Sunday, January 27, 2013

Nocturnal Questions.

When will the ghosts of eternity
clean my dishes hang up my washing
and rake the dry leaves in the back garden?

When will the ghosts of time stop knocking
on my window at three in the morning,
come into the light and smoke on the landing?

When will the ghosts of time do stand-up routines
in the graveyard under moonlight in front of the living
who have nothing but time for them?

When will the ghosts of time run out on us
with only the trail of wind or a door swinging
in the distance to leave us wondering?

A candle stands sentry at the window
smoke lingers and curls from incense
the universe rumbles like an empty stomach;
beyond that as always we are vigilant.


Jim Murdoch said...

There’s a fairly traditional rhythmic structure buried under all this which is interesting and I’m wondering if you might not want to do a little to emphasise this more because the poem’s a little old-fashioned in tone despite the modern references. Wouldn’t it be ‘smoke on a landing rather than ‘in’? I’ve read this over several times and on the whole I like it but I think it needs a polish. For example, I’d drop the word ‘audiences’ but then I’d have to think or a couple of syllables after ‘time’ probably in the next line to compensate. You see where I’m coming from? I’d probably drop the word ‘routines’ too since it makes that first line a little long. You read your stuff out loud so you’ll be able to tell what flows and what doesn’t. Essentially the poem’s fine though and I like it. Just look at each line and think how you might say it differently. I, for example, would probably change ‘empty’ in line 2 to ‘hang up’ or ‘hang out’. It doesn’t change the meaning or the metre but I (personally) prefer it. I might change ‘garden’ to ‘lawn’ to lose a syllable but ‘back lawn’ doesn’t sound right so I might make that ‘front lawn’ – this will also add a rhyme with ‘laundry’ which you might not like so ‘laundry’ can become ‘washing’. None of these tiny tweaks change the meaning but the do do something to the overall flow. Just to make it clear though, I do like this and I think it’s worth leaving for a while and then coming back to. At the moment it’s good; it could be great.

McGuire said...

Good suggestions as ever Jim.

You should be my editor in chief, my manager!

Thanks again. Your essay like consideration is appreciated.

Good guidance.


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