Walt Whitman, 1863

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BobBradshaw
Posts: 1366
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Walt Whitman, 1863

#1 Post by BobBradshaw » 07 Nov 2019, 05:05

V2:

Walt Whitman, 1863


He was frequently asked
by wounded and dying soldiers
to write home for them,
or to seek out their friends.

Often the "men", many teenagers,
were out of their heads—
dreams and waking
mixed like fog and smoke.

One legless soldier kept calling Walt
his sister. Walt held his hand
as the boy groaned,
finally complaining
as he lay dying

of the pain in his thigh
--and, worse, the lack
of letters from home:
absence the pain
that he found hardest
to endure.

V1:
Walt Whitman, 1863


He was often asked
by wounded and dying soldiers
to write home for them,
or to seek out their friends.

Many were out of their heads,
their fevers as common
as unclean bandages.

Often the "men", many teenagers,
were confused—
dreams and waking
mixed like fog and smoke.

One legless soldier kept calling Walt
his sister. Walt held his hand
as the boy groaned,
finally complaining
as he lay dying

of the pain in his thigh
--and, worse, the lack
of letters from home:
absence the pain
that he found hardest
to endure.

judyt547
Posts: 106
Joined: 17 Jan 2013, 19:46
Location: middle of the woods
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Re: Walt Whitman, 1863

#2 Post by judyt547 » 07 Nov 2019, 08:07

This has possibilities. At this point it feels like you're trying to pack too much inormation into too little a space,
and too much drama gets lost in the process. I'd be inclined to let one soldier stand for all of them. Make
their story into his story, if you see what I mean, let him represent all of them.

Maybe start with that legless soldier, give him a name, and build from that.

One nice thing about a poem, you can land in the middle of an event, no build up, no lead-in, and
readers will pick it up immediately.

I like 'dreams and waking/mixed like fog and smoke",
and the idea that the lack of letters from home bothered
a dying soldier as much as the loss of his legs...

BobBradshaw
Posts: 1366
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Re: Walt Whitman, 1863

#3 Post by BobBradshaw » 08 Nov 2019, 07:36

You make interesting points, Judy. Perhaps I should start the poem with the third stanza....and tweak the title accordingly

meenas17
Posts: 683
Joined: 23 Mar 2014, 11:27

Re: Walt Whitman, 1863

#4 Post by meenas17 » 08 Nov 2019, 20:11

A good poem, Bob.
Each stanza is relevant,
One leads to the other, yet they stand out.
That be the beauty of the poem.
meenas17

judyt547
Posts: 106
Joined: 17 Jan 2013, 19:46
Location: middle of the woods
Contact:

Re: Walt Whitman, 1863

#5 Post by judyt547 » 08 Nov 2019, 21:56

gettin' there.
I love fog and smoke, but the first two lines of that stanza could be elimnated
and the last two lines attached to the previous one. Try it. I think you can
drill down too hard (you in the general, not the personal sense) on poems like
this, the temptation is almost to write them in real blood and bits.

"finally complaining
as he lay dying

of the pain in his thigh"


this is confusing, it basically says he's dying of the pain in his thigh and complaining
about it too. or not. This poem has some power, don't dilute it with too many gerunds
and "obvious" statements. Trust your reader, they'll get it.

BobBradshaw
Posts: 1366
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Re: Walt Whitman, 1863

#6 Post by BobBradshaw » 09 Nov 2019, 03:27

Judy, I disagree about those lines being confusing. But I appreciate your taking so much time to look at this poem. I value your input.

BobBradshaw
Posts: 1366
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Re: Walt Whitman, 1863

#7 Post by BobBradshaw » 09 Nov 2019, 03:33

Judy, thx to your encouragement I have shortened the poem a bit. Thank you

BobBradshaw
Posts: 1366
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Re: Walt Whitman, 1863

#8 Post by BobBradshaw » 09 Nov 2019, 03:35

Thanks, Meenas, for your POV. I appreciate it.

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