The Difference Between Knowing and Seeing


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Thread: The Difference Between Knowing and Seeing

  1. #1
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    The Difference Between Knowing and Seeing

    The man, across the ravine, plays games with his guitar, and teaches it to sing.

    In the stark yellow-May-light, I heard him cry a mellow sea song.

    A sad eyed creature- a she, they say, smiles at my siblings, answers the door, yet her ghost-like soul is always miles and miles away.

    Does her soul weep when its dark? Everything sunken, no moving parts. Just heartbeat and shadows and God, calling, ( listening) with his harp.

    I wonder if guitar-man fears death, and cellar doors that go on and never close.

    If sad-eyed laughed at the harvest full moon, and did she notice spring coming soon?

    Strange, that I belong to them, and they to me.

    Strange, that I know them, for they reflect my weakness, my depravity.

  2. #2
    I enjoy the style of the poem, the imagery is vivid and the poem presents strong metaphors that open meaning in broad way. A couple of things stood out as detractions with this poem. One is the use of the abstracts “soul” and “god” - not that there is anything wrong with these concepts, just that in poetry they are so abstract and undefinable as to be essentially meaningless. “Ghost-like soul” is redundant. A stronger image would be to just say “ghost” which implies soul (the essence of being) but is, in fact more concrete because ghost is, in fact, more tangible than ‘soul’. It shows the reader a a misty veil of the hidden self. In the second use of “soul” it would be stronger to say “she” which includes the soul. In the case of “God”, the poem would be stronger to use a word like “wind” or “sky” something elusive like the idea of god, but more tangible than god.

    Here’s the other thing: the last three lines of the poem explain the wonder metaphors which really takes the punch out of the poem. The poem actually ends at “never close.”.
    Everything after that is an explanation of the poet’s intent (even the question) which robs the reader of finding their own epiphany in the poem.


    Quote Originally Posted by tessana.m View Post
    The man, across the ravine, plays games with his guitar, and teaches it to sing.

    In the stark yellow-May-light, I heard him cry a mellow sea song.

    A sad eyed creature- a she, they say, smiles at my siblings, answers the door, yet her ghost-like soul is always miles and miles away.

    Does her soul weep when its dark? Everything sunken, no moving parts. Just heartbeat and shadows and God, calling, ( listening) with his harp.

    I wonder if guitar-man fears death, and cellar doors that go on and never close.

    If sad-eyed laughed at the harvest full moon, and did she notice spring coming soon?

    Strange, that I belong to them, and they to me.

    Strange, that I know them, for they reflect my weakness, my depravity.

  3. #3
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    I agree with you on the ghost piece. But, for me, God in the use of this poem was not intended to be elusive. I believe in Jesus Christ, and he is not just an "idea" to me. But thank you for deeply critiquing this, I really appreciate it!

  4. #4
    It’s not a matter of believing in God or not, it’s just that, by nature, God is beyond human comprehension, or it could not be God. So the idea of God is not so much “elusive” as abstract. I’m not trying to make a religious argument of any kind here. I’m talking about poetry, and in poetry it is far stronger to show a concrete aspect of an abstract concept than it is to name the abstract, which dilutes the immediacy of the poem. Maybe think about an act of God (or a sacred act like bathing a child or planting a tree or watching the sunrise) as a concrete aspect of God that fills the need of the poem with imagery instead of referring to an an abstract being.

  5. #5
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    Mmmm okay I gotcha.

  6. #6
    Nice imagery. I prefer prosaic poetry, especially since I have difficulty rhyming. LOL I do have some thoughts though.
    Ghost-like soul is a bit confusing, since it is pretty much redundant.
    Structurally, the line "I wonder if guitar-man fears death, and cellar doors that go on and never close." is a comma splice. Breaking up the clauses gives you a sentence: "I wonder if Guitar-man fears death", and a fragment: "I wonder if cellar doors that go on and never close"
    If you meant the next line to be a continuation of that inquiry, you can fix it by removing the period and using a better conjunction pairing.
    Good poem!

  7. #7
    Hello,

    Thanks for sharing your work with the board! =)

    I especially liked your first four lines. Your descriptors ring off strong and powerful. You have a good conception of how to use language. I also thought your last line had power, but somewhere along the L 5, 7-8, I found the power of the poem to be lessened in intensity. I thought that, perchance, if you would use some more imagery to illustrate your ideas, your conceptions- that it would perhaps make the poem a little better. Nevertheless, it was well worth the read and I welcome you to the poetry board.

    Hopefully, we can read some more of your work.

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