Working with tone here.

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Working with tone here.

Post  tsukany on Sun Jul 20, 2014 5:18 pm

In the Name of

Each Sunday, the chiefs and servants
amass to line out a lifeless form
in sacred chalk.  Today, the victim

is a bearded one of no distinction,
noting nothing in his appearance
that is attractive.  Sometimes, they prey
on other chiefs and their servants.  

In season, the lines form an empty cross,
traced in neon, decorated with paper or treat-
filled eggs.  Or like a tree with blinking lights,
offering a welcome to those passing by.

--Sukany 29 May 2014
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IN THE NAME OF

Post  Dewell H. Byrd on Sun Jul 27, 2014 3:53 pm

Todd,  I see no problem with tone... first of all I had to look up TONE in my copy of
The ART And CRAFT of Poetry by Bugeja...
I think this is a fine poem as is.  I especially like the In season... stanza.  I could
even feel the seasonal weather... and sparkling bells, too.
There is an irony undertone for me especially at end of second stanza.
Your poetry always makes me think...  Dewell

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In the name of

Post  dennis20 on Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:57 pm

Todd,  Your poetry is always hard for me. I try to see poetry in pictures where the writer shows me a scene and leaves me to find where I fit in or at least form an opinion of what he has shown.  Although I get the drift here, the tone seems to change in the last strophe or at least in the last line.  There is a sad, provoking, oppressive, harsh flow ( ok, so I am over the top here)  in the first two strophes.  You have used words such as lifeless form, victim, and prey which bring to mind a picture of oppression. But the last one seems to lighten up even to the point of "welcome." To me, the blinking lights and the picture I get with the word welcome changes the tone.  If that was the intent you did it. If not, then I got the wrong impression from that last picture.  Good pictures, hope these thoughts helped.  Dennis

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What are you smoking?!!!

Post  Pat on Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:28 pm

Way too much symbolism for this old girl. I am working hard to keep up, to figure it out. Struggling to understand. I can't get to tone. I want to understand what is being said. Stanza 1: I think you are talking about people gathering to read the Word to understand who Jesus is? Of course I think Pharisees and common people, but it's all guesswork on my part. You don't say then, but later you say Today. If it is then, it'd be helpful to hear that. I want more clues. Like More than two thousand years ago,. . . . Stanza 2: it hits me as Jesus, uncomely in appearance. The title makes me think of Jesus: In the Name of Jesus Christ. . . . something I hear in church, in temple, in prayer. Prey is an interesting word in this stanza. They picked on Jesus. He was prey. Sometimes they pick on other chiefs and servants. Who is they? Romans? Pharisees? Those in power on earth? If someone is unfamiliar with the gospels, I wonder how much he'd understand. Stanza 3: Easter, then Christmas. Okay, the cross and the tree. I couldn't get to poetics or techniques. Overwhelmed by just trying to understand the meaning. That's always first for me. Then, I'll appreciate how you put it together.

I think we are all pretty lost. How about more clues? I'd love to see a rewrite of this one.

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Dennis

Post  tsukany on Wed Jul 30, 2014 7:41 am

Dennis . . . I didn't change the tone in the last stanza.  The tone should remain vituperative (that's a 25 cent word I didn't even know I knew . . . ).
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Todd

Post  Pat on Wed Jul 30, 2014 4:53 pm

Still thinking about your poem. Are the first two stanzas about dying out and the last stanza about coming alive (Easter resurrection and Christmas as a baby?)

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Post  tsukany on Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:39 am

Pat.  I try to teach my students to "let the poem take you."  We tend to read poems and force them into our expectations.  I offer my students poems like the following:

PROM CANCELED

We woulda been Belles a da Ball
I coulda been yer girl
innamint tux

ta escort ya to da Chickasaw Senior dance
I shoulda pinned a tiger lily to yer swishy gown
and you oughtera put a pink carnation

purfumey on my tender wrist
For all our moms we’da stood infrontada hearth
two framed Lady Indians

---Sukany 12 Mar 2010

I want my students to realize that the persona of a poem is not always the author.  A careful reading of this poem should cure that.    Sometimes the purpose of a poem is to shock and offend.

Back to "In the Name of."  I believe you track exactly how I want you to but stop short of letting the poem be naughty or mean.
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Todd

Post  Pat on Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:49 am

I hear you (on both poems.)
You most likely are right. I probably do stop short and struggle when it turns naughty or mean or offends me. (the commercialism of Christmas and Easter, the prey). Interesting observation about me.
Know that I appreciate the feedback. Good, good, good.
Thank you.


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Post  tsukany on Thu Jul 31, 2014 12:19 pm

Pat.  I don't want you to think I was directing my comments at you.  I always have to remind myself of whatever I write/teach/suggest.  Smile

I offered that example so that you can kill my poem more accurately.  I am still uneasy about the tone of this piece.

King of Beams (Mt 7:3)
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Todd

Post  Pat on Thu Jul 31, 2014 1:27 pm

Keep on pushing. I will look at the TONE again if you think I'm on the right track and half-way understand the poem. Hey, I have to keep pushing myself too. It's a job on a cloudy day like this. Especially when you are killing words, lines, stanzas of people you like. . . . : )








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Tone

Post  Pat on Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:48 pm

Jonathan Swift wrote "A Modest Proposal." I have not read it in 50 years, but what a kick in the stomach it was for me. I could not believe any one would put that in writing. However, it stuck with me. Was that tongue-in-cheek? sarcasm? He was making a point about poverty and how to resolve it. Something like that. I'm trying to nail down the tone. It takes big exaggeration to pull it off. And Swift did it. I'm thinking you did too. Swift had lots of words. It was a proposal. You managed it in 3 short stanzas? I had a reaction to both of them. It's like: Are you kidding? It stops me cold, and I cannot think. I feel something first. Then thinking kicks in. There is sadness, but what I react to is the tongue-in-cheek? I've come across this before in poetry, but I'm blank on who.

May be all I can offer. I'm liking the poem the more I read it. : ) I learned to like A Modest Proposal too. What kind of genius would think that up? Someone who could laugh and play and spit!! And see the irony in everything.


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