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Colm Roe
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Post by Colm Roe » Sun Jul 07, 2019 1:16 am

Some alarms are sensed,
an internal twitch
we should hear
but don't, or
refuse to.

Like being deep
under water,
reliant on mechanics
contemplating malfunctions.

Do it long enough
and it will.

In the meantime,
I close my eyes
retreat 
hum my mantras, and
will myself to believe
there's more.
 

 

ajduclos
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Post by ajduclos » Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:07 am

Ahhhhhh, Colm....... such a balance to your 30 days of death poems...... love it hugely

Aj

indar
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Post by indar » Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:49 pm

Hi Colm,

I agree with Aj, this seems to be a culmination of the 30 days of death poems. My overall impression of those is that they were one-time removed from the writer. This, by contrast, is deeply personal. In light of our number of years exchanging poetry, responses and sharing joys and sorrows among this community of writers, this poem is wrenching. Excellent write.

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Colm Roe
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Post by Colm Roe » Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:02 am

Thanks guys  :)  I'm glad you both approve.
It's been difficult getting back writing again after NaPo; giving up alcohol for two months didn't help either. Just something I do a few times a year, and this time it coincided with the end of NaPo...a perfect storm  :)
I'm glad you're both keeping the ship afloat, and I promise to be more engaged here soon; I'm off to a wedding in Bahrain on Sunday for a few weeks so I hope to share a few Arabic poems on my return.
Regards
 

Dave
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Post by Dave » Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:41 am

Hey Colm
A clever and precise description of coping strategy both for individual life and history. The only Thing I would change is to remove the word retreat , which stands out like a sore thumb.
Dave

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Colm Roe
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Post by Colm Roe » Tue Jul 09, 2019 11:57 pm

Thanks Dave. Don't agree about 'retreat'...but hey!

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Mark
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Post by Mark » Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:43 pm

Some alarms are sensed,
an internal twitch
we should hear
but don't, or
refuse to.


'an internal twitch' is the main subject of the stanza. It can be sensed as an alarm, something that should be heard,  refused to be heard, or not heard. The sense of a twitch as being auditory isn't a natural connection for the reader. Nor is it a true contradiction or contrast. Perhaps you paused over having the repetition of two words representing sounds. If so, I suggest a simple transposition:    

Some twitches are sensed,
an internal alarm
we should hear
but don't, or
refuse to.


Like being deep
under water,
reliant on mechanics
contemplating malfunctions.


There are two ambiguities in this clunky stanza. The phrase 'under water' as opposed to 'underwater' doesn't necessarily give a full impression of immersion. Grammatically, a person in a tunnel under the Thames can be said to be under water. But the intended image is conveyed, perhaps someone in one of those old-fashioned diving suits breathing through a pipe connected to a bellows on a boat.  The second mild ambiguity is 'mechanics' which could be tradesmen or disputably, mechanisms, but the stronger image is of men with toolboxes. Grammatically though, the sense is that there is a sole reliance on these mechanics doing their contemplating to keep said diver alive. In a vague sense, this could allude to preventative maintenance but that seems too prosaic for the intended nature of the piece. The ambiguities could be intentional but I don’t see how that expands the piece.  A thought was that machines might be a good word selection to end the stanza with, for the stronger imagery and semi-assonance.       

Do it long enough
and it will.


The pivotal and penultimate stanza of the piece. But what are the its actually referring to? Verbally, we have sensing, twitching, hearing, refusing, being deep and relying. It’s unclear and unsatisfying if taken collectively as a general activity in a certain direction. For example, in the second line, what will what, exactly? What word replaces the its in each line if tested out? Where is the syntactical linkage to indicate the subject/verb relationship embedded in the poem? The stanza seems too abstract given the prose-like writing.  

In the meantime,
I close my eyes
retreat
hum my mantras, and
will myself to believe
there's more.


This stanza is my pick of the bunch for its humanity. But two commas are missing, noticeable because the balance of the poem otherwise incorporates immaculate punctuation, i.e. following the contemporary poetry style of grammatical writing with white space insertions. But by removing the white space it reads as follows :

In the meantime, I close my eyes retreat hum my mantras, and, …

I can see no value in this style departure and assume the missing commas are an oversight.

The poem is another about death, of course. Or more precisely, enquires whether there is more after death.
There is, absolutely.
   
I hope this rusty critique helps; please choose to use or lose.
 

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Colm Roe
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Post by Colm Roe » Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:44 am

Thanks for your comments Mark.
By the looks of it you spent more time on the critique than I did writing it!
And it would take me even more time responding to all your points...time I do not currently possess.
You mention punctuation, and I now see how a missing comma (especially after 'mechanics') caused some confusion. Of course it was the 'diver' being ever cognisant of how the mechanics of his equipment follow the 2nd law of thermodynamics. 
Under water or underwater...seriously? If there's water above me when I dive, and there usually is, I am under water or underwater. 
Anywho, thanks for the time you've generously lavished on this Mark.  


 

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Mark
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Post by Mark » Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:43 pm

Ha, I probably did spend more time on it than you, with my proofreader's eye. Enjoy your break in Arabia.  

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Tracy Mitchell
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Post by Tracy Mitchell » Sat Jul 13, 2019 3:53 am

    Thoughtful, meditative piece.  Is there more than the avoidance of catastrophe, is life more than navigating the interstices between that which would destroy us?  

This poem doesn’t have your usual ladder feel to it, – inevitable rung after inevitable rung.
How would S.1 work as the closing stanza?  I ask because it is so strong. 

Cheers.

T

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