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We sinful women

by joanie 

Posted: 01 February 2005
Word Count: 40
Summary: This is my first - NO! now my SECOND response to fevvers' exercise which we are doing in Poetry Seminar. I have changed the title.

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sun-warmed limbs
savouring this pure light stippled
onto stones.

until a child’s gasp
of joy turns luscious stagnating
into the scuttling of fear.

in the cool confines
of shadow, self-assurance rising
as the heat of the day.

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Comments by other Members

fevvers at 17:09 on 01 February 2005  Report this post
I loved this, but I can't really comment because I remember what your word is.

I will say I found your title interesting.


Nell at 18:58 on 01 February 2005  Report this post
Hi Joanie,

I read this before I walked the dog, and liked it then, but oh so much more now I know your prompt word. Love ...this pure light stippled
onto stones...
...the cool confines of shadow... and the seeming progression, the surprise of the middle stanza being a turning away from the first word. Unsure about luscious stagnating...



I should mention the title as this is what the exercise is about - for me it seemed to raise the wrong expectations and distract attention from the fascinating creature.

joanie at 19:02 on 01 February 2005  Report this post
Thanks Nell.

I know what you mean - how about 'luscious lazing'?


Nell at 19:07 on 01 February 2005  Report this post
Joanie, I should leave it to mature and see what Fevvers and others say before you decide. You have to imagine me without a star on my shoulder when I comment on poetry.


fevvers at 20:00 on 01 February 2005  Report this post
I thought Security was an interesting title. I would like to see more of the lizard in the body of the poem anyway, but I liked the juxtaposition of this very concrete subject and this abstract idea for the title - very much the kind of direction we'll be going in this exercise. (which isn't licence for everyone to come up with obscure titles) :)


Okkervil at 21:31 on 01 February 2005  Report this post
I went to Italy when I was nine with St. Chads Cathedral Choir. Ah-ha ha ha. Anyways, this kid threw pebbles at lizards all the time. So when the one in this poem hears the gasp, that was a prelude to severe concussion. Anyways, that was a memory just yanked up by this poem (it all horrified me at the time, and then a priest gave me a four-foot glossy poster of people being tortured in hell, which I think I' put mental blocks around). Anyways, I liked (and I shall wander through this analogy block-headedly) the way each of the stanzas starting words were knocked over- solitary, no: the kid there, confident, no: he scuttles for cover, protected, the kids gone to get a stick. I made the last bit up, but it was fun. If you're all going 'yeah, thanks for that edifying tid-bit you boorish oaf' then I apologise, but I have to work through things sometimes. And sometimes I inflict that on others. It's a bit like pigeons- y'know when someone jumps out on you and you scream/yell-in-gruff-baritone, but then realise that there was no reason to panic and then you're a bit embarassed-- lizards and pigeons must feel like that all the time. 'Shit, I did it again, he's on the other side of a window' sort of thing. I find it quite endearing the way it's captured in this poem, and yet he still feels in control. Stupid lizard.
I feel quite warmly toward this poem.

Sorry for time wasting,



I'm trying to be a bit more analytical, but I think I'm getting confused with talking lots.

joanie at 21:47 on 01 February 2005  Report this post
Hi James. No, definitely NOT time wasting! Thanks for the lengthy and interesting (yes, really!) response. I enjoyed it.

Glad you 'felt quite warmly'.


fevvers at 22:52 on 01 February 2005  Report this post
Lovely response Okkervil - I enjoyed it as much as the poem. What did you think of the title?


Oh, and when do you want your word?

Okkervil at 07:16 on 02 February 2005  Report this post
Oh, yes- I am in that one, aren't I? Sorry! I do get mixed up. Chuck it across!

Nell at 08:00 on 02 February 2005  Report this post
James, you're amazing - I enjoyed your response too. look forward to reading your poem!


Mac AM at 11:46 on 02 February 2005  Report this post
Hello Joanie. I think scuttling is absolutely perfect for the lizard. The poem has a very slow careful feel to it, a precise observation.

I enjoyed it ver much.


Elsie at 11:55 on 02 February 2005  Report this post
Hello Joanie, this is lovely. it transported me to Spain, and for some reason thoughts of the garden in 'Driving over Lemons.' I can imagine it's eyes blinking lazily in the heat. Security is an odd title, but I see what you mean.

joanie at 15:24 on 02 February 2005  Report this post
Hi Mac and Elsie. Many thanks!


gard at 00:23 on 03 February 2005  Report this post
Hi Joanie

I though I had commented on this, must have forgot to post my comments. Really enjoyed this piece. I just thought of a funny joke a comedian related some years ago about a the day in a life of a lizard: it went something like:

got up sat on rock. Got hot. Got off rock. Got cold. Sat on rock. Got hot. Got off rock. Got cold......so on......well does not seem that funny but its all in the delivery!!!

love the line
savouring this pure light stippled

reminded me of eecummings a bit.


joanie at 18:27 on 03 February 2005  Report this post
Thanks, Gard. "It's all in the delivery" is so true! I can well imagine it.

Glad it reminded you of other things too!



joanie at 18:59 on 04 February 2005  Report this post
Oh, Wow!! That's amazing how the title changes the whole thing.


Mac AM at 19:04 on 04 February 2005  Report this post
This banishes the lizard from my mind and makes me think of very sensual feminine things. It is almost as if I have stolen in on something. It feels almost voyeuristic.

I think this title works very well providing you accept that it has changed the meaning of the poem completely.

What do you think Joanie? Do you like what your poem has become?


Elsie at 19:57 on 04 February 2005  Report this post
Ha - makes me think of footballers wives bathing by the pool - the presence of a child sends them scuttling to the bar!

gard at 20:00 on 04 February 2005  Report this post
Hi Joanie

yes totally agree with MacAM now thinking of women naked sunbathing or something being disturbed by children (perhaps their own) and hiding out of the way for fear of exposure or discovery (sinful women). Actually the title does work adding much depth and meaning, but changes the content, the era and place of the poem making me automatically think of a time when women were challenging society or are in a country were nakedness is a no no. Its a brand new poem Joanie and I like it this way too!


Nell at 20:38 on 04 February 2005  Report this post
Joanie - gorgeous, I love it! It seems so apt that I'm beginning to suspect that the new titles are not random at all...


joanie at 20:41 on 04 February 2005  Report this post
Funny you should say that, Nell!...... My thoughts too!


joanie at 21:08 on 04 February 2005  Report this post
Hi Mac, Elsie, Gard... thanks!

Mac, I love my new poem! ... even though I haven't changed anything!

Gard, glad you like the 'new' poem!


fevvers at 10:10 on 05 February 2005  Report this post
I'm afraid they are Nell! Totally random. What it shows us though is that there are certain universals (and cliches) in poetry that we shouldn't take for granted. The animalising of women is one of these - or making women somehow 'other' than human.

The point of this exercise was to see how the poem is changed - because titles do this. And I think this particular poem is an excellent example of this.

I'll be back...


tinyclanger at 11:50 on 05 February 2005  Report this post
Mmmm, lovely! Made me think of the past, women hiding away, shamed. As if they're in a sanctuary - would say a nunnery if it wasn't for the children. Or simply of how women are afraid to be themsleves..The title fits superbly. And yes, definitely another country.


fevvers at 13:23 on 06 February 2005  Report this post
Hi Joanie

What I like about this title, is that it tells the story off the page - or more rightly allows the reader to imagine the story off the page. It says these women are considered sinful and the reason is possibly something complicated.

For me the story is about a group of women in an all women bathing pond, possibly in India, and when the child stumbles upon them bathing and relaxing all the women hear is a gasp (only the reader knows it's a child the women don't) and so, afraid, they scatter. They're considered sinful because they're wasting time, or because they're bathing with other women. I don't know the race,class or creed of these women and I don't care. The people that consider them sinful are men - possibly Christians.

This is the story I have created around this poem and I was allowed to do this by the title. It doesn't matter that it probably isn't the intention of the writer. This is just another way of writing a poem - allowing the reader a huge amount of space. (But you can only make them work this way if the poem is enjoyable - otherwise you'll just piss them off).


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