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  #1  
Unread 05-22-2022, 02:03 PM
David Callin David Callin is online now
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Default In Haworth Parsonage

ORIGINAL A LA ANNIE - I HOPE.

This little room seems far too narrow now
for the imaginations that combined
within it, so resoundingly, as though
they made up one enormous fevered mind.

They found a greater drawing room outdoors,
that learned to hear the voices in the wind,
that made itself familiar to the moors
and called the intermittent stars its friends.

O to be young and gods in such a world!
To walk a while in such exalted ways
till, with a catch of breath, they are recalled
inside, and back to earth, to end their days.

The articles of angry disbelief:
the fatal couch, a blood-stained handkerchief.

ORIGINAL

This little room seems far too narrow now
for the imaginations that combined
within it, so resoundingly, as though
they made up one enormous fevered mind

that found a greater drawing room outdoors,
that learned to hear the voices in the wind,
that made itself familiar to the moors
and called the intermittent stars its friends.

O to be young and gods in such a world!
To walk for a while in such exalted ways
until, with a catch of breath, they are recalled
inside, and back to earth, to end their days.

The articles of angry disbelief:
the fatal couch, a blood-stained handkerchief.

Last edited by David Callin; 05-29-2022 at 07:24 AM.
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  #2  
Unread 05-22-2022, 02:38 PM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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An immediate response after a couple of enjoyable reads. More may follow.

See what you feel about healing the unnecessary wound caused by the stanza break between lines 4/5. It makes a heavyhanded nonsense of an otherwise rather pleasing enjambment.

Then try deleting "for" in line 10 (but don't contract the phrase to "awhile") and shrinking "until" to "till" in the next line. This would smooth the metre, rather like smudging a soft pencil outline with a skilled finger.
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Unread 05-22-2022, 02:55 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi David,

I thought this told its tale well and compellingly. It's nice to have two Bronte poems to compare, with Susan's older one, and though both are in tight metrical forms, they are rather different.
I did have three suggestions. You might separate your that series with dashes, not commas, around "that learned to hear the voices in the wind" - I think the list gets a bit clunky as is. You might remove "for," as Ann suggests (though "until" is fine by me). And you might remove the commas in your closing line: "inside, and back to earth, to end their days." I think you're cheating a bit with back to earth - it follows on exalted alone, I think, and maybe the star friends - and to my ear, that works better without the commas pointing to it. I'd like it then, it seems to me.
See what you think!

Cheers,
John
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Unread 05-22-2022, 02:57 PM
Carl Copeland Carl Copeland is online now
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David, it took me a little research to unpack this, but it’s exquisite. I hesitate to lay so much as a finger on it, but if you pressed me I’d ask for a word less Olympian (and blasphemous?) than “gods.” Yes, Ann’s metrical fixes in S3 would be to my taste in such a gem of a poem. Oh, and “winds” would make a better rhyme. I’m really straining to find anything I don’t love here.

UPDATE     I did recoil a bit at the boldness of S3L1, but the impression wasn’t rooted in a good knowledge of the sisters’ work. Some scholars apparently find Wuthering Heights more pagan than Christian. With that in mind, their striding out of the narrow parsonage to be gods of the heath may be just what you wanted.

Last edited by Carl Copeland; 05-23-2022 at 06:48 AM.
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Unread 05-23-2022, 03:23 AM
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Sarah-Jane Crowson Sarah-Jane Crowson is offline
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Hi David,

FWIW I like this, very much. I love how the imaginations become embodied - like a sound, in S1 - and I enjoy what I read as a nod to Keats as well as the romantic movement more generally in the Ďfevered mindí (and that link with illness which you return to later).

I like Ďintermittent starsí in S2. Iím not sure if this is a direct allusion to something or not but either way it works for me.

S3 works really well for me in the way that it feels/sounds like the romantics without sounding like parody - and the last two lines juxtapose beautifully with the first two.

And the end is brilliant, I think - the objects - the artefacts that mark death by illness. I donít know if these are objects in the parsonage or not, but I imagine them to be there - the curiously gothic handkerchief under glass. Two great images.

Negatives - I suspect that thereís been a lot written about Haworth and itís possible someone might criticise this for not saying anything that hasnít been said before. But I think you say it interestingly, with images, letting the reader imagine the other parts of the story, so it works for me.

The thread title is a bit bland. Thatís probably a better/more useful point. If I saw the title in a magazine it wouldnít be drawing me in particularly. Which is a shame, as Iíd miss out if I hadnít read the poem!

WhenI read the poem out loud, line 9 sounds dull rather than impassioned. It works okay on the page, but I wonder if it needs some kind of pause-point between young and Ďandí.

I really enjoyed this! 



Sarah-Jane
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Unread 05-23-2022, 08:17 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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I like it, David. I thought that to call the Brontes "gods" was not out of line, since they were creators of worlds. "Intermittent stars" made me think of the weather and how the stars are not always visible, but it also reminded me that flashes of brilliance are rare, too. Your poem does depend on some knowledge of the Brontes to make full sense of the details you include, but readers of poetry are at least likely candidates to have that knowledge. I like that the "catch of breath" has a double resonance: they go inside to catch their breath, but also they have a shortness of breath that presages death.

Susan
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Unread 05-23-2022, 08:42 AM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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The tension between "gods" in L9 and "disbelief" in L13 ó especially with the drama of the trochaic substitution at the beginning of L9 contrasting with the pedestrian predictability of L13 ó works well for me.
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Unread 05-24-2022, 09:42 AM
Carl Copeland Carl Copeland is online now
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Itís that audacious L9 again. I kept thinking it reminded me of something, and I think Iíve found it. Odd, though, because Iíve never been able to get through much of Whitman. ďOh, to be alive in such an age ÖĒ

Carl
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Unread 05-24-2022, 10:28 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Carl, perhaps you were reminded of Wordworth's Prelude: "Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, / But to be young was very heaven," which, ironically, was referring to the French Revolution. How often extremes of experience and emotion go together.

Susan
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Unread 05-24-2022, 11:10 AM
W T Clark W T Clark is offline
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This is very good work, David — though with my usual doubts over "o's" (and those are very bold anapests in s3). I also am not exactly pleased with the grouping of the BrontŽs into a single mind, which seems to diminish their (especially Emily's) individual geniuses, and seems mostly there so the male poet can make some tidy sonnet-shaped pronouncements about their lives overall without directly wrestling with each writer's own idiosyncratic style. Culture has misrepresented the BrontŽs as romance-writers for very long now; they are in fact incredibly savage and quite pessimistic visionaries. That is why your choice of "gods" is so unconventionally appropriate.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by W T Clark; 05-24-2022 at 11:14 AM.
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