Beethoven Dying

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BobBradshaw
Posts: 1389
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Beethoven Dying

#1 Post by BobBradshaw » 26 Nov 2019, 00:24

Nov 25 at 9:28 AM
V2:
Beethoven Dying


I held my old friend’s trembling hand
as he spoke of better times.

He hummed an unrecognizable tune,
and spoke of a work that would be like no other.
For weeks he had wrestled with it, never
writing any of it down.

Gripping his pain-wrenched gut,
Beethoven fell back into a sweat.
My wife mopped his brow, and he smiled
before closing his eyes.

That was the last time he was aware
of others around him...

Legend has it thunder
rumbled outside his window
two nights later,
when he defiantly raised his fist

at the darkness awaiting him,
but then his hand fell to his side,

his hair
a gray and black storm of curls
strewn across his pillow,
and his jaw set, as it always was
when he had work to do
and a long night
ahead.


V1:
Beethoven Dying


Quietly we approached my old friend's bed.
I held his trembling hand
as he spoke of better times.

He hummed an unrecognizable tune,
and spoke of a work that would be like no other.
For weeks he had wrestled with it, never
writing any of it down.

Gripping his pain-wrenched gut,
Beethoven fell back into a sweat.
My wife mopped his brow, and he smiled
before closing his eyes.

That was the last time he was aware
of others around him...

It has become legend how thunder
rumbled outside his window
two nights later,
when he defiantly raised his fist

at the darkness awaiting him,
but then his hand fell to his side,
and that was it...

All I know is that
when I saw his body, his hair
was a gray and black storm of curls
strewn across his pillow,
and his jaw was set, as it always was
when he had work to do
and a long night
ahead.

judyt547
Posts: 129
Joined: 17 Jan 2013, 19:46
Location: middle of the woods
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Re: Beethoven Dying

#2 Post by judyt547 » 26 Nov 2019, 17:32

I'd be inclined to change first person to third, to give it a more realistic tone

Less personal description. Less detail. Make a reader work for this one. =)

"it has become legend how thunder" could be shortened to
'legend has it that..."
skip "and that was it" --way way too slangy...
skip "all I know is that when I saw his body" and keep it third person,
inviting the reader to see it through their own eyes

maybe "when he was found, with his hair a storm of curls.
his jaw was set the way it always was
when he had work to do
and a long night ahead...

This last stanza, for me, is the drama and the poem. You suddenly are forced to see him facing
his own death, and working toward it, as another symphony.

Basically, what Im suggesting is to ask yourself does a reader really need to know the
tiniest details? I find them distracting from the music in this, and the drama.

You might even consider working in 'his final symphony had been written" at some point...

BobBradshaw
Posts: 1389
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Re: Beethoven Dying

#3 Post by BobBradshaw » 26 Nov 2019, 21:56

Thanks, Judy...I have taken some of your ideas....

SivaRamanathan
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Joined: 14 May 2011, 20:30

Re: Beethoven Dying

#4 Post by SivaRamanathan » 26 Nov 2019, 22:39

Your revision is sparse and crisp. I see how you have taken 'some' of the suggestions and worked on this draft. Now I suppose you can call it a poem.

judyt547
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Re: Beethoven Dying

#5 Post by judyt547 » 27 Nov 2019, 02:40

sometimes a poem like this needs air, and space, and time. come back to it after you've forgotten about it, and
see how it looks then. Better, now, I agree.

Oh, hell, all of them can be improved, sometimes we improve them right out of existence. =)

BobBradshaw
Posts: 1389
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Re: Beethoven Dying

#6 Post by BobBradshaw » 27 Nov 2019, 06:49

Judy, I have now removed "and that was it...". Another thanks owed....

SivaRamanathan
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Joined: 14 May 2011, 20:30

Re: Beethoven Dying

#7 Post by SivaRamanathan » 27 Nov 2019, 09:38

Bob and Judy
I first thought in my heart that what Judy has suggested is going to make it cliched.But I did not voice it out.Now I see how a co-poet also partakes in the formation and completion of a poem. I am learning from these workshops.
Thanks
Siva

judyt547
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Re: Beethoven Dying

#8 Post by judyt547 » 27 Nov 2019, 17:44

thank you both for those words.
It helps to read what you write aloud, and listen to the rhythms, hear the way the words connect.

And I understand how hard it is, sometimes, to let go of phrases you love. But once you realize
that love don't work on a cliche, it's a lot easier to let it go. And there is this: you can always put
it back, or use it in another poem.
One of my favorite lines ever is 'Eve must have named the woodthrust first" because the bird has
such a lovely voice. Trouble is, I have never been able to find a poem to put it in, because it
becomes a lead weight to the actual work.
So, I used it for a title instead. =)

Siva, I was trying to remove the cliche, not enhance it. Sometimes the best poems force the reader
to climb inside. Look at Frost's "Stopping by Woods" He doesn't say WHY, necessarily, he lets his reader
join him on that wagon, and work out their own interpretation of what might have caused him to
stop and ponder. It's spare, and deeply private. I suspect everyone who has read it has their own
interpretation of what he "really" meant. And as he put it himself, "Tricks? I revel in 'em".

BobBradshaw
Posts: 1389
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Re: Beethoven Dying

#9 Post by BobBradshaw » 27 Nov 2019, 22:04

Thanks, Siva, for your comments...appreciated

SivaRamanathan
Posts: 1015
Joined: 14 May 2011, 20:30

Re: Beethoven Dying

#10 Post by SivaRamanathan » 27 Nov 2019, 22:13

Thanks Judy,There is trust and camaraderie in this group. I sometimes feel I am not making good use of this membership.

judyt547
Posts: 129
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Location: middle of the woods
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Re: Beethoven Dying

#11 Post by judyt547 » 28 Nov 2019, 00:07

I think, if you enjoy being here (or anywhere, actually) and contribute as you see fit, then you are
indeed making good use of what's here. and from experience on this board and others, there is no
"have to" going on. Just suggestion, nudges in the right direction, and an acceptance of each other.

My own writing days are just about done, and have been for quite some time. I'm here in hopes
that some of my stuff can be seen and maybe improved on. And now and then, just being around
other poets does light a tiny little pilot light inside. You never know what might happen. :o

capricorn
Posts: 303
Joined: 21 Sep 2017, 23:23

Re: Beethoven Dying

#12 Post by capricorn » 30 Nov 2019, 03:12

A lovely poem, Bob. I think perhaps some more details could be trimmed back.

Perhaps St1 would be more direct if the first line were deleted

I held my old friend's trembling hand
as he spoke of better times.


Also delete 'legend has it' (don't think it's needed)

thunder rumbled outside his window
two nights later,
when he defiantly raised his fist


Nice ending stanza

Eira

BobBradshaw
Posts: 1389
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Re: Beethoven Dying

#13 Post by BobBradshaw » 30 Nov 2019, 09:13

Good suggestions....

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