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  #21  
Unread 10-14-2021, 06:49 AM
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R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is online now
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A "nay" on the the new title, which seems, in a single phrase, to have summed up all that was dully guide-bookish about the original first stanza.
Although it does introduce one interesting idea, the idea of "outside", the gargoyles being outside the cathedral, outsiders.

Nemo
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  #22  
Unread 10-14-2021, 07:02 AM
W T Clark W T Clark is online now
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I'd call it "Outside" and leave it there. Less is more.
Allowing the reader to work out what is being described serves your purpose because when they realise what type of thing you are talking of, they will see that thing anew, stripped of typical association.
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  #23  
Unread 10-14-2021, 07:24 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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I'd just call it "Gargoyles." For one thing, it is such a wonderful word. For another, the reader that way has a ready set of associations to strum the poem with.
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  #24  
Unread 10-14-2021, 09:37 AM
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A. Baez A. Baez is offline
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Yeah, as soon as I looked at my new title this morning, I recognized/confirmed that it was way too cumbersome. I'm toying around with alternates now, cleaving for the moment to precedent with Andrew's endorsement. Thanks for the ideas.

I also experimented with Yves' suggestion, not knowing what to expect. Probably most people will still prefer the shorter version, but if for nothing else, for curiosity:

Wandering past a broad cathedral wall,
Whose surface bridges life outside and and in,
Like skin respiring softly to engage
The city’s sweetness, yet still braced for sin,
I scan the strange admixture, cast in thrall
To arches, saints—and gargoyles. Shrined in age,

These sculpted spirits, strained with twist and thrust,
Popping eyes and clawing in assault;
Restive stills of anger, woe, or lust,
Their stone heads worrying the wider vault,
Sprang up like chilblains from these spires of grace
To meet the outer darkness with their dark—
Like caveats to consecrated space,
Like thugs to match the demons, bark for bark.

Last edited by A. Baez; 10-17-2021 at 11:17 AM.
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  #25  
Unread 10-14-2021, 11:40 AM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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Looking at this again now, I see the rightness of Andrew's suggestion. Well spotted that man.

And I'm glad you've embraced it.

Cheers

David
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  #26  
Unread 10-14-2021, 12:01 PM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Please ignore my comment about "Sculpted," A. I was trying to make you write the poem that I would have written, which is the cardinal sin of workshop critiques. I repent, I repent....

So far, I prefer the title "Gargoyles" to the other options.

I appreciate the inverted sonnet attempt in Post 24 above, but I still strongly prefer the 8-line version--in part because I was never completely easy with the evocation of the "broad Cathedral wall." The outer walls of Gothic-style cathedrals are so broken up by windows and by the buttresses that make those windows possible that the evocation of flatness seems incongruous.

The image of carved saints in the inverted sonnet's prefatory sestet also introduces an unhelpful, undeveloped foil for the gargoyles. The saints don't have the same reason for being where they are as the poem's logic assigns to the gargoyles. The saints are merely outside the church, not outside the Church.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 10-14-2021 at 12:08 PM.
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  #27  
Unread 10-14-2021, 12:13 PM
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Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
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Hey again,

Quick shout out at the title -- it *could* be more catchy. Poets and painters alike are usually terrible at titles (me included). A title should at least prevent a reader from thinking, "So what?" Currently, let's say a potential reader might think, "The Gargoyles, hmm... what's that got to do with me and my life?"

Perhaps, "Thugs to Match the Demons" might be a decent intriguer, at least to get at my notion. Perhaps something better in that theme?

Also this thought, evoked from that, from a sermon by Alistair Begg many years ago, commenting on the book of Habakkuk, "Sometimes God uses very, very evil people to [punish/correct/bring justice to] only mildly evil people." (Justice will come to the very, very evil people at a different time and manner.) I don't exactly remember the quote. But the notion complements the gargoyles poem nicely.

Personally, the notion was watershed for me, because a large percentage of cases where evil seemed to triumph over good (if not all) seemed answered by this notion -- understanding that a lot of the "good" in such situations weren't all as "good" as they seemed. Anyway, let my reel my metaphysics in.

Just a thought for the morning. I still owe you the stuff I mentioned earlier, but am not likely to get to it until later in the week -- work being, well, work...
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  #28  
Unread 10-15-2021, 09:30 PM
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A. Baez A. Baez is offline
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David, I admit that the abridged version is still not sitting quite right with me--each time I read it, I feel jolted, as though I've stepped in on the middle of a thought-stream and am trying to orient myself even as I'm supposed to be engrossed in the words right in front of me. In contrast, I conceive of the original's trajectory as similar to when one observes a body of evidence, then is confronted by a new thought regarding this evidence, then revisits that evidence in light of the new thought, and finally, reaches a conclusion. As a writer, I thought it particularly apropos to follow the entire meandering process in this poem, considering its subject--the elaborate environment of a bygone age.

However, I wonder how you'd feel about my second revision, prompted by Yves?

Julie, okay about "sculpted." I have to admit I'm curious to see "the poem you would have written." Maybe you should write it?

Thanks for your vote on the title "Gargoyles." As glib as it may seem, it affords a clarity that I think is needed, without giving away too much.

That's interesting that "broad" threw you. I'd not associated that word with "flat," and certainly its definition does not imply this association; I simply meant to convey "wide." Does that word make you think "flat," too?

Also interesting is your comment,

Quote:
The image of carved saints in the inverted sonnet's prefatory sestet also introduces an unhelpful, undeveloped foil for the gargoyles.
Well, in the poem, I mention three foils to the gargoyles, none of which were developed but which together, I'd hoped would provide a cumulative sense of contrast: the "city's sweetness," the "saints," and the "spires of grace." I guess I figured the reader would be able to fill in how and why these were foils to the gargoyles. I wanted to keep the focus on them.

Quote:
The saints don't have the same reason for being where they are as the poem's logic assigns to the gargoyles. The saints are merely outside the church, not outside the Church.
True enough--that's why I called them (the saints), the arches, and the gargoyles a "strange admixture."

Daniel, hi again! I understand that my title is quite prosaic, but there are things I am even more opposed to in titles, one of them being telling too much and another being trying too hard. Your suggested title, "Thugs to Match the Demons," does both, to my mind, blowing half of the last line that the all the lines preceding are supposed to have been building up to, in the interest of titillating curiosity that would be left with little to satisfy it. However, at least theoretically, I'm open to other suggestions that don't commit either of those two sins, or touch only marginally upon the topic at hand.

That's an interesting quote you brought up. I'd say that its principle is the opposite of that enacted by gargoyles, though, right? In any case, I do believe that the justice of the universe is perfect, although we may fail to perceive it at times.

Last edited by A. Baez; 10-17-2021 at 06:02 PM.
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  #29  
Unread 10-16-2021, 09:41 AM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. Baez View Post
In any case, I do believe that the justice of the universe is perfect, although we may fail to perceive it at times.
Ooh, I love the smell of Leibni{t}z in the morning. Voltaire wouldn’t agree. Moi, you may be right, all right—I hope so—one thing I’m moderately sure of (barring miracles for we humans who can keep somewhat decent records and aren’t bureaucrats) is that much of the universe operates on the principle that the universe we inhabit is the most probable universe in any case.

Best from
Record-keeping Allen

Last edited by Allen Tice; 10-16-2021 at 09:47 AM.
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  #30  
Unread 10-16-2021, 11:00 AM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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The notion that all suffering is either ordained by universal justice or will be made right by universal justice, with no effort or inconvenience on our part, encourages good people to victim-blame and to accept obvious injustices, rather than joining efforts to assist those who need help and to change the factors that put the vulnerable into those unfortunate situations.

Sorry, that's pretty far afield from the poem, but whenever faith seems to be equated with comfortable inertia, I feel compelled to ask people to consider whether such an attitude seems more likely to serve God's agenda or the devil's.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 10-16-2021 at 11:02 AM.
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