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Unread 11-26-2020, 07:00 PM
Jayne Osborn's Avatar
Jayne Osborn Jayne Osborn is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Middle England
Posts: 6,361

Hi Alexandra,

I don't agree with the suggestions to break this up into quatrains, or longer stanzas. It's just fine as it is - in one piece, ... rather like a pane of glass, in fact.

I've also changed my mind about wanting more at the end... I'd now like a bit less!
I think it would be better without Or let fly off stale air no space should save, thus finishing with the stronger couplet:

I never could control the aperture
Of this transparent thing amid the stir
Of wind and hand; it doesn’t easily hold
The warmth I want, or draw the breath I crave,
Or stand against the weather—battened, brave.

I said earlier how much I liked this poem and I still do.

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Unread 11-29-2020, 11:07 AM
A. Baez's Avatar
A. Baez A. Baez is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Alexandria, VA, USA
Posts: 83

The conversation around this poem has been as inconclusive as the poem itself!

Andrew, I see your points. And I, too, have always been interested in the "argument" of which you speak; I've always magnetized it by my own minority predilections.

Yves, you are too hilarious with your comments about my nicknames...and I would not throw a fit if you called me "Mama Baez."

Good question about "Waiting for Godot." The last and only time I've experienced the play was in college, some thirty years ago, so I can't confidently speak to your thoughts. However, I suspect that you're right that the play ended on more of a whimper and less of a bang than my poem. If so, I take your point that my departure from the "Godot" prototype may have weakened the poem by scattering its energies.

As to other influences on or references in this poem, that's something I'd have to ponder. As I'd mentioned before, I had had in mind some of Frost's poems in which he uses an everyday situation as a foil to embark on some contemplative, philosophical exploration. Other than that, I didn't have any influences consciously in mind when I wrote the poem, but I'm sure that they were there, welling beneath.

Jayne, I found interesting your parallel to the single-stanza format of this poem to a pane of glass. I'd like to think that it was more instinct than blind habit that led me to "choose" this form, and your observation would seem to support that. However, as with most of the other questions that have arisen in the discussion surrounding this poem, the conflicting opinions of others combined with my own uncertainties have left me, for the moment, without a clear direction forward.

That's also a novel thought about the ending. To me, it seems like the mass of language that has preceded it calls for a bit more of an extended unwinding than just two lines. Right now, a mere couplet sounds jarring to me in its abruptness. But maybe I would get used to the couplet that you suggest, in time? Maybe it has, as you say, an advantage of greater strength?

Last edited by A. Baez; 11-29-2020 at 11:10 AM.
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