opinions please

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lisejo
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opinions please

Postby lisejo » Sun Feb 15, 2004 10:12 pm

Thought I'd share one of my poems. Critiques and opinions welcome.



For J.
Born with Downe's

Suppose we all talked like he does.
Pah Pah Pah,
b-flat,
three-quarters beat.

Would he teach us all to speak?
Professor of his words,
keeper of their meaning.

Suppose those sounds
found their way back to his ears.

Would he still want to keep them,
coming out of another mouth?

Suppose we were not meant
to know his meaning.
As secret as the universe,
meaning of life.
His life.

Suppose we all loved like he does,
with his silly smiles and gentle hugs.

Then I would never hear
another mean whisper:

retard
idiot

I would give him a hug
and speak his words.

Pah Pah Pah,
b-flat,
three quarters beat.

Because sometimes I prefer
his language.

By Lise Johnson
Last edited by lisejo on Mon Feb 16, 2004 6:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Hissmonster
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Postby Hissmonster » Sun Feb 15, 2004 11:18 pm

tried to send this before, but the gremlins in our host server got to it first

Nice

How old is he?

It's complete and rhythmic, but at first I couldn't tell if you were talking about an infant or an aged musician.

Maybe that is what you were going for...that his language is his own music with it's own special beat!
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JillStar
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Postby JillStar » Sun Feb 15, 2004 11:46 pm

Your poem is very interesting and I like the way it flows... almost making me want to hurry to the end to find out who you're writing about.

Who are you writing about? :)
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lisejo
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Postby lisejo » Mon Feb 16, 2004 12:16 am

Hissmonster wrote: How old is he?

It's complete and rhythmic, but at first I couldn't tell if you were talking about an infant or an aged musician.

Maybe that is what you were going for...that his language is his own music with it's own special beat!



lol. yeah, I kinda left the age thing up for grabs. My sister and her husband provide adult foster care for two adults with developmental disabilities. The poem is about one of the guys they have living with them, who has Downe Syndrome and is also slightly autistic. He's forty two but has the mental level of an infant. (that's not said to be mean, that's what tests have shown. I adore this guy.) Anyway, he doesn't talk but he makes alot of repetitive sounds and hums alot. It sounds like he's singing.... just not anything anyone can understand. So yeah, I guess that's what I was going for... that his language is his own music with it's own special beat! :D

When I wrote it, I knew it sounded like I was talking about an infant so I added the part about hearing whispers calling him "retard" hoping that that would show that the subject of the poem was developmentally disabled. Guess it didn't work as well as I hoped. oh well.

Edited to add: Any suggestions on how I can show who the subject is without stating it outright and making the poem sound clunky in the process?

Thanks, Lise
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Hissmonster
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Postby Hissmonster » Mon Feb 16, 2004 12:24 am

Well it worked for me, but I grew up with a girl who has both muscular dystrophy and is mentally retarded. She was (and is) going to a special "school" it's really a community and there were many other developmentally challenged children and adults there.

I know about the retard taunts. But Enza is wonderful and her spirit shines through despite any developmental problems, she's about 15 to 20 years older than me, but her mind will never be older than 2 years.

She still lives up the street with her mom and I still stop in and see her when I can.

Don't worry about it not being obvious. If you focused a lot on the taunting you would switch it off of his world. If you wanted to rework it, you could add something subtle in the beginning.
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lisejo
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Postby lisejo » Mon Feb 16, 2004 6:37 pm

Thanks for the input, Hissmonster. And for sharing about your friend. Ezna sounds like a very special person. Both Tony and Joe (the guys my sister and her husband provide adult foster care for) have become family. Things just wouldn't be the same without them.

Anyway, I did still want to make the subject more clear without switching the focus off his world. I liked your idea about adding something subtle in the begining and tossed around a few ideas before deciding to add something to the title. So now it's called:

For J.
Born with Downe's

Other ideas included simply titling the poem "Born with Downe's" or "Born Special" but I liked it best leaving the "For J." in there. Anyway, Thanks for the help. :D


Lise
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Hissmonster
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Postby Hissmonster » Mon Feb 16, 2004 8:03 pm

Manipulating the title seems to do the trick for me, but, will have a better idea as fresh eyes land on this post. 8)
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April
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Postby April » Mon Feb 16, 2004 8:04 pm

Adding a title helped. I read it the first time with a title and had no confusion.
I really like the repeated section about how he speaks.

Visually, I would add a blank line after the first line.
-April
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Hissmonster
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Postby Hissmonster » Mon Feb 16, 2004 8:13 pm

cool suggestion!

didn't think of that :D

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