy field, even in Summer, offers a hint that all is not as it seems.  Just a faint foreshadowing.

Then tightening  onto the narrow lane, with the packed mud almost polished.  Perhaps mirroring the tight focus of a potential suicide when all other options seem exhausted.

Then the tunnel of trees, offering two exits, but only one for some.

Compelling, flows smoothly but inexorably.

Gyppo

« Last Edit: November 10, 2017, 06:39:31 AM by Gyppo »
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Offline drab

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Re: The shortcut
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2017, 09:56:09 PM »
Thanks Gyppo.
The steep path wrote the poem for me really  ;)
Local children dare each other to walk it solo...a strange place. It knocks at least two miles off a perambulation for some people...but they (even adults) still avoid it.
To live, with gentle but cunning deceit, and accept the consequences, is the destiny of every man.

Offline indar

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Re: The shortcut
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2017, 03:37:35 PM »
Hi Drab
I've read this several times. I see the progression from a time when neighbors relied on one another through the darkening dankening environment that also indicate the severing of community ties and increasing isolation of a person contemplating suicide.

Exposed and tangled roots
reach out and up
in a thick
strong confusion

Some stunning descriptions here of surroundings that reflect the state of mind of the walker.

They come here,
right here, so dark and quiet
just before they're close enough
to hear the noise of life

and just when they're so close to the exit

they exit.

After the build up to the final moment, the vortex as Gyppo aptly puts it, I find the end disappointing. Somehow I want to hear how the analogous tangled roots and branches uncertain footing at the last moment ensnare the walker. Overall a imagist and engaging write

Offline drab

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Re: The shortcut
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2017, 10:32:20 PM »
Thanks indar,
Now look what you made me do...

They come quietly,                                                 
wrapped in opaque darkness
and stop here,
near the shortcut's end                                               
with letters and cords.

Close enough to hear traffic
and people,
salvation only an ask away
 
their exits
labyrinthine
and silent
the noose...just an aside.


The 'roots' were there to help create a sense of gloom/dread; and they are really spooky. It's not a piece of fiction, but you must have seen The Hollow. (An underrated but excellent horror movie) That's why you want the roots to finish it off  ;D
 




 
                                                       
To live, with gentle but cunning deceit, and accept the consequences, is the destiny of every man.

Offline indar

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Re: The shortcut
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2017, 01:23:59 AM »
I never watch horror movies--they horrify me. much better ending. I went to the Grand Canyon one year for Christmas--it was beautiful. Park Rangers hauled a body out on a flat sled right in front of us. Something one doesn't hear much about--people come to the canyon to jump. The choice to die in the Grand Canyon ???

Offline Mark T

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Re: The shortcut
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2017, 01:18:47 PM »

Very good writing. Elevated. Even the title is weighted with ambiguity. 
Couple of suggestions worked in below.


The shortcut, from a mountain lane
first passes a brook
and a few postcard cottages.                         
Miniature gardens of herbs and vegetables
and low, rough pitched granite walls
afford no privacy or separation,
their invitations built
when neighbours relied upon another
for survival.

It opens to a short steep field
that sponges underfoot even in summer,
an anomaly all around, dry clay clings, thinly
creeping over the solid granite core.
Dublin Bay fades from view
as Walkers Wood absorbs the senses.
Here it becomes a path,
deep, worn and barren,
always musty with earthy
damp and all-day shade

Road hum below is subdued into silence
but the exit roars, closes with each step.
Exposed and tangled roots
reach out blindly
grasping a thick
strong confusion.

The cracked mud path
compressed,
polished, almost shines its
evidence of countless feet
and occasional crimes.

Tight branches overhead
beckon another loosened noose.


Apologies. Really good piece, Reverend.






Offline Tom 10

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Re: The shortcut
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2017, 04:38:11 PM »
Creepy is right! Macabre too. :o :o
Well constructed and well conceived.

Are there families living along this short-cut road??

A few thingies-

S.1 L.9 -- perhaps delete?
S.2 L.2 -- mid Summer > mid-summer ?

Great play of beats and sounds.
 
A different thing entirely, but this brings to mind the Suicide Forest of Japan.

Gets the imagination humming.

Love it, Rev.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2017, 04:42:13 PM by Tom 10 »

Offline drab

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Re: The shortcut
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2017, 08:37:49 PM »
Very good writing. Elevated. Even the title is weighted with ambiguity. 
Couple of suggestions worked in below.


Road hum below is subdued into silence
but the exit roars, closes with each step.
Exposed and tangled roots
reach out blindly
grasping a thick
strong confusion.

The cracked mud path
compressed,
polished, almost shines its
evidence of countless feet
and occasional crimes.

Tight branches overhead
beckon another loosened noose.

Thanks Mark.
Some interesting changes, I like your last stanza.
There are too many ways to rewrite poems  ::)
To live, with gentle but cunning deceit, and accept the consequences, is the destiny of every man.

Offline drab

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Re: The shortcut
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2017, 09:09:31 PM »
Tom,
Thanks for reading and commenting on my last few poems. I won't reply (and bump them back up the page) to the others. You sure were an active little bunny yesterday  :) Great to see you back with a vengeance  :)

Are there families living along this short-cut road??..............No, it's a narrow rutted (by feet not wheels) path through a small, dense (mostly) deciduous forest. I believe they always use the same limb to conclude their business! Maybe it should be removed. Suicide is quite a problem here in Ireland. I probably know at least 20 people who ended their lives that way.
Given a choice between that tree and Linda's Grand Canyon I'd definitely choose the latter.

S.1 L.9 -- perhaps delete? ...............Yes, this would be more accurate.
S.2 L.2 -- mid Summer > mid-summer ?...............Or midsummer?

To live, with gentle but cunning deceit, and accept the consequences, is the destiny of every man.

SharonLeigh

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Re: The shortcut
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2017, 11:14:59 PM »
This was so engaging... felt literally pulled along the path. I am echoing what the others have said of this piece. Especially Gyppo's observations,  right there at the steep, spongy field I also felt the first bit of foreboding. Creepy in the extreme, in the best way! Enjoyed

S

Offline matty11

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Re: The shortcut
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2017, 04:43:27 PM »
Hi Drab

Evocative, resonant piece, with a definite chill. Like the rural setting, those pretty cottages such a contrast to the grim ending. Good suggestion by Mark for a clipped ending by the way.

Best

Matty