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The Nomad Flute (by WS Merwin for workshop)

The Nomad Flute

You that sang to me once sing to me now
let me hear your long lifted note
survive with me
the star is fading
I can think farther than that but I forget
do you hear me

do you still hear me
does your air
remember you
oh breath of morning
night song morning song
I have with me
all that I do not know
I have lost none of it

but I know better now
than to ask you
where you learned that music
where any of it came from
once there were lions in China

I will listen until the flute stops
and the light is old again

~~ (From Shadows of Sirius) published by Copper Canyon Press

Last few words: 
WS Merwin reading The Nomad Flute on PBS http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smAKjG22ges
Editing stage: 
Workshop: 

Comments

of puncuation and capitals throws it off for me. "once there were lions in china". Where the hell did that line come from? Is it meant to throw you off balance? If it is, it sure does! ~ Gee

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Critique or comment today!

ee cummings. The choice to not punctuate can be a powerful device.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

A poet that did not capitalize the first letter of each line. Unfortunately, I agree with Geezer that Merwin's disdain of punctuation period (get it?) causes the poem to run into itself. This poet is too much of a hippie for me I'm afraid. It's just too "out there" for my common sensibilities. If I had to rewrite this thing, I wouldn't know where to start.
wesley

W. H. Snow

A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds. Percy Bysshe Shelley

Learn how, teach others.
The NeoPoet Mentor Program
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and work from there.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

Thank you for posting this piece from Merwin which
I personally love. He broke some rules of the last century
in this piece using abstractions, I'm always glad to see a
poet with clout going against the grain. I too feel the power
of the piece is terribly inhibited by the lack of punctuation,
but I'm sure when he read it aloud, it sang out with power.
The Chinese people have for at least a thousand years used
lions in pottery, and statues that are called Shishi, or the Imperial
Guards that line the gates to many of the older buildings. I'm
thinking the point of that line is "after all, who knows, perhaps,
once there were lions in China"

Great title for this poem, strong ending, just the lack of punctuation
that hurts it for me, thanks for posting it Anna, totally enjoyed the read.

Richard

Find something else to crit and improve.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

I don't get poets who need punctuation in order to give some sort of order to a poem, in order to make sense when the lines themselves are punctuations in my opinion.

But then again that's why I'm me, and you're all you and Merwin was the Poet Laureate of the US
last year. Barry and I took several of his books (including the last one from which this poem is posted). His earlier style was very much *normal*. As a practicing Buddhist, I think his style has become very Zen-like, very much like Haiku (the original Haiku, not the 7-5-7 Western one) in its disregard of capitals and punctuation.

THIS IS A POEM THAT MUST BE READ OUT LOUD AND HEARD BY THE HEART then there is no stumbling over punctuation.... which for me is true of all his recent poems.

~A

author comment

it's as much up to you as everyone else.

I don't accept its perfection. There must be something.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

Listen to Blueberries After Dark by Merwin

http://www.folger.edu/documents/Blueberriesafterdark_Merwin_Folger__May1...

Blueberries After Dark

So this is the way the night tastes
one at a time
not early or late

my mother told me
that I was not afraid of the dark
and when I looked it was true

how did she know
so long ago

with her father dead
almost before she could remember
and her mother following him
not long after
and then her grandmother
who had brought her up
and a little later
her only brother
and then her firstborn
gone as soon
as he was born
she knew

Who needs punctuation when each line is punctuated?

author comment

I jumped in here to read.

I wanted to comment on this of Anna's

I listened to the poem

I read it over

I listened again

I too believe punctuation is often not used, especially in recital as this one poem. Spoken poetry puts the emphasis where it wants to and does not need punctuation. Try to listen and read it at the same time and it works.

Anna you say it right here if you don't mind me or anyone else saying:

THIS IS A POEM THAT MUST BE READ OUT LOUD AND HEARD BY THE HEART then there is no stumbling over punctuation.... Heard..the big difference

Some of us can relate and than some of his can not. I did. I personally would love to hear you recite this Anna. I will be waiting:)

Just saying

Great poem and worthy of my comment left here workshop or no workshop. It is what it is and I have to go with Anna because I agree of the same.

Hope all of you are doing fine and wish you Anna and family a Happy Thanksgiving.

I am out of here for the trolls beat me up:)

Blessings

besides burning hippies.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

Don't change the subject. Crit the poem.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

When I have read some of the canto of my big poem, the people listening (all of whom have read what I was then reading) have precisely the same comment- "I don't remember all of that being in there."
Reading our poetry to someone allows the poem to be offered as "we" hear it in our heads. Whatever truth or existential glory the poem has will be revealed best by the poet reading it.
However, most poems are not read aloud. We plop them on the page with all of the little marks to lead our reader where we wish them to go and hope for the best.
Reality bites.

wesley

W. H. Snow

A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds. Percy Bysshe Shelley

Learn how, teach others.
The NeoPoet Mentor Program
http://www.neopoet.com/mentor/about

Am I missing something in trying to put my thoughts into words?

Surely, if one reads every line of Merwin's poem, it makes absolutely no difference to its meaning or recital as ****each line is its own punctuation****.

each line
is
its own
punctuation

~A

author comment

this does not work so well on the written page.

Wrack your brains, try to think of a way for it to read better. Don't add punctuation.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

I have a little trouble with your concept. I understand your point, but the above line is enjambment. The two lines are one.

"I have with me all that I do not know." This of course needs no punctuation, but again enjambment. The two are one. If he will flow from one line to the next uninterrupted, then he "may" do so in all lines. I know what you're getting at and I have no trouble reading this poem, understanding this poem, but his thoughts are so ethereal they find no appreciation in me.

What the poet intends in the written word (the vast, vast majority of all poetry) is not necessarily aided by an unwillingness to use the tools language offers. I will fight to the death to defend a poet's right to place his poem on the page how he/she desires, but I still believe an absence of the tools of language is a disadvantage.

I have read John Tolkien's Lord of the Rings more times than I care to admit. I have felt in the past that I KNOW these characters, their voices, their shapes. Some years ago I heard a recording by him of Theoden's call to action before they began their last ride to the Pellenor Fields. It was nothing like I had imagined. The speed and fluster in the voice as the King cried "Ride, ride, ride to Gondor!" was utterly at variance with my preconceptions. If I could be so misled by an author's words with all the trimmings, every tool at his command, what then of the poet that uses so few.
Of course, on the other hand I also heard Tennyson reciting The Charge of the Light Brigade and nearly fell asleep.
Every poet MUST write as he or she sees fit or we lose the poet, but for my part I will use every tool at my meager, uneducated disposal and hope some thirty or forty percent of what I intend makes it through.
wesley

W. H. Snow

A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds. Percy Bysshe Shelley

Learn how, teach others.
The NeoPoet Mentor Program
http://www.neopoet.com/mentor/about

Everything you imagine is true is true. So this is true of us all. I think some of us are wired differently. Some of us need structure and form to give our lives meaning, to write our poetry (again Bokonon's "let your life be the poem you write") and some of us spend our whole lives
breaking out of the forms and structures that are given to us by birth, intelligence, ethnicity, geographical location, skin colour, sex, etc. And most of us are somewhere in between.

This workshop is brilliant in as much as we can understand one another a little better through our favourite poems and the ensuing dialogues. My best attribute is being free without any constraints except the ones I place on myself. It, however, came at a huge price, I had to be
willing to let it all go... all concepts of who I thought I was/am. It's an on-going process, like we're all undergoing.

Some of us do it more consciously than others, there's only the ethers that we construe as hard reality. Art imitates life, and space defines shape.

~A

author comment

And I agree, this is a good workshop form. wesley

W. H. Snow

A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds. Percy Bysshe Shelley

Learn how, teach others.
The NeoPoet Mentor Program
http://www.neopoet.com/mentor/about

Even though I agree that punctuation is not NEEDED as far as periods go, the odd comma might make the syntax more palatable! I think the message is beautiful one, and each thought is well defined by the lines. It is the individual components of each sentance in a line that I feel can easily get lost without a distinct indication that th thought is changing.I mean, what if we all wrote without commas? Some poetry could get very confusing! :)

It is not perfect, improve it, without punctuation.

The enjambment works well.

skinhead version-
Burn that fucking hippie
and that hippie crap,
Play Romper Stomper,
now the scrags left.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

I agree no punctuations is just as bad as too many, this poem didn't pull me or elevated my interest.
It was like eating bland chicken for my health. Some punctuations is needed to add to the poem's delivery.
I didn't need the punctuations to like it though, i actually love it. Some punctuations would make reading it more exciting like the sweet taste of the first Rum cake I ever ate last week. Mmmmm it was good.

*Collaborative Poetry Workshop* American Version of Japanese Poetry ~ Renga ~ Haiku, Senyru, Tanka. All Neopoets welcome to join the Collaborative Poetry Writing Workshop.
https://pixiblogs.blacpixi.com/

I do not understand the part where he goes from talking about songs to where he is talking about havimg all he dose not know. I do not see a connection, or see the meaning. Does anyone else? If I had to rewrite this, I would defenitly fix that.

i did notice that. I too stumbled in flow here.

*Collaborative Poetry Workshop* American Version of Japanese Poetry ~ Renga ~ Haiku, Senyru, Tanka. All Neopoets welcome to join the Collaborative Poetry Writing Workshop.
https://pixiblogs.blacpixi.com/

this was a very, very difficult poem to critique and I don't envy Anna the task of editing/re-writing it.

But let's let the whole issueof punctuation drop. To punc or not to punc is a poet's inalienable right.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

One last thing, I have nothing against punctuations. To each his/ her own in poetry.

*Collaborative Poetry Workshop* American Version of Japanese Poetry ~ Renga ~ Haiku, Senyru, Tanka. All Neopoets welcome to join the Collaborative Poetry Writing Workshop.
https://pixiblogs.blacpixi.com/

One last thing, I have nothing against punctuations. To each his/ her own though I tend not to comment on poetry if I cant get the full meaning because I don't like getting it wrong.is all.

*Collaborative Poetry Workshop* American Version of Japanese Poetry ~ Renga ~ Haiku, Senyru, Tanka. All Neopoets welcome to join the Collaborative Poetry Writing Workshop.
https://pixiblogs.blacpixi.com/

N.B. Please post your edit/ re-write as a poem straight after the original in the same box, so we can compare them directly. Do not post as a comment on the thread or on a separate page. Click edit and paste your work in directly after the original poem.

In other words both poems, the original and the edit/rewrite should appear in the post. Sorry if I was unclear

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

which you seem to have missed, is to choose a famous poem, critique it and attempt to improve it. Stop waffling and changing the subject and have a go, please.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

Before you chastise your participants please:

1. Make sure your rules are clear. I did not receive your updated instructions until after I posted my rewrite, written as a protest. For your edification, some things (workshop or not) can not be
*improved*.

2. Here's the rewrite. http://new.neopoet.com/node/merwins-lion-workshop-nomad-fute

~Anna

author comment

the terms were clear in the original syllabus.
The only addenda was to post the re-write within the original post.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

WTF, isn't that what I was talking about? That you seem to have missed my rewrite? AND you were chastising me for it? What about http://new.neopoet.com/node/merwins-lion-workshop-nomad-fute don't you understand?

Do you ALSO want me to add my poem to this? Is that what you're saying? If so, instead of saying

~Anna

author comment

and a cantankerous old fart. But when I PM instructions, post them on the workshop page and on most of the poems pages I find it frustrating when they still get missed.

I'll go to your re-write now with an open mind.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

keep reloading while I'm trying to post a comment?

ANDREW!

author comment

I wait a while before posting when upset. I do the same freezing up my computer

*Collaborative Poetry Workshop* American Version of Japanese Poetry ~ Renga ~ Haiku, Senyru, Tanka. All Neopoets welcome to join the Collaborative Poetry Writing Workshop.
https://pixiblogs.blacpixi.com/

Barbara, nothing Jess can do can make me *upset*. He's just a wanker sometimes, and I get that. lol I noticed there's a lot of double posts on the workshop so it must have been workshop settings.

It's loading again.

author comment

i heard Thst

*Collaborative Poetry Workshop* American Version of Japanese Poetry ~ Renga ~ Haiku, Senyru, Tanka. All Neopoets welcome to join the Collaborative Poetry Writing Workshop.
https://pixiblogs.blacpixi.com/

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