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by Zettel 

Posted: 26 October 2018
Word Count: 184

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Is it the peaceful passing
of the loved-hued life-throughed
glory of a beckoning sunset
coda to a perfect day
or the awakening hope
of a maiden-blushed new day
Is it the new born joy
of a first-born girl or boy
anxiety, fear abated
of the much desired
long awaited
consequence of love
Is it the triumph of success
in work social place or play
struggles end achieved
recognition now acquired
ambition realized
aspiration fired
Is it the after glow of requited love
where passion's rhythms coincide
satisfied into repose
drifting on an ebbing tide
waiting a resurgent wave
to lift and carry us once more
Is it wedding day of plighted troth
friends of life and blood conjoin
to celebrate our union, our love
in health and sickness till death divides
the adventure of a union realized
nothing feared, nothing missed, nothing compromised
Precious, cherished though these are
None can in my deepest self compare
When Poppy fractious, upset, tired
First quiets then snuggles close
In innocence and trust she sleeps
And her pretty dreams
my arms my heart my soul enclose

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Comments by other Members

James Graham at 20:28 on 27 October 2018  Report this post
This must be one of your best poems. Having read so much of your work over the years, I think I see a trend towards a more ‘poetic’ language, by which I mean original word choices making strong, memorable lines. For example, we have ‘beckoning’ in ‘glory of a beckoning sunset’; ‘coda’ in ‘coda to a perfect day’; ‘consequence’ in ‘long awaited/ consequence of love’. These are just three; there are more throughout.
Speaking of word choices, your title is perhaps the best of all. It’s the key to the poem; it informs us as we read each stanza. Each is a paradigm of happiness, and all are appealing but none equals the joy you have in your granddaughter as she settles down to sleep – ‘in innocence and trust’, another striking word choice. Your brief portrait of her is very endearing – and realistic, not sentimental; she is ‘fractious, upset, tired’ as little ones often are, but generous affection, easy for any parent or grandparent to give, soon dispels these unpleasant feelings. ‘Trust’ seems to me the most appropriate word for the feeling she must have just before sleep: she trusts you to soothe away those nasty feelings, to banish her demons. This bedtime scene is the true paradigm.
The poem doesn’t explicitly tell us who Poppy is. Sometimes a personal detail like that can puzzle readers, but not in this case. It’s obvious of course that she’s a little girl. and anyone could easily guess that she must be either the daughter or granddaughter of the poet. A little more reflection would favour granddaughter, as the speaker in the rest of the poem clearly isn’t a young man but a man looking back over a long life.
I’ll return to this poem aand consider whether I can suggest any revisions. It’s a fine piece.

Zettel at 00:51 on 28 October 2018  Report this post
Thanks James. It's encouraging to feel one might be improving a bit as time goes on.



V`yonne at 15:48 on 28 October 2018  Report this post
I think it's beautiful. I don't think the last two stanzas read with the same easy flow of the first 4. And maybe in that 4th the first and last lines could keep more to the established rhythms

Is it the after glow of love

Where passions rhythms coincide
Satisfied into repose
Resting on the shore
of the urgent rushing tide

recovering again to soar

I agree with what James says about Poppy, and I don't think we need to know more because children/grandchildren are what most people desire -- love's treasured outcomes.

I am looking forward to see this develop -- but not too much because as I say -- it's lovely. The sentiments are perfect without being at all sentimental. The tone is perfect. The poems answers itself.

Is it the peaceful passing
of the loved-hued life-throughed
glory of a beckoning sunset
coda to a perfect day

James Graham at 22:06 on 28 October 2018  Report this post
I see Oonah has posted a very positive comment, and I agree with it. Except perhaps about the last stanza: its rhythm may not flow quite as easily as others, but what it has to say overrides that, I think. I don’t think you should consider any revision here. Oonah also quotes stanza 4, and in this case I do think it needs revision. I’ll come to that.
As far as I can see, there are just three instances in the poem of lines that may need attention. In these lines:
anxiety, fear abated
of the much desired
long awaited
consequence of love
do you mean that the anxiety and fear that are abated are anxiety and fear of the ‘consequence of love’? It’s possible. Fear of the consequence of love might refer to apprehension that the newborn may be disabled or sick, or may die in infancy. It would be ‘abated’ on knowing that the child was healthy and strong. If you had this in mind, or see it as a possible meaning, the lines could remain unchanged. However, I’ll still run this past you, as they say:
anxiety, fear abated
breathes the much desired
long awaited
consequence of love
‘Breathes’ is one of my efforts to come up with a surprising word choice. If you don’t like it, maybe the above comment will suggest something more appropriate. Or leave it as it is.
Next, you need to rephrase
recovering so once might be more
This stanza is about the sexual act, though ‘making love’ (often intended as a euphemism) is much more appropriate. It’s conveyed without the least hint of graphic eroticism; it is about physical love, but the emphasis is unmistakably on love. These are excellent lines, so it’s a pity the last line hardly makes sense! I think it probably means ‘so that this happy moment may happen again’. I’ll leave you to reword it, but if you need further help (with this or any other aspect of the poem) let me know.
Finally, in the penultimate stanza, ‘untroubled seas’ is a cliché. It grates just a little in a poem full of inventive ideas. I wondered if ‘favourable winds’ might be better. There’s a line between cliché and familiar phrase, and I think this is on the right side of it.
I hope this will be helpful. I repeat: I agree with Oonah, this is a fine poem.

Zettel at 02:04 on 29 October 2018  Report this post
Thanks for the very constructive, thoughtful comments from you both

I have tried to respond to your commments - with what success I don"t know - though it does seem to read a bit better where you both had qualms.

On stanza 2 James I simply meant that pregnancy and childbirth are defining epxeriences for any couple: from the prossible worry or doubts about becoming or getting  pregnant; doubts and fears over  9 months - for no pregnancy is ever without its problems and anxieties; and the trauma of actual birth for each partner; not just about the baby but also each other. So here by 'consequence' I meant simply 'the outcome of'' though the more nuanced, morally evocative sense 'consequence' suggests, works for me to hint at the serious, wide-ranging effects of this simple causal outcome on lives forever changed.


James Graham at 21:11 on 29 October 2018  Report this post
Thank you for your explanation of Stanza 2. I can now see much better what you are saying about the anxieties that accompany pregnancy. I also find I’m more aware of the preciseness of meaning you achieve in the word ‘consequence’: it’s an example of the kind of key word in a poem which convinces us that it’s the only right word, and no other will do.
At the end of Stanza 5, I still prefer a metaphor of marriage as a voyage, hopefully over a calm sea with no storms, or at least none that will sink the ship. Something reminded me of the beautiful Mendelssohn overture ‘Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage’; I wanted your lines to read ‘The adventure of united lives/ Set forth in hope of a prosperous voyage’ – but I suppose that wouldn’t be very original, and anyway the rhythm isn’t very good. The ending you have now, the long line ‘nothing feared, nothing missed, nothing compromised’ has a certain effect: it’s an emphatic, strong conclusion to your reflections on marriage. It seems to say this is the paradigm, but we go on to discover that even this is not the richest source of happiness. It is Poppy and all she means to you.

You can be well satisfied with this poem now.
A footnote: from the point of view of a reader who does not know Poppy, she becomes in a sense the universal grandchild. Readers would substitute their own loved name. Mine is ‘Lucy’.

James Graham at 21:16 on 29 October 2018  Report this post
I meant to refer again to Stanza 4, the one that had the rather contorted line. What you have now is very much better, and none of the meaning of the stanza is lost.


Zettel at 01:42 on 30 October 2018  Report this post
Once again thanks James. If the changes are an improvement I have your and V’Yonne’s comments to motivate me to change them. 


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