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She died for want of...(version two)

by Brian Aird 

Posted: 12 January 2006
Word Count: 133


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She died for want of
breath,
or a cheat for death like
invulnerability mode or
the right post code or
a religious revival
or just more survival.

Another way out
or a god
with more clout,
the laying on of hands or
replacement glands.

Divine intervention or
a new invention
like a Stannah Stair
Lift ascension or
a large enough pension
for cryogenic suspension

or a spare part like
an unbreakable heart.

Anything to keep her from the
grim reaper like
an elixir of life or
being Dracula's wife
or silver screen fame as
a zombie with a zimmer frame.

She also died without
hearing me cry that I'd lost her

or that I love her
or that I whispered "not yet"

or that I'll never forget
how much I'm in her debt






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Comments by other Members



DJC at 15:53 on 12 January 2006  Report this post
This is much more cohesive than the first draft, Brian. However, the rhythm could be reinforced by different lineation, making more like performance poetry:

breath,

or a cheat for death like
invulnerability mode or
the right post[al] code or
a religious revival
or just more survival.

Another way out
or a god
with more clout,
the laying on of hands or
replacement glands.

Divine intervention or
a new invention
like a Stannah Stair
Lift ascension or
a large enough pension
for cryogenic suspension:

or a spare part like
an unbreakable heart.

Anything to keep her from the
grim reaper like
an elixir of life or
being Dracula's wife
or maybe, a film role

as a zimmer frame zombie.

Just a thought - but I'd definitely lose the exclamation mark at the end and change post to postal, as it scans better. And I might add a final line after zombie, which perhaps rhymes with it (ah, can't think of anything off the top off my head...) and is more serious, thus hammering home the more serious side of what is, in effect, rather black humour, which is why it works so much better now. Nice one.

DJC at 15:54 on 12 January 2006  Report this post
Abercrombie?
urm.....................
nope, that's about it...

Brian Aird at 16:37 on 12 January 2006  Report this post
Thanks Darren. That's really helpful advice.
Does 'maybe' ryhme strongly enough? so how about

a film role maybe
as a zimmer frame zombie?

Its as good as I can get today!

(I refuse to force a ryhme with Abercrombie!)

Brian

P.S. I had a long discussion about forcing ryhme with my sister (her daughter will read my other more respectful poem about mum's death). It was thought some ryhmes, although really too obvious, appear correct in context - when expected that is)



joanie at 16:41 on 12 January 2006  Report this post
Brian, do you ever use www.rhymezone.com? It's great for finding rhymes, synonyms, antonyms, definitions, etc. I often have it minimised when I'm working. Interesting what they suggest for rhymes with 'zombie'!

joanie

DJC at 17:31 on 12 January 2006  Report this post
No, I don't think you need the 'maybe', as I like the way the rhyme breaks down at the end - poems which deal with serious issues in a comic way need to come back to earth, to leave the reader with something to mull over, so disrupting rhyme and rhythm at the end is important. Also you're putting in a word for the sake of it, which is a cardinal sin in poetry, as we all know!

Rhymezone.com - sounds intriguing. The only prob, if its and American site, is that some rhymes are slightly different because of the different stress put on certain words. Fertile and turtle spring to mind, rather bizarrely.





paul53 [for I am he] at 08:16 on 13 January 2006  Report this post
Which version do you prefer, Brian?
Is the second closer to communicating your feelings to others while the first was communicating your feelings to yourself?
I ask this because I'm having an interesting conversation elsewhere on this site about one's first draft being closer to raw feeling before it is then redressed in expected and accepted formality.
Readers apart, which one is your favourite?

Brian Aird at 08:50 on 13 January 2006  Report this post
I don't know Paul. The death of a mother hits you in so many places - some you didn't know were there. Its normal everyone goes through it; its messy and no words however neatly laid on the page can replace the simple honest act of crying; 'O mother, I've lost you'.

So basic, primitive and childlike.


Brian



paul53 [for I am he] at 09:03 on 13 January 2006  Report this post
I read an interesting article somewhere about grieving. It stated that the rituals associated with it were in most cultures are an act of unity [I grieve for you] which then moves to an act of separation [You are gone, yet I remain], and were enacted so the living did not inwardly pass on with those who had died.
The loss never goes completely, of course, and years after losing both my parents I am still at a loss to discover in what way I was made "a better person" by it. Maybe it was increasing the empathetic side - or realising that in many ways my children will never truly know me as a person separated from my function.

DJC at 10:15 on 13 January 2006  Report this post
My idea for structure was a very 'instinctual' one - I did to Brian's poem what I often do to mine - type it out then go through and just 'feel' for where I'd put the line breaks. Obviously, my interpretation will be very different to Brian's - but it is an interesting exercise, taking another's work and changing lineation. A good exercise I often do with my kids is to take a piece of prose (non-fiction, like a recipe often works well) and turn it into a poetic form. It's good because it forces you to look at how words work alongside one another, and how breaking them apart can really change things.

It reminds me of the poem by Heaney, 'Mid Term Break'. In it, a child is walking through a house during a wake - his brother was knocked down in a car. Heaney writes about how his mother:

...held my hand

In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.

It's the line and stanza break between his hand and his mother's which holds all the meaning - the sense that he feels separate from her, that she is so swallowed up by her grief and anger that she almost doesn't know he's there.

That's the power of lineation, I feel.


Brian Aird at 14:22 on 13 January 2006  Report this post
I read my poem out at my Writers Circle and found I did indeed tend to break the flow at certain points where I wanted to draw attention to feeling (or where my own emotion intervened).

I think a poem destined for others to read out is not likely to be read the same way twice and some performers may want to choose their own rhythm and make their own line breaks.

The value of the poet making using lineation to mark emphasis and draw out associations is that at least the reader has some idea of the author's original interpretation. In the past I have only used commas, but line breaks and line abutments make it more obvious and possibly more interesting.

Brian


DJC at 15:27 on 13 January 2006  Report this post
Absolutely - line and stanza breaks are a fundamental element of meaning in poetry - although they can, initially seem random, reworking can bring out some interesting ways of breaking phrases apart, and, along with enjambement, can give the poem meanings beyond the words themselves.


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