Summer Sky

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Summer Sky

Post  Karen on Sat Jun 18, 2016 12:44 pm

Yes?  No?  Indifferent?

SUMMER SKY

It’s taller at night, and taller yet
on a gravel road in the woods.
So high I will never touch
or see or smell or hear
the top of it.

In this bottomed-out rut,
a stumbling pothole of red clay
and the possibility
of still-warm snakes,
so far above me,
stars.

Karen

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Re: Summer Sky

Post  Don C on Thu Jun 23, 2016 5:35 pm

It’s taller at night, and taller yet
on a gravel road in the woods.
So high I will never touch
or see or smell or hear
the top of it.  Okay

In this bottomed-out rut,
a stumbling pothole of red clay
and the possibility
of still-warm snakes,
so far above me,
stars.

Are you standing in a bottomed-out rut of red clay?
What is a warm snake. Reptiles are cold-blooded.
If snakes represent something else, I would suggest
that you use another metaphor.
The picture you paint is that you are in a hole,
still-warm snakes above you,
and stars  even higher.

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Summer Sky

Post  Pat on Sat Jun 25, 2016 6:46 am

Karen, I follow the first stanza.  No problem. 
Unlike the sky being tall and unreachable, it seems you are creating a contrast in stanza two
with the uncomfortable and the dangerous.  Then, with the last two lines, you return to the sky.
Maybe it would help the reader if you made a stanza break before the last two lines?  For me, the hope is in the last two lines.  Also, I tried to picture:  bottomed-out rut.  Not sure if that's on a road or gravel pit or what?  I played with dropping:  so far. . . and replacing it with:  and yet, ...  I think the work is in the second stanza.  Thanks for sharing, Karen.

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I stumbled

Post  tsukany on Sat Jun 25, 2016 7:19 am

(pun intended) on the placement of "stumbling" in second stanza.  I think you stumbled because of the pothole not that the pothole stumbled.

I rather liked the "still-warm snakes."  They were alive not dead, but Don read it literally and that would be more "stumbling" for some.    Smile

I wonder if there's a stronger first line out there.

Nice picture in this poem for me.

Todd
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Goodness Snakes Alive

Post  Dennis 20 on Sun Jun 26, 2016 8:39 am

Karen,  Good pictures of night thoughts while out walking in the dark.  It does seem like a stumbling pothole has tripped up the second stanza.  Kinda like it takes to long to reach the "so far above me--stars."  My thought is to leave out the stumbling pothole or go into more detail.  

In the bottomed-out rut
with the possibility 
of still-warm snakes, but (yet)
far above me,
stars,

Good, you write with few words, also.  Good one.  D

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Re: Summer Sky

Post  Karen on Sun Jun 26, 2016 10:20 am

I stumble often (yeah, I know) when writing poems about running.  Do they have relevance beyond the runners who share the experience?  At a reading, I recited this poem directly into the eyes of a runner I know and love.  She and I fell deep into the night again for a moment.  How do I take a reader who doesn't share the experience to that place?  It's what we all want to do in a poem.  Take the reader there.

The story in prose: 

I run on a wallowed-out gravel road in the Ouachita National Forest.  2am.  I'm the only headlamp on my stretch for a mile or two.  Stumbling is a given, falling a possibility.  Copperheads love the road.  It holds warmth and helps them do the same.  Care for my every step tethers me to earth.  I feel my distance from the other runners ahead of me and behind me, but more than that I feel the distance above me, the infinite distance above me.

A runner, Todd tuned into my picture quicker.  I mystified Don.  Thank you all for your words.  I have a better idea now how to fix this one.  Without breaking it.

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I have walked at pitch dark,

Post  Pat on Sun Jun 26, 2016 4:16 pm

but never have I run unless it was a 911 event.  When you get this settled, wham me with it.  : )

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SUMMER SKY

Post  Dewell H. Byrd on Sun Jun 26, 2016 4:31 pm

Karen,   I like stanza one... can identify with it... stanza two puzzles me.  Your night run reference helped me get it.  I, too, would break off last two lines.  Interesting that I've always thought of sky being high, not tall.  Snakes bring tension to the poem and contrast with the starry sky.  Maybe get that runner concept clearer to the reader.  Thought provoking poem.  Dewell

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Re: Summer Sky

Post  Don C on Mon Jun 27, 2016 10:57 am

Karen,

In this bottomed-out rut,
a stumbling pothole of red clay
and the possibility
of still-warm snakes,
so far above me,
stars.

Now that you have given us the prose version, the poem makes sense.
You use still-warm as a compound adjective to modify snakes.
The adjective still means to be idle. warm refers to heat. Uesd in this manner, the snakes are dead and reaching room temperature
Instead your intention is to show Copperheads continuing to warm themselves. Still becomes an adverb meaning to con6tinue.
The problem is solved without the hyphen by using still warm snakes so that the adverb ""still" modifies the adjective "warm." It's complicated, but the picture become clearer if you use the participle "warming" so that it become  "still warming snakes." But in my opinion,it is best to say"Copperheads still warming."
you might also include the reflexive pronoun themselves to paint the perfect picture. Just a suggestion




.

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Re: Summer Sky

Post  Karen on Mon Jun 27, 2016 11:56 am

Thank you kindly, Don.  I do appreciate the care in your critique.

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Re: Summer Sky

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