Are the visuals sufficient or too vague

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Are the visuals sufficient or too vague

Post  dennis20 on Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:33 pm

 

Rock Fences

 

The old rails above them long gone.

No visible sign they were ever here

other than, how would pioneers

keep the cows in pastures without them.

 

Ancient now, with moss grown dry,

they rumble along slowly in short

bursts, turtles could out run them.

 

More or less, conversation pieces

from my grandma’s era and

now home to toads, snakes, and

occasionally chipmunks.

 

The barb wire now strung

on posts set inside them, but

their posture

still keeps

cows in the pasture.

 

dennis20
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One Pronoun throwing me

Post  tsukany on Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:50 am

Dennis Here's a link to what I think you are describing (though it is not the image I have from your poem)

http://www.billglose.com/blog/Rock-fence1-sml.jpg

I get tripped up in the title and the pronoun of the first and second stanzas. I assume the poem to be about rock fences but the first noun is "old rails." Then the poem becomes about the rails and not the fences.

My confusion is that rock fences no longer exist? "No visible sign..."

Is the conflict of the poem that the fences no longer serve a purpose? It seems at the conclusion of the poem they do.

The image I tried to carry from the title through the poem was this one:

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2452/3755638145_e9309efe2a_z.jpg
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tripped on pronoun

Post  dennis20 on Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:58 am

Todd,  your first image was the correct one. The rocks I saw growing up were not piled nearly so high and the rails were much higher stacked on top of the rocks in the days they were in use. It took both the rocks and rails to make the fence, but we called them rock fences.  Because many of the old farms had been allowed to grow up, trees, bushes, briars, and vines had taken over these use-to-be fences.  In the meantime, rails had rotted and deteriorated and the rocks were so overtaken that the meandering fence (rocks) looked like the humps of the loch ness monster with some humps burried in vines and brush to where they weren't visible. Hence, the picture of race around the pasture so slow and broken that the proverbial tortoise could outrun them.  If any fence (barb wire) now exists it has been set inside those old boundries.  Thank you for the input.  I have fallen short of the picture I tried for.

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I like the image of your explanation

Post  tsukany on Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:02 pm

Dennis.

The power of this group is that we can share our images and get feedback on their clarity. The variety of readers in this groups is its strength.

I really like this part of your description...any way to create another poem with it?

"In the meantime, rails had rotted and deteriorated and the rocks were so
overtaken that the meandering fence (rocks) looked like the humps of
the loch ness monster with some humps buried in vines and brush."

**Did you see the photo I linked to my poem? I'm hoping it helps you with my image problems.
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Wow! Photos and poem!

Post  Pat on Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:14 pm

Were they split rail above the rock or were they just tree limbs found on the ground? I know what split rail is and I know what stacked rock is, but I didn't know how to put them together in my mind until I saw the photo you said was kin to what you were describing. Creative forefathers. They used whatever they had. I love that.

One option would be to flip the 1st and 2nd stanzas, starting with what you see. Then, maybe take on what you know of the history and show us with your words: what had to have been there in the cow country. I'd just say, "turtles outrunning them." I like that stanza. I'm wondering if you need the last stanza. I'm thinking you might make a closing happy comment related to home for snakes, etc. Something about how the fence is still setting a boundary. Some fences are welcoming to me too. Some, not so much.

Sounds like the rails got away but none of the stones got away. Nice thought. They still create balance for the pastures if they are like the ones in Calico Rock. Keep going, Dennis. Ted Kooser rewrites his little short poems 40 times!!! Write on, my friend. You have the makings of a fine poem here. . . just needs a little rewrite. . . always the case with mine. : ) Part of the fun to hear how it comes across to you boys and what I see in my head. My goal is always for you to see what I see, of course.

Just my thoughts. Worth 2 pennies on the black market of poetry. Not. I wish.

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Rock Fence... split rail

Post  Dewell H. Byrd on Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:46 pm

Dennis,

My first impulse is to ask that the rail fence part be deleted until the very end. This might show more ingunity and lose that strange pronoun thing at the beginning. I like the image of Grandma, moss, critters. I, too have a hankering for split rail fences. They suggest an openness that early settlers enjoyed. Your use of imagery in this poem feels like when I get dirt under my fingernails in the garden... solid, earthy, job-well-done, and I breathe deeper. Dewell

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Another reply

Post  dennis20 on Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:30 pm

I responded to Todd's suggestion with this:

Rock Fences

 

Upon buying a piece of land—once my grandfather’s homestead—

I imagined myself the pioneer of his day and began clearing

old boundaries. After weeks of chopping, sawing,

and pruning, I stumbled upon a treasure trove of rock.

Under years of growth lay an old rock fence.  It became clear

to me that a hundred years ago these measured lines

framed by rock fences kept cows on his land.  

 

In the meantime, split-rails laced atop the rocks grew rotten

and deteriorated.  Now rocks overgrown with brush and vines

dipped and surfaced like humps of the loch ness monster.

In their present state, they meandered around the property

in broken lines and looked like old turtles sullen in their shells.

 

What Grandfather built, modern to him, served

to outline his property and functioned to keep

livestock where they belonged.  The ‘rock fences’

again exposed to sun and sky with the aid

of my modern ‘barb wire’ set inside them

make them posture to keep cows in pastures again.

 

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Dennis I vote for a short ride into

Post  tsukany on Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:55 pm

the world of a SONNET. You could work into syllable count if you desire. Julia Alvarez takes a very loose interpretation of sonnet. Hers tend to be regular in syllable count (10) and 14 lines. I like this version of your poem too. I believe there may still be some redundancy lurking still. I toyed with tense a bit as well. I think that the second stanza's intro needs your TLC to repair my breach. BTW, I envy your ability to revise.

Rock Fences

Upon buying a piece of land—once my grandfather’s homestead—
I imagined myself the pioneer of his day and began clearing
old boundaries. After weeks of chopping, sawing,
and pruning, I stumbled upon a treasure trove of rock.
Under years of growth lay an old rock fence. Surely,
a hundred years ago these measured lines
framed by rock fences kept cows on his land.
In the meantime, the split-rails laced atop the rocks grew rotten

and deteriorated. Now rocks overgrown with brush and vines
dip and surface like humps of the loch ness monster.
They meander around the property
in broken lines slower than old turtles sullen in their shells.
The ‘rock fences’ again exposed to sun and sky with the aid
of ‘barb wire’ set inside posture them to keep cows in pastures again.
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What nice jobs you both did with the poem. . . .

Post  Pat on Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:12 pm

What I've not ever done in my life is take a narrative poem (which I do not find hard to write) and turn it into a sonnet! Oh my! Nice. Very nice. Maybe I will now try a sonnet, after I write the narrative, of course! This makes it look do-able. Dennis, this would be a favorite for Peggy Vining. : ) I am, first, impressed by you revising it into a narrative which made it more understable and readable. Second, I did want a few words which were understood already, dropped. . . . but when I read it as a sonnet, he did drop the redundant words. Nice. And an education for me, an onlooker. Thank you both for teaching me. Good to be in this group, learning.. ...... Pat

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