Guess - edit
#1
Guess


Mississippi Veterans' Cemetery
seen from rushing Interstate:
low off-white wall, green swale around
one flagpole (guess which flag).

On either side
fenced away black cattle lay
heads turned by interstate commotion
limbs deep-folded not in pleading
penance or in prayer
but sunny perfect rest.

Further on a puzzled buzzard
circled gobbets of cast-off retread
wondering how anything so obviously dead
could smell so bad.




original version;

Mississippi Veterans' Cemetery
seen from rushing interstate:
low off-white wall, green swale rolling,
single flagpole.

On either side, fenced away
black cattle lay,
heads turned by interstate commotion,
limbs deep-folded not in pleading,
penance,
or in prayer,
but only sunny perfect rest.

Further on a puzzled buzzard
circled gobbets of cast-off retread
wondering how anything so obviously dead
could smell so bad.

That flagpole bore but one flag
(guess).



A tiny travelogue
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#2
Duke,

This piece rains commas and the font seems less than desirable.

"green swale rolling" "Green swale", sure, but rolling  IDK.

Loved the third stanza and overall a pretty nice poem, but the last stanza/line ruined it for me.

travelogue: a lecture, slide show, or motion picture describing travels. How does that fit on a flag?Even more, why should I care? Please explicate.

best,

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
edit;

Guess


Mississippi Veterans' Cemetery
seen from rushing Interstate:
low off-white wall, green swale around
one flagpole (guess which flag).

On either side
fenced away black cattle lay
heads turned by interstate commotion
limbs deep-folded not in pleading
penance or in prayer
but sunny perfect rest.

Further on a puzzled buzzard
circled gobbets of cast-off retread
wondering how anything so obviously dead
could smell so bad.


Thanks for the excellent critique!  Good advice about minimizing commas in free verse - line breaks can modulate the reading better.  The disliked S4 is gone... but incorporated.  That discomfort is, at least so far, the point of the piece:  when you look into the abyss (civil war, for example, or just history) and it inevitably looks back at you, the face reflected is your own if you've the willingness to see it.

(03-08-2020, 06:52 AM)Erthona Wrote:  Duke,

This piece rains commas and the font seems less than desirable.

"green swale rolling" "Green swale", sure, but rolling  IDK.

Loved the third stanza and overall a pretty nice poem, but the last stanza/line ruined it for me.

travelogue: a lecture, slide show, or motion picture describing travels. How does that fit on a flag?Even more, why should I care? Please explicate.

best,

dale

A slide show and, as subtly as could be managed, a lecture. Blush
feedback award Non-practicing atheist
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#4
.
Hi Duke,
the revision is a definite improvement.

Not sure the rather 'choppy' first verse works that well, why not make it a bit more fluid and in keeping with the rest?
Also, how about making the first line thetitle? 'Guess' doesn't do much, for me.
The notion that the cattle (controversially black?)might be pleading etc seems unnecessary. Though the 'plantation' vibe
appears strong either way.

Like the ending (though 'puzzled buzzard' raised a smile).
What is a 'rushing interstate'? Busy?
The inadvertent 'away/lay' rhyme (L6) could be changed.

Just a thought ...

Mississippi Veterans' Cemetery

seen from the rushing Interstate:
a
low off-white wall, green swale
surrounds
one flagpole. One flag.

On either side, fenced away
black cattle lie heads turned
by interstate commotion

limbs deep-folded in sunny perfect rest.
Further on a buzzard circles
gobbets of cast-off retread

wondering how anything so obviously dead
could smell so bad.


Best, Knot


.



.
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#5
Duke,



Good revision. I think it would be better to just state the type of flag, rather than expecting the reader to guess it.  From your comments I would guess it would be a Confederate flag. Maybe a hint such as:



"Veterans' of the Civil War Cemetery"



I see no reason to be coy about the primary thesis of unacknowledged racial bigotry. It has been tiptoed around enough, I see no need to do so in this poem. Otherwise a solid write.



best,



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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