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Unread 01-22-2022, 12:35 PM
David Callin David Callin is offline
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Ellan Vannin
Posts: 2,738
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It's not Provence.
I could not honestly, with nonchalance,
aver a parallel
between the scented world of Peter Mayle,
all lavender and Languedocerie
and swallow-vaulted summers,
and our bare rockery,
but we have dodgy plumbers
too, and parish politics
replete with knavish tricks,
and places for the fond heart to grow giddy in.
Heather and gorse and hills and sea,
with their slow sorcery,
cast their spell over our mild meridian.
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Unread 01-22-2022, 02:44 PM
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Sarah-Jane Crowson Sarah-Jane Crowson is offline
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: UK
Posts: 1,271

Hi David,

I have not, for obvious reasons, had much time to spend with this, but I wanted to say how much I liked the end - the last three lines are fantastic, - so beautiful.

I 'think' I get the Mayle reference, from some distant memory of a very certain type of middle-class dream, perhaps - my parents talked about his book. I think that I like the direct reference least, as it marrs my enjoyment by bringing in that very specific - very located - type of cultural aspiration.

But, having said that, the poem makes its point nicely, and the plumbers/politics/parish is fun - and true, though not always nicely rosy.

I love the rhyme of Provence/nonchalance, and - it's worth repeating - the last lines are gorgeous. A lovely poem!

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Unread 01-22-2022, 02:56 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: *
Posts: 2,299

Rockery, yes, yes. David. I wouldn't call you a happy Larkin. I'm not sure Larkin was this good. You have an irreplaceable sense of humor. I really like this on an early read and if I have anything to toss back at this, I'll come back.

I love the word "dodgy." It makes me laugh immediately.

*Added: No, I don't think this is light poetry. I think a real sense of humor is awareness. And heightens the effect of the poem. Just to be clear.

Last edited by James Brancheau; 01-22-2022 at 03:23 PM.
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Unread 01-22-2022, 03:42 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
Posts: 9,469

I like the heterometric lines, the varied rhyme scheme, and the overall gist of this. My one reservation is that the stresses of the last line sound awkwardly arranged to me, though the rhyme is lovely.

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Unread 01-22-2022, 03:45 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Brooklyn, NY USA
Posts: 5,844

Hi, this is one of your better ones. No complaints except for a possible misreading Spoonerism that brings to mind what in the US could be a secret FOIA-obtained report on the Hound of the Baskervilles by the Federal Administrative Review Taskforce.. Ya might wanna work on that. Easy to do I think.
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Unread 01-22-2022, 04:28 PM
Robert Luis Rodriguez Robert Luis Rodriguez is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 47
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Thank you for posting this quite literate and stylized piece of grey matter stimulation. I only had to go to the dictionary 8 times to get through it (I'm old school and refuse to use "google" as a verb). I did know what "aver" meant, though--thanks, law school--no, I'm not a lawyer.

My first observation is how it doesn't read like there's a meter--which is usually pretty obvious. This lovely piece takes us on this journey without us realizing the car is moving.

There is little possible critique for the first part - up to "vaulted summers" - this is all just so beautiful.

The second part doesn't as well, flow.

The change here in tone is a bit jolting, and short of rewriting the last part in my own subjective style, I'm a bit at a loss to offer specific, constructive suggestions for improvement--but herewith I endeavor to do so:

I'm not sure if the author was trying to avoid excessive alliteration, but perhaps an equally descriptive adjective for "dodgy" could be used, to go along with parish politics. Alliteration is such a wonderful figure I doubt it could ever be overdone. Perhaps "parisite" plumbers--though not perfect alliteration without the "l" -- or possibly a synonum for plumber, opening up a whole now world of possible adjectives--unfortunately, there aren't too many words for plumber--I looked.

Of course, the "places in the fond heart" line ends in a preposition. Then again, this may be becoming more accepted these days, even in elevated poetry circles.

Examples of how shift in tone is a bit unsettling: from "rockery" and "plumbers" "politics" and "tricks -- to then elevate us to "fond heart" "grow giddy" "heather" and "gorse" and "slow sorcery" with spells being cast over mild meridians, is all quite eloquent imagery -- just a bit of a deviation from the immediately preceeding lines grounding us in a reality from which we are then taken--and hence, jolting, and thereby distracting from the otherwise, lovely flow.

I did say that I'm struggling for material worthy of constructive critique in this piece--it truly is quite beautiful. And so, I do hope that some of my observations on the second part are not perceived as picayune.

Great piece of poetry. I'm enriched for having read it -- now that I know where Provence is and who Peter Mayle was.

Last edited by Robert Luis Rodriguez; 01-22-2022 at 04:36 PM. Reason: typo-left the "t" off heart
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Unread 01-22-2022, 06:02 PM
Orwn Acra Orwn Acra is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: NYC
Posts: 2,215

You sly Manx, you!
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Unread 01-22-2022, 06:34 PM
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RCL RCL is offline
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,220

David, a neatly balanced DeBritoning of a Briton
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Unread 01-22-2022, 06:44 PM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Posts: 7,608

A disarming, charming poem. Fun to see a Peter Mayle reference, and I like the thought that what truly makes Provence Provence might have little to do with what's captured on postcards.

This isn't Provence, either, but I have seriously considered resorting to some of Mayle's advanced tactics for getting dodgy builders to show up and do further work, after they've received their deposit check on Day One of a project. Inviting the workers' families to a party so the workers could show off their completed handiwork was a stroke of motivational genius.

Technically, to keep the "c" in Languedocerie hard rather than soft, to rhyme with "rockery," you might need a hyphen:

     all lavender and Languedoc-erie

Or a spelling change:

     all lavender and Languedoquerie

Both of which would probably kill the joke, so ignore me.
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Unread 01-22-2022, 09:36 PM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Lazio, Italy
Posts: 5,675

This is great, David, and characteristically pleasingly playful. I wouldn't change anything. I'm curious about the title. Are you really going to call it "Here"?
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