Author Topic: Big House  (Read 6079 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline elise

  • Alley Cat Assistant
  • *
  • Posts: 4223
Big House
« on: April 13, 2012, 11:37 PM »
whispers swirl
like dirt devils on a prairie
when a girl is called up-

her head-wrapped mama
prepares and chastises
lest she provoke
   
river-washed feet
fidget below
pinched up cheeks
and rag ribbon braided hair

a father’s anger bubbles-
his big fists clenched
in despair

another girl sacrificed
in a peacock-like
display of power

all constructive help greatly appreciated.


I felt it shelter to speak to you  ~Emily Dickinson

Offline Kay

  • Serene
  • Paragon
  • *
  • Posts: 5111
    • poetry
Re: Big House
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2012, 11:54 PM »
Elise,

In each stanza you have a sterling image
surrounded by what's going on. Except for one.

Quote
a father’s anger bubbles-
his big fists clenched
in despair

The other phrasing is so cool and unusual,
esp.

her head-wrapped mama


like dirt devils on a prairie


I would suggest finding something as striking
for the fists image and it shouldn't be hard.
Thoughts abound with that one

I'm already playing with some ideas


a father's anger like a beehive ready to open

his big fists clenched as if afraid to speak

well, you get the idea. You obviously have the talent.
I'm anxious to see how this develops.  Thanks for letting me play around with it.


whispers swirl
like dirt devils on a prairie
when a girl is called up-

her head-wrapped mama
prepares and chastises
lest she provoke
   
river-washed feet
fidget below
pinched up cheeks
and rag ribbon braided hair

a father’s anger bubbles-
his big fists clenched
in despair

another girl sacrificed
in a peacock-like
display of power

all constructive help greatly appreciated.

Offline elise

  • Alley Cat Assistant
  • *
  • Posts: 4223
Re: Big House
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2012, 11:57 PM »
Kay---This is exactly what I was hoping for!  Thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to help me here.
          I will definitely give that area some real thought.   :rose
I felt it shelter to speak to you  ~Emily Dickinson

Offline Kay

  • Serene
  • Paragon
  • *
  • Posts: 5111
    • poetry
Re: Big House
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2012, 12:54 AM »
Elise, I am glad. It just popped out at me and I remember something
I learned once, about the poem remaining strong. and actually, that stanza
I pointed out could be considered the core ---of the poem.

anyway, I am glad it helped. I think of phrases like the ones
I played around with as spin offs

poetry spin offs. it's a great exercise. there's no end and the possibilities are just well,
no boundaries, really.   :rose


Kay---This is exactly what I was hoping for!  Thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to help me here.
          I will definitely give that area some real thought.   :rose

Offline A-FRIEND

  • Education Through History
  • Alley Host
  • *
  • Posts: 2785
    • n/a
Re: Big House
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2012, 03:46 AM »
I can put all the images together with one word. Conflict. I imagine people seeing one thing, but having to do another.
I see trails and trials the would mostly result in negative mental conditionings.

Actually the stanza...
'a father’s anger bubbles-
his big fists clenched
in despair'
is a perfect example of conflict and conditioning.

I like Kay's suggestion on how to refine the stanza, but here's what I see as is.

One would normally use imagery of fire, explosions, red colors and yes, the sting of beehives, to describe angry reaction, but that would paint a picture of a man that's free to express his anger. Using a soft term like bubbles in conjunction with anger and despair indicates  a conflicted restraint that could only be produced by mental conditioning, perhaps as a result of fear or some other influence not under his control.
My mind at work. Scary huh? Does that make any sense?

Love to see the finished product.
Stop looking at the light. Instead, look at what is being illuminated by the light.

Offline Halo

  • Senior Alley Hostess
  • *
  • Posts: 2191
  • who finds a faithful friend finds a treasure
Re: Big House
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2012, 04:13 AM »
elise, Your word choices open up Black History vividly... I like this piece very much!

Be careful of your thoughts; they may become words at any moment.  ~  Ira Gassen

Offline cafeRg

  • Smoke & Mirrors
  • Alley Manager
  • *
  • Posts: 5467
  • tap this
    • BZoO Radio WorldWide
Re: Big House
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2012, 08:02 AM »
Hi Elise

I'm not even awake yet. When I first saw the title, I thought of a prison.
Though slavery could be thought of a form of prison, I think a better title would be

"The Big Block" or "The Crying Block"

Like I said barely touched my first cuppa joe.

Another awesome poem from our hostess with da mostess

                              :coffee


Disclaimer: cafeRg could be wrong.

Offline champagne_shoes

  • Paragon
  • *
  • Posts: 1943
  • Subterranean Hotel Resident
Re: Big House
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2012, 08:49 AM »
lovely!
I think the title is perfect. However, I don't see that the final strophe is required. It is editorial, epilogue as it were.

would you consider exchanging "whispers" for "rumours"?

and "bubbles" seems a little soft in this heartbreaking context.  Perhaps "blisters" (as metaphor)

thank you for posting.
"A community of poets is like a community of cats." joey

Offline elise

  • Alley Cat Assistant
  • *
  • Posts: 4223
Re: Big House
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2012, 11:24 AM »
whispers swirl
like dirt devils on a prairie
when a girl is called up-

her head-wrapped mama
prepares and chastises
lest she provoke
   
river-washed feet
fidget below
pinched up cheeks
and rag ribbon braided hair

a father’s anger boils-
his big fists clenched
in despair


CS---Thanks so much for taking the time to help with this piece.  I see your point about the final strophe.   I removed it, but wonder if it  seems to just drop off at the end.   Maybe not?   I added "powerless" as emphasis...does it work?

Rg---Really?  Before your first cup of coffee?  Impressive!  I can do NOTHING before my first cup!  Thanks for taking the time to help

Halo--Thank you so much for your kind words.   I had been doing some in depth readiing about "women in history" when these strong emotions came over me,, so I thought I would put the emotions into words.

Earl---
Quote
One would normally use imagery of fire, explosions, red colors and yes, the sting of beehives, to describe angry reaction, but that would paint a picture of a man that's free to express his anger. Using a soft term like bubbles in conjunction with anger and despair indicates  a conflicted restraint that could only be produced by mental conditioning, perhaps as a result of fear or some other influence not under his control.

           You see, this is what I was feeling ...so I added the word "powerless" to clenched fists to demonstrate the difference.  It makes
perfect sense to me-conflict and conditioning.   Thank you so much for helping here!   Hugggggs Dad!

Kay---Again, thank you!  Do you think "powerless" is enough regarding the clenched fists?   

You are all so great to help me!
 :rose
I felt it shelter to speak to you  ~Emily Dickinson

Offline champagne_shoes

  • Paragon
  • *
  • Posts: 1943
  • Subterranean Hotel Resident
Re: Big House
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2012, 01:29 PM »
Elise,

This remains lovely, but I do not believe that powerless is required. Despair and context say it all.
I prefer your poem without the editorial. To end with her father's despair is simple and beautiful.

I like this poem. A lot.
"A community of poets is like a community of cats." joey

Offline elise

  • Alley Cat Assistant
  • *
  • Posts: 4223
Re: Big House
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2012, 02:11 PM »
CS---Thank you so much!  I have removed "powerless" and I see that it works better.  I think I am happy with it as is.
        Thanks so much for helping!    :rose
I felt it shelter to speak to you  ~Emily Dickinson

Offline elise

  • Alley Cat Assistant
  • *
  • Posts: 4223
Re: Big House
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2013, 11:54 AM »
Big House   (Revised) All this time and I forgot to re-post my revision!

whispers swirl
like dirt devils on a prairie
when a girl is called up-

her head-wrapped mama
prepares and chastises
lest she provoke
   
river-washed feet
fidget below
pinched up cheeks
and rag ribbon braided hair

a father’s anger bubbles-
calloused big fists clenched
in despair

another girl is sacrificed
in a peacock-like
display of power
I felt it shelter to speak to you  ~Emily Dickinson

Offline A-FRIEND

  • Education Through History
  • Alley Host
  • *
  • Posts: 2785
    • n/a
Re: Big House
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2013, 05:13 PM »
Playing the devil's advocate, as I am wont to do at times my dear daughter, may I ask why there are clenched fists and despair?  Provocation? Mental illness? False perceptions?

You see where I'm going don't you? Humor me and do this exercise for a moment. Reflect on Harriet Jacobs and her life. She was a daughter to a father who was powerless. Reflect on modern day fathers who are powerless in this on going war against women, their daughters. I won't belabor the point, but I think the last stanza you left out added definition to the piece and bridges the chasm between a girl who is fidgety and a father who is fighting mad but hopeless.

This piece is about much more than simple despair, its about those that didn't even have control over their own children or their bodies. Tell us that. Tell us why.
Stop looking at the light. Instead, look at what is being illuminated by the light.

Offline elise

  • Alley Cat Assistant
  • *
  • Posts: 4223
Re: Big House
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2013, 08:30 PM »
Hey Dad, thanks for the tips!  I changed the last part a little, putting back and adding a little to what I had.  Is this what you mean?   Do you like the new title better?   Rg said "Big House" made him think of a prison...well we both know while that IS a prison of sorts...it's more about the big house on the hill.   No matter how much I thought about it, and Kay's suggestion, I just couldn't bring myself to change the "big clenched fists"
 line very much.  I am toying with adding "big house" somewhere...any thoughts?

 Thanks so much for helping!
 :rose
I felt it shelter to speak to you  ~Emily Dickinson