Giant
#1
Giant first edit/Erthona

You would have loved my older brother.
He was tough but kind,
a giant at our school
and in my mind
I still see him with mother
stirring in the kitchen.

I used to sit on his giant bike,
the seat digging into my crotch
and my toes almost willing the ground
to rise up and meet them -

forever bouncing
from the ball of my left foot
to the ball of my right.

It's funny when I sit on it now,
knees pushed up
halfway to my cheeks,
I wonder how a giant ever rode it.


Giants

 
You would have loved my older brother.
He was tough, but kind;
a giant at our school
and in my mind
I still see him with mother,
stirring in the kitchen.
 
I used to sit on his giant bike,
the seat digging in my crotch
and my toes almost willing the ground
to rise up and meet them,
 
but bobbling really,
from the ball of my left foot
to the ball of my right.
 
It's funny, when I sit on it now,
knees pushed up
halfway to my cheeks,
I wonder how a giant ever rode it.
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#2
Paul,

Nice poem looking at childhood perception, certainly not a new motif, but you bring a fresh twist to it.

Three problematic area.

The title would seem to need to be Giant, singular, not plural.
The word bobbling seems an odd word choice as it usually refers to an up and down motion rather than a side to side, but if you are going to use it you could probably drop the word that precedes and the word that follows it. So it would read:

"to rise up and meet them:

bobbling
from the ball of my left foot
to the ball of my right."

"I still see him with mother,
stirring in the kitchen."

This strikes a bit odd. My question would be, "What is he stirring the kitchen in to? Or are they both just starting to move around. Regardless, it creates a bit of a distraction in the reading.

Dale
How long after picking up the brush, the first masterpiece?

The goal is not to obfuscate that which is clear, but make clear that which isn't.
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#3
(01-14-2015, 03:10 AM)Erthona Wrote:  Paul,

Nice poem looking at childhood perception, certainly not a new motif, but you bring a fresh twist to it.

Three problematic area.

The title would seem to need to be Giant, singular, not plural.
The word  bobbling seems an odd word choice as it usually refers to an up and down motion rather than a side to side, but if you are going to use it you could probably drop the word that precedes and the word that follows it. So it would read:

"to rise up and meet them:

bobbling
from the ball of my left foot
to the ball of my right."  

"I still see him with mother,
stirring in the kitchen."

This strikes a bit odd. My question would be, "What is he stirring the kitchen in to? Or are they both just starting to move around. Regardless, it creates a bit of a distraction in the reading.

Dale
Thanks Dale. All three are good points. I flip-flopped a little on the title being plural, but in the end, you're right. On the second point - " bobbling" - I loved the word but it did create some issues. I hope you like the fix- if not, say so. On the 3rd point, "stirring in the kitchen" feels a more difficult fix. I changed the comma after "mother" to a semi-colon in an attempt to clarify, but I'm hesitant to adjust further as the whole web might collapse. 
Thanks for your help. Credited.
Paul
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#4
This is a fantastic poem but egads, the punctuation. I have used semicolons in the past, and thanks to Tom I realized that I had a problem, and now I've cut down drastically.

In general, though the only punctuation used is a random comma, and semicolons. Try to remember that a semicolon can function only as a connector between two COMPLETE sentences that are closely tied together. Anywhere you insert one, it could be a period. (and probably, for the most part, should be)

so things like

I still see him with mother;
stirring in the kitchen.


is completely improper use, and I agree with dale that, while a clever word play, stirring in the kitchen is ambiguous.
The only properly used one is the first one. Try a bit of em dash, or just plan periods.

There is much to love about this piece. Thanks for the read,

mel.
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#5
Thanks Mel. More recently than I'd like to admit my punctuation was worse. Beg - Sometimes non-existent. I would assume the reader could conjure it themselves. My problem now is that I second guess the punctuation too much and it can become subsequently worse with each tweak. I'm going to strip this one down a little - hopefully not too much.
Appreciate your thoughts,
Paul
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#6
Paul, It's a very warm and well illustrated memory!

I am not certain about the speaker's audience, but do you really need to introduce the 'you' in your opener. 'I loved my brother,' may suffice.

You need some sort of punctuation after 'mind,' either a period, coma, maybe even one of these semicolons.

Would 'stirring about in the kitchen...' eliminate the uncertainty as to whether they were stirring a pot of soup or just milling about the room.

I am not sure if this is working for me:

'forever bouncing
from the ball of my left foot
to the ball of my right.'

maybe '...flip-flopping from one foot to another' or something similar would serve you.

I don't think you need the 'halfway' in your closer, that would make it your chest or something, wouldn't it? '...pushed up to my cheeks' is fine.

I hope these observations spark some ideas for your final edit. See what you think. Cheers/Chris
My new watercolor: 'Nightmare After Christmas'/Chris
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#7
(01-15-2015, 04:41 AM)ChristopherSea Wrote:  Paul, It's a very warm and well illustrated memory!

I am not certain about the speaker's audience, but do you really need to introduce the 'you' in your opener. 'I loved my brother,' may suffice.

You need some sort of punctuation after 'mind,' either a period, coma, maybe even one of these semicolons.

Would 'stirring about in the kitchen...' eliminate the uncertainty as to whether they were stirring a pot of soup or just milling about the room.

I am not sure in this in working for me:

'forever bouncing
from the ball of my left foot
to the ball of my right.'

maybe '...flip-flopping from one foot to another' or something similar would serve you.

I don't think you need the 'halfway' in your closer, that would make it your chest or something, wouldn't it? '...pushed up to my cheeks' is fine.

I hope these observations spark some ideas for your final edit. See what you think. Cheers/Chris
Thanks Chris. Seems I've written another punctuation nightmare. You mention points that are valid and still negotiable in this one. Still "bouncing" this around.
Paul
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#8
I like the mood set in this poem, but it's a little confusing who the speaker is directing his/her description towards, especially since it starts off with "You would have loved my older brother." It would be clarifying to know more about who is on the other end. I really like the comparison you make between the different perceptions the speaker has of the older brother's bike as time goes by. Did the brother pass away, by chance? "Would have loved" makes it sound like it would be impossible for the audience to meet this brother/giant... just an observation.
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#9
So this one is definitely in the vein of stuff I like. It is spare, and I get a clear, welcome (warm) image. I want more from it, but I can't possibly say how. I don't have any brothers, but I begin to feel envy.
If I may, to critique, play with what is there, with respect.

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(01-14-2015, 02:07 AM)Tiger the Lion Wrote:  Giant first edit/Erthona
You would have loved my brother.
He was a giant at our school
I still see him
with mother
stirring in the kitchen.

I used to sit on his bike,
my toes almost willing the ground
forever bouncing
from the ball of my left foot
to the ball of my right.

It's funny
when I sit on it now,
knees pushed up
to my cheeks,
I wonder
how a giant ever rode it.

Giants
 
You would have loved my older brother.
He was tough, but kind;
a giant at our school
and in my mind
I still see him with mother,
stirring in the kitchen.
 
I used to sit on his giant bike,
the seat digging in my crotch
and my toes almost willing the ground
to rise up and meet them,
 
but bobbling really,
from the ball of my left foot
to the ball of my right.
 
It's funny, when I sit on it now,
knees pushed up
halfway to my cheeks,
I wonder how a giant ever rode it.
Reply
#10
Paul,

A possible solution.

I still see him in the kitchen with mother,
she supervises as he stirs soup in a pot.

Is this what you mean, aside from soup? It could also be a generic: "as he is stirring something in a pot."

Unless you want to say "mixing bowl" for "pot" as bowl just congers a cereal bowl, at least for me, but I would think that would be a common reaction. Of course people would figure it out, using bowl, but it would be disruptive to the reading.

Dale

Oh yeah, your other two solutions work fine. Giant reduces the confusion that giants engenders and "bouncing" much better than bobbling. Good work.
How long after picking up the brush, the first masterpiece?

The goal is not to obfuscate that which is clear, but make clear that which isn't.
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#11
I'd like to see something in the image with your mother that adds to the 'giant'.
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#12
(02-08-2015, 07:18 AM)Erthona Wrote:  Paul,

A possible solution.

I still see him in the kitchen with mother,
she supervises as he stirs soup in a pot.

Is this what you mean, aside from soup? It could also be a generic: "as he is stirring something in a pot."

Unless you want to say "mixing bowl" for "pot" as bowl just congers a cereal bowl, at least for me, but I would think that would be a common reaction. Of course people would figure it out, using bowl, but it would be disruptive to the reading.

Dale

Oh yeah, your other two solutions work fine. Giant reduces the confusion that giants engenders and "bouncing" much better than bobbling. Good work.
Thanks for taking another look Dale. Those are some useful options.
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#13
(01-14-2015, 02:07 AM)Tiger the Lion Wrote:  Giant first edit/Erthona

You would have loved my older brother.
He was tough but kind,
a giant at our school
and in my mind
I still see him with mother
stirring in the kitchen.

I used to sit on his giant bike,
the seat digging into my crotch
and my toes almost willing the ground
to rise up and meet them -

forever bouncing
from the ball of my left foot
to the ball of my right.

It's funny when I sit on it now,
knees pushed up
halfway to my cheeks,
I wonder how a giant ever rode it.


Giants

 
You would have loved my older brother.
He was tough, but kind;
a giant at our school
and in my mind
I still see him with mother,
stirring in the kitchen.
 
I used to sit on his giant bike,
the seat digging in my crotch
and my toes almost willing the ground
to rise up and meet them,
 
but bobbling really,
from the ball of my left foot
to the ball of my right.
 
It's funny, when I sit on it now,
knees pushed up
halfway to my cheeks,
I wonder how a giant ever rode it.

I like the "you"...reason: sounds like a documentary, but then you get away from it Sad I'd like to see you follow through w/more of this. Maybe in the last line...start with it, end with it. Just a thought. Play w/it...see what you think.

Why mention it's your "older" brother? He's a Giant. Drop it from the first line. I like "stirring"...I always like double intentioned words. If you keep it, you need a comma after mother. Would also like to see you tighten "everything" and get rid of the stanzas. Might help you transition from brother to brother's bike. Reader's will get it. Bobbling is fine by me. A little kid would say that.

Fun poem.
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#14
"forever bouncing
from the ball of my left foot
to the ball of my right."

I don't quite get the reference here. Still riding on the bike? I guess it makes sense, but it kind of sticks out as it's the only line with only 3 verses and it doesn't really seem to be saying much about the story, just more descriptive than anything else.

Other than that, I really liked the idea here. It ends nicely. Throughout the poem I began to realize what you were saying, and it was clear and interesting at the end. Nice work. I agree with someone else who says it's a well illustrated and warm memory.
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#15
(01-14-2015, 02:07 AM)Tiger the Lion Wrote:  Giant first edit/Erthona

You would have loved my older brother.
He was tough but kind,
a giant at our school
and in my mind I like the double meaning, it sort of hooks you in right at the start of the poem.
I still see him with mother
stirring in the kitchen.

I used to sit on his giant bike,
the seat digging into my crotch
and my toes almost willing the ground You could change  "ground" to pedals if you wanted, I like the image of a kid having to push the pedals a little bit at the bottom each time because the bike's too big.
to rise up and meet them -

forever bouncing
from the ball of my left foot
to the ball of my right.

It's funny when I sit on it now,
knees pushed up I don't know if you need "up".
halfway to my cheeks,
I wonder how a giant ever rode it.

For some reason I thought I had already commented on this poem, I guess I didn't. I preferred the title as "Giants" as opposed to "Giant", because anyone can have their own personal giant. This poem is about the "Giant" in the narrator's life, but it could just as easily be about anyone elses. I do think its a really good poem though, I like it quite a bit.
"A hippopotamus is just a really cool opatamus."
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