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> A Mortician’s “Somber” Reflections **, Free-verse
Ali zonak
post Jun 28 17, 21:04
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A Mortician’s “Somber” Reflections **

Cradle to grave, the destiny of man
is one from which there’s no escape
Born he was without teeth in his gums,
now it is the tooth of time that tears and gnaws.

Aging gracefully? Oh, such fleeting dream;
man finds himself a prisoner of old age.
Dogs may grow old without showing their age--
some ancient ones still run, but this one lies still.

Look--this shadow of man, once stout, his legs
are withered, stiff; the skin hangs loose
and saggy like that of a plucked goose;
his neck would be too weak to hold the head erect.

Once he was a youth with a full head of hair,
but now, one finds only one or two, maybe here
or there, not worthy of clippers and shears--
except for those bristles in nose and ear.
Well--at last he is beyond all earthly care,
yet I serve him by doing what I do best--
Hot diggity dang! Doesn't that guy looks great?


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JustDaniel
post Jun 29 17, 01:32
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A very interesting read, Ali. I forgot, until the end that it was a mortician's reflection, and that of course redirected my perspective considerably.

I might have a few observations, but I note that you don't ask for critique today.

deLighting in your sharing, Daniel sun.gif


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Ali zonak
post Jun 29 17, 07:02
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QUOTE (JustDaniel @ Jun 29 17, 01:32 ) *
A very interesting read, Ali. I forgot, until the end that it was a mortician's reflection, and that of course redirected my perspective considerably.

I might have a few observations, but I note that you don't ask for critique today.

deLighting in your sharing, Daniel sun.gif


Good Morn, Daniel'
I forgot to indicate that moderate critique is always welcome. To me, it's reasonable clarity in writing that I strive for, and I hope it comes through. Thanks for your interest. Ali


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JustDaniel
post Jun 29 17, 08:20
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Greetings, Ali

Since you do ask for critique, I have several questions, observations and suggestions that you can take or toss without fear of offending.

First a question. Why do you place Somber in quotation marks. It seems totally unnecessary, unless I'm missing something in your intent.

I think your opening remarks seem too lecture-ish for a piece of free verse. And you haven't created the context for them, except in the title. May I suggest you make the whole thing more personal to the mortician by doing something like what I suggest here?
QUOTE (Ali zonak @ Jun 28 17, 22:04 ) *
A Mortician’s “Somber” Reflections **

Here I am with another mortal on my bier.

Cradle to grave, the our destiny of man
is one from which there’s no escape[.]
Born, we were he was without teeth in our his gums[;](,)
now it is the tooth of time that tears and gnaws.

Aging gracefully? Oh, such a fleeting dream;
man finds himself We find ourselves a prisoner of old age.
Dogs may grow old without showing their age--
some ancient ones still run, but this one lies still.

Look--this shadow of a man, once stout, his legs
are withered, stiff; the skin hangs loose
and saggy like that of a plucked goose;
his neck would be was too weak to hold the his head erect.

Once he was a youth with a full head of hair,
but now, one we find(s) only one or two, maybe here
or there, not worthy of clippers and shears--
except for those bristles in his nose and ear.
[Stanza break]
Well--at last he is beyond all earthly care,
yet I serve him by doing what I do best--
Hot diggity dang! Doesn't that this guy look(s) great?

Again, please take or toss, in Light of personal choice, Daniel sun.gif


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Ali zonak
post Jun 29 17, 13:25
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QUOTE (JustDaniel @ Jun 29 17, 08:20 ) *
Greetings, Ali

Since you do ask for critique, I have several questions, observations and suggestions that you can take or toss without fear of offending.

First a question. Why do you place Somber in quotation marks. It seems totally unnecessary, unless I'm missing something in your intent.

I think your opening remarks seem too lecture-ish for a piece of free verse. And you haven't created the context for them, except in the title. May I suggest you make the whole thing more personal to the mortician by doing something like what I suggest here?
QUOTE (Ali zonak @ Jun 28 17, 22:04 ) *
A Mortician’s “Somber” Reflections **

Here I am with another mortal on my bier.

Cradle to grave, the our destiny of man
is one from which there’s no escape[.]
Born, we were he was without teeth in our his gums[;](,)
now it is the tooth of time that tears and gnaws.

Aging gracefully? Oh, such a fleeting dream;
man finds himself We find ourselves a prisoner of old age.
Dogs may grow old without showing their age--
some ancient ones still run, but this one lies still.

Look--this shadow of a man, once stout, his legs
are withered, stiff; the skin hangs loose
and saggy like that of a plucked goose;
his neck would be was too weak to hold the his head erect.

Once he was a youth with a full head of hair,
but now, one we find(s) only one or two, maybe here
or there, not worthy of clippers and shears--
except for those bristles in his nose and ear.
[Stanza break]
Well--at last he is beyond all earthly care,
yet I serve him by doing what I do best--
Hot diggity dang! Doesn't that this guy look(s) great?

Again, please take or toss, in Light of personal choice, Daniel sun.gif


Hi Daniel;
The "Somber" quotation marks were to suggest the mortician's sarcasm or cynicism. In a rewrite most of the inflection got lost and, therefore, the quotation marks no longer serve the intended purpose. As to the rest of your suggestions, I am speaking of a single man, not several men laid out on the slab. I'm not sure why the opening of this free verse would be too lecture-ish. If I were to make all the changes you suggest, the poem would no longer be mine but yours. I will keep it as is for now. Honestly, I don't believe in over-critiquing or nit-picking the new kid in the block--that I am. Finally, I have to say, this elitist site is not for me--not just because of this incident, but a particular one in which I received a wishy-washy reply. Good-bye. Sincerely,
Ali


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JustDaniel
post Jun 29 17, 14:44
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QUOTE
Hi Daniel;
The "Somber" quotation marks were to suggest the mortician's sarcasm or cynicism. In a rewrite most of the inflection got lost and, therefore, the quotation marks no longer serve the intended purpose.

That makes a lot of sense, Ali. I know how re-writes can leave a few ashes. That clearly answers my question.

As to the rest of your suggestions, I am speaking of a single man, not several men laid out on the slab!

Of course you are. What did I say to make you think that I saw something different from that?!!

I'm not sure why the opening of this free verse would be too lecture-ish.

It's just my observation, Ali. That doesn't make it TRUTH. Just my perspective at this point.

If I were to make all the changes you suggest, the poem would no longer be mine but yours. I will keep it as is for now.

I only do critique in this manner to SHOW a possible change in perspective that may be possible with changing a few words. In this case, to make it more personal, like the mortician is talking to himself, as I thought you intended. One NEVER has to take ANY suggestion from a critique. I don't think any of what I showed you was anything but YOUR OWN WORDS, mostly changed from third person to first person.

Honestly, I don't believe in over-critiquing or nit-picking the new kid in the block--that I am.

As I said earlier to you, I certainly don't see you as a newbie writer. One person who was here some time ago stalked off because he thought we assumed he was inexperienced, and he was offended by that -- even though he wasn't even treated that way! Larry and I were perplexed by his reaction.

I'm not sure what "over-critiquing" is, so perhaps you could offer the particulars. I'm also not clear on what you consider nit-picking. Editing (which you said you needed) is, by nature, nit-picking. It's never criticism; merely sharing things like grammar, spelling, typos, etc.


Finally, I have to say, this elitist site is not for me--not just because of this incident, but a particular one in which I received a wishy-washy reply.

This site is anything but elitist. There isn't enough activity here to qualify for that. The most active two here welcome everyone who comes. As I told you, I'm ONLY here in the free-verse section because I don't like to see people getting no response. I've dedicated quite a number of hours just giving you attention, simply because you're new here. If my spending all that time makes me elitist, I'm afraid that I'm totally bamboozled!!

I have no idea who gave you a "wishy-washy" reply. I've had hundreds and hundreds of them over the years. It goes with the territory. Sometimes it's because folks don't have much time. Some folks are sick -- very sick. Some are busy elsewhere and just stop by for a visit. Anything is possible. Sometimes people don't initially connect with a piece and visit again after others exchange, then chime in with a better understanding.


Good-bye. Sincerely,
Ali


Respecting any decision that you make, but hoping this is not a good-bye.

deLighting in your sharing thus far, Daniel sun.gif


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Eisa
post Jun 29 17, 16:04
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Hi Ali,

It's good to see another poem from you. I'm sorry you feel this is no longer the poetry home for you. I know Daniel has done his best to welcome you and give some help and has meant no offence in his critique. We all critique in different ways and in different depths. I've always found Daniel's suggestions to be thoughtful and thought-provoking.
Anyway, here are a few meagre thoughts from me below.


Cradle to grave, the destiny of man
is one from which there’s no escape
Born he was without teeth in his gums,
now it is the tooth of time that tears and gnaws.

I like this 1st stanza and how you've used teeth as a theme/metaphor.


Aging gracefully? Oh, such fleeting dream;
man finds himself a prisoner of old age.
Dogs may grow old without showing their age--
some ancient ones still run, but this one lies still.

Look--this shadow of man, once stout, his legs
are withered, stiff; the skin hangs loose
and saggy like that of a plucked goose;
his neck [would be] too weak to hold the head erect.

Perhaps delete 'would be' from last line

Once he was a youth with a full head of hair,
but now, one finds only one or two, maybe here
or there, not worthy of clippers and shears--
except for those bristles in nose and ear.
Well--at last he is beyond all earthly care,
yet I serve him by doing what I do best--
Hot diggity dang! Doesn't that guy looks great?

Change 'looks' to 'look' in last line

I hope these few thoughts have been helpful. We have a saying here about critique -'use or loose'. In other words if you don't want to use suggestions then just ignore (lose)
I hope this is not 'Goodbye'.

Eira


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Laugh loud & often - it's medicinal.
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Ali zonak
post Jun 30 17, 06:32
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Hi Daniel;
about the wishy-washy statement? Poor choice of words, spoken too hastily. However, I do have a complaint: Larry made a somewhat erroneous statement, which was that my “short rondeau” was flawed, not only because I did not strictly stay within certain parameters, but had neglectedd to write the short rondeau in tetrameter. You and Larry are knowledgeable and therefore I thought Larry would offer an explanation regarding the tetrameter comment. Instead, you, Daniel, wrote a lengthy explanation that never touched on my question. That’s pretty much all I have to say about my harsh “wishy-washy” remark.
No, I can’t agree with your edit of my Mortician’s Somber Reflections, but that would be a matter of opinion, and I understand that one has a tendency to over-criticize. I have fallen into the same trap on another forum. While I am a newcomer to this forum (not really, lol), having written poetry for over 10 years, I am not a newcomer to this art. I have a website that you might visit https://www.jerrykspoetry.com/. Also, I have contributed to The Australia Poetry Magazine on a regular basis; therefore the mentioning of Maureen and the Magazine in my failed rondeau. So, my apology for the charade, and I know it’s best that I remove myself from this site. Thank you Daniel.


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Ali zonak
post Jun 30 17, 06:55
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QUOTE (Eisa @ Jun 29 17, 16:04 ) *
Hi Ali,

It's good to see another poem from you. I'm sorry you feel this is no longer the poetry home for you. I know Daniel has done his best to welcome you and give some help and has meant no offence in his critique. We all critique in different ways and in different depths. I've always found Daniel's suggestions to be thoughtful and thought-provoking.
Anyway, here are a few meagre thoughts from me below.


Cradle to grave, the destiny of man
is one from which there’s no escape
Born he was without teeth in his gums,
now it is the tooth of time that tears and gnaws.

I like this 1st stanza and how you've used teeth as a theme/metaphor.


Aging gracefully? Oh, such fleeting dream;
man finds himself a prisoner of old age.
Dogs may grow old without showing their age--
some ancient ones still run, but this one lies still.

Look--this shadow of man, once stout, his legs
are withered, stiff; the skin hangs loose
and saggy like that of a plucked goose;
his neck [would be] too weak to hold the head erect.

Perhaps delete 'would be' from last line

Once he was a youth with a full head of hair,
but now, one finds only one or two, maybe here
or there, not worthy of clippers and shears--
except for those bristles in nose and ear.
Well--at last he is beyond all earthly care,
yet I serve him by doing what I do best--
Hot diggity dang! Doesn't that guy looks great?

Change 'looks' to 'look' in last line

I hope these few thoughts have been helpful. We have a saying here about critique -'use or loose'. In other words if you don't want to use suggestions then just ignore (lose)
I hope this is not 'Goodbye'.

Eira


Hello Eira;
I appreciate your thoughts on my poem, as well as on the matter touched upon above this post. Yes, "would be" is unnecessary and will be removed from my draft before I finalize it. I loved your poem in which you memorialized your pets. To me it shows you have a heart. Have a great summer and stay well. Ali


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JustDaniel
post Jun 30 17, 07:19
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Dear Ali

Please click on this thread: Short Rondeau

You'll discover that it is a SPECIFIC variation on the rondeau. One of the characteristics of the rondeau, however is the repetition of a segment of the initial part of the opening line... at the end of stanza two and stanza three. In the Short Rondeau, however, that repetition is always the LAST LINE. You'll also discover that it is only eight lines long.

You've written a fine poem there in Karnak. Though you do have repetition of much of the first line, it is the beginning of the line that is to be repeated. That is what gives a rondeau its bite.

Another matter. Larry CLEARLY told you that Karnak is NOT the place for CRITIQUE. We suggested, and still suggest that you post it in Hermes Homilies . That's where form and rhyming poems get critiqued. We did not answer some of your questions, because that's where they get answered. Please post it there, will you?

deLighting at the prospect of your remaining, Daniel sun.gif


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Larry
post Jun 30 17, 08:05
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Hello Ali,

I don't come into the Seren's Synapse hall at MM very often because I write/critique little if any free verse pieces. I couldn't help noticing the exchange with Daniel here and won't add anything on this thread which Daniel hasn't covered pertaining to form poetry.

I did notice you posted your comment about my not replying to your Short Rondeau about this and that at around 7:00 am this morning. I posted a reply to your "Short Rondeau" over in Karnak at 9:01 yesterday pertaining to the "tiny nits" I mentioned. As I said there, you are free to write anything you wish and hope you did not take umbrage with what I said. Apparently you did! My "erroneous statement" pertaining to the two tiny errors in your post has been blown way out of proportion. I did offer a statement regarding the tetrameter comment and if you had read my reply from yesterday before going of on me in another forum this morning, you would have seen that explanation.

Sorry you feel this is an "Elitist Site". I don't and never have found it to be of that ilk. It is, to me, one of the few that will give honest and concise critique to the depth the writer requests. All such critique is given in a "take-or-toss" vein and any decision for change is entirely up to the writer.

I do hope you will stay around and find out the "truth" about MM and the few denizens left here. We are here to help!

Larry


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When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.
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Kindness is a seed sown by the gentlest hand, growing care's flowers.
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Ali zonak
post Jun 30 17, 09:43
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QUOTE (Larry @ Jun 30 17, 09:05 ) *
Hello Ali,

I don't come into the Seren's Synapse hall at MM very often because I write/critique little if any free verse pieces. I couldn't help noticing the exchange with Daniel here and won't add anything on this thread which Daniel hasn't covered pertaining to form poetry.

I did notice you posted your comment about my not replying to your Short Rondeau about this and that at around 7:00 am this morning. I posted a reply to your "Short Rondeau" over in Karnak at 9:01 yesterday pertaining to the "tiny nits" I mentioned. As I said there, you are free to write anything you wish and hope you did not take umbrage with what I said. Apparently you did! My "erroneous statement" pertaining to the two tiny errors in your post has been blown way out of proportion. I did offer a statement regarding the tetrameter comment and if you had read my reply from yesterday before going of on me in another forum this morning, you would have seen that explanation.

Sorry you feel this is an "Elitist Site". I don't and never have found it to be of that ilk. It is, to me, one of the few that will give honest and concise critique to the depth the writer requests. All such critique is given in a "take-or-toss" vein and any decision for change is entirely up to the writer.

I do hope you will stay around and find out the "truth" about MM and the few denizens left here. We are here to help!

Larry



Thank you both, Larry and Daniel;
we should let this be "Water under the ridge." Easy to laugh and easy to cry, I will dip in and cool off. Bye, Gents. Ali


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