Pathos
#1
Not the title, but suggestions invited.

This is my working title, because of the context in which I want the piece be understood:

I WISH I COULD SAY HOW IT IS

I'd like to get a better understanding of the freer forms of verse and its varieties: been working on this for a while. I've given some thought to natural speech rhythms and cadence, and line breaks for emphasis. Input welcome.


No consolation, but
you're not the only ones to grieve -
Death is my living.
Through you.
I chop skulls and dip into brains
like you dip soldiers into an egg.

No morbid fascination, just desire
to understand and help.

Immersion in your grief makes me
grieve -
as you do

Despite what you imagine I'm not inured.
Black humour helps. No false sympathy,
only empathy in grief.

I understand. I really do.

I know their very essence,
and hearts and lungs
and brains and organs
as I know myself.

I know your grief
I share your grief

I understand more than you can possibly know -
I watched a colleague
do my son.


Cheers.
feedback award A poet who can't make the language sing doesn't start. Hence the shortage of real poems amongst the global planktonic field of duds. - Clive James.
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#2
(01-23-2021, 01:38 AM)John Wrote:  Not the title, but suggestions invited.

This is my working title, because of the context in which I want the piece be understood:

I WISH I COULD SAY HOW IT IS

I'd like to get a better understanding of the freer forms of verse and its varieties: been working on this for a while. I've given some thought to natural speech rhythms and cadence, and line breaks for emphasis. Input welcome.


No consolation, but
you're not the only ones to grieve -
Death is my living.
Through you.
I chop skulls and dip into brains
like you dip soldiers into an egg.

No morbid fascination, just desire
to understand and help.

Immersion in your grief makes me
grieve -
as you do

Despite what you imagine I'm not inured.
Black humour helps. No false sympathy,
only empathy in grief.

I understand. I really do.

I know their very essence,
and hearts and lungs
and brains and organs
as I know myself.

I know your grief
I share your grief

I understand more than you can possibly know -
I watched a colleague
do my son.


Cheers.

I'm picturing a mortician?  Only because I had to sit on the last lines for a minute. 'do my son' didn't make sense otherwise, I first pictured a teacher who walked in on a colleague boinking their kid then thought about the skull cutting and pictured 'do my son' as murder, but the colleague and the grief made me think mortician , like you couldn't do the work on your own kid because of grief.  I don't understand the soldier egg reference.  I feel like the 'you' character isn't actually anyone and can be left out.    The title works for me in the context I concluded, maybe I'm right, maybe I'm wrong, I'm sure you wish you could say.  Thanks for posting.
Peanut butter honey banana sandwiches
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#3
To use a cliche, there's not enough showing, and too much telling.
The bits that stood out were:
"I chop skulls and dip into brains
like you dip soldiers into an egg." - although I couldn't understand what soldiers were being alluded to (some sort of snack?), there's some imagery in those lines
And
"hearts and lungs
and brains and organs" - not particularly wild, but common, rather than abstract, nouns.

The twist in the end is unexpected, but I don't know whether morbidity alone is sufficient payoff.
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#4
Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated.

I = pathologist;
you = grieving next-of-kin;
soldiers = buttered fingers of toast. Yum.

Often front line professionals are accused of treating their charges as matter-of-fact. Well, black humour is a coping strategy.

But they are real people with real feelings, yet you can't shout back at the grieving that you know what it's like. It may look like a callous production line from accident scene to hospital bed/covid ward to trolley to slab. But it's not. We hurt as well.

I suppose I was trying not to say what I didn't want to explain...

I'll have a re-think.

Cheers.
feedback award A poet who can't make the language sing doesn't start. Hence the shortage of real poems amongst the global planktonic field of duds. - Clive James.
Reply
#5
John,

I would change the title to " pathologist"

"I chop skulls and dip into brains
like you dipping soldiers into egg." inserted some changes

"I understand. I really do." cliche

"I know their very essence" doesn't seem likely

I think a lot of this poem could be cut for improvement.

As this is basic I'll stop.

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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#6
(01-23-2021, 01:38 AM)John Wrote:  Not the title, but suggestions invited.

This is my working title, because of the context in which I want the piece be understood:

I WISH I COULD SAY HOW IT IS

I'd like to get a better understanding of the freer forms of verse and its varieties: been working on this for a while. I've given some thought to natural speech rhythms and cadence, and line breaks for emphasis. Input welcome.


No consolation, but
you're not the only ones to grieve -
Death is my living.
Through you.
I chop skulls and dip into brains
like you dip soldiers into an egg.

No morbid fascination, just desire
to understand and help.

Immersion in your grief makes me
grieve -
as you do

Despite what you imagine I'm not inured.
Black humour helps. No false sympathy,
only empathy in grief.

I understand. I really do.

I know their very essence,
and hearts and lungs
and brains and organs
as I know myself.

I know your grief
I share your grief

I understand more than you can possibly know -
I watched a colleague
do my son.


Cheers.

First off, I love the "soldiers dipped into egg" even though I have no idea what it means.  That's OK.  Poems I understand completely are not as fun.

I want to suggest removing many of the lines where you address your grief with the others because that becomes crystal clear in those last three lines.  In particular I'm referring to the third stanza, and the "No false sympathy...." & "I know your grief /I share your grief"

That's my 2 cents  Smile
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#7
(01-31-2021, 09:21 AM)TranquillityBase Wrote:  
(01-23-2021, 01:38 AM)John Wrote:  Not the title, but suggestions invited.

This is my working title, because of the context in which I want the piece be understood:

I WISH I COULD SAY HOW IT IS

I'd like to get a better understanding of the freer forms of verse and its varieties: been working on this for a while. I've given some thought to natural speech rhythms and cadence, and line breaks for emphasis. Input welcome.


No consolation, but
you're not the only ones to grieve -
Death is my living.
Through you.
I chop skulls and dip into brains
like you dip soldiers into an egg.

No morbid fascination, just desire
to understand and help.

Immersion in your grief makes me
grieve -
as you do

Despite what you imagine I'm not inured.
Black humour helps. No false sympathy,
only empathy in grief.

I understand. I really do.

I know their very essence,
and hearts and lungs
and brains and organs
as I know myself.

I know your grief
I share your grief

I understand more than you can possibly know -
I watched a colleague
do my son.


Cheers.

First off, I love the "soldiers dipped into egg" even though I have no idea what it means.  That's OK.  Poems I understand completely are not as fun.

I want to suggest removing many of the lines where you address your grief with the others because that becomes crystal clear in those last three lines.  In particular I'm referring to the third stanza, and the "No false sympathy...." & "I know your grief /I share your grief"

That's my 2 cents  Smile

Thanks for your input, TB. Still working on it... Thumbsup
feedback award A poet who can't make the language sing doesn't start. Hence the shortage of real poems amongst the global planktonic field of duds. - Clive James.
Reply
#8
The line breaks work in this piece. It adds to the words and feel of the poem overall. “No morbid fascination just desire/to understand and help.” That interested me because the pathologist isn’t about “morbid fascination” but the line ends at “desire” that’s an interesting word choice in the subject of the piece, and then the next line is “to understand” but the pathologist already understands, so really understand could mean anything. It just really opens the reader to different interpretations. Kinda like reading in between the lines.

This poem is a lot deeper than what’s written. I really enjoy the lines “Immersion in your grief makes me/grieve-/as you do. I thought that was perfectly written. A lot of emphasis in the word “grieve” in those lines. I also like the word immersion, obviously because the speaker is a pathologist so it works.

“No false sympathy,/only empathy in grief” >>>I believe that’s already obvious throughout the entire piece. It just doesn’t fit the overall tone of the poem because it is a bit direct while everything else feels a little more morbid.

I really like this poem. I like the build up to the shocking end because as a reader I can see the layers of the poem when I reread it.
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