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Merlin
Hello All,
This is still in the works - written for a challenge at the Poetry Factory.  
You may view a picture for the challenge here - 472




Arrival of the 472

Disembarking from a boxcar in dawn’s velvet, supple light
Billy Joe sought bush for cover, lest some snooping railway cop
Finds and beats him with his truncheon, like that time one starlit night
When they boarded outside Kamloops on an unexpected stop.

Eastward bound, he’d left Vancouver and his rainy west coast home,
Heading someplace, maybe noplace, and in truth, he didn’t care.
Anyplace was more attractive, anywhere that he could roam
Seemed much better at that moment, far from Molly’s constant blare.

Lacking etiquette, decorum, all those things a gal should have,
Molly tossed him out one evening, told him never to come back.
He had certain style and breeding; if he tried he could act suave –
Off he swaggered past the stockyards, down the C P Railroad track.

Crow’s Nest Pass lay back a distance, old Four-Seven chugged along,
Pretty soon they’d stop in Lethbridge * – Oldman River’s coulee slopes,
Battlegrounds around Fort Whoop-up.  Maybe there’s where he’d belong,
Golden plains beyond blue mountains, sylphlike dawn and antelopes...  


* Reference




Format change, same wording.

Arrival of the 473

Disembarking from a boxcar                                x
in dawn’s velvet, supple light                              a
Billy Joe sought bush for cover,                           x
lest some snooping railway cop                            b
finds and beats him with his truncheon,                 x
like that time one starlit night                              a
when they boarded outside Kamloops                    x
on an unexpected stop.                                      b

Eastward bound, he’d left Vancouver
and his rainy west coast home,
heading someplace, maybe noplace,
and in truth, he didn’t care.
Anyplace was more attractive,
anywhere that he could roam
seemed much better at that moment,
far from Molly’s constant blare.

Lacking etiquette, decorum,
all those things a gal should have,
Molly tossed him out one evening,
told him never to come back.
he had certain style and breeding;
if he tried he could act suave –
off he swaggered past the stockyards,
down the C P Railroad track.

Crow’s Nest Pass lay back a distance,
old Four-Seven chugged along,
pretty soon they’d stop in Lethbridge * –
Oldman River’s coulee slopes,
battlegrounds around Fort Whoop-up.  
Maybe there’s where he’d belong,
golden plains beyond blue mountains,
sylphlike dawn and antelopes...




Version 3

Arrival of the 474

Golden dawn in supple velvet
Spans across broad, western plains
As a train chugs steady eastward,
Down unending steel rail lanes.

Billy rises in his boxcar,
Scans the vast, impressive land,
Wonders how he’ll rustle breakfast –
Ham and eggs would sure taste grand.

Having left his home and Molly,
(Though in truth, she tossed him out)
Billy wandered past the stockyards
Like some errant gadabout.

Locomotive 47
Left Vancouver after eight;
Fraser Valley… Coastal Mountains…
Wooden trestles… through Hell’s Gate.
Dear Merlin,

Since this is a work in progress, I want to make what might seem to be a shocking comment : While reading the lines, I found the meter all right, but kept coming up against the rhyme words - I really expected them, in this format, to be rhyming COUPLETS, rather than alternate lines !

That is the shock - that the 2nd line's end seems totally out of kilter with the first.

Apart from that, this is quite good, but before critting anything else, I'm curious as to your response.

Love
Alan
jgdittier
Dear Merlin,
I hope you like it here. The atmosphere is more promotive of deeper critique and comment than I'm used to and I find it pleasantly helpful.
As I know you're serious about expanding and honing your skills, I think you'll like it.
As I've grown accustomed to your pieces, I'm again impressed by the cadence which from my perspective is always a change from the expected, yet intriguing and characteristic of you.
As to the rhyme scheme, you know my cry is "tight rhymes and wry"  and thus I too prefer couplets here, especially because the lines are long and my memory is short. I've never considered how far apart end rhymes can be to constitute a rhyme scheme. What about for instance a three verse, twelve line poem where the only end rhymes are on lines 1 and 12? Yet, I know your style avoids couplets generally and I respect it.
I hope 472 yields much discussion and some continuation pieces.
Nicely done,
Cheers,    jgd
Merlin
Thank you for coming aboard here, Alan & jdg.  I've considered your comments and will go into more detail, but have chopped the lines into what could be considered free verse style.  Only the format was changed, no wording.

Your comments are interesting, Alan, in that they parallel one other first posting I did at another forum.  There, a well respected writer (peppersdance, recently deceased) also suggested I write in couplets.  I don't recall the piece I posted.  Unfortunately, rhyming couplets is what I tend to advise writers to stay away from, and very seldom do myself.  In fact, I tend to AVOID them.  Especially when they are end-stopped pairs, I find them most distasteful.

Here, I chose the longer lines with some motion to chug along with the train ride.  The a-b-a-b is a bonus, usually I just do the b's.  

While this is my first posting here, I head a workshop at Quills and am very open to critique, given the general rules of critiquing the posting, not the person are observed.  Honest opinions are welcome.

JGD, I'd be interested to see what your thoughts are regarding the difference in format - the rhyme scheme.  While V1 is A-B-A-B, there are additional lines in V2 which throws the whole thing off somewhat.

Best

Merlin

Wizard.gif
Dear Merlin,

(Hm, writing that, feels odd, takes me back ....)

I had thought of splitting the lines, as you have done, but my point about rhyming couplets still stands.

If, with the lines split, you now do -a-a, -b-b, then the rhythmical patter of the ballad, for surely this is what this is, would I think be restored.

With the present words, somehow I feel they scream out for the rhyme words at shorter intervals - it is a bit like waiting for the 2nd boot to drop.

I don't share, but understand, your desire to avaoid couplets, and would accept that in any other type of poem, but here I feel you are writing in a very well-established form, and, while breaking form can be very successful, here for me it is not.

You've got me discussing things here which I have never ventured into before.

Love
Alan
Merlin
Dear Alan,

QUOTE
You've got me discussing things here which I have never ventured into before.


I'm delighted that you've ventured into the green pastures.  It's comments like that which make it all worthwhile.

First, I'd like to share a link to show a poem I'm somewhat proud of, just submitted to a site here > CLICK.  Currently it is at the top of the heap, The Spanish Mound but since submissions are posted as they arrive, it will move down.  It is written in couplets, but not end-stopped to keep things moving and breaking that choppy feeling.

That is one of the very few couplet verses I've penned, barring those in the infant stages of the hobby when everyone does couplets.

I'll dabble with 472 just to see where things will lead.  The shorter lines would probably work better in a couplet scenario.  

Soon

Merlin

Wizard.gif
Dear Merlin,

Very interesting.

Reminds me, I have a purpose to write a poem about my visit to San Juan Capistrano, which I fell into quite by chance.

In Spanish Mound the rhyming feels quite unforced, in the main. No waiting for boots to drop. And the poem seems to be in a similar form to 472.

Do you take my point about the form "needing" the regular rhymes to complement the balladic ba-dums ?

Love
Alan
Cleo_Serapis
Hi Merlin!  Wizard.gif

I actually like the longer lined poem more, because it more clearly represents your rhyme scheme. I'm not accustomed to 20 syllable lines is all.  Speechless.gif


Your piece actually reads more like prose, I wonder if you rhymed only to make it more a 'poem' than a prose piece?

Another idea would be to define each couplet like this (I think it makes it more prominent in the rhyming this way:

Arrival of the 472

Disembarking from a boxcar in dawn’s velvet, supple light
Billy Joe sought bush for cover, lest some snooping railway cop

Finds and beats him with his truncheon, like that time one starlit night
When they boarded outside Kamloops on an unexpected stop.

Eastward bound, he’d left Vancouver and his rainy west coast home,
Heading someplace, maybe noplace, and in truth, he didn’t care.

Anyplace was more attractive, anywhere that he could roam
Seemed much better at that moment, far from Molly’s constant blare.

Lacking etiquette, decorum, all those things a gal should have,
Molly tossed him out one evening, told him never to come back.

He had certain style and breeding; if he tried he could act suave –
Off he swaggered past the stockyards, down the C P Railroad track.

Crow’s Nest Pass lay back a distance, old Four-Seven chugged along,
Pretty soon they’d stop in Lethbridge * – Oldman River’s coulee slopes,

Battlegrounds around Fort Whoop-up.  Maybe there’s where he’d belong,

Golden plains beyond blue mountains, sylphlike dawn and antelopes...  


I'll be back again later...
Cheers!  cheer.gif
~Cleo
jgdittier
Dear Merlin,
You asked me about the rhyme scheme. I believe you could write my answer. As you know I was once described as having rhymatism and I've never argued the point.
My comments here ascribe only to my personal tastes which are that I prefer old style R&M and that my writing style is light and usually humorous with considerable concern for cadence which others probally call sing-songy. Thus I like more end rhymes as I read poetry with more inflections than others and automatically hit those line endings expecting a rhyme. The rhymes add to the cadence.
I have found pieces, however, that have such a strong message that I forget about end rhymes entirely, but this, simply telling a story, doesn't rate as an overwhelming message.
I'm not in the mainstream, so fortunately for you you'll be pleasing
many more readers as you follow your own style.
Cheers,     jgd
Don
Dear Merlin,

My attic is filled with novice cobwebs like simple example of summing two plus two.

A novice rule for me is that an Alexandrian is length limit of a line in R&M.  Free verse practice is exception.  The explanation is that the reader will run out of breath if line is too long.  I believe punctuation resolved this issue centuries past.  Take a breath at coded pauses such as commas and sentence ends.  In short, I find your lines unusually long for R&M, but acceptable.

Your rhyme scheme is more readily apparent in the long line version.  In fact I used it to find end rhymes in the short line version.  Although I tend to like terse line expression,  I prefer your longer lines compared to the shorter.  Henceforth, I shall refer to the former.

Line 3:  Do you need s on "Finds" and "beats"?

Penultimate line:  Is Fort Whoop-up a tongue-in-cheek?  If an actual place, someone had a healthy sense of humor.

Not far from us is a community where a Fort Rowdy existed.  Rowdy in this case was name of a colonial soldier.  It later became a railroad stop, which adds spice to "rowdy."

I agree with Cleo that your pleasant story seems more like prose.  I think this  because it is missing much simile and metaphor.  Prose has these also, but I expect them in poetry.  One of those attic cobwebs.
A great deal of imagery is present.

I am glad you came along to  open the issue to avoid rhymed couplets.  Another cobweb swept away.  Your rhyme scheme is smoother due to being less sing-song.  I also like sing-song, within reason.

Line 13: Your reference to "old Four-Seven" is charming.  Human propensity to shorten and nickname warms our intercourse.

A very charming story within verse.  Easy to understand and read.

By the way, I am glad you told us you handle a workshop.  My workshop mentor harps on action and minimizing all adjectives and adverbs.  Seeing different approaches is educational.

Thanks for sharing.

Don
Merlin
Dear Alan, Cleo, jgd, & Don.

Thanks for all comments.  There was food for thought, and I did do the dabbling I indicated previously.

Several conclusions on my part:
1. My preference is version 1, because it
  o  Has good rhythm, & rhyme,
  o  Flows along with the gist of the tale.

2. I like version 2 in a FV sense.
3. No rhyming couplets because:
  o  My aversion to them,
  o  They don’t fit with the feminine endings, and
  o  To maintain a rollicking meter, iambic doesn’t feel right.

4. No breaking of quatrains because:
  o  I never begin a paragraph in mid sentence, or a verse in mid line.
  o  My target audience needs to be somewhat sophisticated; else we’re mismatched.
5. I would disagree with the “prose” comment – I have never read prose with a metrical flow.  While the only poetic device used is imagery, it is nowhere near “prose” as I know it.  It does tell a story, perhaps that is the intended thought behind the comment.
6. Version 3 is for your enjoyment or otherwise… it’s been fun and worthwhile.

In re L3, the subject is singular, so the verbs need the “s”.  A “railway cop finds and beats him with his truncheon.”  

Ft Whoop-Up is/was an actual place, dating from a couple hundred years back when the whiteman traded whisky for furs.  A good time was had by some, if one reads into the name!  Present-day Lethbridge, Alberta occupies the site.  I lived in that region to about age 10.  Ft Rowdy – I like it!

The number 4-7-2 is really a difficult one to bring into meter, so the abbreviation worked for me.  Even a different combination of the same number would have worked, but – what can you do?

Thank you all for contributing.  Without the input, there wouldn’t have been version 3 at all.  Broadening one’s horizon always fits into my train of thought, and this has done it.

Best,

Merlin

Wizard.gif
jgdittier
Dear All,
In my first comment I hoped this would get good and plenty of comment and it has.
Cheers to all,    jgd
heartsong7
Hi Merlin... Wizard.gif
This is a wonderful narrative poem with a very ballad-like flavor. Fun to read with its jaunty meter so appropriate to the tale.
The rhyme scheme works well for me.... the spacing of the rhymed ends favors the overall flow.

There may be some who will be put off by the 20 syll. lines and, though I prefer that version...you might hook more readers with the shorter lined version. I see no way it could be mistaken as fv, though, with the strong meter, even if the rhymes are further apart in that format. Once hooked---they'll keep reading IMO  
I like the third version as well...still full of grand imagery tho considerably condensed story-wise.

I enjoyed the read.  :pharoah2

Seeya,
sue
Merlin
Hi Sue,

Nice to see you here.  

This one has been interesting, what with the discussion it brought.  Different perspectives are always good to take into consideration.

One needs to consider the target audience regarding the line lengths, and I'm really leaning towards the shorter version (3) as some readers might get scared off with the long lines.

Still considering things...

Merlin

Wizard.gif
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