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Friday, 6 June 2008

Girlishness

Kick up your heels, and wear
Pink flowers in your hair
And stop to feel the echoed kiss upon the air

Stand on the brink, and be
Catch breath in brevity
And string each fleeting note into a melody

Live from the heart, and know
Your mind works even so
For sometimes all of life is in the letting go


I like this one. I know it's sappy and I don't care. Pink flowers! Gotta love it.

On the other hand, I'm alternating between thinking the title is perfect and thinking it's a flimsy attempt to lower expectations. Maybe I'll come up with something else, who knows?

15 comments:

Lynet said...

The title is perfect. I've decided. As of now.

Ebonmuse said...

I would have suggested "Femininity". But far be it from me to second-guess your decision. :)

Lynet said...

Ooh, 'Femininity' is good. It's funny, because the bit about flowers got written very nearly last and that wasn't the point of the poem at all, and then I got to posting it and wanted a title and suddenly realised it was the point, after all.

Assuming I can do so without destroying it, I may have to fiddle around with the poem in a few months time, with that new insight in mind.

'Femininity' is good, but I'm not sure I do the word justice, here -- it's a stronger attribute than 'girlishness' in my view, and associating it with that first verse almost devalues it. However, I've not decided yet one way or the other. Thanks for the suggestion.

The Exterminator said...

Any particular artistic reason why you didn't include periods at the ends of thoughts?

Lynet said...

Do you expect them? That's interesting. My original draft only had one punctuation mark and it wasn't really necessary. Faced with a choice between putting more punctuation in or leaving the punctuation to the line breaks and the imagination, I chose the latter, perhaps out of laziness.

It honestly never occurred to me that anyone would expect punctuation in a poem if it wasn't there!

The Exterminator said...

Of course I expect punctuation -- when I see those commas being used so fastidiously after the 4th syllable of each stanza's first line.

Because now the lack of end marks looks like artifice. In a way, you've drawn my attention to the missing periods. I want to know what happened to them.

Just my opinion, but why don't you see what the poem looks like if you delete the commas? You'll still have the word "and" to create visual uniformity. Without those pedantic commas, I think the whole thing will look more "girlish."

The Exterminator said...

Oh, one more thing that I hope I don't need to say -- but I'll say it anyway.

I assume you put your poetry up here to solicit constructive criticism. The little editor in my head can't resist that kind of an invitation. But both he and I think you've got a great deal of talent.

Lynet said...

Oops. I clean forgot about the commas. That's because they belong there :-P

Just my opinion, but why don't you see what the poem looks like if you delete the commas?

Eekety. No! Can't, can't, can't be done. I need that rhythm: dum-da-da-dum-dum-dum. I need its lilt. Leaving out the comma would make the line flatter. No can do. Sorry :-)

I suppose I could put a full stop at the end of every stanza if it makes you happier, though. That wouldn't be so bad. It just seems superfluous to use a full stop when you have a stanza break. A full stop could distinguish between stronger or weaker stanza breaks, if there were such, but in this poem the end of a line always denotes something of a pause anyway, and the end of a stanza is always a correspondingly larger difference. What would the full stop be for?

It wouldn't destroy the poem to put them in, though. Feel free to imagine them if it makes you happy.

I assume you put your poetry up here to solicit constructive criticism.

I'm always hoping for that, yes, and flattered when I get it. By all means allow the 'little editor in your head' free rein. Even when I'm rejecting suggestions out of hand, as above, I'm still grateful for the thought.

Oh, and if anyone else would be made happier by a full stop at the end of every stanza, please register the fact below and I'll take it into consideration.

Joffan said...

The one punctuation mark that's missing, in my reading, is the one that should have indicated to me to stop at the end of the first line, second stanza. I stumbled significantly on that. Maybe a dash would've done it.

Lynet said...

Oddly enough, that was my 'one' punctuation mark! I had a colon there, for what it's worth. I guess it was worth keeping.

I'm so rewriting that whole stanza, though. Now that title informs me that the major theme has been defined by the first stanza, I find the third stanza fits beuatifully and the second sticks out like a sore thumb.

I ought to have known that. The poem started with an idea like that (nothing directly to do with femininity, mind, but the other idea, the one that's slipping around the cracks, to do with freedom and vulnerability). I scribbled it down desperately, oh, almost exactly a year ago, and the first version rescued me a couple times even though it wasn't much and I'm so glad it turned into something worthwhile!

Then there's that third line of the first stanza -- that's referencing an idea I've wanted to put in a poem since the first time I was kissed. Never thought it would make it. Well, you never know, do you? Honestly, this poem is a couple of dreams come true.

The Exterminator said...

Hey, Lynet, if you fix that second stanza I withdraw my critique about the periods. That "and be" is what actually bothered me. I wondered if anyone else would draw attention to it.

I agree with your gut reaction: A colon would have been far too pretentious. A dash -- only slightly less so.

John Evo said...

Well, I liked it (for what it's worth). I don't have much of an editor in my head and he completely falls asleep during any kind of poetry. But that's just me and my lack of depth with poetry. I'm pretty much either "like it" or "don't like it".

Kelly said...

I can't go with "girlishness" because it doesn't seem like an "innocent" poem. The protagonist clearly knows too much and instead desires to be young and innocent, but she can't be. Maybe "Idealized Nostalgia of the Highest Caliber"? Or "Why I Love My Vagina"?

L.L. Barkat said...

I absolutely love the absence of end punctuation. It is "girlishness" at the structural level and creates an irresistible forward motion that moves out into eternity (it's okay to use that word here, yes? ;-)

The reason it's not sappy is because it records a truth rather than trying to preach something else you may believe SHOULD be the truth. Does that make sense? The best poetry doesn't preach; it reveals. (Hmmm... sounds almost like I'M preaching, but then again this is only a comment and not a poem so maybe that's okay. :)

Lynet said...

I owe a huge thank you to everyone who has given me feedback here. With this poem particularly, I know there's a lot of work to be done but I'm really excited by how it's developing and the input from all of you is giving me new and interesting angles on it that I know I can use.

Kelly, your comment on it is particularly pertinent because the loss of innocence was a theme I hadn't properly seen in it -- but you're right, it's there, blending so well into the slightly innocent, vulnerable side of it that it isn't even a juxtaposition.

LL, thank you for the vote of confidence about it not being sappy :-). And it's funny to realise how the word 'eternity' means something different to you than to me. After all, most atheists will at least concede that it's possible (maybe even likely) that time will go on forever, so it's not like eternity is a concept we don't have! For you, though, it's an idea suffused with God. Nice to get that glimpse through your worldview for half a second, there.