16 responses

  1. Any opinion on how my poetry is trending here?

    First Guilt

    My 4-year-old thing was boards
    Scrapped from anywhere
    (Those palings by the road
    Not all of them rot)
    And so I’d sort
    And soon enough build
    Up and up and up
    With rusty, salvaged nails
    (As well)
    A tree scraper—to my
    Highest pride it held!
    Until one day a girl
    I had played “Doctor” with,
    Collapsed it, in my absence,
    And blamed me for her fall.
    The good news is:
    She later became a trial lawyer
    Whose husband, with her consent,
    Offered me $1500
    To lay some paving stones
    To their mansion
    But which
    I thankfully did
    For free.

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  2. It’s a first draft. Or maybe she rules the roost.
    Another possibility:

    She later became a trial lawyer
    Whose husband, at her suggestion,
    Offered me $1500
    To build a boardwalk
    To their mansion
    But which
    I gratefully did
    For free.

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    • That’s better but why “gratefully”? I’m going to guess that you’re glad she didn’t sue you for 4 year old building code violations and sexual molestation related to pediatric malpractice? I feel like there’s a joke in there somewhere but so far it feels like the kind of joke Micheal of the Office would tell — where everybody sort of cringes.

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  3. Thanks. Yes, a little rest and I feel that “gratefully” and “thankfully” hint at a life of compulsive expiation or a darkness that clashes with the light touch of the poem. Is this better? Thanks.

    First Guilt

    My 4-year-old thing was boards
    Scrapped from anywhere
    (Those palings by the road
    Not all of them rot)
    And so I’d sort
    And soon enough build
    Up and up and up
    With rusty, salvaged nails
    (As well)
    A tree scraper—to my
    Highest pride it held!
    Until one day a girl
    I’d played “Doctor” with,
    Collapsed it, in my absence,
    And blamed me for her fall.
    The good news:
    She later became a trial lawyer
    Whose husband, at her suggestion
    Offered me $20,000
    To build a boardwalk
    Up a dune
    To their mansion
    The labor for which
    (I told him)
    I’d be donating
    In her memory.

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    • Perfect! Almost. The grammatical inversion of “to my/highest price it held!” sounds a little too artsy in this poem—as always, I don’t like messing with idiomatic word order in poetry.

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  4. One other adjustment:

    And so I’d sort
    And sort enough to build
    Up and up and up

    instead of:

    And so I’d sort
    And soon enough build
    Up and up and up

    Better?

    Like

  5. This is 83 of my posted poems. I have 17 to go to match Elisabeth Bishop’s grand total of a 100. But nothing I can call my “Sunday Morning”–yet. When I browse what my contemporaries are writing, however, I do come back to mine hearing a voice like no other. Would you agree?

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