Monday, January 12, 2009

Wooden chairs

I've been sitting on this chair for ages.
Simple egg in a cup,
but chairs grow uncomfortable,
unbendable and suddenly
a large duvet with inviting
plump cushions would do.

Wooden chairs do not attend funerals,
but they should, they are stern watchers;
objective, stony men.

Stalwart sitting,
supporting us
laughably upon
their frames.

What does a chair want
with the luxury of
our grief?


Rachel Fox said...

I really like this. Send it off to poetry magazines and all that business. I bet they'll like it too.

Jim Murdoch said...

This is very good. I agree. But I'd have a wee think about it before sending it out.

Yes, chairs 'grow uncomfortable' but they don't grow 'rigid', they are rigid. Also 'unbendable' is an antonym of 'rigid' so you might want to suggest another characteristic of chairs.

The same with 'would do' - it seems a little weak. The 'large duvet' is preferable; it's the chair that he's making do with.

How about 'oaken' rather than 'stony'? and 'supporting' rather than 'carrying'?

Finally, in the last stanza, I'm not sure about 'want' - chairs don't want anything. They accept our arses but that's about it. How about 'do' or 'need'?

Just a few things to mull over. The basic concept is very good.

McGuire said...

I inted the personfiying of the chair in part, the chair, can't want anything, that's precisely, why I ironically ask, 'what does it want with our grief',as though it ever could.

I like stony, we wouldn't initial thinking of a chair as stone, but it has the same solidity. Which seems to work form here.

You highlight a contradiction in my poem, the chair as inanimate object, and as personified object. I thought that contradiction 'worked' but perhaps it doesn't.

Hmm, perhaps, 'carry' to carry can also be to 'sit within something' but I also like the hint of the idea of 'movement', of being carried, like a burden, depending on chairs. Again, maybe i've over thought that.

Would welcome another reply Jim, cheers as ever fir your keen eye and suggestion. :)

McGuire said...

Made some changes. What do you make of rigor mortis>? I think it clarifies things bit.


Jim Murdoch said...

I see nothing wrong with the chairs starting off as inanimate objects and then 'becoming' people later in the poem. That didn't confuse me in the least. I'm not sure it would work the other way round or if you decided to switch them back. It's not a contradiction, simply a revised perspective. It might be safer to treat the chair as a person right from the off though suggesting that our discomfort is a result of a change in the chair's willingness to support us.

'Rigid as rigor mortis' works. I might have simply said 'Rigor sets in'.

The next bit still feels rough. Why not make the bed a person too?

I wish my bed was here to save me
with its warm duvet and [     ] pillows.

Not quite sure how I would describe the pillows.

I accept what you say about your choice of 'stony'. It's not a word I would use but then it's not my poem. Hopefully some other people will pass comment and you might get a broader perspective.

The other thing that came to mind is that although kitchen chairs don't attend funerals wooden pews do; a bench is a distant relative of the chair. I might be tempted to change 'wooden' to 'kitchen'. Have a think about it.

Again, let me underline that this is a good poem. It just needs a bit of polishing I think. And these are just opinions, things to consider. You can overthink a poem. I agree and I personally try not to obsess too much over finding the perfect word because perfection is relative. In the war poem that's up at the moment I use 'bird' rather than 'dove'. It was a deliberate choice but I'm sure some readers would have preferred the obvious metaphor: dove = peace. There is no right answer so I chose the one I was happiest with.

Rachel Fox said...

I can't remember which bits have changed now. I liked it as it was.

McGuire said...

Rachel, do you think the edit, has made the poem less successful>?

Rachel Fox said...

My memory is too crammed just now - you'd have to put both up for me to compare them properly.
And of course mine is only one opinion...and not the most informed one or anything.
All I can remember is that the first one you posted spoke out to me very clearly and that I especially liked the last few lines. There was a clever spookiness that appealed.

Wait. What? said...

What a powerful piece, really , really like this one!