Senescence
#1
Senecio

Fading into invisibility,
I spend my days meditating
on a shorn winter field:
this is no way to go,  the best way to go 
or simply another window-framed Nowhere,
I’m not sure which but sure
I’ll never know the answer.

Friends passed beyond  
a level distance that has no map.
I cross and recross the abandoned road
looking both ways
an obedient child of time.



Senecio



Fading into invisibility,

I spend my days meditating

on a shorn winter field:

this is no way to go,  the best way to go 

or simply another window-framed Nowhere,

I’m not sure which but sure

I’ll never know the answer.



The world has shrunk 

into a level distance that has no map.

Still I follow its abandoned roads

looking both ways

an obedient child of time.















Here at the end 

I’m fading into invisibility,

hardly taking a breath

that’s not filled with decades,

exhaling atoms of regret

that don’t even qualify as a sigh.



I spend my day meditating

on a shorn winter field:

this is no way to go, the best way to go 

or simply another window-framed Nowhere,

I’m not sure which but sure

I’ll never know the answer.



Friends all passed on 

into a level distance that has no map

I cross and recross an abandoned road

looking both ways

an obedient child of time.

“All persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.”  Kurt Vonnegut
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#2
.
Hi TqB.

I like the idea, and the tone, but it doesn't come together, for me.  The biggest difficulty is at some point you've gone from a 'shorn winter field' to 'an abandoned road', and I can't tell when.  To keep both I think you need a bridge of some sort.

Here at the end
I’m fading into invisibility, .............. feels like either the first or second line is redundant
hardly taking a breath
that’s not filled with decades,
exhaling atoms of regret .................. anything better than 'atom's, seems from a different lexicon.
that don’t even qualify as a sigh.

I spend my day meditating .............. should it be 'my days' or 'the day'?
on a shorn winter field: ................... really like the image (not sure it's best served by what follows)
this is no way to go, the best way to go
or simply another window-framed Nowhere,
I’m not sure which but sure
I’ll never know the answer.

Friends all passed on
into a level distance that has no map
I cross and recross an abandoned road
looking both ways
an obedient child of time. ............ falls down for me, at the end (the 'looking both ways' especially).


Just a thought


I spend the day meditating
on a shorn winter field ................. any chance of a bit more description of the field?

hardly taking a breath
that wasn't filled with decades

friends all passed on
a distance that has no map

I cross and recross
an abandoned road

this is no way to go
this is the best way to go

I'm not sure, but sure
I'll never know the answer


Having got this far, I think the title's a bit heavy handed (but you were expecting something like that, weren't you? Smile )

Best, Knot

.
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#3
Hey Tim-
Being of a certain age, I can certainly relate to the sentiments expressed in this poem.

Some comments:


Here at the end  maybe "near the end"
I’m fading into invisibility, love this line
hardly taking a breath
that’s not filled with decades,
exhaling atoms of regret
that don’t even qualify as a sigh.
  don't need this part

I spend my day meditating
on a shorn winter field:
this is no way to go, the best way to go
or simply another window-framed Nowhere,
I’m not sure which but sure
I’ll never know the answer.
  don't need this part either

Friends all passed on  this is one of my favorites stanzas that you've wriiten
into a level distance that has no map
I cross and recross an abandoned road  perfectly illustarates that feeling of abandonment when friends pass on
looking both ways yes! and I know yer not talking about traffic
an obedient child of time. the last two lines work perfectly for me.  We do retain those ingrained behaviors no matter how old we get. It speaks subtly to the past/present/future


Here, near the end,
I’m fading
into invisibility.

I spend my days
meditating
on a shorn winter field,
a level distance
that has no map.

Friends all passed on.  (something concrete needed here- a critical bridge that maintains the scene and tone.)

I cross, and re-cross
abandoned roads,
looking both ways,
like an obedient child
of time.


Hey Tim-

Something like:

A cruel wind blows,
and clanging stop signs appear
at desolate intersections,
where all my friends
have passed.
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#4
(01-17-2022, 02:13 AM)TranquillityBase Wrote:  Here at the end 
I’m fading into invisibility, ... a great opening
hardly taking a breath
that’s not filled with decades,
exhaling atoms of regret
that don’t even qualify as a sigh. ... only bits of the poem that come across as telling, not showing

I spend my day meditating
on a shorn winter field: ... nice
this is no way to go, the best way to go 
or simply another window-framed Nowhere, ... nice
I’m not sure which but sure
I’ll never know the answer.  ... I loved this strophe

Friends all passed on  ... 'passed on' - though it is probably meant as a genuine road-related metaphor here - sounds like a cliche. 
into a level distance that has no map ... nice
I cross and recross an abandoned road
looking both ways ... intriguing. Looking both ways to see who's coming and who's going? Lovely.
an obedient child of time. ... nice

A beautiful poem. I wouldn't change it too much, except the first strophe.
I like the conversational nature of the lines, perfect for the sentiment being conveyed.
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#5
Thanks all three of you.  Seeing the dispensability of much of that first stanza.  New title will be Senecio.  

Beyond that, still absorbing the rest.  Thanks for the comments.
“All persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.”  Kurt Vonnegut
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#6
New version.  I may have tinkered too much, but.....
“All persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.”  Kurt Vonnegut
Reply
#7
.
Hi TqB,
I may have tinkered too much,
I think I'd agree, especially in cutting the 'friends' line. The title (which I had to look up) kept taking me to certain plants, so while I think it's an improvement, I'm not sure it works ... yet.

Not keen on the opening line, there a whiff of self pity there, I think.
And the 'or simply another' line comes out of nowhere. To what is it related to, narratively or grammatically?


Senecio


The world has shrunk
to the size it was when I was a child.

I spend my days meditating
on a shorn winter field:

this is no way to go,
this is the best way to go

I’m not sure which, but sure
I’ll never know the answer.


............ to me, this seems a complete poem, but assuming you disagree (and why wouldn't you?) I think you're missing something from second/final half. A thought equivalent to, or a recapitulation of, 'the world has shrunk' perhaps? Or some memory of being taught to 'look both ways' when N was an actual child?


All my friends passed on
into a level distance that has no map

I cross and recross
an abandoned road ................ having a hard time reconciling this with 'meditating'

looking both ways
an obedient child of time.



Best, Knot

.
Reply
#8
Hey Tim-

You said, "I may have tinkered too much..."  and I agree. 

You may want to set aside the original, and latest rev for awhile.  Circling back around to it may help.  When I do that, I find that problem areas become more apparent, and a bit easier to solve. 

That said, the latest version needed to retain a mention of the friends. 

Still, let it rest, and simmer.  It'll still be there later. 

Mark

ps. When things are driving me crazy I just get out and start walking.  Slow it down a little...
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#9
The original drew effect from the languid nature of its lines.
The revised version is far too cut and dry. The magic dust is gone.
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#10
I like the topic, so often writing portrays the excitement and adventure of youth, its refreshing to be reminded of the otherside of the lifespan. i also really like the line "an obedient child of time" its potent, makes me pause and think.

In the first stanza, when you say:
"this is no way to go, the best way to go 
or simply another window-framed Nowhere,"
it sounds like it should be a question, confirmed afterwards by:
"I’m not sure which but sure
I’ll never know the answer."
id recommend rephrasing it as a question, such as
"is this no way to go...?"

and the double use of sure is somewhat repeatative, how about a synonym, like 'certain' ?

someone mentioned that the field and roads are at odds, but it gave me the imagery of travelling a road and looking out at the scenery to the sides of the road, the road of life changing from vibrant spring forests to that shorn winter field. i think it works, but id recommend making it 'a road' rather than multitudes. something about being on just one "abandoned road", followed by " looking both ways, an obedient child of time" 
gives me, as the reader, a sense that theres no choice in growing old, the scenery it brings. it makes me question if the obedience to time is willing. which makes me think more deeply about the experience of senescence.
with that in mind, i would make it "life" that has shrunk to a level map, and not "the world", but thats pure preference.

great ideas in this poem, i enjoyed the direction it encouraged me to consider of old age.
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#11
(01-22-2022, 04:26 AM)windmaid Wrote:  I like the topic, so often writing portrays the excitement and adventure of youth, its refreshing to be reminded of the otherside of the lifespan. i also really like the line "an obedient child of time" its potent, makes me pause and think.

Thanks for your comments.  Old age is always arriving, no matter what your age.  It's just that at a certain moment it has more arrived than not.... Wink  This poem is, I know, something of a downer.  "Maturity" as people prefer to call it does enable a detachment that can be very enlightening.

In the first stanza, when you say:
"this is no way to go, the best way to go 
or simply another window-framed Nowhere,"
it sounds like it should be a question, confirmed afterwards by:
"I’m not sure which but sure
I’ll never know the answer."
id recommend rephrasing it as a question, such as
"is this no way to go...?"

and the double use of sure is somewhat repeatative, how about a synonym, like 'certain' ?  Good ideas, but I like the non-question and the repetition.

someone mentioned that the field and roads are at odds, but it gave me the imagery of travelling a road and looking out at the scenery to the sides of the road, the road of life changing from vibrant spring forests to that shorn winter field. i think it works, but id recommend making it 'a road' rather than multitudes. something about being on just one "abandoned road", followed by " looking both ways, an obedient child of time"  I'm probably just going to restore the original....it is bigger than just friends, but better to be specific I think


gives me, as the reader, a sense that theres no choice in growing old, the scenery it brings. it makes me question if the obedience to time is willing. which makes me think more deeply about the experience of senescence.
with that in mind, i would make it "life" that has shrunk to a level map, and not "the world", but thats pure preference.

great ideas in this poem, i enjoyed the direction it encouraged me to consider of old age.

Thanks again for the read.
“All persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.”  Kurt Vonnegut
Reply
#12
(01-17-2022, 02:13 AM)TranquillityBase Wrote:  Senecio

Fading into invisibility,
I spend my days meditating
on a shorn winter field:
this is no way to go,  the best way to go 
or simply another window-framed Nowhere,
I’m not sure which but sure
I’ll never know the answer.

Friends passed beyond  
a level distance that has no map.    "with no horizon."
I cross and recross the abandoned road
looking both ways
an obedient child of time.



Senecio



Fading into invisibility,

I spend my days meditating

on a shorn winter field:

this is no way to go,  the best way to go 

or simply another window-framed Nowhere,

I’m not sure which but sure

I’ll never know the answer.



The world has shrunk 

into a level distance that has no map.

Still I follow its abandoned roads

looking both ways

an obedient child of time.















Here at the end 

I’m fading into invisibility,

hardly taking a breath

that’s not filled with decades,

exhaling atoms of regret

that don’t even qualify as a sigh.



I spend my day meditating

on a shorn winter field:

this is no way to go, the best way to go 

or simply another window-framed Nowhere,

I’m not sure which but sure

I’ll never know the answer.



Friends all passed on 

into a level distance that has no map

I cross and recross an abandoned road

looking both ways
an obedient child of time.


I only have the one suggestion.  The map seems out of place to me.  Do the friends lack a map?  maybe "horizon" is too obvious?
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