TRACTOR GRAVEYARD

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TRACTOR GRAVEYARD

Post  Dewell H. Byrd on Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:20 am

This poem seems to go on and on and... I need help finding its core and winnowing away its garbage.  All suggestions appreciated.  Dewell

TRACTOR GRAVEYARD

Driving down Grant road
just off the 99
on an early autumn eve
there are miles and miles
of orchards, fields, vineyards.

From a distance
I can make out shapes
long lines of something,
ghostly, silhouettes,
in the middle of nowhere.

I stop for a better view
and stare at rows and rows
of old tractors, lined up
solemnly,
tires flat, treads broken, fenders rusted.

A once mighty army
chugging, clanking loudly,
now silenced,
brought to a standstill

no more ground to cultivate,
a final end-of-row.

Just before the sun sinks,
into an ominous
dusky haze,
I think about all the old farmers
gone now,
on these great machines
who bled, sacraficed, worked the land
under that brutal Rogue Valley sun,
side by side,

with my Dad.

     -Dewell H. Byrd

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I am placing comments after the lines

Post  tsukany on Fri Jun 28, 2013 7:00 am

I'd like to see the revision of this Dewell


TRACTOR GRAVEYARD

Driving down Grant road (Capitalize Road as a proper name?)
just off the 99
on an early autumn eve
there are miles and miles  (There are is empty...I'd look for action like "stretch out")
of orchards, fields, vineyards.

From a distance
I can make out shapes (I would personify and eliminate the "I")
long lines of something,
ghostly, silhouettes,
in the middle of nowhere.

I stop for a better view
and stare at rows and rows (I would cut the persona again and start this stanza with "Old tractors")
of old tractors, lined up
solemnly,
tires flat, treads broken, fenders rusted.

A once mighty army
chugging, clanking loudly,
now silenced,
brought to a standstill

no more ground to cultivate, (I think this stanza is commentary and can be cut)
a final end-of-row.

Just before the sun sinks,
into an ominous
dusky haze,
I think about all the old farmers
gone now, (I'd cut all the above of this stanza and start with "These great machines..."
on these great machines
who bled, sacrificed, worked the land (I might cut "worked the land")
under that brutal Rogue Valley sun,
side by side,

with my Dad.

     -Dewell H. Byrd
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TRACTOR GRAVEYARD

Post  Dewell H. Byrd on Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:05 pm

These suggestions really hit the spot... esp the persona thing.  Still working on the transition from tractors to old farmers.  Responses of different audiences to this poem...U of O Extension wants a narrative version for their newsletter and I read a "poetic" version at a winery gathering where poets wanted an academic version...  Thanks, Todd.

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Dewell

Post  tsukany on Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:22 pm

I wonder why the audience can't just accept our work as it is.  
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Dewell

Post  tsukany on Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:36 pm

I wonder why the audience can't just accept our work as it is.  
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Waiting for the rewrite

Post  dennis20 on Sat Jun 29, 2013 10:20 am

Dewell, I will comment on rewrite should you submit one. It is hard to omit "I" sometimes because we want to feel like we are in the poem. I have to read and read again to see where I have put myself into a poem with the word "I" before I can take it out.

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TRACTOR GRAVEYARD

Post  Dewell H. Byrd on Sat Jun 29, 2013 4:35 pm

Current revision... and still working on it.  Dewell (Something is wrong with puncuation in last stanza?)


TRACTOR GRAVEYARD



Driving down Grant Road

just off the 99

on an early autumn eve

stretched out are miles and miles

of orchards, vineyards, fields.



From a distance

make out shapes

long lines of something,

ghostly silhouettes,

in the middle of nowhere.



Stop for a better view

of old tractors, lined up

solemnly,

tires flat, treads broken, fenders rusted.



A once mighty army

chugging, clanking loudly,

now silenced,

brought to a standstill,

a final end-of-row.



All the old farmers

gone now,

on these great machines

who bled, sacrificed, worked the land

under that brutal Rogue Valley sun,

side by side,

with my Dad.



-Dewell H. Byrd

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Tractor Graveyard Response

Post  Pat on Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:32 pm

Dewell, I am the late comer, so I'll respond only to the last revision:
S 2, lines 2 & 3:  what if you drop those lines?  Would you lose anything?  Do you need the comma after ghostly silhouettes? I can't think of a reason for it.  S3, maybe:  A closer view reveals tractors. . . .  S 4:  Once, a mighty army fits my tongue better.  Last stanza:   What if you just start with Old farmers . . . . I need a verb?  or do you mean:  like the mighty tractors. . . .bled, etc.  This honors your dad and other farmers who worked the land.  Once you get it, it will be a piece that honors such men.  Keep after it.  I need to tell you I thought of veterans lined up. . .like soldiers who'd done their duty, served their time.  Faithful tractors like the men who rode them.      Pat

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Cut to the bone

Post  dennis20 on Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:35 pm

Dewell,  This is what I see that has all the elements you speak of in a very lean version.  If you are like me, you still want to add a little fluff to keep size and I find I always try to tell the reader rather than show him. (or let him come to his own discovery of what I saw.) In other words I can't seem to be as vague as some writers. Hope this helps. Anyway, here is what I see that you've said:

Tractor Graveyard


Down Grant Road off 99
after passing orchards, vineyards,
and fields
ghostly silhouettes

 
Old tractors broken down,
flat tires, rusted fenders
An army that once bellowed
stand silent

 Row after row of sacrifices
to Rogue Valley sun
raise memories of Dad

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chopping and slicing. . . .paring down

Post  Pat on Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:10 am

Nice job, Dennis.   : )   We start with an idea, throw it out there, and look what happens!   Good, good, good.    Pat

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