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Thread: Help Please.

  1. #1
    A. B. England
    Guest

    Help Please.

    Let me first say, poetry is not my strong suit. That's why I need a little help. I've been trying to improve in this area, and I would greatly appreciate a few honest opinions of the attempt and/or suggestions on how to improve it.

    Thank you all in advance.

    **************************************************

    I know not why I turn to Nature’s embrace
    when the man-made confines of wood and stone
    become too stifling to endure longer.
    It seems my soul longs to trace
    the sun’s warming rays,
    dancing amidst the riotous colors of spring’s fresh blooms,
    and I am helpless but to obey.

    At such times, I leave the dusky shadow of my home
    and set out down the old gravel path
    until my feet irrevocably lead into the neighboring wood.
    I can measure my life in the changes
    of her humble trees’
    passing from one phase of their life
    to another by regular degrees.

    Today, I entered by a path untried
    by my feet in my score years.
    No humble herbs sprouted here save the mosses
    carpeting the forest floor with a fresh green softness
    absent from the other well-worn paths.
    Here the elders of the forest’s arbors
    rise high above my lowly head to proudly raise
    their branches in praise to their creator.

    I walked there through the long, solemn halls
    of a cathedral untouched by bumbling mortal hands
    and gazed heavenward upon a mural
    no man’s craft could hope to rival.
    Leaf and sky, light and shadow,
    gathered in an undulating dance
    unhindered by the passage of time.

    All too soon the sanctuary came into view,
    and I stood transfixed in awe of its simple beauty.
    A crystal brook wound merrily along its course,
    the tinkling waters joining in the songbirds’ hymn.
    A single dogwood tree stood alone in the clearing,
    blushing blossoms sheltering the brook
    from the overlooking sun’s mottled light.
    My soul rejoiced, joining in the chorus,
    and I remained, having no will to leave.

    When I thought my heart could hold no more
    wonder for the marvelous sight,
    I was further blessed to see a single deer.
    She passed the shadows of the trees
    to dip her head to drink of the stream’s waters.
    Her countenance was unlike any I’d ever seen,
    a delicate, graceful form covered in fur of purest white.

    The wind shifted,
    showering the clearing with dogwood blossoms,
    and the doe raised her hoary head to regard me.
    I felt no fear from her,
    only my dumbstruck awe,
    regarding the lovely creature glowing in the sunlight.

    In an instant the moment was gone,
    and the snow-white doe vanished
    into the forest once more,
    leaving me with the realization
    the creature I encountered was no fleshly being,
    but the spirit of the woods.



  2. #2
    John Oberon
    Guest

    Re: Help Please.

    Well, the meaning is crisp and clear, and that's good, but it reads more like a factual account of an event than a poetic impression. It's almost like you initially wrote this in prose, then simply diced it into eight stanzas of varying lengths with very little rhyme or reason. Good description, though.

    A big problem is the idea of worshipping nature...of trying to draw spiritual transcendence out of flora and fauna. Certainly nature provides us with moments of beauty, awe, and grandeur, but only because they are the handiwork of the most beautiful, awesome and grand Creator. They reflect the character of God and apart from Him, they are nothing but shadows and dust. To misplace worship on the created rather than the Creator is little more than emotional masturbation. It is hollow and in the end leads to despair, because it can never fill the God-shaped vacuum in our souls. Nature dies, but we are meant for eternity.

    So if you want to improve this "poem" immeasurably, at least as far as meaning, direct the worshipful feelings and awe that nature inspires to the infinite God, because all of nature points to Him.

  3. #3
    A. B. England
    Guest

    Re: Help Please.

    Hmmm.......I was going for worshiping God through an observance of his glory as reflected in the grandeur of his creation, but I guess it didn't come across the way I intended. I was raised in the Church, and am intimately familiar with the Word of our Creator and his plan for our salvation. However, it seems like the more I learn about the way he put everything together, from the inner workings of organelles and DNA to the vast expanse of the cosmos, the more I come to understand the scope of his power, and it fills me with such thankfulness He bothered to care about me at all, I can't help but worship Him.

    I knew this piece needed a good deal of work. As I said before, poetry isn't my forte. I know this, and that's why I asked for help. You've pointed me in the general direction I need to go. Thank you.

  4. #4
    John Oberon
    Guest

    Re: Help Please.

    Well, you DO use the word "creator", but all your emotion is directed to nature, and in the end, to a very pagan sounding "spirit of the woods". The main thrust of this writing is you. You tell about your feelings, your realizations, your actions, that you see the doe, that the doe "regards" you. There's no room for God; you're hogging all the limelight.

    If your purpose is as you say, use third person. Remove yourself from this writing. Second, your language needs tightened considerably. I think you could safely cut the words by about 30% and improve it markedly. Third, focus that emotion to a point. Awe and amazement is well and good, but without a proper target, all you really have is a slack jaw.

  5. #5
    A. B. England
    Guest

    Better?

    Okay. Here it is after some major rewrites. Any better?


    I know not why I turn to Nature
    when man-made confines
    I can no longer endure.
    It seems my soul pines
    to trace the sun’s warm rays,
    and dance amidst the riotous color of spring.
    I am powerless to not obey.

    My home’s dusky shadow I leave behind
    and follow the path past the gate
    until my way to the wood I wind.
    The years of my life I rate
    by her youngest trees’
    as they grow and change
    by regular degrees.

    Today, I entered by a path untried
    in the short years of my existence.
    No herbs save mosses here have strived
    to eek out their sustenance
    shadowed by the forest’s elder arbors
    as they proudly raise
    branches in their creator’s praise.

    I walked through solemn halls
    of a cathedral not made by mortal hands
    and gazed upon marbled walls
    on which a ceiling like no other stands.
    Leaf and sky, light and shadow,
    are gathered in a timeless dance
    to humble hearts of passers below.

    Soon I stood transfixed in awe
    of the sanctuary’s simple beauty.
    In everything around me, I saw
    a mere reflection of heaven’s glory.

    A crystal stream tumbled along its path,
    joining in the songbirds’ hymn.
    A single dogwood its shadow cast,
    and did the waters’ sparkling dim.

    A snowy doe strode
    from out the forest’s shade.
    Her hoary hide in sunlight glowed
    like an angel arrayed
    in the form of a lowly deer.
    She bowed her head and deeply drank
    of the life giving water.

    Blossoms showered ore the stream
    when the breeze so gently shifted.
    I was startled as if out of a dream
    as the doe’s head quickly lifted.
    In an instant she was gone,
    her glowing form lost in darkness,
    and I was again alone.

    My heart cried out to the LORD
    in joyous wonder of his creation,
    thankful He loved man enough
    to ensure we have His word
    and give His Son for our salvation.

  6. #6
    John Oberon
    Guest

    Re: Better?

    Better. Definitely more "poemy". Looks like you cut it by about 20%. I still vote for third person - get rid of I, me, my, mine. Or if you want to stick with first person, eliminate those pronouns as much as possible. If you're man enough, delete the first two stanzas altogether; they're entirely about you and contribute nothing to your purpose.

    Didn't like the ending. Thankfulness for salvation is fine, but it clashes with what you built beforehand. Your point, supposedly, is to praise Him for His works not thank Him for salvation. Read the Psalms. Read Psalms 139 especially 13-16. God is matchless, marvelous, awesome. If David uses I, me, my, or mine, it's counterbalanced and usually overshadowed with You, Your, Yours. He talks about God, not himself. If he speaks of himself, it's only to point up the character and splendor of God.

    Still need a lot less of you in this poem if your purpose is to praise God through his creation.

    One more good crack at it, and then we can start talking language and ideas and rhyme and meter.

  7. #7
    A. B. England
    Guest

    Re: Better?

    What is it with everyone thinking I'm a man since I went to initials in place of my first name? Never mind.

    Once again, good point. I am keeping the point-of-view though. It is meant to be a narrative poem with the narrator as an everyman, without actually calling the narrator everyman. It's one reason I left the narrator genderless and devoid of description beyond the feeling elicited in their heart by the described experience.

    Here's one more try.

    *************************************

    I entered by a path untried
    in the number of my days.
    No herbs save mosses there have strived
    to seek the sun’s warm rays
    in shadow of the elder arbors
    as they proudly raise
    branches in their creator’s praise.

    I walked through solemn halls
    made by mortal hands
    and gazed on marbled walls
    and the ceiling which ore they stands.
    Where leaf and sky, light and dark,
    gather in a timeless dance
    to humble any passer’s heart.

    Soon I stood transfixed in awe
    of a clearing’s simple beauty.
    In everything around me, I saw
    Heaven’s reflected glory.

    A crystal stream tumbled along its path,
    joining in the songbirds’ hymn.
    A single dogwood its shadow cast,
    and did the waters’ sparkling dim.

    A snowy doe strode
    out the forest’s shade.
    Her hoary hide in sunlight glowed
    like an angel arrayed
    in form of a lowly deer.
    With bowed head she deeply drank
    of the life giving water.

    Blossoms showered ore the stream
    when the breeze so gently shifted.
    I was startled as if out a dream
    as the doe’s head quickly lifted.
    In an instant she was gone,
    her glowing form lost in darkness,
    and again I stood alone.

    My heart cried out to the LORD
    in joyous wonder of His creation,
    thankfully offering praise
    to God in whose mysterious ways
    made such splendor with but a word.

  8. #8
    Peter Muehling
    Guest

    Re: Better?

    I am a strong believer and I find this poem very uplifting. You have done a very good job. Re-read, of course, to make minor corrections, ie. showered ore the stream = showered o'er the stream. I really like it.

    You have definitely transformed it into a poem. I concur that your first attempt was clearly prose, however, I think you have a talent for descriptive prose, which is getting somewhat lost. Too many novels are being written with screenplay in mind and the art of descriptive writing is becoming a talent from a era gone by.

    Develop your mechanical skills ... I think your mind is on the right path and you have the potential for great writing.

    Write On...

    (PS: Nice of you to help Lara in organizing her monologue)

  9. #9
    A. B. England
    Guest

    Re: Better?

    Thank you for your kind words and the correction. I know I knew about that contraction. It's used enough in gospel songs, but like most everything else right now, it completely slipped my hormone addled mind.

    Thank you both. I realize it still needs some polishing, but without the help, I know I wouldn't have stood a chance of getting this thing ready for submission before the munchkin's born.

  10. #10
    John Oberon
    Guest

    Re: Better?

    I didn't know your gender. I used the phrase "man enough" figuratively, as in "brave enough". But now that I know you're female, I like that I said it, lol. I often find masculine terminology humorous when applied to women.

    Better and better, tighter and tighter. Now do you want language and rhythm help, or are you just going it alone from here?

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