There Was A Time---

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There Was A Time---

Post  Dewell H. Byrd on Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:24 pm

This is a rewrite of an old piece that was published in MID-AMERICA POETRY REVIEW... sadly this journal folded when editor Robert C. Jones died....
Jones had suggested some revisions that I make today.  He bought it even tho he felt it was a bit "loose"... I'm looking for ways to tighten it up.
I'm thinking to let the dialect remain somewhat free... I welcome any and all suggestions.  Dewell


THERE WAS A TIME…..

 when a feller could get born
and dead in the same bedstead.
Live his whole dern life
same house, same land:
work, school, church, clean-----
folks was always workin' and cleanin'.

 There was a time.....
when you grew your eatin',
wove your wearin',
chose a gal from school,
church or county fair,
raised a whole passel of young 'uns.

 There was a time.....
when you held your head up high
in town on a Satidee aftanoon
at the movin' pitcher show,
tipped your hat to ladies,
looked out for everbody's kids.

 There was a time.....
when a man's word was his bond---
the law would git you for doin' bad.
Worst thing was messin' up
the fambly name or runnin' off
leavin' the fambly farm.

 There was a time.....
least wize my Granpa tole me they was.

 -Dewell H. Byrd

Dewell H. Byrd

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There was a time

Post  dennis20 on Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:46 am

Dewell,  I've heard many of those things in my growin' up, too! The only repeats I see are where at the beginning of each separate strophe you again use the title to introduce the thoughts.  I would suggest removing that line from the beginning of each strophe and only the last one to be left or change the title and use those opening lines as you have.  When I see a title I am expecting the poem to follow that thought without having to repeat it with every few lines.  With the thoughts you have here I think the dialact fits in and maybe adds much to the poem.

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A few suggestions

Post  Pat on Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:00 am

I agree with Dennis on the first lines. Just drop them. We can follow it.
Stanza 1: I'd drop "was" in last line and substitute a comma.
Stanza 3: line 2, I'd drop "up"
Stanza 4: "bad" or wrong? Well, maybe bad is better. It has opinion attached to it.
I don't think you need the last stanza.
I very much like the dialect. I'm not messing with it. : )
Universal for the 30's ,40's and 50's in the South in America.

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If you need the dialect

Post  tsukany on Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:34 am

(which I'm not sure), it seems to be lacking in stanza three (...word was his bond).  The dialect is for tone; it causes the reader to question the reliability/credibility of the witness/persona (How old is the speaker?  Are all thoughts consistent with that voice?).  You might write a version without dialect and then "salt/season" that version with the barest dialect necessary to carry your intent.

The rhyme in line two sets this reader up for more of it.  I think you add more or tone this down a bit.
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