The Last Friday

The Last Friday is a poetry editing group. Once a month, we post a poem and then offer feedback to the other poems on the Forum. We're a friendly but honest group. We value each other deeply and desire for every poet to be published or become famous.


    high water

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    Karen

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    high water

    Post  Karen on Tue Jan 26, 2016 4:57 am

    I like early Forum!

    I have lived near the Arkansas River for more than thirty years, thankfully on a hill - not in danger of flooding.  I have done many "flood tours" on foot.  This winter's flood was the worst I've seen. 

    I didn't want to be overly dramatic, but I wanted to record what I saw.  I am hoping the line division stands in for punctuation.  Your thoughts?


    high water

    the river goes home
    rushes the downhills
    flushes the culverts
    lingers in the lowlands

    the river consumes
    its own banks
    anxious to return
    to natural mud

    the river collects
    tree limbs and trash cans
    beer bottles and bush nests
    ice chests and outbuildings

    the river tumbles
    gravel onto blacktop
    knits thickets with caution tape
    delivers pizza boxes downstream

    the river leaves
    apologies
    of polished logs
    and plastic chairs
    hangs in a
    stunted tree
    a mangled cottontail

    Pat

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    High water

    Post  Pat on Thu Jan 28, 2016 12:08 pm

    Boy, does this look familiar.   I have seen this parade so many times.  I identify with you, the onlooker.  All we can do is watch. 
    I esp. like the first line.  Powerful line.  It is going home. 
    Recheck the "the's"  and see if they are necessary.  Seems like they dilute the powerful verbs you are using.
    Consumes. . . well, I'm thinking it does not gobble it.  I think it nibbles at it.
    Karen, I'd go for a powerful verb instead of collect.  It piles or something.  Collect sounds so orderly to me.  Might just be me.  Love delivering pizza.   Wondered about:  gravel, but that's because it's sand here where I am.  Guess it's gravel in cities and sand in the country.  Loved "leaves apologies";   played with last three lines:  hanging in a/ stunted tree/ flying a mangled cottontail.  I guess I wanted a connection word between cottontail and tree.  That's all I've got.  : )
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    tsukany

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    My thinks :)

    Post  tsukany on Thu Jan 28, 2016 2:06 pm

    Karen

    I would move the stanzas around.  For example, 2, 3, 4, 1, 5.

    I think that the last stanza can be strengthened by losing some articles in the description of "apology."  Maybe 

    the river leaves
    apologies
    polished logs
    plastic chairs
    hung in

    a stunted tree
    a mangled cottontail

    Dennis 20
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    Post  Dennis 20 on Fri Jan 29, 2016 1:22 pm

    Karen,  I like the picture of the great dragon or snake winding down, down, down. It carries all sorts of things into its hole.  That said, how about if you change the title to something like, "When the River Floods?"  With that title the first word could be "It" and in each succeeding verse there would be no need to repeat either "the river" or "it?"  Each verse could simply start with the verb, "consumes," "collects," "tumbles," "leaves."  I am not advocating you change it, but that would tighten it up.  Good picture in this one.

    Dewell H. Byrd

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    HIGH WATER

    Post  Dewell H. Byrd on Fri Jan 29, 2016 1:32 pm

    Your lazy rivers languish... ours roar!
    Poem presents a familiar scenario suggesting that "water always wins"...
    Try drowning those "thee" words for a more powerful effect.
    And maybe "sculpts" instead of consumes... because river never relinquishes its hold, flood or no.
    Last four lines of the poem need work to help the reader see the debris is also animal...

    View of the river from Petit Jean is special for me.  My sister Betty Jean was born there while our Dad and brother helped build the structures (CCC).

    Nice poem, Karen.  Dewell
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    Karen

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    Re: high water

    Post  Karen on Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:24 am

    I have acted on the advice of article exorcism, and I like the result. 

    Pat, your suggestions on consumes and collects led me two different directions. 

    I changed consumes to devours to make it stronger.  The shoreline changed drastically in some places, first when the river heaved water and refuse over its banks, and again when it dragged water and land objects home.

    I made this switch with collects:

    the river collects
    trash cans and tree limbs

    The picture I see now is the violence my garbage men heap on my trash cans every week. 

    The pictures of this round of river damage are still haunting me.  The little rabbit caught, higher than my head, in one of the small trees planted to shade the River Trail.  The free library box by the dog park, the books inside fat and wadded with mud.  The drowned woodchuck mounted at eye level in a soccer net as if taxidermied, swimming.  A waterlogged Bible, turned to the book of Numbers, set on a traffic barrier pole at the entrance to the Clinton pedestrian bridge.  I wish I were a Biblical scholar.  Now I suspect the Bible was turned to a reference of the survivors of the Flood.
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    tsukany

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    Poem Squeeze Please

    Post  tsukany on Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:36 am

    Karen

    Compress this into a poem please:

    The pictures of this round of river damage are still haunting me.  The little rabbit caught, higher than my head, in one of the small trees planted to shade the River Trail.  The free library box by the dog park, the books inside fat and wadded with mud.  The drowned woodchuck mounted at eye level in a soccer net as if taxidermied, swimming.  A waterlogged Bible, turned to the book of Numbers, set on a traffic barrier pole at the entrance to the Clinton pedestrian bridge.  I wish I were a Biblical scholar.  Now I suspect the Bible was turned to a reference of the survivors of the Flood.
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    Karen

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    Re: high water

    Post  Karen on Sun Jan 31, 2016 10:30 am

    Mind reader.

    If you have any insight on the flood references in the book of Numbers, please share it with me.  Not for the poem, for me.

    Pat

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    This is interesting. . . .

    Post  Pat on Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:28 pm

    I am not a Bible scholar, Karen, but I love the Bible, and I have gone to church all my life (just about).  I've studied the Bible under some wonderful teachers, and my understanding of the offspring of the survivors of Noah's flood described in Genesis would be the Jewish people or Israelites which included Moses, Aaron, and a host of other people in Numbers.  The Book of Numbers includes the duties of Priests.   Check out Numbers, Chapter 5.  The people then were as dysfunctional and as worldly and as wicked as we are now.  I love the blessing in Numbers 6: 22-27.  The Levites (priests) were to be cleansed and purified (Numbers 8: 5-22.)  There is high order and law as to how God told them to live.  Of course, they  failed:  the people complain in Chapter 11, and Moses has had it with them.  Such humanness.  People are rebellious in Chapter 14.  Moses intercedes for the people.  He and Joshua are considered worthy of doing that.  They speak on behalf of the people.  There are sacrifices like goats for sins.  (Reminds me of rabbit and woodchuck.)  Even Moses messes up in Chapter 20 when he strikes the rock.  That's not exactly what God told him to do.  : )  These are the offspring of the survivors of the flood.  They still struggle, they sin, bad things happen, losses and gains, but God is ever faithful to them.  The human struggle, rebellion, forgiveness.  The people did not "get it" nor would they ever get it, so God sent His own son to be the sacrifice because we, the people, would never get it right.  (Old Testament is a prophecy of the coming of the Savior in New Testament) We needed Jesus to be the sacrifice for us to receive Grace.  Hooray there is a new testament, a new covenant, the new way.  The law in Book of Numbers would never be enough.  The rituals would never be enough. 

      Karen, lots of words here.  If I totally missed your meaning, it's okay.  As my granddaughter with Autism says, "I don't know if I can do it or not, but I'll take a shot at it."
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    Karen

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    Re: high water

    Post  Karen on Mon Feb 01, 2016 4:56 am

    You did not miss my meaning.  Thank you.

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