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Some Little Known Facts About Oysters.

Oysters claim just a small, three-chambered heart,
which they always pledge for life to one location.
It pumps their opaque blood to every oyster part
as they live and breathe, symbolic of the wooer's art.
How much do they deserve their wanton reputation?
for oysters only claim a small, three-chambered heart.
Males and females of the species cannot be told apart,
so rarely do their hearts succumb to any base temptation
as they pump their opaque blood to every oyster part.
Advertised across the world as passion à la carte,
in nature they save creatures who seek refuge from predation
even if they merely claim a small, three-chambered heart.
In history they've been broiled and baked and creamed in tarts.
Did such awaited fates cause hearts to beat in trepidation
as they pumped their opaque blood to every oyster part?
A fisher finds a pearl inside a shell when prised apart,
nurtured like a secret love in precious isolation
yet oysters merely claim a small, three chambered heart
which pumps their opaque blood to every oyster part.

6 Jun 06

Rated 8.3 (7.5) by 8 users.
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OH!! This is back! I missed it. I'm folding it back into the company of my Favorites.

I'm so impressed at any example of a villanelle; the repetition and the strict rhyme scheme make them extremely difficult to write. I've never succeeded. And this one has a lovely conceit.

The only things I would look at are (1) rhythm. All the "claim just" and "can just claim"s seem choppy. If I were lucky enough to wake up one morning and find I had written this in my sleep, my next step would be to reword with words that flow more smoothly. (ex. "merely" in l. 12 instead of "can just")

And the other thing I would change, were I phenomenally lucky enough to wake up and find I had written this in my sleep (which would never happen -- villanelles are the result of long hard work, not REM patterns), would be to change "opaque" to "pallid." "Opaque" is accented on the second syllable, which makes it fit choppily into the rhythm. "Pallid" is accented on the first syllable. In addition, "opaque" merely means one cannot see through it, and in your comments from the previous time this poem was posted, you indicated that you wanted to stress the lack of blood-red color. "Pallid" accomplishes that much more elegantly than "opaque."

I'm so excited to see this again!
 — leukothea

Opal, you must be a mind reader! I spent ages looking for this yesterday - I did eventually track it down - in the ollylama publication. Thank you for the repost.

 — unknown

very creative but still true to the title. i like!
 — witness

Not a nit for me to pick, opal heart. I'm going to ask you a nosy question: Grom get to go, how long did it take you to write this because to me starry eyes it looks polished to a lustrous finish.

 — borntodance

a-hem.... that would be from get to go.... Grom sounds like a Tolkein character ( or even worse)
 — borntodance

Thankyou to everyone for your comments - they've absolutely made my day - first,

leukothea - I really should dedicate it to you because I remember you wanted to see it again and I found it today at work - so here it is - I know the 'can justs' nearly drove me crazy and I'm changing them slowly - I've put in the merely so thankyou a million times for that - I read this quite frequently and they sound less obtrusive then somehow, but i want it to look smooth for the reader as well as the listener. 'Pallid' I'm mulling over - I change very, very slowly but I appreciate every edible word of your crit.


hobby - to think you went looking for my poem - I would like to have you crated up and sent straight to sit in my living room as a wonderful gift


witness - thankyou - the research I did said all the oyster facts were true, so I played around with them a little - I liked the idea of personifying oysters.


Grom get to go - I like that grace - it has a very lovely tongue twisterish vibe - but how long?  well I suppose about 10 hours plus some revisions. The hardest thing was the type of walking rhythm and the longish line which is based on the french alexandrine, but i didn't compromise the rhythm for the syllabic count if I felt the extra syllables were needed - I wanted to write this as a tribute to Elizabeth Bishop - her 'One Art' is so good - so i really tried with the form, but i think her rhythms are beautifully crafted too. i'm going to try to put an audio version on tomorrow, so you can hear it read.

Once again xxx  
 — opal

"One Art" is one of all time favorite poems! Great job, I've always found this format difficult to follow and you really outdid yourself with this piece, simply wonderful!
 — redsky

It's good to find decent work, especially so in such a difficult form. And such an odd subject. I think I'll keep this one, and swallow the oyster.
 — DianaTrees

Wow, this is so beautiful!  The title is adorable, and you have written exquisitely!
 — jenakajoffer

this is so cute! i really like it, though it makes me kind of sad. (poor oysters! ;__;)

 — missmurder

Dear Opal

This is simply magnificent and i didn't think you could improve upon the original but you have.
 — larrylark

I'm going to serve this poem at an oyster party. Opal, you have outdone even yourself.
 — borntodance

i really liked this.  thanks.  (;
 — ducktape

God, what a sloppy abstract and cliche ridden metrical nightmare.

Lets take a look at the rhyme scheme especially those words ending with "art"

heart, part, art, heart, apart, part, carte, heart, tart, part, apart, heart, part

Wow, you really outdid yourself, What a shit of lazy thought.

Your rhyme scheme is forced in line 3 for instance and most of the problem deals with your sloppy metrics: heptameter, hexameter, even fucking nonameter, god what the fuck are you doing? This poem is barf, total barf. Consistent rhyme needs metrical support or rhyme fails, therefore, you fail.

But lets look at your abstractions/cliches: "wooer's art," "wanton reputation," "base temptation" and not to mention the pearl in the end of this story about oysters. Such predictable bullshit is fun on cereal boxes. Here is an idea, if you want to be creative about oysters, leave the pearl out of the story. That is all we know about oysters.

You are pandering to bugs hip hopping around mixing their defense mechanisms with their mating calls.

In conclusion: Poetic slop, and that is not even including the predictable message.

The good news, an edit and some thought can fix this poem.
 — pra3torian

but there's only 2 facts in this villanelle.
 — bluesology

Pra3 - I like all crits - yours is no exception - I often meet people who think poetic rules are everything - usually men - sticklers for 'form.' It must help give structure to their unfocused thoughts. There's a lot of irony in this poem - the metric line is based on the alexandrine with its 12/13 syllables, but i wanted to get away from such strictures - look at Elizabeth bishop if you want to see 'ordinary' repetends - good enough for her, god enough for me.

All that talk of meter must be doing your head in. Have a lie down and a think about the tone of your voice - you're coming across a trifle shrill.
 — opal

for scatheart, whose orifices open far too freely:

An Alexandrine is a twelve-syllable iambic line. This differs from the classical French alexandrine in that there is two important stresses placed on the sixth and last syllable, and one light stress in each half line for classic French

workshop that, enematic one.
 — unknown

I said based on - and don't send me any more messages until you learn the basic rules of common courtesy.
 — opal

You talk of breaking forms yet you follow forms?

Poetic bullshit, i have found thee.
 — pra3torian

ANd you are not Elizebeth Bishop, not because you are not good enough but because you are not Elizebeth Bishop.

Let her have her Sestina and Fish...
 — pra3torian

The rhyme is pretty good, though repetitive as someone above said. It is the form though, I know. I thought the message, though one I've heard a few times before, was executed pretty darn well, but the last stanza left me hanging...instead of going all out Opal and making a proverbial statement, you repeated two lines that had already been repeated 2 to 3 times already. Lines 19 and 20...maybe just line 20 could be a line that was already said...but line 19 should maybe be original. Leave the reader with something awesome. I'm sure you dare not revise this because you've had it so long and you're content with how it is, but it left me hanging. I wish there was more there. Line 19 hardly even ties to line 18. It's linked with a "yet". Everything else though Opal, I like. The form, to me at least, is original and I'm pretty fond of it. 10
 — MrChris

The form is a villanelle
 — pra3torian

A villanelle needs no particulary meter or line length, so feel free to experiment with the form.
 — opal

True, it has no metrical constrinctions, but as a poet of rhyme, you need to have an ear of metrics. It is the hidden language of the rhyme and the rhyme's effect lives or dies by the metrics.
 — pra3torian

Line 14: "In history they've been broiled and baked and creamed in tarts."

Was this a presidential decree?
 — unknown

villanelle! very well done.
 — tragicbubble

The more I read the more I enjoy. Like so much of your poetry.

all the best

P. :0)
 — unknown

The rhyming works well, I really like it. I really like the simple idea as well.
 — FolleRouge

just read the damned thing ansd decide if you like it or not. it is quite amusing in it's reality of oyster life. who cares about form. the writer took time to use a certain style and did a good job with it. i liked it. as they say, "in the eye of the beholder. one of the greatest pieces of free verse consisted of but 5 words but was compelling in its content-"i think, therefore i am"
 — coodaygraw

this demonstrates, to me, mastery in getting the most impact out of just a few lines. i think the way you reuse them keeping the same message and sustaining the rhyme without looking like your using the same words over and trying to cover it up is brilliant. my complaints are that when read i couldnt follow the rhyme of the "-ation". i see it but each of the lines between are so long that hearing the rhyme becomes more of a challenge. still i wouldnt bother condensing, it would lose alot from it. also in line 14, i think you could find a way of saying "tart" instead of "tarts" to fit the rhyme scheme better. finally, instead of "in history" i think "over the years" might fit better, it does have the same amount of syllables. and this is just something id find neat but not necessary, instead of saying "broiled and baked and creamed" i think "dried and fried and even pied." again still the same amount of syllables. and yes i have seen sundried oysters.
 — SharpKnife

I think I recognize a villanelle her... yes I like it alot, my attempt at a villanelle was not nearly as good... excellent.
 — insomniac

Thanks to all the people I haven't replied to yet - insomniac - certainly a villanelle - one day I shall write another! I'm looking at the sestina at the moment, but they look fiendish tough to me.

Sharpknife - I agree, but I'm too scared to change anything - will look again though, I promise.

Cooday - I can't decide if I like the damn thing or not either, but I wrote it so I'd better get used to it,

Thanks again, xx
 — opal

Here's another little known fact about oysters. THEY SUCK, just like this poem.

0/10 Thank you try again
 — MrTom

Hello Tom - some oysters are maneaters, but they'd ignore you.
 — opal

I still really like this poem opal.
haven't read it in a LONG time.
 — jenakajoffer

An absolute classic returns.

Larry the whelk Lark
 — larrylark

Ode to an oyster

Oh, Oyster mine
When on thee I dine
Tis oft I stop to ponder
Did thy mother morn?
Have her beard shorn?
When thou didst not show for supper?
For her there is not need to grieve
Thy soul rests peacefully inside me.

LOL I wrote this when I was 13
 — unknown

Cheers! Well writ!
 — opal

This is a fine, VERY fine, well written villanelle.  And to hell with poetic rules--all rules are made to be "tweaked" now and then.
 — PaulS

 — stout

Many thanks for reading Paul - I think a poet should make every form their own as much as they can so I agree.
 — opal

Thanks stout - such unqualified enjoyment is a joy to see.
 — opal

it's nice, and all, but -ation as recurring endrhyme seems a tad juvenile. but how wonderful would it have been, were the end rhyme -otion? quite. good enough, though, and interesting, which is a difficult order to fill when heady repetition is on the menu.
 — chuckle_s