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For the artist, Simon Gunning; an old neighbor whose work helped to inspire this poem.





Pirogue



Colors dance electric snakes
On the wake of the craft I pole
Light the cypress would not take
Nor the Spanish moss cajole

Where lips enfold a French default
My English ears find sweet
The kitchen holds cayenne and salt
For fish between my feet

Plates and tumblers on the rail
Of our veranda by the side
The swing a wing of bayou bird
We imagine flying high

Rendered quiet by the clicking
Of a little cricket frog
We are stunned by the slipping
Of a turtle from his log

Ringlets ruffling liquid time
Bring her lovely hand to mine




------
johnlovejr at hotmail dot com


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The following comments are for "Pirogue"
by Flonigus

Lovely, soft and sweet
This is very, very nice, John. A "moment poem," which is one of my favorite types. I'll start by saying the nice things -- which is that is captures very well the quiet, gentle rhythm of *that* kind of day; the one, I think, you were trying to paint for us. The details are good, and important. Visual, sound, taste... a nice representation. And there is movement from the boat to the house, which helps bring the piece, metaphorically and truly, "home." The sonnet is a great form for this, too.

A couple very minor nits to pick, if you don't mind. You start in the present tense, which is great, and which I tend to use and advise. Near the end, though, you start picking up some gerunds; it starts with "we imagine flying high." The one doesn't trouble me... but then you've got "clicking" and "slipping" as end rhymes... which emphasizes the change in tense a bit, and the use of "ing" words as end-rhymes is a bit weaker, in general. You could rid yourself of both issues at the same time:

Rendered quiet by a click
From a little cricket frog
We are stunned to hear the slip
Of a turtle from his log

The dual "ings" also tend to give couplets a rather "Edgar Allen Poe" feel, which can be creepy. And I don't think creepy is what you were going for.

The last "ing" -- "ruffling:"

Ringlets ruffling liquid time
Bring her lovely hand to mine

Is an example of why, I think, the present tense is usually more powerful than the gerund. To switch to:

Ringlets ruffle liquid time
Bring her lovely hand to mine

Does a couple neat things. First, the "ing" sound, in general, is less soft, and this is a soft poem. You also get a great consonnance between "ruffle" and "liquid;" those two words flow together wonderfully, which is almost onomotopoetic in the context of the piece. You also get, I think, a neat "fuzziness" of meaning; is the narrator stating a fact, that the finglets "do" this thing; or is he commanding it? I think the slight uncertainty adds even more shadow and softness to the poem, which is another (to me) way that these kinds of days distinguish themselves.

Lovely, lovely poem, John. It very much brought me into that world. The above comments are really very, very minor things.

( Posted by: andyhavens [Member] On: June 1, 2006 )

Andy's Eye

Yes, Andy, I take your meaning well. I actually had "Ringlets ruffle liquid time" as such, but was stuck with "And brings her lovely hand to mine" to go with it. I really didn't want that. And I was thinking that "ruffling" and "lovely" were a good match. But your edit is better, though it might change the meaning. "Ruffle" leads into "liquid", with the ell sound very well.

Yes, I am and was troubled by the "ings".

It's funny that you mention Poe. I considered having this poem go in a dark direction at the end. (What's to stop me?)

Thanks, Mr. Havens, for the good eye and ear.

~ John

( Posted by: Flonigus [Member] On: June 2, 2006 )





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