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Theia`s child

by nickb 

Posted: 29 May 2019
Word Count: 115
Summary: A bit late coming to the table for Oonah's request for moon poems, but here it is anyway.


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You hang there in your death, an orange bud.
Your rising fat on the skyline ages 
me clockwise – I’d follow your long arc to 
eek out each minute, but you keep sluggish
time for one so fast. A mute repeater, 
proud of what your beauty once was, but now 
your dial is splayed there, cracked, pitted past 
repair.  Deep lesions spell out your maker’s 
name, a one-off work by a blundering 
master.  And now you are captive, forced to 
exhibit your slow measure, muscled by
unsparing light and a callous sister,
bright with burning cold, without hope of any
resurrection. Shards of your reflection
fall at my feet. Your hands wash in the tides.






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Comments by other Members



V`yonne at 23:52 on 29 May 2019  Report this post
Well I love it, Nick! It's one line long for a sonnet but maybe that was not your intent and anyway... 

One suggestion?

bright with burning cold. No hope of
resurrection.

bit more stark?


I love

                                                you keep sluggish
time for one so fast.

and I love the ending. Just because I have done with that issue doesn't mean I can't take moon poems but I think lots of mags would love to have this.

James Graham at 21:03 on 30 May 2019  Report this post
Hello Nick – I’ve read this poem a couple of times and can see how excellent it is – it’s a winner for sure. It may be too late for the ‘moon poems’ but as Oonah says it should be sent off to other mags. I can suggest Kathleen Mickelson’s magazine Gyroscope Review – you may know it, but if you need further details let me know.

I need more time to scrutinise this poem so that I can give you a comment that measures up to it. It’s quite challenging, full of bold imagery, paradoxes such as ‘bright with burning cold’, and word choices that continually take us by surprise. I’ll get back to you soon.

James.

nickb at 13:00 on 31 May 2019  Report this post
Thanks oonah, I like you suggestion.  I was trying to keep to 10 syllables per line but on reflection I'm not convinced it adds anything by doing so.  As you may have guessed, I didn't start out with the idea of making it a sonnet and by the time that idea occurred to me it was rather too late!

Nick

James Graham at 21:12 on 01 June 2019  Report this post
Hi Nick – The quality of this poem is such that I feel I must do an academic assessment, or at least make the attempt. I’m looking for two features: 1. Is it more than a medley of striking phrases and images? In my view, some contemporary poems are little more than displays of verbal fireworks, with little overall coherence. So, is there  a unifying theme? Answer: yes, there is. 2. Does it evince originality in its detail, i.e. in its line-by-line use of language? Answer: Yes.
 
The theme is unmistakably elegaic. It’s always good to find that a first line, like the tune for a classical theme and variations, clearly signals what is to follow. This is the door that opens into the poem:
 
You hang there in your death, an orange bud.
 
The Moon is subtly personified, as if alive – or rather, as if a kind of living-dead thing. This idea is continued throughout, but especially in
 
your dial is splayed there, cracked, pitted past 
repair
 
in which the familiar configurations of the Moon’s surface appear as marks of a lingering, declining old age. And of course the Moon is a Cinderella, one who has never escaped her ‘callous sister’.
 
(The ‘orange bud’ in the first line is worth mentioning too, by the way. This is a bud on a shrub which has lacked water or the necessary feeding, and has passed the normal flowering season without opening. A surprising but appropriate image.)
 
I think it’s possible also to see beyond the surface theme of the Moon and see the Moon-imagery as symbolic of declining life, the kind of wasting away, loss of faculties, physical decrepitude, that we sometimes see in a very old person. Maybe this is taking it a little too far, but I don’t really think so. It’s there if the reader wants to see it. So all in all I think this poem contains what’s possibly a unique take on the Moon, a new way of looking at it, which is what good poetry is so often about – seeing something familiar with a fresh eye.
 
Now, having written this long comment on theme, I feel I’d better not make it dissertation-length by going on about use of language. Take my word for  it, the poem sparkles. I must mention at least one thing, which I noted before: your striking use of paradox.
 
                        you keep sluggish
time for one so fast.
 
The basic thing about paradox is that we first say, ‘But that’s not true, it’s a contradiction’, then after five seconds at most we say, ‘But it is true!’. You bet the Moon is fast: I believe if you combine its own orbiting speed with the speed of the Earth’s  motion round the Sun, you get 30km per second. But we all experience it as slow, moving almost imperceptibly across the sky. A true paradox.
 
Your title is good – the reader should know, or if not google, that Theia is the name given to the asteroid or whatever which collided with the Earth about 4.5 billion years ago and threw up debris which formed the Moon. So the Moon’s childhood was a very, very long time ago. (As our own childhood often seems to be!)
 
If I were browsing in the poetry section of a bookshop, opened a book at random and found this poem, I would buy the book.
 
James.

nickb at 16:36 on 04 June 2019  Report this post
Hi James,

many thanks for your thoughts on this one, your insight is, as always, very close to the mark.  One aspect which I was trying to get across was time - hence the comparison of the moon to a clock face.  We have always used the moon as one way of regulating time so it seemed appropriate though hopefully not too literal.

I've looked up the Gyroscope Review on line and may well send it off to them.

Thanks again,

Nick

James Graham at 19:34 on 04 June 2019  Report this post
If you like the look of Gyroscope you should send it. It's rather a plain magazine - no artwork like The Linnet's Wings - but it's quality - and it has a respectable US circulation!

James.

FelixBenson at 10:29 on 08 June 2019  Report this post
What an impressive poem, Nick. Elegeic in tone, James says, and I love that tone so much. It feels right for the moon. But there is noting sentimenal here. The images are rich, robust and refreshing. The moon is often written of in poetry, so you start already with .a huge challenge to find fresh images, and you have no many here!

Your rising fat on the skyline ages 
me clockwise 

Rising fat really stopped me in my tracks. How ...right! Yet something I have not heard or thought before.  So is

A mute repeater,

Perfectly done. Aside from the last line, which is a fantastic unsettling image of the moon's rays. Arresting, it's this part which is my favourite:

muscled by
unsparing light and a callous sister,
bright with burning cold, without hope of any
resurrection.

I love the idea of this dark relationship between the moon and the sun. The sun a 'callous sister', and the moon 'burning cold'. Lots of lovely tragedy at the end for this doomed moon. Or us doomed to our limited days looking at the moon and finding a reflection there of our own ends and frustrations.

No suggestions from me, this seems a perfect piece except should it be 'eke' not 'eek'?

Certainly I hope you get this published. It's such a polished and impressive poem.

nickb at 22:07 on 11 June 2019  Report this post
Thanks so much for your thoughts on this one Kirsty, glad you like it.  Have changed eek to eke!

Nick


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