Thumping the melon and squeezing the fruit


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Thread: Thumping the melon and squeezing the fruit

  1. #1

    Thumping the melon and squeezing the fruit

    " Who says fictions onely and false hair
    become a verse? Is there in truth no beautie ?
    Is all good structure in a winding stair?
    May no lines passe, except they do their dutie
    not to a true, but painted chair?"


    Author: George Herbert, Jordan [these are just the opening lines] [ Poetry Analysis, Wikipedia]

    I read this and thought "what the HELL does this mean?" When does a metaphor become too obscure.... does it cause the reader to lose that emotional connection to the message? How much is too much...

    George Herbert was criticizing the overuse of Allegory, Symbolism, or elaborate language...

    False hair and painted chair are decorations of the mundane. The winding stair is obstructive concealment of meaning....

    WTF... I have thumped my melon, and I STILL don't "get IT"....
    Now I do love a metaphor, but does obscuring the message squeeze the passion from the fruit?




    She lost herself in the trees,
    among the ever-changing leaves.
    She wept beneath the wild sky
    as stars told stories of ancient times.
    The flowers grew toward her light,
    the river called her name at night.
    She could not live an ordinary life,
    with the mysteries of the universe
    hidden in her eyes....
    Author: Christy Ann Martine

    Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,
    love leaves a memory no one can steal....
    Author unknown.

  2. #2
    Whip off your wig and show your pate, mate
    The bald truth, a shining example.
    No convolutions, give it to them straight
    every line an explanation an exact sample
    Of the complexities of life
    A new story

    I finally got 'A Family Business' recorded and loaded, all 37 mins of it, much longer than any I have done before.
    Hidden Content

  3. #3

    I can't stop laughin'..... ahhhh, I actually understood that....
    She lost herself in the trees,
    among the ever-changing leaves.
    She wept beneath the wild sky
    as stars told stories of ancient times.
    The flowers grew toward her light,
    the river called her name at night.
    She could not live an ordinary life,
    with the mysteries of the universe
    hidden in her eyes....
    Author: Christy Ann Martine

    Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,
    love leaves a memory no one can steal....
    Author unknown.

  4. #4
    I do read contemporary poetry while looking for a place to send my poetry and much of it leaves me scratching my head. I wonder if a lot of publishers are focusing on imagery, flow, and other things (like metaphor) besides meaning. Unless it's nonsense like Darkkin's, I've always thought poetry should have meaning and be relatively clear but it seems the more obscure the better. Maybe some of the more experienced and published poets here can answer that mystery.
    "Put not your trust not in princes, in the children of men,
    in whom there is no salvation."
    Psalm 146

    Timely, isn't it?

  5. #5
    That is my dilemma... poetry is first and foremost, about the message... if the message is so obscure that you don't get it , then one of several possibilities exists....
    1: The metaphor was not executed properly...
    2: I am missing the "metaphor gene"..

    If you don't understand the message, then what is the point... how much is too much..
    She lost herself in the trees,
    among the ever-changing leaves.
    She wept beneath the wild sky
    as stars told stories of ancient times.
    The flowers grew toward her light,
    the river called her name at night.
    She could not live an ordinary life,
    with the mysteries of the universe
    hidden in her eyes....
    Author: Christy Ann Martine

    Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,
    love leaves a memory no one can steal....
    Author unknown.

  6. #6
    In defense of gobbledygook

    When you say 'thumped your melon' what does that mean?
    First off, I'm either too old or too young to know about selecting cantaloupes, so that doesn't work for me. So there goes half your audience...
    And second off, thumping your tits makes no sense at all. How does testing your tits mean something? Wouldn't that hurt thumping them? And there goes the other half...

    Okay, so I'm joking, but I can't help , no... I won't 'help' it. If I do then I'm just doing a paint-by-numbers. "What the hell is a 'paint by numbers'?"'says the person born after such an such year. I guess I still don't know how to explain rock roll to strangers... Oh shit! There's another one... Look at that head scratching... Get the impression? No. I didn't think so. Wait...Yes? Maybe? So, how does that make you feel? Probably, not a thing. I'm guessing... Wait! I'm giving hugs; smooches, even ( you know I love you...yes, unspoken.. always; everyone..)but I have to say it; say this.
    ..:
    It's not that I'm trying to be obtuse; it's that I'm trying to write something new; something not borrowed. Maybe it's just me , but I don't care if it doesn't work.

    Of course I do, we all want to connect, but the attempts, in my opinion, are what matter.

    Each of us, all of us are separate up inside our heads. Yet everything we say, every phrase we use is borrowed. And all phrases are a 'gobbledygook' or else no one would know what 'thumping your mellon' means except as something you do at the market. See that? Another jump. I'm jumping to a conclusion that you know 'gobbledegook' as an example of language metaphor...which I mean to represent any language metaphor. I mean,look at it-- what the f...is "gobbledegook" even, anyway?! It's a complete twisted staircase of a... Not even a word. But then it became a word; is a word, and now we use it. And the year before, the day or even minute before (it was invented) it wasn't anything. Not even made up.

    Literally, I could take anything... I could say that dog over there is a 'tank'. And if I get enough people to say 'tank', then it's tank. Why? Because people agree it iis. They didn't used-to, but now they do.

    So, you see how bullshit and "truthful" our language is? Everything is made up. "Bullshit"- yet another ..

    So what's wrong with pushing it (another goddamned metaphor, "pushing the envelope", which by the way... wtf does that even mean? Is that some sort of mailman reference?) "But it won't sell a million." Really? Is that what matters? I'm just asking.
    Last edited by Kevin; October 17th, 2017 at 01:52 PM.

  7. #7
    Olly: astute rewrite.

    Kevin: nailed it.

    What a dull read, if it weren't for metaphor. And, yes, it is difficult to use and still retain meaning. I love it, but struggle to maintain the balance needed for clarity. As some know, I put cliff notes, on mine , for my grandgirls. I write for them.

    I prefer metaphor over simile. Whenever, "like" pops into my poem, the "unlike" key, in my brain, lights up. I am disappointed when I can't get around its use. But, I try.

    .

  8. #8
    Yes, there is a line, I believe, between clarity and obscurity. You can get close to the line, but if you cross it, you've lost the reader. I have noticed that despite Darkkin's insistence that there is no real meaning in her poetry some judges here have found some anyway. I suppose if a publisher can see some kind of meaning in your poem - even if they're wrong, you might improve your chances of being published (written with tongue firmly in cheek).
    "Put not your trust not in princes, in the children of men,
    in whom there is no salvation."
    Psalm 146

    Timely, isn't it?

  9. #9
    That's what self-publishing is for. My fantasy is to have my poetry three ring binders discovered long after my death and then become famous like Emily Dickinson. What a pity she never knew of her influence. I dare to say, if she were a man, she might have been published while still breathing. I'm not holding my breath on mine.

  10. #10
    Interestingly I have recently posted something on a crit thread about this very subject!

    I think that whilst it's nice to bury a few nuggets deep in a poem, finding them should not be a prerequisite of appreciating a piece. Readers don't always want to work to find meaning, and if they have to isn't that an argument that we, as writers, have got it wrong? We should make the experience as immersive as possible for the reader, not try to bamboozle them or trip them up. I often wonder if those who fall short of the mark are simply hiding an inability to present a message in a cloud of confusion.

    When I write I do so with the intention of the work being read, preferably by a number of people. Therefore I see my challenge as to ensure that readers can consume my work and experience the feelings and emotions I'm trying to convey. In short, I want the reader to be able to access what I am saying without having to work hard or have studied literature or poetic devices.

    Making the poem accessible is a significant concern for me. I don't try to hide too much or insert gimmicks or devices that make me look clever. I want them to read, to experience, to absorb and to feel challenged/happy/angry/sad/whatever by what they read. That ain't happening if I've buried it all in a big pile of ego.

    If my style or hidden meaning places a distance between the work and the reader, then I've failed because the reader may not read the work, or may not apply as much attention to it and miss something. I believe that I have no right to demand my readers dig out a message I have hidden.

    I respect my readers and I believe that making my work accessible is what they expect from any writer, including myself. Anything else is a disservice, because they are the ones doing me (and other writers) a courtesy. Writers do not have a right to readers; we have to earn them!

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