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PostPosted: 31 Aug 2017, 20:34 
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Location: Between the mountains and the sea
He wears the coarse khaki of Kitchener’s mob, a single chevron,
on his sleeve, a peaked hat with brass badge, the R.E. Corps,
a collar with curled-up ends, a paybook sags his breast

pocket down, a wide belt fixed tight around his thin waist.
He stands between his parents his hand rests on some books.
A photo for the hall, Lady Shenton sits to his left, their faces

reveal so much, the Reverend, passive, resigned, and regal
as pastors often are, his Ma fails to turn her thin lips into a smile,
her handsome face, a pale reflection of the beauty of her youth.

His left hand reaches out to catch the chair behind her, His boyish face,
factious, his thoughts are with Rachel and the porcelain-like child
he cannot hold aloft. He will watch from across a crowded street

when Rachel collects her soldier’s separation allowance. Grandma
succumbed to those soft brown eyes that sit so well. There is longing
in his face, a wistfulness, a kind of brokenness. How often had Mam

told us about Gwilym, how he spoke of Festubert, the Somme, Arras,
and Cambrai as if they were villages further up the valley. Mam asked,
Where was her Tad and told his ship had sunk off the coast of Japan,

that he was an An artificer, a petty officer of engineering. But his grandson
found him, from the genealogy, in Devon, across the Severn with another
family. We could have met him there, Mam would have danced, sang:

Arglwydd dyma fi - I am coming home to thee, cried tears of joy.
We are the hidden ones, the ones he gave up to go to war. When the war
ended Rachel rejected him for a man of her own class. But we were

the ones he longed for, the ones he would imagine he would come home
to. Did Gwilym die with those flickering images of Mam skipping across
that crowded street, hand in hand with Rachel, and did he long

to be there with them and hold them in his arms again.

Ieuan ap Hywel
Writer’s Block 15th September 2017




******


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 Post subject: Re: Hallstand Photograph
PostPosted: 31 Aug 2017, 21:06 
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Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03
Posts: 333
This is very good! I love the story, and how the characters unfold, and the touching ending....It could be tightened a little here and there, but overall it's a fine fine read....thx...a good poem always makes my morning...


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 Post subject: Re: Hallstand Photograph
PostPosted: 31 Aug 2017, 22:26 
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Location: Between the mountains and the sea
Thanks Bob, any concrete suggestions on which line to tighten? :)
Would be much appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Hallstand Photograph
PostPosted: 31 Aug 2017, 22:38 
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Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03
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For example, 'factious, intransigent, disaffected'...one or two adjectives would be enough

and
His thoughts are with his sweetheart
try different ways to shorten this....He longs for?
and
his honour,

his humanity, his love

'Humanity' is such a vague generic term..it doesn't convey much. Just make it 'his honour, his love'...

I would also suggest different line endings where the lines end with 'a', 'with', etc. --weak words for line endings


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 Post subject: Re: Hallstand Photograph
PostPosted: 01 Sep 2017, 02:27 
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Location: Between the mountains and the sea
Thanks Bob, something I can work on.


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PostPosted: 02 Sep 2017, 01:36 
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Joined: 30 Jul 2015, 11:14
Posts: 374
Frank---

looks great.

but on the road and no time to do more than scan. back soon.



bernie


back....


the poem is wonderfully cast---original and creative subject, careful phrasing of a word surgeon---great details and traditional poetics---best of all, i love the courage of presenting this dense, historical material.

so, a photograph in an aged and towering book case like piece of furniture. and we examine the details of the subject pictured---i think of robert lowell examining a withered daguerotype of Hawthorne
---he says in his poem Hawthorne---...To resilver the smudged plate.

i admire your eye for detail---


1. A single chevron, a peaked hat with brass badge

2. Lady Shenton sits
to his left, Pater, the Reverend, to his right.

i like the addition of real, average people...names...


3. He will watch from across a crowded street

an attribution that both shows and tells.


4. a scruffy collar curled

up at the ends, his pay book weighs down his breast pocket,
an extra wide belt fixed tight with clasp locked around

his slim waist.

visually just terrific, and poetic at the same time.







now, at the end in this long narrative---things stick:



...us about Gwilym, of whom she couldn't remember, how often she had
extoled his honour, his gentleness, and his love for Rachel.



what did the woman actually say?

maybe a phrase in dialect....

Y Ddraig Goch ddyry gychwyn The Red Dragon will show the way (slogan often accompanying the Red Dragon, symbol of Wales)

those last eight lines...need close review...the ole habit of us all --- to become telly...


=================


as she visits the post office with Rachel to collect her allowance.
The army’s four fifths rule. We can see his form

still reflected in her steady gaze



to those brown eyes that sit so well. There is longing in that face
turning wistful when he thinks he is alone, broken he oft told Mam.


The riotous season, the story how he rammed a stubborn wave
and sunk off the coast of Japan, a sloop, how he became

an artificer, and then an officer. The genealogy shows him living in Devon,
across the Severn. We could have met there, walking or taking provisions,

spoken Welsh, cried out wild in our hymns, fierce in the night.
We were the dark side, hidden, snow drifted a foot deep and terrible cold,

Mam's hair glistening from her crown to near the floor,
the family circled and about him at final days end.



integrating as a goal, the telling with the showing..


great poem. fine job.


bernie


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PostPosted: 02 Sep 2017, 13:02 
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Location: Between the mountains and the sea
Thanks Bernie
marvellous crit. really.

Makes me think more. I've made alterations,
I've squeeded in a bit of Welsh as you advised,
will think more throughout September.

Arglwydd Dyma Fi (I am coming Lord).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXXa2O4-4No


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PostPosted: 02 Sep 2017, 21:04 
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Frank---


thanks for letting me know i didn't mess things up too badly.

love following your reference to Cerys Matthews---and her recording of Calon Lan.

great start to a holiday weekend---despite tragedy in Texas and forest fire here in the Los Angeles area---we always have poetry.


bernie


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PostPosted: 04 Sep 2017, 15:04 
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Location: Between the mountains and the sea
I am going to contiue to work on this poem through September Bernie.
I want to make the story as succinct as possible
and as clear as possible
and possibly make it more poetic.
I think I have overemphasised in places.
I will try and incorporate your valid suggestions.


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PostPosted: 15 Sep 2017, 13:18 
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I have revised, taken up some of Bernie's suggestions.


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PostPosted: 15 Sep 2017, 19:13 
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Joined: 01 Jun 2008, 09:17
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Frank. I think this the best of yours I've read. The stanza breaks are masterstroke,
the language is superb.An excellent, well crafted poem.


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PostPosted: 15 Sep 2017, 21:49 
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Frank---

great revision on an original poem that was almost what you wanted.

send it, send it OUT. and i don't know any poet who hasn't experienced rejections, so? send it again. again if necessary.

bernie


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PostPosted: 16 Sep 2017, 00:14 
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Location: Between the mountains and the sea
If it's not picked or doesn't win anything in the IBPC
then I will send it out to the New Welsh Review, I promise. :)


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PostPosted: 16 Sep 2017, 01:05 
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I nominate it for IBPC


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PostPosted: 16 Sep 2017, 13:13 
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Location: Between the mountains and the sea
Thanks Ken for your generous remarks
and for the nom. You have been on this forum
for years I believe but only started posting recently.
I think there was one post from you about 5 years ago.


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PostPosted: 18 Sep 2017, 13:52 
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Eight years ago Bernie. It placed in IBPC.I joined my first forum in 1999. I still recall the first poem I posted It was duly savaged, and justifiably so. I don't believe you can teach someone to write, but ggou can teach them what poetry is.

The people on those forums kept commenting and I kept listening.I worked hard. I was fortunate to have had a friend ans mentor who worked privately with me until I submitted my first poem for publication. It was accepted.

Over the years, I'd published maybe 20 times, placed in IBPC six times. Back in ythe day, there were many good forums. You'd get 10 or more comments per post.

Web Del Sol was the first online poetry portal and Writers Block once had 4 moderators of which I was one for a time.
Michael has been around as long as me. I think Billy has too.

I got bored with poetry, the politics on the forums. I'm back because I need about 8 or 8 more good poems so I can leave a volume for my children and grandchildren even if I have to self publish it.

I think there might be four active forums left. This has always been one of the best.

Recently I joined another forum where a lot of Block poets also post. A,well known long time member posted a poem and after no one commented, she commented on her own poem in hopes of sparking intetrst.

That's a sure sign of death right there.Every piece deserves comment and acknowledgement, but you'll see the same few carrying the entire load.


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PostPosted: 18 Sep 2017, 15:08 
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Thanks for the frank reply Ken

So best wishes and I hope you don't wait 5 years before posting again.


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PostPosted: 30 Sep 2017, 14:09 
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Maybe it's better not to explain poems.


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PostPosted: 30 Sep 2017, 20:58 
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Frank---

you have a second poem there in your explication. John le Carre tells most of his latest novel by using old spy agency files. that is, little traditional novel story telling---the reader swims through original and still secret memos, declarations and notes to file of the period.

The novel searches out the memory found in old intelligence reports and allows the reader to assemble the story and the deceptions that escaped players at the time.




Son, you were busy being born when all this happened, you will welcome these notes if you think of me at all:


S1 - khaki- a The original khaki fabric was a closely twilled cloth of linen or cotton dyed a drab dust colour
used by the British army first in India and then around the world.

R.E. Corps - Royal Engineers Corps -sappers and skilled trades operating within the British army in groups
never as a Corp, operating as the mechanical and engineering arm of a division - mine laying, mine clearing
tank maintenance, bridge building and so on

S2 a posed setting photo for visitors to see a son was serving his country
books were used in photographs to show learning, important then not
so much now, everyone can write.

S3 Lady Shenton - mother, the reverend - father
Mater and Pater latin for mother and father.

S5 Introduced another family related but not part of the photo
group, separated by class, Rachel is Gwilym's love the mother
of the unnamed daughter- the child of their physical union,
an illegitimate child.

Soldiers separation allowance. The British army needed
men so the government paid 4/5 allowance to soldiers
with dependents.

the soldier paid 1/5 and to this amount the government added
4/5. The total then sent to the solder's family.

Now, a family secret.

Gwilym's sister, paid the amount at the post office. Rachel and the child
watch her pay then cross the road and withdraw their allowance.

After the 4 year war he may have signed
9 years with the Royal navy, his war record would have guaranteed
his place as an engineer and a hero in the post war navy and the
continued until the child was 16.

S6 - Speaks of grandma i.e. Rachel, so the grandson of Rachel must be N
This makes the Reverend and Lady Shenton his great grandparents to N.
How often Mam had told . . now we have N speaking about his mother
i.e. Mam, so Mam is the child, the daughter.
Greta Nan is the great grandmother of N, so she is his great grandmother
from the discarded family.

S7 unfolds the web of lies, half truths and truth all mingled together
that the child hung onto as reality. He was respectable, educated, an officer
his ship had sunk, therefore he was dead and she could never find him
she never knew how. She told the facts she knew time and time again
like a mantra so the son, N, could do his best when the time came and
the truth would be revealed.

S8 The son finds him, but he died a long time ago. Wistfulnes
again, what could have been. Arglwydd dyma fi - a famous
Welsh Hymn hat every child in Wales knows by heart about coing
home, coming home to thee, spiritual but also true in this case.

I hope this explains it better for you to understand
it must be very difficult otherwise.
I read it myself sometimes and i find it difficult to understand
and yet everything is there.



a poem unfolds there....characters, drama and plot....


bernie


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PostPosted: 30 Sep 2017, 21:45 
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Deep Bernie
Did not think of it like that
but you are right
it could be a poem on its own.

Thanks for reading and commenting
Hope the blues recede.

How to do it though, that's the rub.

Best wishes


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PostPosted: 01 Oct 2017, 06:22 
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I enjoyed your poem. Yes, your details are endearing. A lot of characters to follow and get straight, for me. There is always so much heart in your poems.


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 Post subject: removed
PostPosted: 13 Oct 2017, 14:24 
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removed


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PostPosted: 13 Oct 2017, 14:28 
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Rats Ass Review rejected this poem
they were friendly in the rejection
that was a relief.
They didn't enthuse.


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