scars from our past callus,
as the ocean
I lever memories
from the deepest wells,
you spike my hands
with rose-stained stigmata
I’ll rip my limbs
from your crucifix,
and bury you
beneath my temple
14 Sep 10
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bite my back and call me an apple-- this is magnificent!!
the ending is strong, and really is the rock to this poem.
thanks for reading and the interesting comments mandolyn. I'm glad you dig the revisions.
"I'll free my limbs from your crucifix shovel it under exhausted promises..." do vivid and deep. I can relate to that line.
beautiful poem jkweb, as usual.
* so vivid.. lol
Fabulous work as usual, JK. Just one question: If you're not using punctuation in the rest of the poem, why the semi-colon in L2? Great poem just the same.
many thanks unknown. glad you could connect.
thanks a bunch PaulS for reading and faving. In answer to your inquiry, I felt I needed a pause there. as you can see, I've replaced the semi-colon with a dash. Better? or better without a pause at all? thanks again.
The word scar is comparable to “soul” and “heart” when it comes to how often it’s seen in poetry.
How do scars heal callous? I think I know what you mean, but it doesn’t really make sense as written. If you dropped “heal” and turned callous into a verb, would that not serve the same purpose?
Line 5 consists of an unhelpful prepositional phrase. Consider dropping winter or turning it into an adjective.
Since you’re using a well metaphor, consider using a more physically active verb to go with it. For me, “conjure” is not complementary.
Line 10 is sterile where it should probably be more messy.
Crucifix is too pat an image to expose the rough feelings behind this.
By the end I tire of the metaphor, but I think that’s because there is no texture (and there is plenty of opportunity for it). Also, will you bury the cross or the person who put you on it?
I've not read the original, but, obviously, I think this still needs more attention.
thanks A for taking the time to write the detailed crit. as far as 'scars', I personally equate the word to 'bones' or 'ashes' which I still like to see in the poetry I read. the 'callous' part bothered me too. I was considering making it an adverb and probably will...unless adverbs are taboo in poetry? not sure I know what you mean about line 5. if I change 'in' to 'during', would that clarify? will have to give line 6 some more thought. will change line 10 as well. anyway, thanks again.
A pause comes naturally from a line break; I don't think you need the dash.
I wouldn't want to make a blanket statement, like adverbs are bad, but if one is needed, it is usually because the verb is not strong enough to carry the line. I still think that callous would work better as a noun or verb. But if you were to insist on the adverb, for the sake of rhythm I'd say consider putting it in front of the verb.
Line 5 is perfectly understandable as is; I just see it as a throw-away line. Then again, I've been told that I often don't let a reader catch his/her breath, that I need to offer up a weaker line here and there. That didn't make sense to me, but it came from somebody I respect.
I think that the word extract works better with the metaphor than "conjure" did, but I was thinking of something more physically demanding. I mean, would it be hyperbole to say that bringing up those kinds of memories is exhausting, painful, even? And so what if it is? The metaphor itself is a bit of hyperbole.
Line 10 now makes me wince, and I think that's what you want.
I think you should get rid of the pronoun it and concentrate on burying the tormentor, rather than the (final) mechanism of torment.
I appreciate you coming back to this. as you can see, I've made some more changes based on your suggestions. I'm still battling line 5. I agree that 'conjure' wasn't the best choice there. I omitted the 'it' on 11 and made 'callous' the verb in line 1. many thanks.
Doesn't pay to hurry. Line 5 is important. I've got faith in you. And it's already pretty good.
punctuation- you have none other than your apostrophes in the conjunctions. You should consider adding some, it will help give flow to the piece for the reader. I don't see any form-based reason why you neglected to put punctuation here (ie: I don't think you're consciously making a point of not putting punctuation), so I see no reason why you should fail to include it. That's all I'm going to say about punctuation in this comment.
stanza 1 - I think there's two ways to go about it, depending on what you're trying to say here:
"scars from our past, callous—
abrasive as the ocean
"scars from our past,
as the ocean
or you could try
"callous scars from our past
abrasive as the ocean
l7 - not sure the "as" is necessary here. I think the stanza works just as well without it, it's kind of implied. You can throw a comma in at the end of l6 and it'd be assumed.
l9 - "but" also seems unnecessary, sort of implied. I feel like you're throwing words at us unnecessarily in a poem that's already so short. It will be tighter without these connectors. "but" also doesn't work here. You've got "I'll rip my limbs" which has lots of internal alliteration with the "i" sounds and then "from your crucifix" with lots of "o" and "u" sounds. The "but" in l9 really throws it off for me.
l9 - I kind of wish it was "rip my lips", I like the internal rhyme, but I guess it's not the image you're going for here.
l11-12 "shovel under exhausted" nice. I like sound of "under exhausted".
l13-14 "bury you beneath" also very nice.
Good, solid piece, just could use some tightening up, I think.
thanks Inuki for reading and insight. As you can see, I've added a few commas. I put the comma after 'callous' as it is an active verb. I took out 'as' in line 7 and I concur...it is implied but the 'but' in line 9, I'll have to ponder that some more. It's kind of like stophes 1 and 2 are saying this is what went down 'but' this is what is going to happen if that makes sense. I'm glad you dig it otherwise.
I'm wondering if 'wrench' would work in line 5.
Wrench is good, but envision the act of getting water up from a well.
few more edits. thanks everyone.
'lever' a good verb in 5? anyone?
nice poem, j
love lever, read it without memories and loved it more, but that is just me, as always, skipping over...
i am not sure if i like this version better, line one is such a mouthful, maybe needs a comma after 'past'. wondered if 'stigma' might sound better with this line, sonics/rhythm etc...
not fussy on starting L9 with 'but'. i found this much nicer without this word at all, really strong actually.
lovely ending to the piece, like like burying :)
i did like the word brood, you had in the other version.
good working title for this,
Imagine an old fashion well and the device that brings the bucket up; it's a noun and a verb. Or bring the bucket up by hand. Lever is mechanical, but still doesn't go with a well.
hello Estella. I think it might've been the incorrect spelling where 'callous' wasn't working as the verb in line 1...pretty sure it's right now. as you can see, I omitted 'but' however it still feels funky to me BUT I'll get used to it. thanks for reading and thoughts.
hello again A. as you may know by now, I've had quite the pluthra of words there. conjure, strain, extract. I've also considered pull, raise and a slew of others. I do like your of idea of 'exhaustion' from the turbulent relationship but I'll have to opt for 'lever' for the time being. It does go well with 'memories' methinks. many thanks.
one too many 'of's *
i think the word "salt" belongs in this poem, referring to ocean in S1. it would work nicely before wells and after deepest, or with temple.
i think L2-4 are the strongest, sonically, and imagistically. very tight. (nicmichaels)
do you think line 6 would read better as:
'from the deepest salt-water wells' ?
many thanks for reading and crit.
hi, web. i think water is redundant. simply "salt wells" is what i saw here: salt is in the ocean, salt is in the bible, salt is in you.
busy summer. not writing or critting much, have to take the nice weather here when we can in wyoming; winter will bring plenty of poetry my way. nic
gotta' admit, not crazy about salt there. so I thought about opting for brine. which is technically a noun...which begs the question. can a noun work as an adjective in poetry. I could use brinish but is that a good word? will have to ponder s'more. thanks again.
oops...left out a '?'
i like deepest wells as is, really. are you still thinking of changing it?
probably keep as is. thanks Estella.