Litkicks Message Board Archive

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Posted to Poetry




There is a theory in poetry (riffing off of the economy of language thing) that if you can cut your poem in half, and not lose anything, do it.

I think that applies here:

Motionless waiting, without a breeze
to spin the cobwebs with wind's fingers,
into one silken thread.

Meadows larksong lifted in the morning light,
as the dew lifts from the clover,
shaded beneath the wildrose in bloom.


Is your poem. The rest doesn't add anything to the tradition, and is merely a slow rundown, or a fadeout, as opposed to a fast stop. That being said, watch your line breaks, and your word choice.

L1, for example, could be "She waits motionless..." or something like that, which eliminates the gerund and makes the poem more immediate. I'm not even sure "motionless" is necessary.

Also, in Ls4&5, you use the verb "lift" twice. A verb like this, so close to itself in a poem, weakens the poem. There are lots of options. I'll let you figure out which one works for you.

I like what Beth said about reading Chinese poetry--I think it would help here. Check out some of Sam Hamill's translations, available on Shambhala Press. Also, some of Kenneth Rexroths (100 poems from the Chinese, 100 more poems..., etc.) as well. Pound's "Cathay" is pretty solid as well, though it contains a few errors.

I look forward to the rewrite.