Still Life (edit)
#1
What is time? 

   A river that no dam can impede;
    an ocean without shore or horizon;
    the test against which we all must stand,
    or, simply, the between of now and not?

Our friend?

   Telling us when our parenting begins,
        when our eggs are done;
    giving a knowing nod to those who love.
  The measure of life’s tread.
  A panacea.

Our enemy?
   That holds the future hostage,
      denying the past.
  Punishing those who grieve,
      reminding us how long love is gone.

  Caught in its riptide,
      pulled beyond shore to no horizon
  where all clocks stop
     with dangled puppet.
  This house we live in our ruin.

What remedy?
  We catch a glimpse of time’s heel,
  measured in the pendulum’s swing.
  A lick quick repose at each stroke
  before waking to begin again.

  Without motion, 
  there is only now, no not.
  In the pendulum’s pause

  a stillness

  coveted by the living,
  only achieved by the dead.

or me, napping on the couch.

Time is 
 
a river that no dam can impede;
an ocean without shore or horizon;
the test against which we measure our worth,
or, simply, the between of now and not.
 
our friend.
 
The measure of our life’s tread;
telling us when our parenting begins,
when our eggs are done;
is said, to have no say on those who love.
It is the panacea.
 
the enemy.
 
That holds the future hostage,
denying the past.
Punishes those who grieve,
reminds us how long our love is gone,
plucks the flower before its due.
 
This house we live in becomes our ruin.
Caught in the riptide,
pulled from shore to horizon,
all clocks will stop.
Is there no remedy?
 
We catch a glimpse of time’s heel
measured in the swing of the pendulum.
The lick quick repose at each stroke,
before it wakes to begin again.
 
Kelvin knew the clue.
Temperature is the measure,
ironically, of molecular shiver
that ceases at the absolute of zero.
 
Without motion, 
there is only now and no not.
As at the pendulum’s repose,
or me, napping on the couch.
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#2
(07-30-2022, 02:04 PM)brynmawr1 Wrote:  Time is 
 
a river that no dam can impede;
an ocean without shore or horizon;  really like this observation
the test against which we measure our worth,    I have a bit of a problem with "worth"; I think a more concrete word would be better; our "passage" for example.
or, simply, the between of now and not.  great closing line
 
our friend.               Our friend:  ?
 
The measure of our life’s tread;
telling us when our parenting begins,
when our eggs are done;    not fond of this transition from something tremendous like parenting to something trivial like cooking eggs (I assume that's the meaning, although it could of course have the double meaning of eggs hatching)
is said, to have no say on those who love.      for ?
It is the panacea.
 
the enemy.               Our enemy:   ?
 
That holds the future hostage,
denying the past.
Punishes those who grieve,
reminds us how long our love is gone,    maybe cut "our" ?  should it be "has been" not is
plucks the flower before its due.  excellent stanza
 
This house we live in becomes our ruin.
Caught in the riptide,
pulled from shore to horizon,
all clocks will stop.
Is there no remedy?  my favorite stanza
 
We catch a glimpse of time’s heel
measured in the swing of the pendulum.
The lick quick repose at each stroke,        "lick quick" gives me pause, I kind of like it, but maybe "brief" would do better
before it wakes to begin again.
 
Kelvin knew the clue.                  something of a change of horses here, though I like these last stanzas
Temperature is the measure,
ironically, of molecular shiver
that ceases at the absolute of zero.
 
Without motion, 
there is only now and no not.
As at the pendulum’s repose,       since you've used repose already, maybe another word, like "pause".....
or me, napping on the couch.     I find this last line weak, although something about timeless sleep would be appropiate

Hi Bryn,

A complex and beautiful poem.  My likes/dislikes and suggested edits above.

TqB
“All persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.”  Kurt Vonnegut
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#3
(07-30-2022, 02:04 PM)brynmawr1 Wrote:  Time is 
 
a river that no dam can impede;
an ocean without shore or horizon;     Which is it then? Pick one or the other, I prefer the ocean one. A river is a cliche metaphor for how time flows forward, whereas, the ocean spans outward unceasingly. We don't know where it starts or ends.
the test against which we measure our worth,
or, simply, the between of now and not.
 
our friend.
 
The measure of our life’s tread;
telling us when our parenting begins,
when our eggs are done;
is said, to have no say on those who love.   "the panacea of those who love." 
It is the panacea.
 
the enemy.
 
That holds the future hostage,
denying the past.
Punishes those who grieve,
reminds us how long our love is gone,
plucks the flower before its due.   Again, this is a cliche metaphor for describing people who die before their time. 
 
This house we live in becomes our ruin.  "is our ruin" would work better, it shows the powerlessness one has over time because of a determined fate which contrasts with the previous statement that time spans outward without end like an ocean.
Caught in the riptide,
pulled from shore to horizon,
all clocks will stop.  Cliche
Is there no remedy? This stanza reads better without this ending question. 
 
We catch a glimpse of time’s heel
measured in the swing of the pendulum.
The lick quick repose at each stroke,
before it wakes to begin again.  
 
Kelvin knew the clue.
Temperature is the measure,
ironically, of molecular shiver 
that ceases at the absolute of zero.  
 
Without motion, 
there is only now and no not.
As at the pendulum’s repose,
or me, napping on the couch.

The second to last stanza isn't necessary because it is summed up in the last one to be "motion." 
Time is motion, we don't need to be taught about it.

Also is everything under "the enemy" supposed to show that time is the enemy, because it eventually becomes a lesson on how time is motion rather than showing its ill effects.

Cheers for the read,
Sc
"Whenever is a really long never"
Reply
#4
(07-30-2022, 02:04 PM)brynmawr1 Wrote:  Time is 
 
a river that no dam can impede;
an ocean without shore or horizon;
the test against which we measure our worth,
or, simply, the between of now and not.
 
our friend.
 
The measure of our life’s tread;
telling us when our parenting begins,
when our eggs are done;
is said, to have no say on those who love.
It is the panacea.
 
the enemy.
 
That holds the future hostage,
denying the past.
Punishes those who grieve,
reminds us how long our love is gone,
plucks the flower before its due.
 
This house we live in becomes our ruin.
Caught in the riptide,
pulled from shore to horizon,
all clocks will stop.
Is there no remedy?
 
We catch a glimpse of time’s heel
measured in the swing of the pendulum.  perhaps less "the" - "measured in swing of pendulum" or the like
The lick quick repose at each stroke,  again, less "the" - "lick-quick repose amid each stroke" or similar
before it wakes to begin again.
 
Kelvin knew the clue.
Temperature is the measure,
ironically, of molecular shiver
that ceases at the absolute of zero.
 
Without motion, 
there is only now and no not.  perhaps "there is only now, no not."
As at the pendulum’s repose,
or me, napping on the couch.  perhaps 'mine' in place of 'me'

My first critique here is punctuation... in the wider sense of typographic organization as well as punctuation marks.  As I read it, the poem consists of three stanzas consisting of a leading line and an elaboration of it - including the title - followed by four stand-alone stanzas.  If those three leading stanzas were set off with indents as well as white space, in a sort of outline format, they might look like this:

Time is 

  a river that no dam can impede;
  an ocean without shore or horizon;
  the test against which we measure our worth,
  or, simply, the between of now and not.
 
  our friend 
    the measure of our life’s tread; 
    telling us when our parenting begins,
      when our eggs are done;
    is said, to have no say on those who love.

  the panacea.
 
  the enemy that 
    holds the future hostage,  denying the past.
    punishes those who grieve,
    reminds us how long our love is gone,
    plucks the flower before its due.
 
I don't insist on the above, but you might consider some variant.  In the remaining stanzas I've made a few suggestions up above.  The title is tricky:  it's really the first line; there should, perhaps be a separate title like "About Time" but, of course, much better than that!

On the whole, it's a good discussion-poem; I'd like it to flow a bit more fluidly (like its subject) but some turbulence is in order given the way we perceive it.
feedback award Non-practicing atheist
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#5
(07-31-2022, 03:07 AM)TranquillityBase Wrote:  
(07-30-2022, 02:04 PM)brynmawr1 Wrote:  Time is 
 
a river that no dam can impede;
an ocean without shore or horizon;  really like this observation
the test against which we measure our worth,    I have a bit of a problem with "worth"; I think a more concrete word would be better; our "passage" for example.
or, simply, the between of now and not.  great closing line
 
our friend.               Our friend:  ?
 
The measure of our life’s tread;
telling us when our parenting begins,
when our eggs are done;    not fond of this transition from something tremendous like parenting to something trivial like cooking eggs (I assume that's the meaning, although it could of course have the double meaning of eggs hatching)                 Going for the range of time's utility.  The double meaning was accidental but intriguing. so I left it.
is said, to have no say on those who love.      for ?
It is the panacea.
 
the enemy.               Our enemy:   ?
 
That holds the future hostage,
denying the past.
Punishes those who grieve,
reminds us how long our love is gone,    maybe cut "our" ?  should it be "has been" not is
plucks the flower before its due.  excellent stanza
 
This house we live in becomes our ruin.
Caught in the riptide,
pulled from shore to horizon,
all clocks will stop.
Is there no remedy?  my favorite stanza
 
We catch a glimpse of time’s heel
measured in the swing of the pendulum.
The lick quick repose at each stroke,        "lick quick" gives me pause, I kind of like it, but maybe "brief" would do better  couldn't pass up the illiteration
before it wakes to begin again.
 
Kelvin knew the clue.                  something of a change of horses here, though I like these last stanzas   Yes, trying to lead the reader.  Kill your darlings!
Temperature is the measure,
ironically, of molecular shiver
that ceases at the absolute of zero.
 
Without motion, 
there is only now and no not.
As at the pendulum’s repose,       since you've used repose already, maybe another word, like "pause".....
or me, napping on the couch.     I find this last line weak, although something about timeless sleep would be appropiate

Hi Bryn,

A complex and beautiful poem.  My likes/dislikes and suggested edits above.

TqB
Thanks TqB.
Made changes.  Appreciate the insight and encouragement.
steve

(07-31-2022, 03:09 AM)Semicircle Wrote:  
(07-30-2022, 02:04 PM)brynmawr1 Wrote:  Time is 
 
a river that no dam can impede;
an ocean without shore or horizon;     Which is it then? Pick one or the other, I prefer the ocean one. A river is a cliche metaphor for how time flows forward, whereas, the ocean spans outward unceasingly. We don't know where it starts or ends.    I agree.  unfortunate product of last minute edits that went over looked.
the test against which we measure our worth,
or, simply, the between of now and not.
 
our friend.
 
The measure of our life’s tread;
telling us when our parenting begins,
when our eggs are done;
is said, to have no say on those who love.   "the panacea of those who love." 
It is the panacea.
 
the enemy.
 
That holds the future hostage,
denying the past.
Punishes those who grieve,
reminds us how long our love is gone,
plucks the flower before its due.   Again, this is a cliche metaphor for describing people who die before their time. 
 
This house we live in becomes our ruin.  "is our ruin" would work better, it shows the powerlessness one has over time because of a determined fate which contrasts with the previous statement that time spans outward without end like an ocean.
Caught in the riptide,
pulled from shore to horizon,
all clocks will stop.  Cliche
Is there no remedy? This stanza reads better without this ending question. 
 
We catch a glimpse of time’s heel
measured in the swing of the pendulum.
The lick quick repose at each stroke,
before it wakes to begin again.  
 
Kelvin knew the clue.
Temperature is the measure,
ironically, of molecular shiver 
that ceases at the absolute of zero.  
 
Without motion, 
there is only now and no not.
As at the pendulum’s repose,
or me, napping on the couch.

The second to last stanza isn't necessary because it is summed up in the last one to be "motion."   Yes, I just liked it.  Trying to lead the reader too much.
Time is motion, we don't need to be taught about it.

Also is everything under "the enemy" supposed to show that time is the enemy, because it eventually becomes a lesson on how time is motion rather than showing its ill effects.  Really trying to defeat time, with some humor at the end. not sure it was effective!

Cheers for the read,
Sc
Hi Sc,
Thanks so much for your comments.  Made changes.
Bryn

(07-31-2022, 04:18 AM)dukealien Wrote:  
(07-30-2022, 02:04 PM)brynmawr1 Wrote:  Time is 
 
a river that no dam can impede;
an ocean without shore or horizon;
the test against which we measure our worth,
or, simply, the between of now and not.
 
our friend.
 
The measure of our life’s tread;
telling us when our parenting begins,
when our eggs are done;
is said, to have no say on those who love.
It is the panacea.
 
the enemy.
 
That holds the future hostage,
denying the past.
Punishes those who grieve,
reminds us how long our love is gone,
plucks the flower before its due.
 
This house we live in becomes our ruin.
Caught in the riptide,
pulled from shore to horizon,
all clocks will stop.
Is there no remedy?
 
We catch a glimpse of time’s heel
measured in the swing of the pendulum.  perhaps less "the" - "measured in swing of pendulum" or the like
The lick quick repose at each stroke,  again, less "the" - "lick-quick repose amid each stroke" or similar
before it wakes to begin again.
 
Kelvin knew the clue.
Temperature is the measure,
ironically, of molecular shiver
that ceases at the absolute of zero.
 
Without motion, 
there is only now and no not.  perhaps "there is only now, no not."
As at the pendulum’s repose,
or me, napping on the couch.  perhaps 'mine' in place of 'me'

My first critique here is punctuation... in the wider sense of typographic organization as well as punctuation marks.  As I read it, the poem consists of three stanzas consisting of a leading line and an elaboration of it - including the title - followed by four stand-alone stanzas.  If those three leading stanzas were set off with indents as well as white space, in a sort of outline format, they might look like this:

Time is 

  a river that no dam can impede;
  an ocean without shore or horizon;
  the test against which we measure our worth,
  or, simply, the between of now and not.
 
  our friend 
    the measure of our life’s tread; 
    telling us when our parenting begins,
      when our eggs are done;
    is said, to have no say on those who love.

  the panacea.
 
  the enemy that 
    holds the future hostage,  denying the past.
    punishes those who grieve,
    reminds us how long our love is gone,
    plucks the flower before its due.
 
I don't insist on the above, but you might consider some variant.  In the remaining stanzas I've made a few suggestions up above.  The title is tricky:  it's really the first line; there should, perhaps be a separate title like "About Time" but, of course, much better than that!

On the whole, it's a good discussion-poem; I'd like it to flow a bit more fluidly (like its subject) but some turbulence is in order given the way we perceive it.
Hi Duke,
Thanks for your suggestions.  I have struggled with formatting on this site but have made my attempt, as well as your other suggestions.
Thanks,
bryn
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#6
Very much like your revision, and that's a smashing ending.

My only comment is, I trip over:


where all clocks stop
    with dangled puppet.


dangled puppets?  or is it referring to the narrator?
“All persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.”  Kurt Vonnegut
Reply
#7
Hi Steve-

this one is too much telling and not enough showing. It really needs concrete images, and something to animate it, such as people, animals, even plants.

As it is, it presents as too ‘preachy’.

I recognize these things because I have a tendency toward it. It’s always harder for me to add details that flesh out the story (and poems really are like stories).

What story was the idea that inspired this? If there wasn’t one, it perfectly fine to weave fiction around a few facts.

Otherwise, the poem’s fine for what it is.
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#8
(08-02-2022, 01:52 AM)TranquillityBase Wrote:  Very much like your revision, and that's a smashing ending.

My only comment is, I trip over:


where all clocks stop
    with dangled puppet.


dangled puppets?  or is it referring to the narrator?

Hi TqB,
Glad you liked the ending.  That line is a homage to a poem by Emily Dickinson called "A Clock Stopped"  where she refers to the clock's pendulum as a puppet on a string.  Read the poem and let me know if you think my reference crosses a line.

Thanks

(08-02-2022, 01:56 AM)Mark A Becker Wrote:  Hi Steve-

this one is too much telling and not enough showing. It really needs concrete images, and something to animate it, such as people, animals, even plants.

As it is, it presents as too ‘preachy’.

I recognize these things because I have a tendency toward it.  It’s always harder for me to add details that flesh out the story (and poems really are like stories). 

What story was the idea that inspired this? If there wasn’t one, it perfectly fine to weave fiction around a few facts.

Otherwise, the poem’s fine for what it is.

Hi Mark,
Thanks for you insight.  To be honest, I don't remember the specific thing that got it started.  It sort of morphed as I was writing it and doing my own edits.  The basic theme was thwarting time and as the original ending indicated meant to be more tongue and cheek.  Ended up being more serious then I end up trying to say too much.  
Thanks again,
steve
Reply
#9
(08-02-2022, 03:41 AM)brynmawr1 Wrote:  Hi TqB,
Glad you liked the ending.  That line is a homage to a poem by Emily Dickinson called "A Clock Stopped"  where she refers to the clock's pendulum as a puppet on a string.  Read the poem and let me know if you think my reference crosses a line.

No I don't think you crossed any lines.  A very odd poem (Dickinson's I mean).  I've never read her deeply and I should.
“All persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.”  Kurt Vonnegut
Reply
#10
(08-02-2022, 01:56 AM)Mark A Becker Wrote:  Hi Steve-

this one is too much telling and not enough showing. It really needs concrete images, and something to animate it, such as people, animals, even plants.

As it is, it presents as too ‘preachy’.

I recognize these things because I have a tendency toward it.  It’s always harder for me to add details that flesh out the story (and poems really are like stories). 

What story was the idea that inspired this? If there wasn’t one, it perfectly fine to weave fiction around a few facts.

Otherwise, the poem’s fine for what it is.

Hi again,
I've been thinking more about your suggestion of adding details.  Are you suggesting that I try to weave some type of allegorical story or add some detail to some of the observations

eg "punishes the widow in her grief"?

Take care,
steve
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