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Nevermore (June contest)

"The Raven" by Edgar Allen Poe

Our vehicles swarm in a steel hot day
Around the busy round-about
Where the highway meets Route 4.
It was there my eyes saw a raven
Arriving and defiantly posed
Folding his wings behind his back,
In the center of the berm with dead weeds,
Encircled by a wall of stone.

His eyes followed our every move;
Black like the craggy graveyards
He must have come from
(Like that stupid poem we read in school
About some creepy bird and fool).

The zig-zag of cars avoided his gaze
Amid the thump of rock and roll
And the taste of diesel fuel,
Swerving around the traffic loop,
A bottleneck for we suburbanites
For lo the many years,
Parading daily, always weary,
Drained by work or lack of sleep
Awaking from the dreamless dream,
No different than our kinsmen of before...
(Only this, and nothing more.)

The bird stands his ground in dreadful sight,
Not once to take to flight
Despite the blaring horns
From trucks howling like wolves.
As we pass we try to hide our fright-
He is both half bird and ghost
(Like that poem we once had to read
O what did it mean? What did it mean?)

How long he’ll stay we cannot know
Perched on his pulpit in the weeds,
None of us dare speak of it,
Or worship it, or seek to comprehend
Why we just don’t shoot it dead
As he croaks a word we can’t ignore
That fills us with forgotten lore
(From that poem we all deplore,
The one felt in our very core-

Last few words: 
Based on true events, the traffic circle was in Bridgehampton Long Island. "The Raven" is too long to post here, and if anyone claiming to be a poet doesn't know the poem...well it's like a painter who doesn't know the Mona Lisa or a composer who never heard Beethoven's 5th...I would suggest they find a different craft.
Editing stage: 


You need to reread the contest instruction. You must post the poem which inspired your poem above your poem so that the two can be compared more easily.......stan

Scribbler is right I think, well your poem is a nice one I wish you luck.

This poem was awesome...


A nice adjunct to POE: I think given the context if he where to return from the dead he'd very much appreciate your lovely clever poem; of course assuming he had some memory of his former life as the famed poet I Think its wonderful refreshing inking filled with solid beautiful writing!!!!!!! BRAVO!!!!

Best Z

In a recent comment on one of my pieces you wrote (I quote verbatim, although your English is confused): "You get few comments is not due to the puerile content but the lack of poetic craft. Poetry is not stream of consciousness dribble. Your work lacks poetic metaphor, sound, metaphor."

This poem of yours was published over 6 months ago and has not had a single meaningful comment posted on it in that time. I don't think the reason for that is its puerile content (I would not judge it as puerile), nor would I arrogantly condemn it for its "lack of poetic craft". I have to say I can't find any "poetic metaophor" in it, but that is by the by.

So, instead of trading insults, let me examine your piece in detail:

Stanza 1: I find this to be unnecessarily long-winded and in need of editing. For example, the exact point where two roads happen to meet is surely irrelevant, unless one knows where the "highway" meets "Route 4". The phrase "my eyes saw a raven" is pointessly tautologous: which other organ would see a raven - your nose? The raven folded his wings behind his back - where else would he fold them? The phrase "behind his back" is superfluous. I find the use of the rather obscure term "berm" annoyingly pretentious - you are (in my opinion) letting the reader know you have a few unusual words in your vocabulary.

Stanza 2: I liked the phrase "craggy graveyards" until I thought about it; I have visited many graveyards and never once have I encountered a craggy one. "Craggy" means rocky and uneven - surely the least suitable terrain for a graveyard where the gravediggers would encounter enormous problems. I can only hazard a guess that you felt like throwing in a "poetic" adjective at random. Also why have you assumed the raven came from a graveyard - are ravens famed for their residence in graveyards? Next, your reference to a "stupid poem" is odd - why would teachers ask a child to read a stupid poem, when there are so many excellent ones?

Stanza 3: I find your habit of using unnecessary words to expand your thoughts increasingly annoying especially when they are irrelevant and confusing. How could a line of cars form a "zig-zag" (unless of course they were going up a series of hairpin bends)? You have already said the cars are going round a roundabout so no hairpins. The phrases about the hideous thumping of rock and roll and the stench of diesel are interesting - however, modern diesel is pretty tasteless these days. On a grammatical point, the word "for" always takes the accusative so you should say "for us suburbanites" and I find the word "lo" irritatingly archaic (I assume you intend it to be poetic) and I find the phrase "kinsmen of before" very clumsy indeed, and not at all poetic. Using your own term I am tempted to say it is "dribble".

Stanza 4: We have no motivation for the bird standing his ground - why should he not do so, especially if he's nice and safe on your berm? I find the concept of trucks' blaring horns silly - why would truck drivers sound their horns on a roundabout? And I find the metaphor of trucks howling like wolves totally unrealistic, just another example of the peotic dribble you decry. At the end, again another reference to the poem you were forced to read - I have to say I echo your plea "What did it mean?"

Stanza 5: Here I find your confused narrative gets even more confused. How is the raven "on" a pulpit (surely a vicar would be "in" one not "on" one?) And I thought he was on a berm not a pile of weeds. And why would you wish to shoot a poor raven just because he croaked a bit? I know Americans are trigger-happy, but really! And another reference to the Poe poem which you clearly loathe.

In summary, I find this piece confusing and verbose, attempting to be too clever by half and not a very good or skilful parody of the Poe poem either. Poetry is not stream of consciousness dribble. Forgive me for being frank.

Your final "last few words" can't go without a response. To say that anyone claiming to be a poet who doesn't know "The Raven" by E.A. Poe should find another craft is ludicrous and pointlessly arrogant. It's a 3rd rate poem by (at best) a 2nd rate author and one which few children outside the USA are subjected to. To compare "The Raven" with the Mona Lisa or Beethoven's 5th is like comparing a McDonald's+Diet Coke with a Steack Tartare avec pommes frites accompanied by a bottle of Beaujolais Villages frappée.

Poet(ess) to the Stars

For a smart person you have been singularly thick at grasping the notion that we try to use critique here to help each other.

So Mark said some mean things on one of your poems? diddums. Can't imagine how he might have taken a strong dislike to you and expressed it broadly vis a vis your poetry (I happen to disagree with him). You get little feedback because you give none, absolutely none, that is helpful in any way, whereas Mark gives helpful, informed, detailed critique to many.

A new workshop on the most important element of poetry-
'Rhythm and Meter in Poetry'

Calling someone "thick" is not exactly helpful.

And the fact that someone was rude and arrogant to me is totally irrelevant and to suggest that my critical commentary was revenge is childish piffle.. I have pointed out what I think is wrong with this piece. In fact I was polite and did not say what I really thought about it. I am sure that Eumy can defend himself if he wishes to without you sticking your oar in. And for the record, I fail to see how a comment like "Poetry is not stream of consciousness dribble. Your work lacks poetic metaphor, sound, metaphor." is in any way helpful or constructive. Although it is certainly poor English.

PS I am a bit confused about your calling Eumolplus "Mark"; I thought Mark was someone else.

Poet(ess) to the Stars

thanks for posting

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