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Unread 06-10-2021, 05:45 PM
Woody Long's Avatar
Woody Long Woody Long is offline
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Arlington, Virginia
Posts: 1,433


Effective throughout. Characterizes the N. Finishes strong.

On first read, like others, I thought the Dow inappropriate. There are other possibie lines that might be pursued. e.g., S2-S4:

to how
the larch leaves shiver.

A scow
has inched upriver.

The Tao,
no doubt,
doesn't quiver.

Losing, only that shiver is a bit more active than quiver for the leaves.

Tao is pronounced exactly the same as Dow.

Another possible line is to delete S4 & revamp S5:

I want to shout
why, why are you so late?

Here of course, some other -out word could be used instead of doubt.

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Unread 06-11-2021, 06:31 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Location: New York, NY
Posts: 4,608

Thank you, all, for your feedback. It's good to know that the "Dow" is causing some problems.

Here's what I intended: the speaker tries to distract himself by studying

the larch leaves quiver."

He fails and turns his attention to a garbage scow (numerous in NYC) moving up the river:

"A scow
has inched upriver."

Then, he thinks of time passing in terms of the constant fluctuations of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (located in NYC):

"The Dow,
no doubt,
has wavered a sliver."

The "no doubt" is necessary because he is not observing these fluctuations directly. We are inside his mind, his assumptions.

Woody, your "Tao" is ingenious. I have been reading a lot of Taoist poetry lately but I am not sure I want to be explicit about the meditative implications.


Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 06-11-2021 at 06:35 AM.
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Unread 06-11-2021, 06:54 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Location: TX
Posts: 5,116

Hi Aaron,

The larch is an evergreen with needles not leaves:

An easy fix if you'd like to, since it's non-rhyming. Forgot to say the poem has your usual elegance, natch. :-)

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Unread 06-11-2021, 07:36 AM
Joe Crocker Joe Crocker is offline
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Location: York
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The Larch is a rather unusual pine that sheds its needles in autumn. So not really an evergreen. But yes, needles, rather than leaves.
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Unread 06-11-2021, 07:46 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Oh, duh. I confused it with an ash, I think. Thank you.
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Unread 06-11-2021, 10:53 AM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: New York
Posts: 15,371

I still don't get the Dow line. Why would anyone reflect on time passing in terms of fluctuations in the stock market? Anyone, but especially someone who otherwise is focused on the natural world, like ash leaves and scows on the river. It doesn't ring true even slightly for me, to the point that I thought it must be a typo for something else I couldn't quite figure.
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Unread 06-11-2021, 12:48 PM
Sarah-Jane Crowson's Avatar
Sarah-Jane Crowson Sarah-Jane Crowson is offline
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I 'got' Dow on a second reading - it just made my brain hop a bit. Maybe there's a way to weave in a clue. Is there a way to place-hold it somewhere? 'silver sliver' is too much sss, but something that makes the reader think of economics/money/trade?

Take everything I say with a pinch of salt as I'm not a metricist, but I love the sound of 'Dow' with 'Scow' & 'doubt' so it's maybe worth fighting for a little on a word level.

I didn't read 'Scow' as a garbage barge. I like the idea of a garbage barge, but I'd read it as more of a low bottomed boat on a canal. More pastoral.

And drat, as I've now found out that I'm a tree pedant. Who knew? Larch have leaves, I think - they just look like needles & I'd read that as a kind of 'arrow in holster' needle/quiver thing, the narrator waiting for the person. 'Ash' works too, but it makes the poem less hopeful, perhaps.


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Unread 06-11-2021, 01:12 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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Sarah-Jane is right, according to the Britannica. Its article on larch says that "the leaves are shed in autumn like those of deciduous trees" and also refers to its "needlelike leaves." So it wouldn't be wrong to say larch have leaves.
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Unread 06-11-2021, 01:15 PM
F.F. Teague's Avatar
F.F. Teague F.F. Teague is offline
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Edited to add: Sorry, cross-posted with Roger, hence lots of info about larch on this thread :-)

Yes, 'the leaves (light green) are needle-like, 2 to 5 cm (3⁄4 to 2 in) long, slender (under 1 cm or 1⁄2 in wide)' (Wikipedia).

I prefer 'larch leaves' for the alliteration and the spikiness of this tree.

Initially I rejected 'Dow' as unlikely; my understanding of 'scow' was incorrect. It might help to signpost the reader a little, unless this poem is part of an NYC series and the title of the collection provides at least a hint that we're in NYC.
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Unread 06-12-2021, 07:13 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Location: Boston, MA
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The animation intrinsic to your writing style most always heightens my attention to detail as I read which almost seems to be the very definition of what poetry should do, whether it be a gentle animation of thought or something more invigorating or even arresting.
No matter, it ignites for the reader a different engagement with the words than, say, prose, or poetry that lacks that element (animation).

To the poem, Fliss though I'm not sure it was intentional misquoted this line:

Why? Why are you so late?!

She adds an exclamation point in addition to the question mark. I've thought, from time to time, about that unique pairing of punctuation and whether it has any valid place in poetry. I think it must!? Ha!

I'm also intrigued by the ending punctuation, set on its own line:


That says something.

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