Saturday, June 26, 2004

Two Poetic First Drafts

We need a word for 'what is dashed off'; neither off-dasheds nor dashed-offs really quite cuts it. Here are two things I dashed off last night; they need work, but I'm pleased enough with them that they might be worth it.

The Striving

The Sea strove against the Shore:
'Let all be Sea, and Sand no more!'
The Shore strove against the Wave:
'Destroy the Sea, the Sand to save!'
Sea to Shore and Shore to Sea,
A jousting for eternity,
Nor one nor other can gain command -
This must be Sea, that must be Sand -
For before the world, the sages say,
The Lord prepared the world's third day:
To make that Water, to form that Land,
He set the Bound with His own hand.
Yet may we not think there more to say?
The striving continues till Judgment Day,
The battle is waged till Kingdom come,
But can that be the finished sum? -
I have dreamed the Shore will win
When all the world begins again.


The honeysuckle before the rain
Sends out its scent;
The sky, a gentle gray with cloudy banks
Looks down in meditation.
Its philosophical study prepares the thunder,
Rendering the air electric,
Charged with the passion of ages.
All is patient with consideration;
each blade of grass is a scholar,
each blossom on the vine.

They are both a bit rough; I don't quite like the rhythm and cadence of either. I'm not sure I like the line "Its philosophical study prepares the thunder" but I haven't yet come up with anything better; and "a jousting for eternity," while a nice phrase, sometimes makes me think I'm just a bit above doggerel at that particular point. The strength of the former is allusion; and I like the way the latter ends. I think the former could be improved if it were lengthened a bit, to allow for smoother transition of thought. I also have the sneaking suspicion that I've read a poem on a theme similar to first, and can't remember it. If anyone has any thoughts for the improvement, or can help me out with the poem I seem unable to remember, you can drop me a line at bwatson{at}chass{dot}utoronto{dot}ca. Make sure your subject heading is very clear or it might get deleted in the daily spam-dump.

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