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Hoot08
May 11th, 2010, 10:20 PM
Where have you gone to, you great Dharma Bum?
Long has your mind grown weary and numb
Old Bodhisattva, where are those answers?
Have they decayed? Devoured by cancers?

Whatever has been, will be once again
So long as breath can still bring life to men
Is the message I received from you thus-
In all those pages of wanderlust

That nothing at all should cause us to cry
Over this life that we're meant to die
Since that death we dream is an illusion
An abstract thought of creative fusion

That really we all live on forever
Of that dreadful death, we'll taste never

Edgewise
May 12th, 2010, 07:24 PM
Where have you gone to, you great Dharma Bum? "Dharma Bum"...excellent. Casual.
Long has your mind grown weary and numb "Long has"...poetic conceit. Best suggestion I can offer is to word this line as a question ("How long has your mind been weary and numb?" or something to that effect) and rephrase the next:
Old Bodhisattva, where are those answers? "Old Bodhisattva, reaching for answers"
Have they decayed? Devoured by cancers? I dig the concept, but this line is cumbersome.

Whatever has been, will be once again
So long as breath can still bring life to men The meter here might be off..."So long as breath brings life to men"
Is the message I received from you thus- "received from you thus"...same conceit. Beginning the line with "Is" reads funny.
In all those pages of wanderlust Cool.

That nothing at all should cause us to cry "cause us to"...clunky. Phrasing could be simplified imo. You could retain the "cause us", but the "to" weighs the line down. Suggestion: Something along the lines of "bring us tears" or "cause us grief".
Over this life that we're meant to die Ideally, one does not die over life. Death is the ultimate finality (probably not in the context of this Buddhism, but I digress), rather than a constant experience (although some might argue different). I might be wrong, but I think what you're trying to say in this line is that we live with the knowledge that someday we are going to die. But we can be comforted in the knowledge that:
Since that death we dream is an illusion "but that dream of death..."
An abstract thought of creative fusion I get what you are saying, but this line seems to have been twisted in order to make it conform to the previous one, particularly in terms of the rhyme.

That really we all live on forever
Of that dreadful death, we'll taste never "we'll taste never"...if you were writing prose, would that make any sense? Because it definitely doesn't make any sense here either

We don't see too much meter in these here parts. That was the primary draw for me. Title was cool. Path to nirvana or something. Not up on my Eastern philo-theology, but you seem to cover the basic concepts well, and succinctly at that. The glaring problems are in the construction. Let me know how you feel about some of the suggestions. Dialogue is good.

Martin
May 14th, 2010, 10:46 AM
I like this piece, yet it's a little unclear if it's about searching for answers or the illusion of death. It packs lots of Buddhist philosophy in a few lines, which can be pretty confusing if one is familiar with Eastern writings. Yet it's done in a casual Western way, which lightens it up quite a bit.

"So long as breath can still bring life to men" - This line didn't read well to me.

I would also consider getting rid of the last two lines. Though it doesn't help in clearing up for me, what exactly you want to say with this piece, I feel what they say is already there in the second last stanza...

MaggieG
May 14th, 2010, 02:16 PM
You immediately had me thinking of Kerouac here. ( All the Beats to a certain degree ) My first present from my husband was " On the Road " followed by " Desolation Angels " Kerouac coined "Dharma Bum" didn't he ? I liked the way you used it here.

In these two lines


Is the message I received from you thus-
In all those pages of wanderlust

I walked away with the impression that you were talking to Kerouac himself :)


Much enjoyed this read :)

Hoot08
May 17th, 2010, 04:14 AM
Well I did have a thank you and response to all of you and our comments but I accidently closed out the browser and so all was lost. A shortened version will have to do.

Edgewise: Your delicate dissection of my poem was great. I am looking forward to chopping out needless words like weeds. Thank you for the time and effort that went into looking this poem over, it's greatly appreciated

Martin: The last two lines should be reworked rather than cut out, they really should say more than then do currently.

Maggie: Yes, Kerouac coined "Dharma Bum" and is the name of one of his more popular novels, "The Dharma Bums" with poet Gary Snyder as the hero of the novel similar to how Neal Cassady was the hero for "On the Road". I find it rare to encounter women who enjoyed reading Kerouac, so you are a breath of fresh air. Thank you for reading this poem. You are absolutely correct in that I was talking to Kerouac himself, a trying attempt in communicating with a literary great. Thank you again Maggie.

MaggieG
May 17th, 2010, 04:33 AM
Maggie: Yes, Kerouac coined "Dharma Bum" and is the name of one of his more popular novels, "The Dharma Bums" with poet Gary Snyder as the hero of the novel similar to how Neal Cassady was the hero for "On the Road". I find it rare to encounter women who enjoyed reading Kerouac, so you are a breath of fresh air. Thank you for reading this poem. You are absolutely correct in that I was talking to Kerouac himself, a trying attempt in communicating with a literary great. Thank you again Maggie.

Kerouac's life, and style actually made me think somewhat of my father. Da would even tell me when I wrote. " Recall with wonder, and amazement. " I believe Mr. Kerouac said it first, or something damn close to it ! lol

JosephB
May 17th, 2010, 11:56 AM
Hoot, this is good, because it's heartfelt but not too sentimental. Good also, because from reading some of his poetry, (which I did after reading your comments on my latest effort) I can see you didn't try to mimic him, which would have been a mistake, I think.

I think Edge about covered it. You could ditch that "long" altogether and maintain the rhythm of it with another adjective and at the same time pare it down:

Where have you gone, great Dharma Bum?
You mind's grown, (something) weary, numb.

Or, it would be great to add contrast, although a word escapes me:

Where have you gone, great Dharma Bum?
You mind, once (something), now weary, numb.

Good job. It's awfully hard to rhyme, but I think this works if you can fix that last line or just rewrite the stanza altogether.