Considering this for a first poem in a manuscript about a nursing home. . . .

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Considering this for a first poem in a manuscript about a nursing home. . . .

Post  Pat on Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:28 am

What If. . . .



you begin life again in a new land,

the land called Nursing Home? Imagine

a universe where nurses become rotating

planets and residents, bright stars constellating.



The notion is as shocking as kissing a frog,

don’t you think? Especially if you believe

you have a prince, straight and sure.

But you can relax with the thought:

your cells would still sputter out messages,

body to body, like woodpeckers tapping

codes. Strangely, the divine light

inside you would still give off light, even

on lightless nights. And a few sensitive

souls would certainly feel its warmth.



If you must embark on a new life

like Alice in Wonderland, don’t fret:

you will know exactly what to pitch and

what to keep the same way a fiery maple

heads straight toward winter.



However, your dear family, not knowing you

but one way, may sit and gaze or gasp

then recoil. Shock. Trust me, it will pass.

It always passes. And what they need

will come, perhaps as they read a page

from an intriguing book purchased

at a bookstore called Borders.



Pat Durmon

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I am getting lost

Post  tsukany on Fri Sep 28, 2012 6:38 pm

Pat...I get lost in the progression of stanzas. It seems like you are trying to cover too much territory. I like the title and first "sentence" even through the first stanza. I wanted you to continue to pursue the adventure into the land of "Nursing Home." I expected each stanza to continue the question of the title: What if...? Take the "you," reader, into the world we're to imagine. Does that make sense?

What If. . . .

you begin life again in a new land,
the land called Nursing Home? Imagine
a universe where nurses become rotating
planets and residents, bright stars constellating.

The notion is as shocking as kissing a frog,
don’t you think? Especially if you believe
you have a prince, straight and sure.
But you can relax with the thought:
your cells would still sputter out messages,
body to body, like woodpeckers tapping
codes. Strangely, the divine light
inside you would still give off light, even
on lightless nights. And a few sensitive
souls would certainly feel its warmth.

If you must embark on a new life
like Alice in Wonderland, don’t fret:
you will know exactly what to pitch and
what to keep the same way a fiery maple
heads straight toward winter.

However, your dear family, not knowing you
but one way, may sit and gaze or gasp
then recoil. Shock. Trust me, it will pass.
It always passes. And what they need
will come, perhaps as they read a page
from an intriguing book purchased
at a bookstore called Borders.

Pat Durmon
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Your comments and too much territory make perfect sense. . . .

Post  Pat on Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:07 am

this is an important poem to me because I want it to be first in the manuscript. . . . thank you. I kept coming back to it, knowing something was askew. . . . Thank You, Pat

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What If... Pat's Nursing Thing...

Post  Dewell H. Byrd on Sun Sep 30, 2012 3:58 pm

I'm having trouble seeing myself moving beyond the double doors. Am I, the reader, visiting the nursing home or am I the new patient? Poem seems to stray, to wander, I can't quite grasp it. Trying to cover too much ground? First poem in a book should yank me into it with passion, with mystrey, with wonder and I think this poem is a little too wishy-washy to make me turn the page. As I recall you have several poems that might better suit the charge. And still, I would like to see this poem again as you continue to hone it. Thanks for sharing. Dewell

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I'm taking another crack at it. . . . Pat

Post  Pat on Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:46 am

What If. . . .



you become broken enough

to begin life again in a new land,

the land called Nursing Home?



Imagine leaving a hospital,

and instead of being dead or

going back home, you are carried

into a universe where nurses

become rotating planets and you,

a new resident, push to survive

like a star in a constellation.



Like others, you embark on

an adventure there like Alice in Wonderland

and encounter the wise willowy woman

in a lying-down position being fed.

Miraculous. There, you discover

a blind man who happens to be where you are

playing the piano and singing words

of light, keeping everyone in the room

from darkness. There, whereyou uncover

the laughing woman who flutters

around corners in wheelchair races,

not caring whether she wins or shows

or places.



And now, the truth:

it’s probably not where you’d think to look,

but if you go there one day to live, do not fret.

The land is filled with blessings, delight,

and images of God.

Pat

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The second one looks

Post  dennis20 on Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:37 am

Pat, The second one looks much better.  I think you need to figure out how to say what you want without so many "you" in the poem.  We as readers understand you want us (or me) to imagine these things but it is like people who keep saying "you know" "you know" It turns me off when someone keeps saying you know. You are progressing, keep going. D

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Second Poem Feedback

Post  tsukany on Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:08 am

Pat...the ending is so conclusive. It doesn't invite me to read it again or explore. I think the images above it want to be read again and explored.
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As always, you guys

Post  Pat on Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:08 pm

are helpful. I hear you. . . more work to do. Letting it rest so I can see better. : ) Might consider a different poem as a first poem for this manuscript. I'm not locked in to this one. Hooray for that!

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Okay, here is another possibility. Would you read this as a poem and knowing

Post  Pat on Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:57 pm

this will be the first poem in a manuscript about various types of light found in a nursing home. Also, my mother was like a house: she was full of dementia-- a door that was often closed to us. thanks, Pat I value your input.

Checking the Doors and Windows



My husband and I pull into the gravel drive

but linger in the car talking about my mother

lying in a hospital, bandages on her legs and

shoulders, her head filled with confusion.

We walk up the steps and through the rooms

of Mother’s house. I pick up a Farmer’s Almanac,

glance in the kitchen at the many jars of canned

fruit, fold and place a quilt on the foot of her bed.

I open the door to the back porch to let in more light.

It may have been a mistake to come. I had not

imagined so much darkness. We jiggle locks

on windows, checking. Everything needs

to be secured. Walking out back, the sallow grass

and bare garden lie dormant. The small plot

by the clothesline, my mother’s playground—

any green plant stirring thrilled the farmer in her.

Next spring, I think, when her skin is healed,

when the confusion, gone. It may take some time,

I say, but she’ll be back here digging in her dirt. . . .

My husband does not utter a word. He nods

and turns the lock on the front door,jiggling it

to check, praying the deed might somehow

save the mom from a nursing home.

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Couple things

Post  tsukany on Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:07 am

Pat...for me the poem's energy begins at the end. The top of the poem covers background material that tells the story. I want to be shown the story. I read a book by Julia Alvarez "Homecoming" (found on Amazon for 0.01) and really liked what she does. She's a novelist and poet. I may not always agree with her thoughts, but her skill at showing is pretty amazing.

Walking out back, the sallow grass
and bare garden lie dormant. The small plot
by the clothesline, my mother’s playground—
any green plant stirring thrilled the farmer in her.

Next spring, I think, when her skin is healed,

when the confusion is gone. It may take some time,
I say, but she’ll be back here digging in her dirt. . . .

My husband does not utter a word. He nods

and turns the lock on the front door, jiggling it
to check, praying the deed might somehow
save the mom from a nursing home.

****

She has a poem named "Dusting" that is a fine work:


Each morning I wrote my name
on the dusty cabinet, then crossed
the dining table in script, scrawled
in capitals on the backs of chairs,
practicing signatures like scales
while Mother followed, squirting
linseed from a burping can
into a crumpled-up flannel.

She erased my fingerprints
from the bookshelf and rocker,
polished mirrors on the desk
scribbled with my alphabets.
My name was swallowed in the towel
with which she jeweled the table tops.
The grain surfaced in the oak
and the pine grew luminous.
But I refused with every mark
to be like her, anonymous.
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Thank you, Todd!!! I will get her book. . . .

Post  Pat on Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:27 am

and I bet I do this thing in several of my poems. Hmmm. I may reread a few to see. Thanks for the red flag. . . .and I appreciate the rewrite plus one of her poems. She does show, show and more show. Now, to order her book and learn, learn, learn. Also, your comment on the previous poem being conclusive rather than open was helpful too. More miles to go. . . . always, miles to go. . . . : ) Thanks for the help. Pat

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reply to the last one

Post  dennis20 on Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:35 pm

Pat,  Yes, I thought it was too much like a story than a poem. Two many details and didn't let the reader imagine anything. I like the sallow grass picture.

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