Crybaby

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imaginary friend
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Re: Crybaby

Post by imaginary friend » Sat Apr 11, 2009 8:44 am

Thanks News Gal and Lizzy,

for your responses and kind words. And Vern for yours (in PM).

Sincerely, I welcome criticism of this poem (or any I might post) – I'm very comfortable with the people here, even the Trolls :roll: and I respect their views and experience. It would be way more upsetting to me if criticism or advice was withheld for fear of offending!
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Re: Crybaby

Post by News Gal » Sat Apr 11, 2009 4:57 pm

No problem at all Sheila, it's a beautiful work.
ᎤᏩᎬᏗᏒ ᏥᎪᏩᏘᎲ, ᎯᎩᎾᎵᎢ, ᎠᏓᎯᏍᏗ ᎨᏐ. Uwagvdisv tsigowatihv, higinali'i , adahisdi geso (I've seen the future brother, it is murder.)
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Violet
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Re: Crybaby

Post by Violet » Sat Apr 11, 2009 7:21 pm

Hi I.F.,

I wrote the following commentary yesterday, but my dsl has been going on and off for a week now, and is not likely to be fixed for another week (given the awful phone service I get around here) so I never know when all the lights on my modem will be on --I suddenly lost my connection yesterday as I was writing this, and so had to save this to my desktop... ANYWAY.. that's why I'm not responding right now to your new version, since, if I take that time, I may lose those precious little lights again, and all is lost (!)... so, here goes yesterday's post...


Hi I.F.... it's great to see you really try your hand at some poetry writing... Since I've always found you a sharp wit and a very good writer, I hope you don't mind my getting in there a bit with my violet-pink pen ... One general observation I've made over the years concerning writing, which is a good rule of thumb I think, is that adjectives* should always be held up for intensive scrutiny: do I really and truly need this word here? or is the poem/writing more powerful in fact without this (supposed helper) word? You may find as you do this that many adjectives will start to fall away (this is funny coming from me of course.. with all my dankish darkish drum rollish plays on words... but that's another matter entirely methinks!)... Anyway, in the changes I've made to your poem below, I confess I've taken some liberties in inserting my own take on things, but see if some of this reads as an improvement... some of it may not... and I have nothing vested in being right here either... these are just my impressions as I went through the poem. As Lizzy was saying, how the poem builds on itself is very effective... Also, I particularly like and noticed the line "she runs out of pretend"... I know exactly what you mean, and yet I don't think I've ever seen it said quite like that... Oh, I put an ellipses where I took something out.. it's not meant to be functioning as an ellipses, just to indicate that something is missing. And the words in violet-pink are where I either changed a single word or rephrased something, mostly keeping to your words, but using different "conjugations," etc. (if that's the right word... Manna??).... I like the line "the forbidden walk" but am not sure it's working somehow.. I took it out, wondering if it's not already implied... I also wasn't sure why the father felt exposed, and so I tried to give some explanation. I thought too that the little girl might not be "exploring" this hardening that was taking place.. maybe she's aware of it only half consciously, and I thought, since you had her turn to the window, that you might have been thinking the same thing I am... that she'd be looking at her reflection as this was happening...

Anyway, I hope this is of help, and not just my imposing my sense of things... or I hope in imposing my sense of things, that this is of some help...

Thanks for posting this, I.F., it's a subject I think is compelling for most of us, certainly it is for me. I wanted to say too that I don't think it's at all beneficial here what's happening to the young girl. I think it makes for the kind of psychological "disconnect" that leads to all sorts of problems in this world... Having said this, however, I read once that in certain Native American tribes (and maybe N.G. would know about this), where hunting was involved, traumatic events (such as allowing a male infant to scream during teething, without his receiving any aid) were deliberately enforced so that the male child would grow up psychologically equipped to be a hunter. Seen in this way, such child rearing could be said to possess wisdom I think. But I don't believe in our society that a young girl is similarly aided by such an experience as per this poem, and in fact, I believe this to be damaging to girls and boys alike. I guess this is a separate conversation, but I think it's an important subject. Of course, if we really are a war-based society, then… gosh, I really don’t even want to follow this train of thought, as it's far too depressing…

Anyway, I hope you will continue posting poems, I.F., and please let me know if I overdid things here... somehow I felt you would appreciate this, or I wouldn't have gone quite so far with it...

yours in writing, Leonard, and friendship,
v i o l e t

* I realized in reading this thread later, that I should have added "adverbs" as well, as per I.F.'s comment below, and since the words I took out in this instance were adverbs not adjectives... v.


imaginary friend wrote:Anxiously
she waits in the schoolyard,
alone
except for the old man
wetting down the day's dust
on the playground.

Stoically
humming to herself,
she summons
the car; willing it to appear
where it's supposed to be
at the end of the bedraggled day.

Quietly
holding at bay
the dread,
that today – this day – is the one
when he will not come;
when finally, he's forgotten her.

Alone now,
the old man
gone,
she runs out of pretend.
Picks up her bag of books, sets off
along the busy road, the forbidden walk.

Angrily
the car pulls up; the door swings open
'Get in.'
Relief, rejection, shame – she pushes back hard,
but they swim up anyway,
spill down dirty, seven year-old cheeks.

'Crybaby'
he mutters, realizing he has
crossed a line,
exposed himself.
She faces the window, begins to explore
the shell hardening around her crybaby heart.
...
She waits in the schoolyard ...
alone,
except for the old man
wetting down the day's dust
on the playground.

...
Humming to herself,
she summons
the car; willing it to appear
where it's supposed to be
at the end of the ... day.

Quietly
she holds at bay
the dread
that today – this day – is the day
...
he will not come;
the day he's finally forgotten her.

Alone now,
the old man
gone,
she runs out of pretend.
She picks up her bag of books, setting off
along the busy road.
...

It isn't long before
the car pulls up, its door abruptly swinging open:
'Get in.'

Her relief turns to rejection and shame. She pushes back hard,
but it swims up anyway, spilling
down her dirt-smudged,
seven year-old cheeks.

'Crybaby'
he mutters, feeling exposed
at the sight of her tears, as if
he'd crossed a line.


She faces the window, looking at her reflection,
sensing there a numbing
shell
hardening around her crybaby heart.
Last edited by Violet on Sun Apr 19, 2009 2:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
Violet
imaginary friend
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Re: Crybaby

Post by imaginary friend » Sat Apr 11, 2009 9:31 pm

Hi Ms V.

Thanks for your response – I was hoping to hear from you.

Re. your re-work of Crybaby – you may be telepathic V., in version 2, posted yesterday, I had already made several of the changes you suggested, including eliminating the first adverb each stanza.

'Stoically humming...' was chosen to convey the girl's refusal to give in to her fears, but it was overkill so in V2 I changed it to 'Humming obsessively' , but that doesn't work either. I don't think 'Humming to herself' fits. It feels too pleasant – this child is humming to tamp down her growing fear. The line is troublesome, I'd like to fix it.
Quietly
she holds at bay
the dread
that today – this day – is the day
... he will not come;
the day he's finally forgotten her.
I think this is a big improvement, V.

in the 'Alone now' stanza, I had changed 'sets off' to 'steps out' (sounds more tentative). The road is busy, she's been forbidden to venture out there alone. Perhaps 'walk' is the problem here? It was meant as the walk home; maybe 'forbidden venture'?

Interesting that we both inserted 'abruptly' in the car stanza ;-)

'they' was chosen to include all 3 emotions – relief, rejection, shame – all of them combined, pushed the tears up. (The tears were silent, in my mind, but that didn't seem necessary to tell.)

When he mutters the derisive 'Crybaby' in the final stanza, I wanted to make it clear that as soon as he's said it, he realizes (not feels) that he's crossed a line; exposed his contempt and lack of compassion for the girl. He knows she's now aware of it, it's out in the open. Perhaps she is shocked by his lack of empathy, on the other hand, it may have confirmed what she suspected all along: that she cannot depend on him; isn't important to him. (Hey, as I said before, there's another side to the story of course, but CB was from the child's perspective, wherein little things loom enormous.) In a way, his careless action has caused him to lose some power over the girl.

I was satisfied with 'shell', it conveys more fragility than a wall, feels more embryonic. She's 'exploring' it rather than 'sensing' it V., perhaps discovering its ability to shield her from hurt.

I appreciate your taking the time to critique and offer suggestions V, (...and you were very gentle :)) . I enjoy the dialogue, and the different POVs and suggestions for improvement that have been offered. All are helpful, and interesting, to me.

Thanks!
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Violet
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Re: Crybaby

Post by Violet » Sat Apr 11, 2009 10:19 pm

... hi I.F... the only thing that occurs to me to add for now, is I wonder if she'd be pushing down the relief she felt, which is why I thought to change how that read... I realize it's a simultaneous thing you're referring to... but that's what gets tricky, I think... so I forfeited some of the simultaneity for clarity... but I agree that something gets lost in this solution too...
v. xxx
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Re: Crybaby

Post by lizzytysh » Sun Apr 12, 2009 1:55 am

Hi Sheila ~

And I respect your willingness to go the distance with your poem and the input of others here. I consider that an extremely personal choice and ought to be delved into from that perspective, as opposed to being a given when people post what they're written here. The decision to want to workshop a poem can be conveyed in a variety of ways, and I feel it's presumptuous and unfair to leap in and start doing that without clarifying the writer's intent. Even when it's okay all around with everyone, respect in delivery needs to be a given, as givens go.

If I felt more capable in the ways of poetry, I'd engage in feedback [at your request], but haha... I leave finish carpentry to carpenters and poetry to the poets ;-) .

I still like your first version best 8) .


~ Lizzy
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
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Re: Crybaby

Post by Cate » Sun Apr 12, 2009 3:46 am

A quick hooray Sheila, I'm so happy you've posted this.
I really like this - no I'm not being nice, it's very good!!!
I'm going to come back a little later, hopefully tonight.
imaginary friend
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Re: Crybaby

Post by imaginary friend » Sun Apr 12, 2009 3:55 am

Thanks V. and Lizzy – and for the record – I'll always value (both of) your feedback. Brutally honest is fine with me too. I don't take it as a personal criticism, and I'm not planning to quit my day job anytime soon :razz:

IMO, when someone posts work here and invites others to critique, it's good that more experienced writers take the time to put a response together. Some critics are more respectful than others, but there are as just as many members who are willing to jump in, on behalf of the writer, and object to a mean post. I do think that group dialogue/ participation is lost if critiques are restricted to PMs only – one of the pleasures of the Forum is the sense of community here.

XO to you, all my peeps!
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mat james
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Re: Crybaby

Post by mat james » Sun Apr 12, 2009 4:20 am

i-f,
I love the use of 'stoically' or at least stoic in reference to the evolving attitude of this little heroine.
If you intend to eliminate those first line words for each verse, then perhaps,
She faces the window, begins to explore
the stoic shell hardening around her crybaby heart.
I love the image of a little girl stealing herself against the pain of the world and the inclusion of the word 'stoic/stoically' offers depth and hope, for this reader.

mat.
"Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart." San Juan de la Cruz.
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Re: Crybaby

Post by Cate » Sun Apr 12, 2009 4:51 am

Thank you for the opportunity to practice critique.

As people have already mentioned you have done an excellent job of making the reader feel a part of the poem. This is what a good poet does; she invites the reader into the poem to have an experience. In this case we are with a little girl who is waiting for a ride, worried the driver may not come, she decides to do something she knows she should not – all of us have experienced this, we can easily relate to this girls experience, we can imagine that we are the girl. Of course there's the driver as well, with a couple of words you make me feel for him too – crossed a line - exposed himself. As a reader I wonder is this something that was said to him as a child and it’s fallen out of mouth, or does he feel exposed because he’s shown his fear. (now when I say I wonder, I don’t actually want to know the answer – I’ll make up my own thanks).
The other thing I really enjoyed was the relationship between line 1 and line 3 of each stanza. (oh I see from Mat's post you're thinking changing - myself I like)

Anxiously
she waits in the schoolyard,
alone
except for the old man
wetting down the day's dust
(excellent description – I have a very clear picture)
on the playground.
Honestly, this is very smooth to me, I can’t think of anything I would change – You’ve got my attention, I want to read on.


Stoically
humming to herself,
she summons
the car; willing it to appear
(nicely done, I’m willing it for her too at this point)
where it's supposed to be
at the end of the bedraggled day
. (bedraggled is an interesting word, but not sure that it fits for me - when you say stoically, I think of her standing – later you’re going to mention play, you might want to consider something that will connect with that )

Quietly
holding at bay
the dread,
that today – this day – is the one
when he will not come;
when finally, he's forgotten her.
(every child’s fear, scratch that every persons fear)

Alone now,
the old man
gone,
she runs out of pretend
. (in my minds eye she was just standing here, watching and waiting, this seems inconsistent)
Picks up her bag of books, sets off
along the busy road, the forbidden walk.


Angrily
the car pulls up; the door swings open
(I love that the car pulls up angrily)
'Get in.'
Relief, rejection, shame – she pushes back hard,
but they swim up anyway,
spill down dirty, seven year-old cheeks.
(tight line – very nice)

'Crybaby' (ouch – I think that this has good impact because each of the last stanza began with the emotion she was feeling – here it is clearly the man making a statement but because of your structure it is also implied as the emotion that she is feeling at the time)
he mutters, realizing he has
crossed a line,
exposed himself.
(I’ve already mentioned this line before – with two words you have personified this man that would be only to easy to vilify)
She faces the window, begins to explore
the shell hardening around her crybaby heart.
(The very best for last – it’s easy to just say an emotion she feels this, she feels that but you’ve made it tactile here in a unique way.)


Okay can I give you my expert advice <joke> regarding critic and revision - hide your poem for at least a few weeks, maybe even a few months then pull it out and have a go with a fresh set of eyes and of course remember the most important opinion is your own.

Came back to add
just looking at a couple of other versions posted - I really like the first one best.
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