Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Draft Poem: Onding

Will leave this up for a few days for comment. The title is Scots; here is a link to the DSL definition of the word.

[poem deleted 21/03/08]


Ben Wilkinson said...

Hi Andrew, just dropped in from the blogroll of Rob’s Surroundings. On the whole I liked this, not to mention your cunning technique for forcing Blogger to observe the typography of the poem (I too know the pain of trying to get a poem to appear as it's supposed to on this damn thing).

Anyway. I think the poem has a strong fluidity to it, which obviously suits it well, and the insistent, chanting repetition works well too. But you know this already, which is why you did it. I particularly enjoyed the image of rainbows being 'unzipped from a damp sky' too, and I think it ends on a strong and powerful note.

My only real quibble is with the mention of '40 days and 40 nights', which I found a tad superfluous; being there to spell things out when they don't really need to be made any clearer. But then it doesn't have any real negative impact on the rest of the poem, and ‘cloud deep and dark enough’ is a pretty strong image.

Hope that’s of some help, anyway. Feel free to ignore my ramblings as you see fit: I’m one of those young twerps who’s had a few lucky mag appearances and thinks he can talk freely and competently on verse construction. Truth is, if anyone starts talking to me about stresses or the finer points of metrics I just mumble incoherently, and avoid eye contact.



Jim Murdoch said...

Before I glanced at Ben's comments the one word that was on the tip of my tongue, appropriately enough, was: fluid. I'm not one for reading poetry out loud but I still think it is a good test. I do it with my prose work too.

Personally I have no problem with the nod to the flood of Noah's day but then I was brought up with that and biblical allusions come readily to me. It actually acts as a peak to the piece. Try reading it aloud and, when you get to that line, you will find yourself tempted to emphasise the two 40s perhaps a little more than they really need to be.

I can't decide if I would have used 'could never stop' or 'would never stop'. Either would work but there's a subtle difference. You might want to think about it.

The unzipping of rainbows is a lovely image although I can't quite work out how rain withers.

With regards to the title, I'm not convinced that anything particularly is gained by using a word people have to look up. Nothing else in the poem is especially Scottish. It's a nice word, suggestive of 'ending', but I'd consider changing it.

Rob said...

Seems quite good to me, Andy. The idea behind the poem and, particularly, the conclusion are strong. I don't like the title though.

S3 says the clouds will last 40 days and nights. S4 says the storm can never stop. Hmmmmm. Could be a development of thought, but might also read as an inconsistency.

The unzipped rainbows - great image, but it reads as a negative action. The image of hope is unzipped, leaving a hole, and no amount of crying will encourage God to stem his anger. But the phrase "for all the..." would normally lead me to expect a positive image i.e. despite all the rainbows that appear in the sky, still God doesn't let up.

Andrew Philip said...

Many thanks for the comments, gentlemen.

Ben, the cunning technique is one I lifted from Rob, who's used it many a time.

Rob, I was aiming for a (somewhat childlike/childish) development in stanza 4, but perhaps it's simply redundant.

Jim, might your objection to the title be removed if I said that this might be part of a sequence (if I ever write the rest!) in which the poems are responses to/commentaries on different Scots words for rain? (Plus, it has a literary pedigree: it crops up in MacDiarmid's wonderfully mysterious lyric "The Watergaw".)

Rob, what is it you don't like about the title?

Jim Murdoch said...

Contingent upon the presentation of the aforementioned poems my objection is withdrawn.

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