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Catbird Comes Early

dressed like a politician
in slate-gray finery,
puffing his feathery breast,
repeating the same tune—
loud and obnoxious.
But he is a mimic
of the finest kind
and soon falls silent—
for a sweeter song to sing.
I dream of a time
when all the world’s leaders
will fall silent,
from the weight
of hubris and hate;
curled around the base
of their bully-pulpits,
the way a dog curls
around the feet of its master,
ears low to the ground,
just listening—

17 Jan 09

Rated 10 (7.2) by 1 users.
Active (1): 2
Inactive (6): 1, 8, 8, 9, 9, 10

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yes I like your Dream -- the two camps of 'Will Magician' and 'Desire Monkey' make up most of the Political spectrum -- we only find Love when we're at the edge of the world, grateful of the fall and Politicals fear free falling -- well said
 — AlchemiA

Thanks for reading and commenting AlchemiA.  Very much appreciated.
 — PaulS

a few more comments would be helpful.
 — PaulS

I'm thinking about changing title back to the original ( Catbird Comes Early ) and using the title as the first line of the poem.  any suggestions?
 — PaulS

 — PaulS

Any suggestions at all?
 — PaulS

Changed title to origional.
 — PaulS

the first 2 stanzas flow, and they set the performance well - such as..

slate-gray finery

he is a mimic

nice and sharp syllables in the mouth, though i found the last two began to fill my mouth a little too much.. and would perhaps benefit from a bit of 'stretching' out - more in the style of the first two stanzas.

i'd remove 'might' from line 16, and change curl to curls, for example.. as it is a fixed directive to the  mind eye.. rather than a maybe.. as a 'maybe' doesn't follow the rest of the internal certainties in this ..

and yep, well said, politicians need to do more, rather than say more..
 — Mongrol

last two - means - last two stanzas :)
 — Mongrol

Thanks mongrol, I made some changes.
 — PaulS

the line break - 19 to 20 - works very well

the structure is much more complete..
 — Mongrol

Thanks for the help, Mong :)
 — PaulS

pleasure Paul :)
 — Mongrol

Nice dream but unless you are a Communist, we need the leaders.  We call them politicians mainly because we don't want royalty ruling us but they are the elite.  We make them the way they are by our own silence.

I don't like the ending with each word followed by a period.  Can you remove two of the periods and just leave them on their own line?
 — Isabelle5

Paul!  This is so out of your usual!  I did not guess.
 — Isabelle5

Thanks for the comments Isabelle.  I took out the periods as you suggested and yes, this is a little out of my usual.  Just a thought I had about politicians in general.  I agree we need leaders, but leaders who listen to the people rather than their own rhetoric.  It is what it is I guess.  Thanks for reading.
 — PaulS

significant changes made.
 — PaulS

Yes, very good changes.  The ending flows now.  The leader who needs the people more than the people need him.  
 — Isabelle5

I really like this.  It seems though to me that L13 is in need of a helping verb (may, might, could, should, would???)  Employing such a verb would boost the sonics and the flow in my opinion.  I also like the urgency and the no bullshit feel of the last three lines.  Say it, preacher!  :-) - Starr
 — unknown

Damn it!  I wasn't signed in so here I am with a signature for the last post and a rating and look who the author is!  Very different from your usual voice, I'd say.  Very, very empowering writing, my friend a state away.  :-)
 — starr

Thanks Isabelle.  I appreciate the re-visit :)
 — PaulS

starr:  Thanks man, I'll consider your suggestion for L 13.
 — PaulS

Tweaked, according to starr's suggestion.
 — PaulS

well let's see... I don't vote since I am not one for politics, as I do my utmost to remain ignorant (yes, I know it's an awful thing), and i actually purposefully ignore political poems as well.  i just have no interest or opinion.  i am a lazy canadian who realies on my community to make good decisions. i think all parties in the gov't are f*cking idiots.  so who cares?  

that said, this may just be one of those difficult things for me to appreciate, as well.  

If I were to make a suggestion, purely on writing, not on subject, then I might mention that repeating 'song' again in L10, is a bit much; even 'listening for a new song to sing', this seems to me, passive, whereas much of the rest of the poem is more aggressive.  when i think politics, i think brainwash, stealing, control, etc.  so, i do not understand the 'listening' (which is unfortunate again, for I am not moved by the ending as much i another might be.  I do wonder though if saying 'always' instead of repeating 'just'.  I don't know, it seems to have more rhythmn with the extra syllable).  

I may not be the best person to offer suggestions for this poem,
but i would like you to know that i found the first stanza a good hook with that bossy, sort of pompous puffed breast, and also L's 17-21,  with good imagery and sound.

so, it's more personal for me, in that this is not a passionate subject for me.
i hope some of this was worthwhile, Paul.

good luck!
 — jenakajoffer

sorry for all my stupid typoz.
 — jenakajoffer

Thanks for the comments jen.  I take your crits very seriously because you have a good eye for the obvious that I and others' sometimes miss.  I understand what you mean about the repitition of "song" in the first stanza.  I intend to address that but I do not want to make changes arbitrarily--I need to wait for the right words to come.  As for the rest of your comment I'll e-mail my response because I can't type very fast and will be timed out before I get it all in.  Thanks so reading, it is much appreciated.
 — PaulS

Nailed it in L13.  WILL fall silent is so mandatory and urgent, more so than a conditional helping/linking verb, I think.  Nice, Paul! :-)
 — starr

Thanks for the suggestion starr :-)
 — PaulS

Changed line four--thanks jen.
 — PaulS

Me again, Paul.  I think you might consider changing L5's adjectives to adverbs and ending both descriptors in "ly."  Food 4 thought.  I know...Jen's rubbin' off on me too!  LOL!  Hopefully you're not gettin' too slammed down there with the storm.  It's an absolute MESS up here.  :-O
 — starr

Thanks for that suggestion starr, but I don't like the "ly" ending.  I think I fixed that line by adding "so."  It's a mess here also, ten plus inches; will it ever end!
 — PaulS

After reading this over a few times outloud, I felt that line 5 was fine the way it is.  Thanks for the suggestion though, starr, it did make me think.
 — PaulS

i think you need to clarify your audience for this -- is it talk radio or 'nature conservancy newsletter'? maybe just AARP -- it's sort of too perfect and pat, and doesn't really make the reader go anywhere else except in front of your face, as you're in the reader's.
 — geckodrome

sounds like a reason to be Communist to me.
 — unknown

Hi, Paul:  It's fine that you don't like the sound of "ly" in L5, however L5 is an averbial clause and it asks the question "how," therefore, in order for this line to be grammatically correct, you would need to change the adjectives "loud & obnoxious" to "loudly and obnoxiously."  My thoughts, nothin' more.  Still a good poem.  :-)
 — starr

paul's known me for a long time, mong, so you could ask him directly on the suitability of what i'm suggesting.
 — geckodrome

Thanks mong, but you don't have to defend me from Mike's comments--I have a thick skin.  Besides, I like to read what he has to say--sometimes I find a little bit of insight under all the rethoric.  
 — PaulS

'rhetoric' is, paul, unfortunately, all this poem of yours is made of. why not write up front and personal as a writer instead of as an anonymous commentator -- as in this poem? it's like that, you know, that you're wrapping the poetry blanky around yourself as protection. it would be wonderful if you could write a novel using your ideas -- the idea of lie and cheat and public responsibility. that would show us how it works, and it seems wasted to me as 'verse' -- because, for the reasons i've been suggesting -- that readers of 'light verse' only read them for one kind of result -- affirmation and satisfaction that they're still in control of their own life. that means that this poem could, in fact, be re-edited for different venues.

this is a professional and vocational poetry site, with imput from all levels of writers -- that's why it's a wonderful site.
 — geckodrome

i think i'm saying that paul has the makings of a poem here that can be published in several venues. i don't see that that's so insulting. in my experience, the writers i know of who write this kind of pointed, commentating, verse, are very sharp, and concerned that the writing goes over in the smartest way. that's all it's about -- it's not an existential challenge to being -- it's a craft of writing thing.
 — geckodrome

I think its great.
 — CNC92

Mike, I do understand what your saying. I take all critiques seriously because I believe both positive and negative crits will help me perfect my craft.  I just don't think I'll ever write a poem that you like.
 — PaulS

Thanks for the comment CNC92.
 — PaulS

i'm a pro, paul, and it's really only about getting the kind of poem you want to write down. i don't think that most people will like my stuff -- like, 'little normal...', but i'd hope they'd see me as a craftsman, and that's all i want here. i'm liking what you and everyone else does here -- more or less -- but, i'm sharing what i'd think if i'd written it and were looking at it again 3 months later.

with a painting, it's easy -- you turn it upside down and see the values. can't do that with poetry, and the closest to it is to get someone really not like ourselves to read it back to us.
 — geckodrome

and the closest to it is to get someone really not like ourselves to read it back to us.

Mike, this should apply to your critiques.  Really.  Have someone read back to you any one or all of 'em and see what sense they make.  I'm being kind here too btw.  :-)
 — starr

Mike is anything but a 'pro'.

He has no concept of what a pro is, this is provable simply by reading anyone of his so called 'crits'.

He is amateur, at best.
 — Mongrol

a bump for the rating manipulators.
 — PaulS

bump :)
 — Mongrol

starr, i actually read and talk about my poetry at poetry workshops. people have talked with me a lot about 'harvard boys', for instance, and all my poems. i suggest -- i know things -- because they actually have worked for me. i've had a lot of experience talking with other writers and artists. you guys put too much stock in me though -- i'm not the reason your poetry is good or bad -- i just talk about it. this poem is as good as it is only because the author wants to write a good poem. the point isn't to succeed in poetry critical, it's to write a poem you won't be ashamed of having written.
 — geckodrome

no one cares about your lies, Mike.

write them on Twitter... get the following you crave..
 — Mongrol

ignore him starr - he is repeating him self - he said the same thing on my poem... his 'originality' strains credulity..
 — Mongrol

Not big on political poetics tho it has its place, therefore I will only say that you succeed and might want to try to aim this to a political pub.
 — LaGamba

nice message.

i'd offer suggestions if i could think of one to suggest.

but alas ... i can't. you did well.
 — listen

Thanks for reading, listen.
 — PaulS

I'd trade "damn" in 24 for "plain"... otherwise this is great.
 — aforbing

Great flow here.
 — CryptApoidea

Thanks for reading CryptApoidea.
 — PaulS