Riding a Bike to Cross the Countryside.

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SivaRamanathan
Posts: 1103
Joined: 14 May 2011, 20:30

Riding a Bike to Cross the Countryside.

#1 Post by SivaRamanathan » 14 Mar 2020, 22:34

V2
"Biking Cross-Country"

We rode past a rubber plantation where
we couldn't breathe without inhaling the stench
--worse than burning tyres emitting smoke pipes.

My brother said, be sure you know what it is.
''This light that comes past the rubber trees is fire.''
And so I recalled the many names of after death.
The mode of disposing of mortal remains: ground burial,
cremation, leaving the dead in the hanging gardens for hungry
vultures, urn burials of long ago, combustion at the crematorium
-the instant crumbling and crushing for a packet-full of ash.

The smoke forked its way in between the rubber trees to escape.
"Only the human body can smell like that,"said my brother.
Appa had bought a six-by-three-foot piece of land
to build his cemetery. My brother corrected, "Not 'build,' but 'lay.’'

Tessa, a British poet, sought the "Nadi" palm-leaf oracle,
wanting to know the cause for her future death.
I thought, there is no charm in dying if you know
the when where how of it all. I said, "The whole beauty
about death is its unexpectedness." But Tessa was adament.
She had come to Tamilnadu in India solely for that.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


We went past a rubber plantation where the stench
had to be inhaled to breathe; worse than burning tyres
emitting fire-light. My brother said, be sure you know
what it is. And so I recalled the many names of after death.
The mode of disposing off the mortal remains, ground burial,
cremation, leaving the dead in the hanging gardens for hungry
vultures, urn burials of long ago, electric lighting, crumbling
and crushing for a packet full of ash. The smoke forked its way
between the rubber trees : only the human body can smell thus,’
said my brother. Appa had bought a six by three feet piece of land
to’ build’ his cemetery. My brother corrected, ‘’it is not build, but ‘lay.’

Tessa, British poet, sought the ‘Nadi ‘palm leaf oracle
wanting to know the cause for her future death.
I thought, there is no charm in dying if you know,
the when where how of it all. I said, ’the whole beauty
about death is its unexpectedness. ’Great men,
the world over have taught us how to accept death.

The charm of dying is to willingly let go
for some it is the fight to live a little longer--
Remember, in the register of death
there is no extension.

BobBradshaw
Posts: 1502
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Re: Riding a Bike to Cross the Countryside.

#2 Post by BobBradshaw » 15 Mar 2020, 00:31

There is some lovely writing here: I love the long opening you have laid down;
We went past a rubber plantation where the stench
had to be inhaled to breathe; worse than burning tyres
emitting fire-light. My brother said, be sure you know
what it is. And so I recalled the many names of after death.
The mode of disposing off the mortal remains, ground burial,
cremation, leaving the dead in the hanging gardens for hungry
vultures, urn burials of long ago, electric lighting, crumbling
and crushing for a packet full of ash. The smoke forked its way
between the rubber trees : only the human body can smell thus,’
said my brother.

The second stanza has some nice writing as well. I like the surprising lines about the “charm” and the beauty of death’s unexpectedness...

The stanza’s closing line about great men falls flat, preachy for me.

The same preachiness disappoints me in the final stanza as well.

I would like to see the closing loop back to something more personal, a close family member’s death.

You have a special poem going here through the word “unexpectedness”. Lose the sermonizing and get personal. The strength of this piece is its surprising details in S1 and S2’s observations. Stay surprising. Don’t tell us what we already know... you’ve already told us so much by the time you get to the closing. So I suggest just giving us surprising and poignant specifics to close with.

I am really looking forward to your revision... best

SivaRamanathan
Posts: 1103
Joined: 14 May 2011, 20:30

Re: Riding a Bike to Cross the Countryside.

#3 Post by SivaRamanathan » 15 Mar 2020, 20:17

Bob

I was writing for that Eclectica four words prompt.Let me see if I can round it off.

S

SivaRamanathan
Posts: 1103
Joined: 14 May 2011, 20:30

Re: Riding a Bike to Cross the Countryside.

#4 Post by SivaRamanathan » 15 Mar 2020, 20:19

Bob

Shall I end it with the 'unexpectedness?'

Siva

BobBradshaw
Posts: 1502
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Re: Riding a Bike to Cross the Countryside.

#5 Post by BobBradshaw » 15 Mar 2020, 21:45

I'm not sure...possibly...although I'm thinking ending it on a stanza about a death close to the narrator would work better

SivaRamanathan
Posts: 1103
Joined: 14 May 2011, 20:30

Re: Riding a Bike to Cross the Countryside.

#6 Post by SivaRamanathan » 16 Mar 2020, 04:08

Thank you.

BobBradshaw
Posts: 1502
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Re: Riding a Bike to Cross the Countryside.

#7 Post by BobBradshaw » 16 Mar 2020, 07:33

Maybe in the closing reference the horror in S1 but detail in contrast the tenderness and care and love felt at the family member ceremony

SivaRamanathan
Posts: 1103
Joined: 14 May 2011, 20:30

Re: Riding a Bike to Cross the Countryside.

#8 Post by SivaRamanathan » 16 Mar 2020, 20:27

Bob.
I finished with the searching of the palm leaf oracle.
The last lines are prosaic,but I have never been able to write sheer poetry.
Thank you
Siva

SivaRamanathan
Posts: 1103
Joined: 14 May 2011, 20:30

Re: Riding a Bike to Cross the Countryside.

#9 Post by SivaRamanathan » 01 Apr 2020, 07:18

Bob
Please read the version I have posted today in the IBPC thread.The 'Biking Cross-Country' poem.
Siva

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