Is there enough detail for this to be visual?

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Is there enough detail for this to be visual?

Post  dennis20 on Thu 27 Dec 2012 - 22:29

A Question

It took both of us

to carry her to the vet

and you held her

in your arms

while she succumbed

to the shot

as she slipped

into peacefulness.


We carried her home,

got the shovel,

marched into the woods

and I dug the hole.

We left her

wrapped in her



We couldn’t look

at each other,

we couldn’t

talk about her,


often when we

open the door

we expect her

to be dancing

on the back

of the couch.


With such hurt,

why did we

keep the dish?


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Visual enough for me. . . .

Post  Pat on Fri 28 Dec 2012 - 16:50

to understand the story in the narrative poem. Dennis, it so reminds me of another story: Jane Kenyon's cat died. . . .it's called the Blue Bowl, I think. Such a sweet, heart-rendering story. They did bury the bowl with the cat if I remember correctly.

Now to your touching poem:

I wonder if the poem might actually begin with the second stanza. I don't think I need the info in 1st stanza. Interesting, but more than I need. This loss is a universal thing. We have all cried over, been silent, burying animals. You remind us of the difficulty and sorrow in all that. Easy to tell how sad you and she are. So funeral-like. Might help me if I knew it was a cat. . . . didn't know until the end of stanza 3 (dancing on the back of the couch). I like that image, btw, but I want to know it in first stanza. Would you lose anything by telling the reader? I slowed down over the word marched, but you guys, like soldiers, may just be doing duty. If so, it fits. After you left her wrapped in a towel, I need to know you covered her with dirt, clay, something. Maybe it's just me, but the grave still sounds open. On the next to last stanza, and made me slow down. Maybe there could be a period before and. Then go into the next phase. I don't know if you need a transitional word there or what. . . . maybe something like: And still, . . . . Closed with a question which is the title of the poem. Okay. . . i think that works for a bookend.

Sweet poem.


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Post  Dewell H. Byrd on Fri 28 Dec 2012 - 18:36

This poem grabs at the heart strings... cat earlier, please... succummed causes me to think the animal died instead of got a shot... Yes, that AND standing alone is misdirecting... nice title and closing line... if the carrier were a child (little girl) this would be a real tear-jerker... MARCHED does not remind me of a funeral procession... (Ted, editor of LUCIDITY, would like this poem.) Good work. Dewell

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Sorry Dennis

Post  tsukany on Sat 29 Dec 2012 - 0:29

I feel the pain of this poem. That is good.

The first stanza led me to a dog since it took two to carry it. The "Succumbed" through me. I would use a softer word and try to make all that one sentence. (It's the modifiers that take me back to the animal...let each modifier stay with the noun before it.)

I wanted the towel to be hers somehow, a significant detail that only you might know?

The section about opening the door took me to our back porch where I let her back into the house (though I know she can't return). I missed the detail about the couch because the former detail overpowered it, so the animal never became a cat for me.

"With such hurt" seems to tell us what to think. That takes away the power of the title and the last line which is the "purpose of the poem"?

What if you try a version that is completely in present tense? It might reveal something to you that can strengthen this version.

I think the imagery is fine. I have my own pictures: door, porch, and bowl. I still lobby that it needs to be her towel though. Smile Todd

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Not enough detail--maybe

Post  dennis20 on Sat 29 Dec 2012 - 12:28

Thanks for the feed back.  Her Name was Pebbles and she was a small dog.  The reason it took two of us to carry her to the vet was the burden, not the weight.  I didn't mean to mislead there.  Maybe I was too vague.  When she heard us come home she would jump and dance on the back of the couch as we opened the door.  Would this version be too vague if you hadn't read the first version?

The Question

It was a heavy burden--

the last time

we carried her

to the vet's--

but you were stronger,

held her as she slipped

into peacefulness.


On the way home

she lay pain free, silent,

 wrapped in her towel

on your lap.


No words exchanged

as I shouldered

the shovel and

we entered the woods,

and there, left her

still wrapped in her



Now, months later,

we still expect

to see her dance

on the back

of the couch

when we get home.


Why did we

keep her dish?






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If you were to entertain another title,

Post  Pat on Sat 29 Dec 2012 - 14:26

maybe Heavy Burden would fit if you started the poem with the second line. This verson for me is better. I like her towel. Might emphasize heavy with the word weighty on her lap: lay weighty, pain free, etc. Might consider: left her in a grave. . . clarifying. It's in process. Some people like vague, I suppose. Not me. I want to see, hear, know what's happening. I think you are writing a fine poem. Keep playing with it. I like what you are doing here. And I also like the lightness with which she danced on your arrival. . . .opposite of your heavy burden. Guess you caught that. . . . I like oxymorons. . .. Dennis, your dog was unusual: do you know that most dogs do not dance on the backs of couches? Unusual. I would never have guessed you were talking about a dog. I don't know that that is important to you, but cats are the ones that usually lie on the backs of couches. Our smaller dog. . . . never. The cats we've had, definitely. All this to say, my guess is that the reader will probably image a cat, but that may be okay. . . still, a good poem in the works here.


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Post  tsukany on Sun 30 Dec 2012 - 10:04


I think I prefer the first version. I am wondering if your line breaks are serving you. I would consider removing "It" as the first word of the poem. Consider

Both of us carry her to the vet
you hold her as she welcomes
the shot/trip/syringe to peacefulness.

Of course, what I wrote for line three is far too direct for the tone of the poem, but maybe it illustrates what I mean. I keep it in present tense too. Then the poem should reflect that you still hold the title (The Question) though time has passed.

After you set up the situation in the first stanza, the short lines of the rest of the poem may highlight the speed of her burial.

I really like the shouldering of the shovel from the second version. The music and meaning is really tight.

Maybe the last line needs to be connected to the couch scene of the second version as well.

Well done Dennis... Todd

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