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by Nell 

Posted: 07 May 2004
Word Count: 71
Summary: After Robert Frost's Ice and Fire - see Poetry Seminar.

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Held between the Moon and Sun
The Earth, our Goddess Mother
Created from the fires of Sun
Man and Woman, just begun
And nurtured by each other.
And if these two should come to fight
Like sister and like brother
I know that in the blackest night
Their passions would the world ignite
But when the fires had died at last
Their memory would soon be past
Just like any other.

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Comments by other Members

Skeetr at 12:38 on 07 May 2004  Report this post
Impressive, Nell. The rhyme scheme is handled with subtlety, avoiding any sing-songness, but still punctuating the rhythm. I like how, as with Frost's poem, the opposites (moon/sun, man/woman, brother/sister) fluctuate from being opposed to being complementary, from fighting to passion, from uniting at the end... and your 'end' has an apocalyptic tone there, as well.

Good stuff,


joanie at 13:19 on 07 May 2004  Report this post
Excellent, Nell. I echo Smith's comments. The rhyme scheme is perfect. The whole feel of it is just right, I think. I need to get mine done now! Not easy. I enjoyed reading and shall certainly come back and read again - just like with Frost.

Inspiration at 14:00 on 07 May 2004  Report this post

Although I don't feel qualified to comment, I had to let you know how I felt.

You have really captures Frost's style. You have the beginning and the end of the earth, passion, war, fire, and death. The opposites, as said above, clearly oppose and compliment. I hope I can come up with something as good.


gard at 19:55 on 07 May 2004  Report this post
Hi Nell

lovely rhythm to this piece, more later (at work now)


Nell at 20:37 on 07 May 2004  Report this post
Smith, joanie, Inni, gard, thanks for the kind words, this was a tough one - who am I kidding, they're all tough! Looking forward to reading all the other Frosties.


LONGJON at 21:45 on 07 May 2004  Report this post
Hello Nell

Lovely piece - its difficult, isn't it, in an exercise like this to produce a piece that is "derived from" but is not merely "derivative". You've managed to do that by the creation of an unusual rhyming scheme, while preserving the Frostian simplicity in language. Good on you, well done.

John P.

tinyclanger at 17:21 on 08 May 2004  Report this post
Hi Nell, hard to think a of anything that's not already been said very well...but I think I liked the combining of Frostian (?!) characteristics with a kind of 'Earth Mother' feel! Its at once simple and yet deep, everyday and yet otherworldly - which I think is what Frost tried to do in many ways.
The opposites / contrasts are great, very skilfully handled, and I think the ending echoes Fire and Ice well. Yes, apocalyptic, but also very simply state,d no fire and brimstone hysteria and breast-beating. Gives it real impact.
"soon be past / Just like any other"......."and will suffice"

Enjoyed reading it!

Nell at 08:05 on 09 May 2004  Report this post
John, tc, thanks for reading. I'm rather into 'Earth Mother' mode at the moment! There's great difficulty in writing a poem whilst keeping simplicity in the language, yet ecapsulating great ideas - as Frost does so well. I'm uneasy with: And if these two should come to fight/Like sister and like brother/I know that in the blackest night... These lines appear to me almost childish, yet it was what I wanted to say...hmmm, will have to think on't.

fevvers at 13:05 on 09 May 2004  Report this post
This is a lovely poem, and has a wonderful feel to it but I'm a bit confused. The Earth is between the sun & Moon - okay I get that. But is the sun & moon the 'man & woman' that created the Earth? - "Created from the fires of Sun
Man and Woman, just begun
And nurtured by each other."

If they're actually 'man & woman' not metaphors, there should be a full stop after Sun. If not, then the sense seems odd. Is the sun & Moon the possible fighters, or the man & woman?

Also, if the world had ended (set alight) there would be no memory left, because there would be nothing to have a memory of anything. I know this may sound nit-picky, but it is something that could throw a reader.

I'm also a little worried about the odd inversions that your rhyme scheme has encouraged.

Having said all that, I love the idea of this poem and I like epic, bardic tone esp in "And if these two..."


Nell at 14:16 on 09 May 2004  Report this post
Hi fevvers, I know that the earth, strictly speaking is not 'held between the sun and moon' but harking back to earlier days it must sometimes have seemed that way, with the moon rising as the sun goes down. Although on the other hand, if the moon were to disappear the earth would move away from the sun a little, but then you did say that you understood that part. 'The Earth, our Goddess Mother' was 'created from the fires of sun', although you could say that man and woman, and indeed all life could be included in this idea, so I wanted to keep the ambiguity in those lines. The sun is considered the God in some religions and the the moon the Goddess, and the seasons (the wheel of the year) take these entities through a cycle of birth and death. In the spring the God (the sun) comes of age after his re-birth through an awakening of passion and thus fertility. The possible fighters are the human man and woman or men and women - I can imagine that might happen, and I envisaged not the end of the world as such but the destruction of the human race by man/woman's stupidity, and earth recovering and healing itself, with the human race leaving no memory in the mind of Gaia (earth). Many religions past and present see the Sun, Moon and Earth as Gods/Godesses, and the idea of Gaia tolerating the human race until they go too far, then shrugging them off or allowing them to destroy themselves in order to heal and continue as if they'd never existed is a strong one that has been put forward in recent years.

I've simplified the above explanation somewhat, but I hope it helps with understanding what was going on in my head when I wrote this!

I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'inversion', could you explain?

Thanks for reading and commenting, Frost makes it look easy, but it's not at all!


fevvers at 00:28 on 11 May 2004  Report this post
Hello Nell

Thanks a lot for the explanation - it was helpful. I understood the theological stance and references in my first reading, and I love the central image of the earth between the sun and moon, which I also understood, but it's the following line or so that muddles the poem for me, and I think it's a syntax issue. Even if you separated the man & woman from the sun by punctuation, they would still be connected by their proximity on the page, and also the readers' own understanding of myth, folklore and religion.

Ambiguity in poetry is important, it adds other dimensions to the poem and that's exciting, but, it's important to trust your reader - and they have a better eye and ear for ambiguity than we think. It's not very easy to trust your reader, I know, but being clear doesn't necessarily mean spelling something out (It's took me years to learn that!)

There was something about one of your earlier comments when you said you're "uneasy with: And if these two should come to fight/Like sister and like brother/I know that in the blackest night... ". Often if you have a gut instinct about a line, or if it causes you problems, that's something to listen to.

It seems this poem is trying to do too much, it's trying to deal with theology, environmentalism, apocalypse, form, description, meditation and metaphysics all in one go, when really by concentrating on one small element of the poem, you can allow all of this to resonate from that point.

And also the rhythm and rhyme will help write the poem if you let it. Frost's subtle wit is present in his poem almost primarily through that (mainly) iambic tetrametre - a line not as heavy as a pentametre - undercut by those dimetres.

By calling it Gaia, you have all of the theology and environmentalism travelling with the poem already, just in a title - an expectation is set up. By just looking at one thing, the physical (historically perceived?) relationship of the sun, moon and Earth perhaps, all of that resonance will have a good anchor point.

On reading your explanation, I was very excited by the passion in it and would love to see more of that in the poem.

An inversion is a sentence (line) in which the verb and subject get inverted eg "would the world ignite" instead of "would ignite the world". When you rhyme you can often get inversions in poems without even knowing it.

I hope this doesn't seem too harsh - I try not to get carried away - but please let me know if it is.


Nell at 09:37 on 11 May 2004  Report this post
Fevvers, no, not harsh at all. I need some explanations and definite pointers in the right direction, so thanks for being so detailed in your crit. I'm off to walk the dog now, but I'll return to study your observations in depth later. Thanks again,


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