Cilice - Page 2

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Thread: Cilice

  1. #11
    Very strong poem Gumby. I found the connection between the poem and the central metaphor to be somewhat vague because the poem doesn't really seem to include any mention of, or reference to, penance. It might be implied that the subject is seeking repentance, or that she is recalling past transgressions, or that she wants to unburden herself of those memories but cannot quite bring herself to do it out of an ambivalent sense of obligation. I am curious to know how you envisioned the piece in that regard. Even without knowing those specifics, it works well on a literal level as a description of a profound moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
    She pulled the worn valise
    from the dark depths
    of her closet.
    Lifting the latches, she gazed
    at the garments inside.

    Each time she saw them,
    they looked worse than before,
    no matter how carefully
    she packed them away.

    She stiffened her spine,
    held each one up
    to the harsh, cold light;
    tried to smooth them with her hands. Strongest image imo.

    As her past,
    passed before her
    and regrets
    coursed the canyons of her cheeks. Slight grammar issue with this stanza. It is phrased as either a continuation of the previous stanza or a set up for the following line (works fine in either case), but it is written in such a way that it seems to stand alone. Easily remedied by removing the period at the end of the last stanza and de-capitalizing the first line of this one. An alternative is to simply remove the period at the end of this one so that it introduces the subsequent thought/dialogue.

    They were beyond repair.

    She longed to throw them out,
    after all,
    how many hair shirts
    can one person wear?
    Much enjoyed.

  2. #12
    Thank you, Edge for the comments. I took your advice and eliminated the period at the end of the third stanza, as that better represents how I wanted the thoughts to flow, thank you for that suggestion.

    As to the metaphor, I was envisioning that the whole act is a penance for her, a cilice, the very fact that she keeps these past sins locked carefully away and forces herself to bring them out into the harsh light of her own judgement to relive the pain and self condemnation. They are her own hair shirt and though she longs to throw them out, she can't or won't, as she cannot forgive herself.

    Thank you again, Edge, I truly appreciate your thoughts here.
    Last edited by Gumby; March 22nd, 2011 at 12:15 AM.
    There is no life I know
    To compare with pure imagination.
    Living there you’ll be free
    If you truly wish to be.~ Willy Wonka

  3. #13
    Much better than the original. Keep up the great work!

  4. #14
    Banned Martin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    In the fire
    I've been wanting to dive into this piece ever since you posted it. What happened to the original? Did your moderating forces delete it or did you simply edit the title as well?

    Anyway, I read it, looked up the rare words and pondered on it before reading the comments. Your explanation in the end were really so accurate as to how I got the metaphor. Excellent work I must say, strong and sad yet enlightening and so very true for many I believe.

    One suggestion:

    As her past,
    passed before her

    This part is explicating, at least what I already understood, and so I thought it unnecessary. It reads nice enough, but ultimately it came off as fill for me. And another win by getting rid of it:

    and regrets
    coursed the canyons of her cheeks.

    This part would be so much more powerful as those two lines just on their own. In my opinion at least. Anyway it's not an essential nit and the piece is excellent regardless.

    Last edited by Martin; March 22nd, 2011 at 02:53 PM.

  5. #15
    Thank you bearycool, your encouragement is much appreciated.

    Martin, yes, my superpowers came in handy, as I realized I had posted it before I was ready to.

    I will definitely consider what you've suggested, and I appreciate the time you've taken to ponder on this one. I was afraid that it wouldn't come across as I intended, that it was too metaphorical from start to finish, so I'm very pleased to hear that your mind understood it in the way I meant it. Wonderful! Thank you so much, Martin.
    There is no life I know
    To compare with pure imagination.
    Living there you’ll be free
    If you truly wish to be.~ Willy Wonka

  6. #16
    As I read it I felt such an emotional restraint from the narrator, whether this was intentional or not I really enjoyed it. It hints at such depths that might have been covered by etiquette and the 'stiff upper lip' of society. My only criticism would be that her crying didn't rub well with the overall feel of the poem in my opinion. There is such a composure (however false) and a sense of getting on with it coming from the narrator that that didn't sit well with me. But I think that's just a personal thing and I love the tone, the mood and the character of the piece. Bravo.

  7. #17
    Nenada, thank you for commenting on this, sorry to be so late with my reply.
    There is no life I know
    To compare with pure imagination.
    Living there you’ll be free
    If you truly wish to be.~ Willy Wonka

  8. #18
    Hey Gumby, not much to say technically or subject wise, since I'm no poet and don't know much about it or reading it.

    Just wanted to let you know I'd read something of yours and how much I enjoyed it. Got a feeling of poignancy and time passed from this. Nice.

  9. #19
    Thanks Candra.
    There is no life I know
    To compare with pure imagination.
    Living there you’ll be free
    If you truly wish to be.~ Willy Wonka

  10. #20
    I enjoyed this piece - very personal, layers of meaning - I especially like the regrets coursing the canyons of her cheeks, great line!

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