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  #1  
Unread 05-15-2022, 03:29 AM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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Default Ten grams

Feel this, you said, laying
four tissues in my palm.
Fresh. Unused.
Straight out of the pack.

This is the weight of a willow warbler.
Ten grams.
They come from Africa.
Four thousand miles.

I looked at it, I felt it.
It was scarcely there.
No weight at all.
Well, ten grams.
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  #2  
Unread 05-15-2022, 03:36 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi David,

Yup, I like it.
No nits.

Cheers,
John
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  #3  
Unread 05-16-2022, 11:55 AM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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Good-oh. Thanks John.

Cheers

David
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  #4  
Unread 05-16-2022, 12:32 PM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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Thatís a cool piece of information and the pacing matches whatís happening. I like that,
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  #5  
Unread 05-16-2022, 01:20 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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Comments below.
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Callin View Post
Feel this, you said, laying
four tissues in my palm.
Fresh. Unused.
Straight out of the pack. These two lines seem to be taking a lot of space in a short poem to emphasize that the tissues were not soiled or weighted down by snot or dirt. I don't think it's necessary to say at all, since I never imagined in the first place that the "you" would have laid four soiled tissues in the speaker's palm. Could you just omit these two lines?

This is the weight of a willow warbler.
Ten grams.
They come from Africa.
Four thousand miles. I'm not sure why that's important that willow warblers live in Africa, since the poem is focused on the weight of the warbler, not its origin. Also, once you say they come from Africa, do you really need to tell the reader how many miles away Africa is?

I looked at it, I felt it.
It was scarcely there. Why "it"? You're referring to four tissues, not to an actual warbler. What is the antecedent of "it" in these lines? Perhaps "I looked at them, felt them . . .
No weight at all.
Well, ten grams.

Last edited by Roger Slater; 05-16-2022 at 01:24 PM.
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  #6  
Unread 05-16-2022, 01:29 PM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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Thanks John. Glad you enjoyed it.

Thanks Roger. Sorry it failed for you.

Cheers both

David
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  #7  
Unread 05-16-2022, 02:50 PM
Joe Crocker Joe Crocker is offline
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Hi Roger.

Quote:
I'm not sure why that's important that willow warblers live in Africa, since the poem is focused on the weight of the warbler, not its origin. Also, once you say they come from Africa, do you really need to tell the reader how many miles away Africa is?
I'm wondering whether you didn't pick up on the fact that Willow Warblers are a migratory species. Each year these 10g bundles of fluff fly 4000 miles to raise a brood here in the UK. Then they fly back to Africa. Which is all rather amazing. (They have an identical twin called the ChiffChaff which weighs even less and does the same thing.)

I like David's focus on the tissues at the start. We can see them lying neatly in his palm. And at the end of the poem he is no longer seeing the tissues, but the Willow Warbler and can hardly believe it.
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  #8  
Unread 05-16-2022, 03:42 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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Joe, I didn't pick up on that at all. The phrasing "they come from" usually means something more like where they were born. "I come from New York" means my origin, not that I have physically traveled from New York. Perhaps it would be clearer to say something like "they journey here from Africa" or "they fly here from Africa." But yes, now that I understand that the poem is marveling at their ability to fly such a long distance even though they are as light as tissues, it makes a lot more sense.
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  #9  
Unread 05-16-2022, 03:48 PM
Carl Copeland Carl Copeland is offline
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David, you won’t be surprised to hear that my taste in poetry is thoroughly New Formalist, probably because free verse simply eludes me. Like so many things. But I’m here to learn. And maybe that will make it even more of a compliment when I say I liked this poem. The delicacy of it. And the punch line.

Carl

Last edited by Carl Copeland; 05-16-2022 at 05:38 PM.
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  #10  
Unread 05-16-2022, 06:40 PM
Jim Ramsey Jim Ramsey is offline
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Hi David,

This is to my liking. If I have a nit, it's in the first stanza—the explicative effort to announce they are clean tissues. When I read, that's what I think, that the writer doesn't want me thinking snotty tissues. At the same time I have to think, well, why are these tissues so handy for making comparisons. This may just be me because my nose, tissues and allergies are such constant companions. I was thinking you might create something like this as subterfuge for the occasion:

Feel this, you said, laying
four fresh tissues on my palm.
Lifting another, from the pack,
up to a sniffle.

*****I'm inserting an on-second-thought edit—if this was not a prepared planned presentation, then how did she know the tissues weighed ten grams? A calculation from the package labeling? The whole poem seems an outtake from some bigger conversation (as most poetry is) so maybe the way you have it written works the best?*****

All the best,
Jim

Last edited by Jim Ramsey; 05-17-2022 at 05:43 AM. Reason: add a thought
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