Sunday, 24 May 2009

Poetry - criticism please!

A few words in yesterday's paper sparked off a train of thought which eventually became this poem. I took it out to coffee yesterday where my poet friend (much, much better than me) gave it the once over and advised on small changes. Now I am throwing it open to all you readers. What do you think of it - would you make changes? I shall give it its final airing at our next Writers' Group meeting in a fortnight. So in the meantime, if you feel like it, please leave a comment and/or a suggestion for improvement.


A bubble of history
floats -
without meaning or desire -
like a puff of breath,
triggered by some sound,
or smell or trick
of emotional alchemy.

I see the Hindenburg,
a low menacing hum,
a grotesque bulk,
and I am three again.

I hate going backwards.

A bird sings.
The bubble bursts.
Then I see deep, green hills
touching low, dark clouds.

A drop of rain falls on my hand.


EB said...

I like it very much.

I like the first verse least because it is so explicit, but I think it works very well here, setting the rest up. I wouldn't change it.

Rachel Fox said...

I love the line 'I hate going backwards' - that really stands out and is perfect as it is... out on its own like that.

I think it shows that you are really working on your writing...this seems (to me...IMHO...) more like a finished poem than others you have posted in the past. It is confident, clear, evocative, full of contrasts. It is personal but also universal. You could maybe work on an adjective here and there but overall I really think it's strong. Be proud!

Dominic Rivron said...

You really take us into that bubble! Changes? I might lose some adjectives here and there - less is more and all that.

Heather said...

I can't criticize as I have no qualification to do so, but like everything you write it is thought provoking and the more times I read it, the more I get from it and can certainly relate to it. I am sure it will be well received by your Writers' Group.

Mistlethrush said...

I enjoyed it. I liked the image of a bubble of history like a puff of breath. I also liked the surreal aspects - wandering from thoughts to reality. I thought the multi-sensory elements also add depth.

I think the first 4 lines are magical. Would it be better to be more specific about what triggered the memory? The vagueness disappoints given the exquisite detail elsewhere. Well done.

Jenn Jilks said...

I agree with Mistlethrush- more vivid in the latter portion.
I have always loved the word 'loathe', it gives it more impact. But that is just me!

Great work!

Elizabeth said...

I loved this.
I am going to tinker with it and get back to you.
Nothing I like better than fiddling with things.
Look up DH Lawrence's poem "Piano"
the same sort of feel I think.

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

It is very good.

Our friend Jenn is usually telling me to lose words or trade up to the $50 ones! If I were to alter anything it would be to remove "Then" from Then I see ... because I think the rest of the sentence can carry itself. Or, you could remove "Then I see" and add "appear" to the end of the line.

Woman in a Window said...

I love it. It causes thought, conjures emotion. I'm not big on reworking. I believe in putting it out there as it is felt initially. Of course, there are always tweaks but those are left to those who think, instead of those who feel.

Yes, love "I hate going backwards."

Totalfeckineejit said...

Lovely, I wouldn't change a thing.This is whiskey and whiskey was never meant to have water.

The Weaver of Grass said...

You always rise to the occasion dear bloggers! I have made a note of all your comments and I shall work on it. Thank you for being nice about it! I do agree about the adjectives - shall try to eliminate some - also may well remove "then" as it is really superfluous. Thanks again.

The Weaver of Grass said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reader Wil said...

One of the most difficult things to judge or criticise is poetry. I think the rhythm is very good and the subject too. I know that you always write beautifully. Thanks for sharing and also for visiting.

jinksy said...

As a war baby, I have sympathy ... I still loathe sirens!

gleaner said...

I very much like it, you have captured the movement of our minds between past and present.

I know very little about poetry so I can only say I loved it but found the last 3 lines of the first stanza as a bit too wordy.

Poet in Residence said...

I would delete the superfluous title and go straight into the poem
I would use the first line "A bubble of history" as a quasi-title and for second line I would
begin with "floats". Now it's like this:


floats without meaning or desire
like a puff of breath
triggered by some sound
or smell or trick
of emotional alchemy

(I took out your dashes and commas to keep the sense of floating)

Professor Yaffle said...

Not me
Truly evocative

Mad Aunt Bernard said...

I would leave it as it is - it's wonderful. I also agree that the line 'I hate going backwards' is perfect....I could immediately summon that feeling when I read it.

dubois said...

I liked the poem more when I read it out loud. I am sure I am not qualified to advise because I probably write the most crap poetry ever but I thought the poem weakened after I hate going backwards.

Janice Thomson said...

I find it hard to critique someone's hard work. Having said that I like Poet In Residence's ideas on improvements. Sometimes a tweak here or there can make a fine poem into something grand.

Poet in Residence said...

It strikes me that you could try and get more bubble feel by dropping 'or trick' something like this (inset 'or trick' 5 places) -

or smell

or trick

of emotional alchemy

I think your poem has possibilities to play with space - to achieve lightness