Poem 79 Editing

What is happening in this poem?!?

There is so much crap here we might as well flush. The edited version is much better, like a sort of Hopkins “Spring and Fall” in the way it presents the whole year in a single moment, with a little mournful regret. This first version was a distraction from an essay I was trying not to write. Haha, it seems a little haphazard, and now I know why I needed to write that essay a few times to get it right.

I am harsh here because it covers all of my major follies as a poet. The first stanza is great and immediately falls to pieces. The end is silly, almost an attempt to cut off the poem before it began to ramble. There is no theme, just a mash of stream-of-consciousness, which would be good if it were fun to read. Which it was not.

Harsh. But true. If you’re not a critic someone else will be.

I love the idea of cucumbers, grass, time, motionless summer. That is what I chose to highlight when I edited here. There was not much to save at the end, so I broadened my scope and looked to other inspiration.

A poem about summer is boring, cheesy, should be in a Hallmark card. A poem about fleeting summer and the sense of winter all year is profound, allows for the passage of time, enlightens the reader of the narrator’s own fears, demonstrates the human condition and hints of rebirth and circularity in a Buddhist sense.

See all that. Make small changes with big ripples. There is nothing wrong with a poem about something lovely, something sweet and summery, but remember your winter. We read, write, toil for winter. Maybe that winter is death, fear, change, loss, and of course there is beauty there too. In your singular loveliness there is a twin bitterness (which could be lovely in its own way) but should be presented at odds, in a Yin Yang, polar opposite, night and day sort of way. In their dissonance they are complete… hmmmm like twins. Sounds like I’ve found my new phase.

TAKEAWAY

Sometimes poems are just fluff. Those poems are shown on inspirational posters and greeting cards. Language like that is necessary for mood improvements and happy randomness, but it is not art. I don’t often get on my art pedestal because I am at odds with the idea of art myself. But there is something to be said about presenting a whole and commenting on the experience with more than just one version of it. This poem, timeless-infinite with the duality of seasons is a vast improvement from the summer slurp it once was, because there is more to tell. Be artists and be better than just the poem about summer. Slam it with winter and watch it snow.

 

Poem 79 RevisedPoem 79 Original

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Poem 79 Revised

A cucumber could not taste as sweet
As filature along a forgotten breeze
Coaxing chatter of weather and what-not
Across eddies—ever eager spring—comes grass.
From eye level the deep trodden grass colors
Summerness; becomes the pressure on elbows
straining this afternoon’s sweet-sour sage
On a sunbeam preferring patches by the hour.
Watch the call of autumn opals oppress
The downy undress of arbor limbs unfold.
Ticking tedious the tremble of traitor leaves.
For now it is verbena on the lawn… for now.
—ECW