The Least of These - Edit3
#1
The Least of These


Last night I watched an accidental roach
run frantic patterns in a plastic trash
receptacle with sides too slick to climb.
I thought of two or three things I could do:
spray down some poison, crush it with a shoe,
or tip the bin outside and let it limp
away on moonless moss.  Instead I took
no action; in the morning it was dead.
But now I feel somehow I’ve failed a test.




edit2;

Last night I watched an ordinary roach
run frantic circuits in a plastic trash
receptacle with sides too slick for it
to climb.  I thought of things that I might do:
spray down some poison, crush it with a shoe,
or tip the bin outside and let it crawl
away on moonless moss.  Instead I took
no action; in the morning it was dead.
But now I feel somehow I’ve failed a test.


edit 1;

Last night I watched a cockroach vainly dash
through frantic circuits in a plastic trash
receptacle with sides too slick and new
to climb.  I thought of things that I could do:
spray in some poison, crush it with a shoe,
or tip the bin outside and let it book
for home on moonless grass.  Instead I took
no action; by this morning it had died.
Could I have helped?  Perhaps I should have tried.

original version;

Last night I watched a solitary roach
run frantic circuits in a plastic trash
receptacle with sides too slick for it
to climb.  I thought of things that I could do:
spray in some poison, crush it with a shoe,
or tip the bin outside and let it crawl
away on moonless grass.  Instead I took
no action; in the morning it was dead.
But now I feel I’ve somehow failed a test.

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#2
(05-25-2020, 05:59 AM)dukealien Wrote:  The Least of These


Last night I watched a solitary roach
run frantic circuits in a plastic trash
receptacle with sides too slick for it
to climb.  I thought of things that I could do:
spray in some poison, crush it with a shoe,
or tip the bin outside and let it crawl
away on moonless grass.  Instead I took
no action; in the morning it was dead.
But now I feel I’ve somehow failed a test.
Haha! I like the ending to the poem the most! Also this was rather minimalistic, was that your intention? I hope not! I expected more from this poem, i figured you were long poem writer kind of guy. Also I think this poem would better off be rhyming on some of the lines like Abab, that would be a suitable rhyme scheme for you. I think there is nothing wrong with this piece, nice imagery 'moonless grass' and 'frantic circuits'. By the way why is there a double space next to 'I thought of' not to be nitpicky but I noticed it and it was kind of weird to me. Thanks for sharing.
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#3
.
Hi duke,
this one grew on me, enjoyed.
I think it could stand a trim, and
though it messes up your form ...


Last night I watched a roach run frantic circuits
in the trash - the plastic sides too slick for it
to climb - and thought of all the things I could do:
spray it with some poison, crush it with a shoe,
or tip the bin outside and just let it crawl
away through cold moonless grass. Instead I did
nothing; and when I looked this morning it was
dead. Now, I feel that, somehow, I failed the test.


Best, Knot


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#4
edit1;

Last night I watched a cockroach vainly dash
through frantic circuits in a plastic trash
receptacle with sides too slick and new
to climb.  I thought of things that I could do:
spray in some poison, crush it with a shoe,
or tip the bin outside and let it book
for home on moonless grass.  Instead I took
no action; by this morning it had died.
Could I have helped?  Perhaps I should have tried.




Thanks to both critics.  In this edit I've mainly applied @JaggedEdge's recommendation to try it  with rhyme.  Frankly, I don't like the result quite as well, but await others' take on it.  In particular, the last line gives away too much, as I see it.  I did not do any trimming (per @Knot) - hard enough to preserve everything else while applying rhyme!  Maybe next edit.

@JaggedEdge - in answer to your question about L.4, the double space after a period is intentional, but almost not (that is, it's instinctive).  When I was learning to type in the 1960s, we were taught to insert two spaces after a period (or colon), one after a comma or semicolon.  That's just the way it was, we were graded down if we didn't.  I remember our fastest typist missed out on a record speed run because she spaced only once after a period.  To this day, I hit the space bar twice after period and colon; when WordPerfect™ "corrects" it to one space, I correct it right back.
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#5
(05-27-2020, 10:46 AM)dukealien Wrote:  edit1;

Last night I watched a cockroach vainly dash
through frantic circuits in a plastic trash
receptacle with sides too slick and new
to climb.  I thought of things that I could do:
spray in some poison, crush it with a shoe,
or tip the bin outside and let it book
for home on moonless grass.  Instead I took
no action; by this morning it had died.
Could I have helped?  Perhaps I should have tried.




Thanks to both critics.  In this edit I've mainly applied @JaggedEdge's recommendation to try it  with rhyme.  Frankly, I don't like the result quite as well, but await others' take on it.  In particular, the last line gives away too much, as I see it.  I did not do any trimming (per @Knot) - hard enough to preserve everything else while applying rhyme!  Maybe next edit.

@JaggedEdge - in answer to your question about L.4, the double space after a period is intentional, but almost not (that is, it's instinctive).  When I was learning to type in the 1960s, we were taught to insert two spaces after a period (or colon), one after a comma or semicolon.  That's just the way it was, we were graded down if we didn't.  I remember our fastest typist missed out on a record speed run because she spaced only once after a period.  To this day, I hit the space bar twice after period and colon; when WordPerfect™ "corrects" it to one space, I correct it right back.
Interesting, ok that makes a lot of sense. Thanks for reply.
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#6
.
Hi Duke,
not keen on the rhyming. The tone seems far too jaunty(not to mention the ambiguity of 'through plastic
circuits') and the ending, shorn of the implications of 'test', is a bit 'meh!' (if you'll pardon the technicality).


Best, Knot

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#7
(05-27-2020, 07:07 PM)Knot Wrote:  .
Hi Duke,
not keen on the rhyming. The tone seems far too jaunty(not to mention the ambiguity of 'through plastic
circuits') and the ending, shorn of the implications of 'test', is a bit 'meh!' (if you'll pardon the technicality).


Best, Knot

.

That's how it felt to me, too, but worth a try. Will snap back to blank verse version for next edit, maybe slim it down a bit.
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#8
(05-25-2020, 05:59 AM)dukealien Wrote:  The Least of These


Last night I watched a cockroach vainly dash
through frantic circuits in a plastic trash "vainly dash through frantic circuits" - to me, vainly and then frantic so close is too many descriptors like that in a small space. I also think the fact that its attempt is in vain is shown later on when it is too slick and new to climb, I would change vainly. One suggestion I have for an alternative, would be "dine and dash".
receptacle with sides too slick and new
to climb.  I thought of things that I could do:
spray in some poison, crush it with a shoe,
or tip the bin outside and let it book
for home on moonless grass.  Instead I took
no action; by this morning it had died. 
Could I have helped?  Perhaps I should have tried. This last line feels like a let down to me for some reason - I like the idea, it is hard to explain why I don't think it quite works. It may be something to do with the self-asked question, and the "tried" finale sort of being given away by the clear rhyme with died. I would try and phrase it without a question, maybe using "it was dead" in the preceding line to give more rhyming options.



original version;

Last night I watched a solitary roach
run frantic circuits in a plastic trash
receptacle with sides too slick for it
to climb.  I thought of things that I could do:
spray in some poison, crush it with a shoe,
or tip the bin outside and let it crawl
away on moonless grass.  Instead I took
no action; in the morning it was dead.
But now I feel I’ve somehow failed a test.


I enjoyed this, I like the rhyming for the most part, myself. I tend to like smaller poems about a single moment/event that aren't trying to say something grand, and this hits the spot for me.

I am no meter expert, I rarely write in meter, so take this next bit with a grain of salt, I think your meter might get wonky in "action; by" - to my scan, tion is stressed.

Thanks for sharing.
"A hippopotamus is just a really cool opatamus."
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#9
Edit 2;


Last night I watched an ordinary roach
run frantic circuits in a plastic trash
receptacle with sides too slick for it
to climb.  I thought of things that I might do:
spray down some poison, crush it with a shoe,
or tip the bin outside and let it crawl
away on moonless moss.  Instead I took
no action; in the morning it was dead.
But now I feel somehow I’ve failed a test.




Sincere thanks for all the good critique, but I found the rhymed version not salvageable and retreated to the original version for further edits.

(Parts of my "lawn" are, in fact, mossy  Wink )
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#10
Hey duke- Don't feel too bad, there are always more roaches...

I would suggest further tightening, such as eliminating " for it" since it would emphasize the line break into "to climb". More attention to other breaks would also help.
I do like poems/observations of otherwise mundane things. Thanks... Mark
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#11
edit3;

Last night I watched an accidental roach
run frantic patterns in a plastic trash
receptacle with sides too slick to climb.
I thought of two or three things I could do:
spray down some poison, crush it with a shoe,
or tip the bin outside and let it limp
away on moonless moss.  Instead I took
no action; in the morning it was dead.
But now I feel somehow I’ve failed a test.


(06-10-2020, 11:20 AM)Mark A Becker Wrote:  Hey duke- Don't feel too bad, there are always more roaches...

I would suggest further tightening, such as eliminating " for it"  since it would emphasize the line break into "to climb".  More attention to other breaks would also help.
I do like poems/observations of otherwise mundane things. Thanks... Mark

Haven't succeeded in tightening it so much as a line, though your suggestion proved helpful.  Yes, it's a small thing (though quite a large roach by North American standards) - but even if I do better next time I'll still have failed that test.  Sad
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#12
[quote="dukealien" pid='249113' dateline='1590353984']
The Least of These


Last night I watched an accidental roach
run frantic patterns in a plastic trash
receptacle with sides too slick to climb.
I thought of two or three things I could do:
spray down some poison, crush it with a shoe,
or tip the bin outside and let it limp
away on moonless moss.  Instead I took
no action; in the morning it was dead.
But now I feel somehow I’ve failed a test.




edit2;

Last night I watched an ordinary roach
run frantic circuits in a plastic trash
receptacle with sides too slick for it
to climb.  I thought of things that I might do:
spray down some poison, crush it with a shoe,
or tip the bin outside and let it crawl
away on moonless moss.  Instead I took
no action; in the morning it was dead.
But now I feel somehow I’ve failed a test.


edit 1;

Last night I watched a cockroach vainly dash
through frantic circuits in a plastic trash
receptacle with sides too slick and new
to climb.  I thought of things that I could do:
spray in some poison, crush it with a shoe,
or tip the bin outside and let it book
for home on moonless grass.  Instead I took
no action; by this morning it had died.
Could I have helped?  Perhaps I should have tried.

original version;

Last night I watched a solitary roach
run frantic circuits in a plastic trash
receptacle with sides too slick for it
to climb.  I thought of things that I could do:
spray in some poison, crush it with a shoe,
or tip the bin outside and let it crawl
away on moonless grass.  Instead I took
no action; in the morning it was dead.
But now I feel I’ve somehow failed a test.

[/quote

Hello,

Reading your various edits I think the most recent is good. However, I have I vastly prefer your original ending. The rhetorical question followed by “perhaps I should have tried” implies a reluctance in the author which I find quite thought provoking, and perhaps which we can all relate to in certain circumstances. I’m not sold on the idea of failing a test. What test would involve you saving a cockroach? It’s a bit odd to me, and I actually liked the rhyme at end. Personal opinion though.
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#13
(06-14-2020, 07:01 PM)penneddown Wrote:  
(05-25-2020, 05:59 AM)dukealien Wrote:  The Least of These

(...)

Hello,

Reading your various edits I think the most recent is good. However, I have I vastly prefer your original ending. The rhetorical question followed by “perhaps I should have tried” implies a reluctance in the author which I find quite thought provoking, and perhaps which we can all relate to in certain circumstances. I’m not sold on the idea of failing a test. What test would involve you saving a cockroach? It’s a bit odd to me, and I actually liked the rhyme at end. Personal opinion though.

Having moved away from rhyme and explaining (in the final line), I'm reluctant to move back that way again.  Your suggestions are, however, appreciated:  perhaps an end rhyme in those last two lines, to match the one in the middle?  The wording will have to be just right to avoid letting unease turn into a provided answer.

Thanks!
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