poetry critical

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seven, exclamation
vrai

"There's raspberries growing
 1
behind the fence," i tell my mother,
 2
and when she tells me "good"
 3
her hair grows long and red
 4
and i see her with gloves,
 5
in the garden, like in a photograph
 6
i saw once. I took no photographs
 7
 
 
because in that air, under that sky,
 8
near that tree and those woods (in this skin)
 9
my clumsy hands wouldn't have known
 10
where to aim and what to grab for
 11
memory's sake; in this grass i am
 12
seven years old. There is a cat
 13
 
 
on my lap or sleeping against my ankles;
 14
the dogs inside the door are from
 15
another era, an unarticulated past
 16
or future that doesn't belong here.
 17
I'd give it up to the gypsy moths,
 18
 
 
to the raspberries, to the snow,
 19
to Big Rock, so much smaller now.
 20
Do you remember? You and i,
 21
blowing bubbles, smelling wildflowers,
 22
 
 
collapsing here: this wasp's nest,
 23
these stinging brambles. Once upon a
 24
midsummer, a dozen birthdays ago,
 25
 
 
you held my hand and we
 26
picked raspberries and scattered their seeds -
 27
 
 
miles, millenia; you're holding my hand.
 28

20 Nov 03

Rated 7.6 (7.6) by 18 users.
Active (18): 7, 8, 9, 10, 10, 10
Inactive (105): 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

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(6 more poems by this author)

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Comments:

I really like this one.
 — unknown

if this is for your mother, you have to send her a copy. This is wonderful, full of luscious memory.
 — Isabelle5

vrai, I would like to see some of your other work. I really like this. I like the way the breaks are arranged. I like the way it surprised me from time to time. I like the images, I like...well, shit--I like just about everything about it.
 — unknown

incredible...honestly.
wow. I dont know what else to say...

i am in awe right now
 — brevity

Also in awe - and loving this very much!
It's now in my favorites...
 — LauraLea

bam!
 — Ananke

this is an excellent beginning. does not capitalizing the i's have a significance? because unless it's a vital one, i think it's too distracting to leave in. a poem with breaks like this (There is a cat//on my lap) relies on the obvious switching of stanzas midsentence, so not using perfect capitalization and punctuation ("good,") detracts from the impact those breaks should have.

my one other general comment to this is show, don't tell. in lines 10-12, it works fine to simply spell out what you're trying to say. but to keep doing that, like in lines 15-17, makes those spots weak. the dogs provide so much opprotunity for imagry that could convey the same idea, but instead... it just says it. like prose. that stanza falls flat.
 — jade

what's incorrect about the punctuation of "good"? i suppose that technically there should be a comma, but i don't hear it so i didn't put it. hmm.

"i" isn't capitalized because nothing is capitalized except the first letter of each sentence. capitalization represents the beginning of a new thought, so to speak. also, if "i" is capitalized, why shouldn't "you" be? so i chose to capitalize neither - rather, capitalization gives a word a special significance that i don't think "i" needs or feels in this poem.

thanks for your feedback. i'll think about the show-don't-tell bit.
 — vrai

Show vs. tell. That's always the trick, isn't it? Easy to say and hard to do.
 — unknown

horribly hard to do; that's really most of the game. although i always find it's nice to have it pointed out to me when i fail, so i can work on those bits.

i hadn't thought of the i's that way. while i still find the lack of capital letters hard to read, i understand the choice. i believe technically there should be a comma after good and after red, although on re-reading i don't see anything else. i think i assumed there was something missing because the words ran together and it was hard to read the long chunks of text before, but i had little trouble this time, now that i've given it a few reads.
 — jade

masterpiece. from start to finish, you had me at hello. the last three lines are truly magic@l. it;s poems like thais that mnake me come to this site. i will now shrink, and escape in a styrofoam cup. fondu!
 — onklcrispy

I've been away for a few weeks and missed my daily read here at PC. I usually go to Recent Best to check things out first. To my pleasure this was the first thing I read. This is great. This is exactly what I love to bump into on a dreary day like today or anyday really. Heartful & descriptive....well done! I like how you use the paragraph punctuation to carry into the next...a gap yet still togeather.
 — tinkerman

last line, last line...love the last line!!!

a work of art!
 — easybake

im so jealous of this one.
 — unknown

I cannot tell you enough how pathetically touched I am by the words you've put together here. It's just...amazing.
Seriously.
 — dammitJB

What is with the breaks in this poem? They seem totally random and unnecessary, and it hurts my head to read this because it's structurally unappealing. If you're gonna play the stanza game, then please at least finish the thought before you get there. I don't even think you need stanzas in this one. If you don't want the full stop of a period, and therefore place it in the middle of your lines, then why the hell would you want a sentence to jolt to a halt. This makes no sense. You've got some good stuff in here, but you're really putting some strain on the your readers. The idea is to make it easy for them. I'm still working on it myself.
 — collyrium

Vrai-

Easily the first post on this site that I've really enjoyed. The piece starts strong but disintegrates into a sort of kindly muddle toward the close---perhaps that's what you want (and yes, it's certainly sympathetic), but perhaps it's also something that could be improved with revision.

Consider:
L1 --- "There are raspberries" instead of "There's raspberries."
L6-7 --- Perhaps reduce some of this. L6 to just "like a photograph." Then go directly into "I took no photographs." The negation is much stronger that way, the movement between postive and negative assertion is stronger, etc.

Altogether, S1 is very nice. I like the avant/surrealist tinge to the writing---the words prompt a physical change (or really, a change in the memory). This pleases the ear and the eye. Rushed pace works well enough that there's no reason to complain about punctuation. Breaks in this strophe are also well done.

L8-9 --- The that/those/this stuff is annoying, but I prefer them to a/the. You might want to play around with this strophe and see if you can't string them together with fewer connecting words. But, otherwise, another excellent strophe.

S2 again relies on the transitional power of words. Especially like the "for/memory's sake; in this grass i am/seven years old. The line breaks on 10, 11, 12 don't do much. You might want to consider restructuring to maximize the benefit of stress that comes with breaking a line.

L14 -- Consider full-stop instead of semi-colon.
L17 -- Consider removing "here."

From L21 on down, as I said, I like it much less. First, note the regression from transitional/metamorphic images/language to a more overt narrative. Dislike the obvious ploy to "memory." And the "once upon a" "miles, millenia" is awfully overt---consider more subtle cues?

How do you "scatter their seed" after you pick raspberries? By scattering the actual berries? Late appearance of "you" leads to confusion. Is the "you" the mother? Some other unannounced presence? Can you wrap the poem back to the beginning somehow...especially to the notion of how memory is made/remade by its telling?

Good stuff. Do you post to any serious workshop forums? If not, you might consider it. With a little work, this would surely be publishable in a net journal.
 — bansidhe

Awww... how precious. It makes me hungry for raspberries. Nice job. It is a TEN. However, I would like to know what made you choose some of the line breaks that you chose. In a couple places it was almost choppy and not very cohesive. (Between 7 & 8 and 18 & 19) It worked well on the line with the cat in your lap. Nice job all around.
 — aforbing

Its so beautiful!
 — Sadisfact

i can't stop smiling
 — manstrut

You know, this is what "Biographical Prose Poem #3" really ought to be. This is a stunning work that does something truly rare on this site -- closes as stunningly as it opens. "miles, millenia" -- wow. 21-24, 14, 15-16, 3-4 -- Christ, why mention any specifics when the whole thing just comes together so perfectly? What you do here is say original things in simple ways and simple things in original ways: the former in the first stanza, the latter in, say, lines 24-25. This is the poem I wish I could write.
 — unknown

pretty, lovely imagry, good word choices. but it's all nonstalgia, but for something like this i want to see beyond the images, some sort of emotion, a reason, or a conflict. you use words well and i think you could make this into something more than just a pretty nonstalgia piece.
 — abby

:'(
 — kronah

god, this is good
 — vita

wonderful
 — roseypink

scene beauty...wonderfull!
 — unknown

i love this poem, the image of hari growing in the first stanza.. but i have problem with the lines 16 and 17
 — Muguet

this poem is bad becuase it doesn't have what I need for my assignment
 — unknown

Hey this is really good.
some parts may be a bit patching, but hey! knowones perfect!

Uruviel.
 — unknown

yay!
 — unknown

Everyone keeps commenting on the line breaks.  Didn't anyone notice that the first stanza has 7 lines, the second has 6, and so on until the last line ends with one?  I was amazed that the author could keep the flow and still manage to do this.  I would also have to argue with the person who said that "There's raspberries" should be changed to "There are raspberries".  This would take so much away from the feeling of who the child speaking is.  I get a picture of the south and a hot summer day, a little face peering back toward his mother while standing up clinging to the fence with bare toes and pudgy fingers.  Changing it to "There are" changes it to an English boy in Knickers.... but, that may just be how my mind works.  I also get the feeling it was written in remembrance of his (her?) mother. Excellent poem.
 — amy

i like it it speaks to me in a way
 — unknown

This is good, I really enjoyed it.  I love it.
--Kusko
 — unknown

your poem is very vivid and i love that about it. thanks for the imagery and the feeling of awe in my heart.
 — SpunHeart

oh my--i wish i was there
 — llama

i bookmarked this a long time ago. it's cool to see people are still commenting on it.
 — unknown

h
 — JulieC

this is still soooo incredible
 — brevity

wait...... i don't get the title.... O_o *feels incredibly stupid*
 — expressions

I REALLY like l8-9, and how the first stanza flows into the second. I don't get quite the same feeling from the 2nd to the 3rd though, with the cat. And then we don't. Such beautiful imagery and some of the line breaks feel like they're arbirtrary. Say it isn't so!
 — Greg

to those of you wondering about the line breaks -

one of the commenters got it right: "Everyone keeps commenting on the line breaks. Didn't anyone notice that the first stanza has 7 lines, the second has 6, and so on until the last line ends with one?"

yes, exactly, and this is reflected in the title... seven, exclamation, as in: 7! or seven factorial or 7x6x5x4x3x2x1. you see? it also has to do with "in this grass i am / seven years old" (lines 12-13).

thanks so much for your comments, everyone.
 — vrai

its cool, but I'm not really into it
 — Ozymandias

beautiful. Enough Said.
 — Hear-u-Me

This brought tears to my eyes.
 — jarofdirt

o_0  Awesome.  I'm a big fan of the word raspberries.
It's the most perfect word next to tangelo.
 — unknown

very nice
 — J-man

good, yes good
 — keith27h

My jaw dropped. This is amzeing. Your word useage is like WOW to me. The right words in ever sentence. Everything is just so right. Good job =)
 — SteVeYbOy

This is amazing. Its so different from the poetry I've been reading lately. I love lines 8-13.  and 23-28. Actually I love all of it...such a creative style of writing!!
 — azalea

so much has been said about this poem. it's amazingly creative and powerful.  capitalize  your I's tho :-)
 — crimsontears

Angie said she just dosent like it
 — Me_eM

Nostalgia, refined and bittersweet! Well done. Line 28, exactly.
 — ogeretla

      I liked it, though you didn't really explain things, as much as you just said them.  I know it's been pointed out to you already, though I thought I'd repeat it, to emphsize the importantness. Other than that I really enjoyed this poem, and I want to read more of your work. Thank you.

-Marc
 — TamasineRyu

completely irrelevant: I really do not like permutations one bit.

this was...i liked this.
 — sandwiches

7!
 — unknown

Um Boring...
such a gay poem
the line of intrigue is noted up mid stream in the rambles
the suggested topics in cohesive
blah,blah,blah....oh rasberies blah
no devident correlation to a real signifcance other then a blan memory
lame
 — unknown

Just beautiful.
 — akiikii

i like how you leave out one line on each stanza as if the memory was disintegrating.
 — unknown

  The last line still moves me in a way I can't even explain...which is quite uncharacteristic of me, usually I can explain anything!  

This is still by FAR my favorite poem on the site...so I'm more than happy to double-dip here, and give it yet *ANOTHER* 10 under this new name (which I unwillingly had to create due to password problemas!)
 — LauraLea2

Hey, same LauraLea! The last line still does something really lovely to me, it just makes me feel a lot of calm. Be nice if more people could read this--"true" poetry, I reckon.
 — wendz

this poem is good
 — unknown

Your work is original
 — unknown

it should really be "There're raspberries growing..."
 — unknown

this is absolutely awesome.
 — KatinaChoo

SO good....  I can kind of picture it as it's happening.. very good work. it's inspiring...
 — PinkClock

wow.

-noodleman
 — unknown

the dogs inside the door are from
another era, an unarticulated past
or future tha doesn't belong here.

I can't tell you how much I love that line.
 — meth_angel

This is beautiful. More people need to read this.
 — wendz

Good, but I think its a weak ending. Is that your mother who's still holding you hand? I dunno, I feel more of a connection "you and I" is needed. I love l1-6, and of giving your future (or is that your past?) up to the gypsy moths and rasberries. love.
 — Cloudless

"miles, millenia" is good, but I agree with Cloudless' "you" comment.
 — unknown

Unknown: "it should really be 'There're raspberries growing...'".

Well, not really. "There's" conveys the sense of heartfelt, childish speak. Making it grammatically correct would ruin the piece; besides, "there're" is hard to read.
 — unknown

oh. my. god. this is truly unbelievable. i can't fully explain the feelings i have gotten from reading this poem, but i will tell you: this is a poem to remember throughout the ages. Good work!
 — CajunMoon

  FAUX

not vrai


sentimental bullshit AGAIN endorsed by the entourage of mediocrity
 — unknown

Amazing.
 — midare

great.
 — Ewan

Beautiful. Great structure, and nice descriptions. I like this one.
 — Alice

Isabelle....

It seems unhealthy to use luscious and mother in the same comment.  I might be wrong.
 — themolly

This is more of a story than a poem.
 — unknown

this is awesome... haven't read something i've liked this much in a while...
 — InAStoryTold

great poem
 — unknown

i adore this. this is very nice. :)
 — __suigeneris

I GET THE TITLE!! I finally get it. :)


okcomputer
 — unknown

What is wrong with guys these days. I mean they have girlfriends, But they don't claim them when they around cool people, The only they want to do is go around and claim they and a gang.
 — unknown

The comma in line 1 should be outside of the quotation marks.

The flow is really good.  I like your line breaks.  Everything seems so vibrant and natural.
 — housepoppy

Tripe no creativity at all
 — unknown

What a waste of time
 — unknown

Shite off the back of a spade is better!!
 — unknown

Not your best work
 — unknown

Do better!
 — unknown

Could be critisised in so many ways
 — unknown

There aren't enough bad words to describe this!
 — unknown

i really like this one
 — unknown

Tripe in every degree
 — unknown

WOW!

Perfect!

I have been reading some GREAT GREAT stuff today.  This is so GREAT!
 — themolly

i must agree, beautiful.
 — cruellshoos

i'm new to this site.  would someone please tell me what kind of moron(s) would give this a 1?
 — cruellshoos

The ones that want it to go off the Top Rated list... jealosy, ignorance, many factors contribute.
 — unknown

ah, i see.  so i too should aspire to 1s.  got it, thanks.
 — unknown

Wonderful.
 — Rochelle

pretty
 — blank

yall have some fuckin lon poems bicths make them short and to the point
 — unknown

Isn't it wonderful that some mundane things in childhoo (the formation of "solf") become such vivid memories in adulthood?  Parents, you never know what impact the simple things will have on the future of those you are entrusted to nurture.
 — unknown

why cant i write like this!!!??? No fair! love it. where did you get the idea for the line breaks? genius.
 — Bobbi

miles, millenia; you're holding my hand.
how beautiful.
 — lyom

millennia, maybe, I think that's how it's spelt
 — unknown

I like it, I, Like It.
 — Him

always did love this one.
 — Isabelle5

Good work.
 — lieskilllies

It's nice. Strengthened by the tie in from the beginning.

I hate the line "I took no photographs" following photographs already said, but it seems to draw me back into liking it even after pushing me away.


-ramher
 — unknown

Liking the enjambment a lot - adds awesomely to the poem
 — WordsAndMe

I love this poem.  It brings up alot of stuff for me - like, how my Mother could never inspire so much beauty and such lovely memories, but it's wonderful for all of us that your Mum can..  Thanks.
 — CervusWright

The more i read your work, the more i love it.
 — Thea

fantastic
 — unknown

Ah the memories..for me it was picking passionfruits, chasing bumblebees and catching tadpoles in the river. This is just so lovely. What can I say...?
 — marionette

you have a gift...
 — Trish77

I have already commented before, but I can't help but wonder why you chose this title that just doesn't seem to fit the incredible imagery your poem portrays. May I ask why such an unusual title? I personally would have chosen something like "Raspberry Bubbles" or "Scattered seeds of Memories" or something else related to your topic. I mean no disrespect, just have a burning curiosityto know why?  Please enlighten me if I have not caused you offense. Thank you.
 — marionette

marionette - I believe I can answer your question in vrai's stead, if I may be so bold.

In mathematics the excalamtion mark represents the factorial operation, i.e the the product of the integers from 1 to n.

For example, 7! (seven factorial) is 7 x 6 x 5 x 4 × 3 × 2 × 1 = 5040

If you look at the structure of vrai's poem, vrai (I have no idea if you're male or female, apologies) employs a sort of factorial method to the poem. I've done it before, as well. Each strophe has one less line than the last strophe, culminating in a single line. Generally the singular line is of the most importance.

So in essence, all though the structure isn't *technically* synonymous with the factorial function, it is reminiscent of it. The poem has 7 strophes. 7!.

seven, exclamation.
 — Bombazine

P.S. I don't mean to offend, but "Raspberry Bubbles" and "Scattered Seeds of Memories" are kind of lame titles, IMHO. Rather shmaltzy.
 — Bombazine

exclamation and although*
 — Bombazine

Dear Bombazine,
Thank-you for enlightening me, I do appreciate. I have to agree, they probably are lame titles, but I certainly didn't mean to offend the writer or reader by my suggestions. I am still new to P.C. and am learning all the time. I have to ask yet another seemingly dumb question of you...what is IMHO? I have only recently learnt what lol was. hahaha. Obviously I am sorely lacking in computer skills and computer speak. Any and all help is always welcome and appreciated.
 — marionette

In My Honest Opinion.
 — Bombazine

I'm not quite sure what the H stands for, come to think of it.

But I meant to type "humble" not honest. whoopsies.
 — Bombazine

Thank you Bombazine
 — marionette

ugly
 — unknown

Vrai, I have to tell you: You are my favorite poet off pc.  Which is saying something, because there are a lot of talented writers on here.  Keep up the good work, I'm loving ever line of it.
 — unknown

This took my breath away.
 — MEB

MEB did you mean of PC or off PC - is she posted somewhere else - where?
 — unknown

take a look at her profile...she hasn't logged on for over a year.
 — unknown

breathless. wish I could hear this read aloud. 'I'd give it up to the gypsy moths, to the raspberries, to the snow, to Big Rock, so much smaller now' -- 'miles, millenia; you're holding my hand.' yikes, those are great lines. thank you for this poem.
 — huyue

Another fine poem. It flows so beautifully.   Thank you

Patrick
 — unknown

it's been ages since I've read this, and I still love it...I just had to get it back out there in case someone new has missed it!!!!
 — LauraLea2

Beautfiul.  Absolutely beautiful.  The truth(s) you tell are so gently and carefully sewn together throughout like the patterns that make up a country quilt.  I like the "eye" of your memory!  
 — starr

This is absolutely amazing. I think about my own mother when I read it, the way I was as a little kid and how she showed me that the world is really full of wonder when you take the time to breathe it in. I really don't think you should change a thing because it's beautiful as it is right now.
 — unknown

really good, i love the part about not knowing what to grab for memory's sake
 — unknown

A quite superb evocation with imagery so vivid it slashes the mind. I felt like i was in that place.
 — larrylark

good poem
 — jumpoline

You're the best poet PC has seen. I wish you still came here.

x
 — musicwords

I like this poem. However, the "I" and "i" is rather distracting.
 — Joseph

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