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They ran the old movie clips,
Faded black and white people
Burnt in places
By the ageing thread of fate
Wound round the reel.
A girl with eyes
That could have been blue,
Endless seas of streams
And fears,
Which echo the howls
That we cannot hear.
Clip after clip
An eternal conveyor belt
Showing the cattle that went to the slaughter.
A child,
She could have been ten,
Limped past the lens
A wooden leg projecting from drab rags
Whilst the simple walking stick
Gave her, her only support.
They clamour to buses,
Non-descript, heartless vans,
Trying to hold onto their mothers' gaunt fingertips
And whispered prayers
That flits past their hopeless ears
And dies in the chambers.
The camera creaks erratically,
The picture stays steady,
The music has dropped and has stopped.
Only the eyes of a refugee child
Can be seen from that bus,
Drifting away,
As her mother fingers the star,
Touches her heart
And buries her head in her hands.

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The following comments are for "Refugee Child"
by False Dawn

Re-read Re-read
Must have re-read it a number of times.Every word has a nuance.The lines particularly fascinating are-
Clip after clip
An eternal conveyor belt
Showing the cattle that went to the slaughter.

Powerful moving imagery created by your words.Well done.

( Posted by: RightingIt [Member] On: February 9, 2004 )

Blown Away
I too found this to be a moving and exceptional work. I especially loved the final lines... so evocative of Depression Era film, and subtly re-inforcing the specific time and people you are describing. It's a profound poem, and I eagerly look forward to reading more of your work.

( Posted by: hazelfaern [Member] On: February 9, 2004 )

You can almost hear the reels clicking, nicely painted.

( Posted by: poesandpoetry [Member] On: February 9, 2004 )

Thanks for replying with such praising responses. It wasn't bad for an improvisation, I thought. I was just wondering who out there thought this piece was only worth a 2 rating - people should really leave comments if they're going to give votes like that *shrugs*

( Posted by: False Dawn [Member] On: February 10, 2004 )

good formatting

I liked this piece. It's haunting and grim in it's realism while detached enough to reinforce the image of the movie reels. The formatting helps that effect out quite a bit. Welcome back.


( Posted by: Bartleby [Member] On: February 10, 2004 )

Old School
I never knew there were such things as old school words, Jess :s What would you suggest I changed it for?

"Her eyes could have been blue," - now I considered this whilst (:D) I was writing it, but I thought that the phrasing would not have been as strong as the obvious but forceful phrasing of "the girl had eyes/that could have been blue". It also adds an open nature to the sentence (after all, why exactly have I singled out the fact that she has eyes?), plus the rhythm fits better this way with the rest of the piece. So, I hope you see my reasons for rejecting that advice.

And thanks to Bart for his comment - it's good to be back :)

( Posted by: False Dawn [Member] On: February 10, 2004 )

Whilst and other Antiquities
Actually, I must say I agree with Jessica. Even my circa 1954 dictionary (the oldest I own) defines whilst as archaic. While a minor point, the use of the word whilst does not fit in with the body of your poem, as the rest of your language and imagery underline the specific era of your theme. The word whilst brings to my mind images of men in puffy shirts and powdered wigs -- the romantic era, not the near-modern one.

I liked the line "eyes that could have been blue" because it subtly re-inforces the nature of the film you are describing (black and white). However, I think Jessica is right in that it is not necessary to connect these eyes with an owner, as in this portion of the poem it is not necessary to connect the "fading black and white people/ burnt in places" with specific identities, or further descriptions.

Overall, these are small issues that do not threaten the value of this poem; a poem which is moving and powerful as it stands.

( Posted by: hazelfaern [Member] On: February 10, 2004 )

What can I replace whilst for, though? While doesn't sound grammatically correct to me in that position. Hmmm...

( Posted by: False Dawn [Member] On: February 10, 2004 )

re: whilst/while
I'm not entirely sure whilst or while is necessary, here. Perhaps just a simple "A walking stick provided..." would suffice.

( Posted by: hazelfaern [Member] On: February 10, 2004 )

Cut out entirely?
Yeah, I could see that working without "whilst" in. Hm, I didn't think of it like that. It's a word I don't usually use in poetry but use all the time in prose - though, I have quite an old style of writing, I've been told :S

( Posted by: False Dawn [Member] On: February 10, 2004 )

Whilst is lovely
I think whilst is a fine word and find that I, myself, use it often. However, I think words have particular powers depending on their pronunciation, useage, layers of meaning... Finding just the right ones can make all the difference in a written piece, and even more so in poetry where the work is often shorter and depends much more heavily on stylization.

I once had a best friend in fourth-grade who was Korean-American. She was much more imaginitive in her writing than I was, but she often got similiar words confused. For instance, in a short story she wrote for an assignment she wrote something like "Jenny's mother screamed for her to come to breakfast". What she intended was the much more casual yelled or hollered, and she was rather confused when I asked why Jenny's mother was so upset.

A more subtle example of the power of a word can be found in the instance shortly after September 11, 2001, where the current president declared that the US was prepared to embark on a *crusade* against terrorism. Considering the fact that the White House was trying to impress upon the Muslim world that the US would not be embarking upon a religious war, the contradictory history contained within this word created a near travesty within international diplomacy.

So, whilst is fine. It's just that there are times and places where it works better than others. ;)

( Posted by: hazelfaern [Member] On: February 10, 2004 )

As I read this piece,I felt the pain. This is a well written poem. I could not hold back my tears,Very moving. Also welcome back, missed you. I gave you a [9] yesterday, but didn't have the time to give you an comment. was in a rush.



( Posted by: JEANNIE45 [Member] On: February 11, 2004 )

Sorry if I made you cry, Jeannie! But I'm sure the people in the film I saw would have been comforted by the fact that so many people have been saddened by the events, if they had known.

And I missed your writing too. I'll see if I can comment some more on it later, when I have more time.

( Posted by: False Dawn [Member] On: February 11, 2004 )

Pretty ,Yet Sad
I have to agree with PP. Nice painting of words, I can feel the images coming across a film in my mind. Sad and nicely portrayed. Must have taken alot of time to create this image. Good job!

( Posted by: kraziRenee [Member] On: April 9, 2005 )

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