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  #1  
Unread 10-18-2021, 11:13 AM
R. Nemo Hill's Avatar
R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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Default Spring

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.
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Spring


Late last Fall, composting garden beds,
I banged my index finger on the handle
of a hoe. Beneath the nail, what bled
soon dried into a tiny crimson candle
flame that’s drifted toward that finger’s tip
all winter long, companioning my grip.

A calendar to mark the season’s turn,
the wound’s a navigational detail.
One quick clip now—it will cease to burn,
will drop down with my crescent moon of nail,
a bloodstained seed, a scab of ash, or both.
The rule that it reveals is constant growth.
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.
.
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  #2  
Unread 10-18-2021, 11:59 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Nemo, I like it, particularly the ending. But the one part that seemed odd and therefore seemed possibly there for the rhyme was "companioning my grip." Did it hurt when you gripped? In what way is it connected to your grip, other than just being there?

Susan
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  #3  
Unread 10-18-2021, 12:07 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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I had a similar reaction to "companioning," which seemed in context like a word that was trying too hard and called too much attention to itself. Also, btw, seasons are generally not capitalized unless they are being personified.

The second stanza seems far stronger than the first, which spends perhaps a bit too much time detailing the injury (TMI), and the "candle/ flame" enjambment doesn't seem to do much except set up what strikes me as a forced rhyme. I would also suggest "composting a garden bed" in L1, which to me sounds more natural (you were only in one bed at the time) and perfects the one imperfect rhyme.
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  #4  
Unread 10-18-2021, 01:39 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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.
Susan: "the one part that seemed odd and therefore seemed possibly there for the rhyme was "companioning my grip." Did it hurt when you gripped? In what way is it connected to your grip, other than just being there?"


I think the word "companioning" is exactly what it is doing. "Just being there". This kind of injury is usually painful for a few days (especially when pressure is applied directly) but then, as the poem so beautiful delineates, it rises painlessly to the the point of disappearance. So in a sense it is simply "companioning" the grip. It's something of an awkward word to use, but then again, it's an awkward kind of bruise that stays for months...

But if you were to consider something else, perhaps "emblazoning my grip"? No. "companioning" is such a pleasing-sounding word.


As for capitalizing Fall/seasons, it's about time someone did. It's always befuddled me. The days are. the months are. The seasons should be.

The seasonal arc of time denoted in this way is extraordinary. I've been twice blessed today by poems on this board. This one and Ann's Dance poem.

Then there is the oddity of reading a poem in the midst of Fall entitled, "Spring" that is a special treat of disorientation that made me dizzy.

I wouldn't change a thing.
.

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 10-19-2021 at 05:56 AM.
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Unread 10-18-2021, 02:40 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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S2 works fine as you posted it, but I had a thought, for what it's worth, that maybe you could slightly change the order of the lines, like so:

A calendar to mark the season’s turn,
the wound’s a navigational detail,
a bloodstained seed, a scab of ash, or both.
One quick clip now—it will cease to burn,
will drop down with my crescent moon of nail.
The rule that it reveals is constant growth.

PS-- When I criticized "candle" before, I hadn't connected it to "cease to burn", which I suspect you came up with in order to follow up on the candle line (which itself might have arisen out of a need to rhyme "handle"). But I was still a bit thrown because I took "burn" to be a transitive verb, i.e., that the wound felt like it was burning you, and not just a visual image (which is how I took it in S1).
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  #6  
Unread 10-18-2021, 03:18 PM
Jesse Anger Jesse Anger is offline
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I suspect that the candle image came before the rest of the poem, that flame shaped mark is the seed of the metaphor. it's the opposite of forced.

great poem, i'll b back, just wanted to chime in now on that aspect.

j
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  #7  
Unread 10-18-2021, 03:23 PM
Jim Ramsey Jim Ramsey is offline
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Hi Nemo,

I like this little story of rebirth. In the way of crits, first, I will say I have been through this experience a few times in my life. Maybe that’s why I like “companioning my grip” not just for the way it pairs with “composting garden beds” in the first line, but also in the companionship the spot of blood provides the N because it is so constantly observable travelling all winter toward the tip until clipping the nail finally removes it. I’ve had smashed nails that throbbed for days and hurt quite long, ones that kept me in suspense whether the nail would grow out or fall off. If I read Susan right, I too wonder whether pain is involved, not being quite sure the candle flame is a metaphor for pain. It seems that by the end of winter the flame would be more beacon than source of pain? As the poem says, “One quick clip now—it will cease to burn.” It doesn’t seem that one quick clip could significantly impact pain at that point. Maybe it’s best though if I keep wondering. One place I get problematically confused is when the wound/flame drops down with the N’s crescent moon of nail. Are you describing the tip of the nail as a crescent as it is clipped away (as I have come to think you are), or are you describing the lunula (the crescent moon shape) just above the cuticle? I am not quite sure how to picture the healing nail.

All the best,
Jim

Last edited by Jim Ramsey; 10-18-2021 at 03:30 PM. Reason: end sentence with period
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  #8  
Unread 10-18-2021, 04:29 PM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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I like this and wouldn't change it.
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  #9  
Unread 10-19-2021, 09:16 AM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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I like this a lot Nemo.

Roger's suggested second stanza is very good, but it loses the image in the comparison of the red mark in the clipping to a bloodstained seed. I like how you have it falling off.

I very much like the candle flame to seed evolution and the suggestion at the end that you can count on smashing your finger again pretty soon.

I, too, had the "pushing too hard" reaction to the word choice on "companioning".

Rick
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  #10  
Unread 10-19-2021, 10:40 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Hi Nemo, I had a similar reaction to Roger about the line break on “candle.” I’m not seeing what it’s doing there other than falling where the line is out of syllables. I also wonder if the candle needs to be there at all, since the key image is just a tiny crimson flame. The candle flame could be a match flame, etc.

I like the idea of the wound/scar as a kind of companion for the N’s grip. That really is what those lingering bodily marks feel like. “Companioning,” I think I like it precisely because it does stand out, like the wound. “Accompanying” would work ok metrically but would be more ordinary. So yes, I do like the unusual word choice there.

S2 is very tight. I like the connections between the calendar, the phases of the moon, and the cycles of death/growth, like a fingernail Farmer’s Almanac.

Andrew
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