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The Hermit: A Reflection
dandy

1. After the Fire
 1
 
 
Too much of a good thing
 2
will make a good man ill
 3
pleasure turns a prison
 4
and worlds turn still
 5
 
 
Musicians on every stage,
 6
all just one more page
 7
in a book already read
 8
 
 
Bottles in every hand,
 9
a girl for every man
 10
and I’ve been in every bed
 11
 
 
Comfort is a striking flame
 12
a whim so quickly sated
 13
when was it that I became
 14
everything I once hated?
 15
 
 
Smoke and mirrors and perfume
 16
hang heavy in the half-lit room
 17
miracles of my vice
 18
 
 
Every rut of expression
 19
like a saint at confession
 20
or a ship locked in ice
 21
 
 
Where have all my hours gone,
 22
how long have I been asleep?
 23
What sad seeds did I sow,
 24
that such harvest I reap?
 25
 
 
Dancers all fill the floor,
 26
dark bodies once adored
 27
but now, no stirring of the flame
 28
 
 
The great fires go cold
 29
every pleasure grows old
 30
alone, I am left to blame
 31
 
 
I’ve come to hate my life
 32
and all that it takes from me
 33
tell me, where is salvation
 34
and the peace I need?
 35
 
 
2. The Palace of Wisdom
 36
 
 
Africa
 37
dusty in the dead heat
 38
thorns line the road like hitchhikers
 39
eight days out of Marrakesh
 40
the young man’s feet trailing blood
 41
on the cruel road under the sun
 42
 
 
“the path to salvation is as narrow
 43
as the razor’s edge” the Shaykh Ahwal said in the caravanserai
 44
his teeth were made of gold and his hands clutched at the air,
 45
he would be dead in a year
 46
an old, old man
 47
 
 
My captain, my captain,
 48
take my hand, ease my way
 49
follow the blue bus, the blue bus
 50
Father above, dust to dust
 51
blood grows thick,
 52
sick of doubt and rust
 53
 
 
At the crossroads,
 54
he turned away from Victoria road, no secret heart
 55
of the dark land for a shriven man
 56
“bury a bullet below the roads
 57
and leave yourself there-
 58
ghosts are hungry”
 59
 
 
Dead in a year, my Captain
 60
 
 
The water was gone by the sixth day
 61
and on the seventh, he rested
 62
below a cypress tree with lions
 63
yawning and panting, rank like molded silk
 64
old friends and ghosts
 65
no trail left behind, comrades
 66
 
 
Bread eaten with the salt of sweat
 67
Sweat of his face, herbs and thistles and bramble
 68
the fat of the land melting from bone
 69
like ice in a tall cool glass
 70
“…Waiter…”
 71
Once, he was a prince
 72
with power and wealth
 73
but that was in another land
 74
and besides,
 75
the bitch is sober now
 76
 
 
I knew this girl
 77
her name was Maya
 78
She tasted like a bad dream
 79
but if I said I did not love her,
 80
well...
 81
 
 
“the heart beats…”
 82
DEATH SMILED
 83
DEATH SMILED
 84
DEATH SMILED
 85
           when i touched her thigh
 86
 
 
One hundred years in a night
 87
deadlier than the weight of time
 88
lips broken and bleeding
 89
black and swollen
 90
an old man in eight days
 91
on the road
 92
to the Palace of Wisdom
 93
 
 
3. Room 101
 94
 
 
Life is very simple,
 95
far from the world:
 96
 
 
See no evil
 97
        between bare walls
 98
Hear no evil
 99
        when no one speaks
 100
Do no evil
 101
        with no temptation
 102
 
 
It is easy
 103
to be a saint in a cell.
 104
 
 
(rats rats rats under the floor RATS)
 105
 
 
4. The Great Divorce
 106
 
 
When I was young, I heard the Master speak to a multitude, on a mountaintop
 107
I remember the ice in the air, the snow falling clean on the mud
 108
The Master spoke and I remember, yes, I remember very well
 109
How one thousand worshippers of the world lifted their eyes
 110
And awakened at His words:
 111
 
 
                     The slow dance above us
 112
                     The soft struggle below-
 113
                     Only shadowplay
 114
 
 
                     The shuddering green
 115
                     The thrust of life-
 116
                     Burning light
 117
 
 
                     The relentless void
 118
                     The empty space-
 119
                     Hungry dark
 120
 
 
                     The mote is not the eye
 121
                     The sun survives the night-
 122
                     In the space between
 123
 
 
                     The void and the flame
 124
                     The rise and fall between-
 125
                     In the eclipse
 126
 
 
I was young then, and I am old now, and one day I will be free
 127
When the sun and the moon love, my eyes will be clean
 128
The world moves and the flame burns and the void waits
 129
But in the eclipse, in between moments
 130
Even now, the Master moves
 131
And I move with him
 132
now
 133
 
 
 
 
5. A Good Man is Hard to Find
 134
 
 
I don't got to be perfect
 135
just got to keep moving
 136
           the roar of the train
 137
           and the night whistle
 138
is all that I am
 139
 
 
The stars shine over quiet fields
 140
and the wind flattens my hair
 141
          Diamonds fall
 142
          from the sky
 143
they don't fall for me
 144
 
 
I'm not lighting lanterns
 145
a man can see by stars alone
 146
          the harvest dances
 147
          alone in the night
 148
and I don't care
 149
 
 
I don't got to be perfect
 150
all I do is ride the train
 151
          watch the diamonds fall
 152
          and remember long miles
 153
and the dreams of a Hermit
 154

28 Oct 06

Rated 9.5 (8.7) by 6 users.
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Comments:

Looks like some random rater remembers!
 — dandy

I read a few hundred lines (exageration), then i scored. do you disagree?
 — unknown

Why would you need to exaggerate in a one line response?

But far be it from me to expect people to have the patience to read on a site designed for written work to be read.

No, that'd just be silly of me.
 — dandy

dandy, I can only digest one poem at a time,( yes i know it's all one poem) the others i might get to later, besides there is enough in the first one to savour for a while, fine opening stanza, the theme throughout is consistent without being laboured, wistful engaging images for me to experience. L25 to 28 seems a bit tortured in the rhyme. some very good writing here.
 — unknown

I appreciate you taking a look at all, unknown (?), I wasn't really expecting responses at all these days.

I agree about 25-28. The whole will need sharpening before it's really done, but particularly those lines.
 — dandy

...
 — unknown

.
 — unknown

The lack of ability around here to read lengthy poems never ceases to astonish me.
 — dandy

Parts 2 and 3 are my favorites (|83 "she tasted like a bad dream" most of all).

Part 3 I liked because, more often than not, I'm not familiar with the allusions the author is using, but in this case I was ;p).

Part 2 had its own kind of music that made gave me something even further to ponder on aside from the images.

Part 1 I've heard that sort of rhythmic/rhyme scheme before many times (even though I know that was your intent) so I couldn't reap much of the amplifying effect it had on the subject matter.

Part 5 I thought at first was refering to a story by O'Connor, but I'm not as sure anymore...I'll have to think about it more.

Overall I enjoyed myself greatly.
 — Virgil

Thank you, Virgil, I appreciate you taking a look at this.

Funnily enough, I have read that particular story by O'Connor, but was not thinking about it when I chose a title. Others have jumped at it, though.

I'm glad you could look beyond the obviousness of the scheme in the first canto. It's gratifying.

Otherwise, I've fiddled and rewritten this. Hopefully for the better.
 — dandy

Wendy, Wendy, Wendy!

-Dandy
 — unknown

*Cough*
 — dandy

Hi dandy

Just going to give you some quick impressions.
Part one is nice but a little too lyrical - it sounds more like a song. I like what you're saying  though and maybe you could trim this part down and use it as an introduction to the other parts (a stanza or two would do it I think).
The Palace of Wisdom reminds me too much of W. Blake. I would choose a different title. The poem inhales and exhales music, which isn't a bad thing, but sometimes you seem to overdo it. I would leave out the last line of the last part. I think that comes out already. I like what you did in this poem and I enjoyed reading it a lot. It is full of stark emotion. I like that. Thank you.

Maria
 — sara

Hi Maria/Sara- thanks for taking a look at this.

I think you may be right about the lyrical quality of the first canto, but I'm not sure that I think it's a negative thing. I typically think of songs and poems as interchangeable. That's why I called it a canto, actually.

I do think I agree with you about the last line of the last canto, I think I'll either rewrite or delete that sometime today. Thanks for that.

As for the second canto, it's supposed to be a deliberate reference to Blake, so I'm not too bothered about it. It's also a reference to someone referencing Blake, if that's not too much.

Again, thanks for reading all the way through this. I appreciate it greatly and shall think on your comment more.
 — dandy

i'm not sure how to talk to u, so i'll just do this. i added alot, changed it, kinda became a different poem, idk. oh, good poems btw, lot of work put into them.
 — joewaysack

Thanks, Joe, I appreciate you reading my work.

I saw what you did with yours. Definitely more of a narrative, a bit more story. I think it could use more work, but that's up to you. If you want any suggestions or more critique, just let me know.
 — dandy

It took me a long, long time to copy and paste this into NotePad, and to fix the format of it. BUT, as I glanced through this, all I can say is "WOW". I smiled wryly at some parts, grimaced at others and went "Sa-weet!" at others.

Just a quick comment on one of the parts: I detect a hint of The Magus' flavour in one of the blocks. I'll be back after annotating the hardcopy - it's printed out, so I have it in my hot little hands :)
 — wendz

mate, this is awesome.
the woven imagery and ideology is amazing.
i will read again. i had a few jumps along the way. but maybe that's the first read syndrome. i do have some suggestions. but only after i've read again, shall i tell.

lines 6-11 have it in them to be quotes... [who said that? oh, dandy did! didn't you know?!]

thanks for writing this.
varun.
 — unknown

room 101 is my favourite.
 — varun

Africa  
dusty in the dead heat  
thorns line the road like hitchhikers  
eight days out of Marrakesh  
the young man’s feet trailing blood  
on the cruel road under the sun



Enjoyed the rhythm of this strophe. You have a flair for writing rap-like
meandring thoughts.

My best,
Maria
 — sara

Wendy, Varun, Sara-

Thanks all for your comments. I always appreciate someone taking the time to read through my admittedly laborious work.

Wendy-

I do hope those are good grimaces... but I know you'll tell me. I wonder which part specifically reflects the Magus for you. Hmm.

Varun-

I'm glad you liked it. I hope you can stand through another read eventually :)

Sara-

I particularly like that strophe, too. Thanks.
 — dandy

I am honestly and eagerly waiting for your second read, Varun.
 — dandy

line 4:
worlds turn still

line 44:
could do with ‘the’ before the name me thinks.

line 50:
you could add a ‘the’ before the second ‘blue bus’.

line 55:
do you need ‘the’ before Victoria?

line 76
does the word ‘bitch’ refer to life? or is it directed at maya? i would like to think life…

line 144:
i’m not too sure about ‘and’. considering the mood, ‘but’ or maybe not even that?

line 145:
try ‘any lantern’ or just ‘lanterns’.


i love how you have divided a life in 4 sections. the titles for each of these sections are impeccable. life after ‘retirement’ of sorts… ‘when the fire has died’, then the story of experience, then questions about faith and reality in ‘room 101’, then death and then finally ‘ascendance’… closing with memories of the past.
i do wish that you have contrived this in first person. i love this piece, dandy. i do.

respect.

thanks.
 — varun

taking, of course, for granted that i am completely off the mark.
 — varun

Varun, that was commendably fast. I really appreciate it.

I think I like most of your changes, I'll look them over more carefully in a little while and probably implement most of them.

You're very perceptive about the general theme. I hope you've read my other two, The Magus and The Emperor; it's all the same story, both within themselves and as a part of a whole. There's going to be one more installment and the story will be complete.

As for first person... well, that's tricky.
 — dandy

Edits made.
 — dandy

thank you for considering my suggestions dandy.
would it be possible for me to get all your stories in one word document by email?
i would love to have them without the numbered lines. i'm too lazy to copy, paste and then remove the numbering :}.
i will have more to say i think, once i read it again, on paper. since it is 'long', to say anything really contructive about the form and flow will take more time. but i want to. so please, mail me. i'm not much of a poet. i like playing with words though.

thanks.
 — varun

Varun-

Sure, I'll send you an email about it.

Just send me an email first, so I know where to send it to.

I'm glad you're taking an interest.
 — dandy

did you get it?
 — varun

I did, done and done.
 — dandy

thanks.
will take me some time though. i will take my time.
 — varun

this is simple and charming, if simple and charming is what one is looking for in writing. it's not what it says, of course, but the simplicity of the author and his trusting self-consiousness which charms us. much like victorian verse, this must be read at the right moment. when might that moment be? before bedding all them womens, or after? it's sort of virginal so i think before would be better; after, after the leather bar, these wouldn't read so swell. what does the author want from us? to honor him as a hero? these aren't heroic verses, so i wouldn't think he'd be able to carry the shield without blushing over these power-figures on a table top. i think it's theatre, and maybe an opera without music or lyric; a pantomime of mirrors and dressing up in front of them. that might be where the power in these ferociously honest poems lay. but, is this poetry? isn't it cd liner lyric? there are so many ways to read these. mystery.

thanks for posting this.
 — mikebauer

Thank you for commenting, Mike.

I'm glad that this interested you, in its right moment.

I do like theater, in its place.
 — dandy

thanks. tell me what you think of one of my things... "plutonium" especially, because i think the form is similar to this one, where it's a kind of garland of different kinds of flowers, and the effect has to work in the linear presentment and in the richness of image, modulating not so much into different dimensions as into different textures. that's how i see this.
 — mikebauer

Sure, Mike. I've read all your posted work, I'll comment shortly. One turn deserves another.

Breakfast first, comment after.
 — dandy

Noodle?
 — dandy

1-14. very nice. tempo. dancing minstrel. good.

15. missing a beat.

21. off kilter.

25 same

good intro.

47. one old would do.

i dont understand 53

56 is beautiful.

58. a colon maybe?

60. very nice.

63. the is unnecessary

64 try yawning and panting, breath moldering silk

68 beautiful

70, 71 fat doesn't melt like ice. this throws me seriously off.

79. fantastic

91. perfect


103-104. so true.

105 nice


106-133 are perfect

136 try got to keep...


154 consider braking into 2 lines. like a train stopping.


very good work. i'd like to see this extended even a bit more.

i feel as though there is a 4.5 between 4 and 5.

well done.
 — jumpoline

I don't like part one : it sounds like a catholic, guilty reaction...
 — greenmantle

Thanks for commenting, Jumpoline and Greenmantle-

Jumpoline, I like most of the changes you've suggested, I'll take care of that this afternoon. Some of the parts which confused you/didn't make sense aren't necessarily meant to be taken literally, so that might help. Interesting that you should like Canto 4 so much; it was the last written, with some difficulty and a lot of revision and reverses. Funny, also that you should want this expanded. It's actually part of series, you may be interested to read the others. It goes:

The Magus
The Emperor
The Hermit
and one more, which I am planning now.

Greenmantle, I'm a little surprised that you (or anyone) should base their dislike of a poem on judgement of another person's feelings and experiences, rather than the quality/ text of the poem. If I have brown hair and you don't like the color brown, do you dislike me as a person?

Please don't dislike my work because of who I am.

Also, I am not, nor ever have been a Catholic.
 — dandy

Right-o
 — dandy

kind sir/madam,

i would very much appreciate if you would look at my poems and offer critique.
 — jumpoline

you're a shy person and you're taking small bites out of the world so that you don't choke. this is a real being and a type and good type for being a writer. it's not so good when you're reviewing others, and you shouldn't have to be forced to. you take small bites out of poems and can't see the entire structure, the way the poet wrote.

for you work, focus vision works well when you use it to arrange the figurines in a tableau: slowly turning them and explaining through your eyes what they are and how we're supposed to understand them. your gesture doesn't work though when you step out of the tableau and talk to us about the "world"... we're looking at the tableau, it's the world, and what we need to know about it you can show with the pantomime. all of your talk of "master" and "the world" have to be taken as comments about scenery in the puppet show.  you've tricked yourself into believing in your own magic, you're trying too much to "explain" to the reader why your poetry is important. it is, but not because it's about anything but you. you're the poet.
 — mikebauer

Thank you for reading my work, Mike.

I appreciate your interest.
 — dandy

i'm not saying this to you, because i think my thoughts are too long for you. i'm saying it for myself to try to understand how poetry gets written, and just accidently sharing this with you because you caused me to think about it. it's nothing personal.
 — mikebauer

Okay.
 — dandy

this is WAYYYYY too long
 — unknown

1. After the Fire

This first part reminds me of the way "The Magus" started, especially the fire imagery. I can't quite put a finger on the tone - there seems to be a conscious distaste in the narrator's voice. Sort of like a young man who spent his youth persuing and obtaining everything, but realising one day that he had become an old man, with nothing worth anything to call his own.

It's a tired opening, that's what it is. It's an ending, that begins. I like that. It's very cyclical in nature, it reminds me of the beginning of a Zen realisation. I liked the "smoke and mirrors" allusion in the fifth paragraph, especially since you disguised it as a noun instead of a saying. Good.

The seventh paragraph made me smile - the "where have all my hours gone" first line is a killer. Instant winner, with me. I like how the line borrowed from the song, and I like how that paragraph, and subsequently, the whole "After the Fire" part, ties in with the song's theme of innocence lost.

In my head, I insert "when will they ever learn?" after "that such a harvest I reap", which is what you intended, I'll bet. Very well done, that particular stanza. The loss of innocence and regret expressed in the original song complements the themes of "After the Fire" well. Nice work there.

2. The Palace of Wisdom

Again, this part reminds me of "The Magus". The heat, the sand, the geography - "The Magus" always made me think of Egypt, for some reason. From memory, there was a segment in "The Magus" heavily laden with the images of a road, of a journey. This is the same.

As an aside, I recently stumbled across "Marakesh", from your Magus, I believe. I didn't know that it was a place in Morocco. I'm going to have to read "The Magus" again.

As with "The Magus", there is a saviour figure here - in this, the Shaykh. And again, this saviour figure is not really the road to the main character'(s) salvation. Rather, the Shaykh seems cynical, and despite being the herald of news to salvation, he seems to have failed in the quest himself.

I'm not sure if that was what you intended with the descriptions of and surrounding the Shaykh, but that was the overall feeling I got.

In opposition, the Captain figure seems more like what the character'(s) persona deems as the salvation-Jesus figure - although the Shaykh is traditionally a wiser religious man, the main character does not seem to take his words to heart, and turns to the Captain for help.

However, the Captain seems to be another disappointment in the main character's life - not only does he die, too, but he leaves behind some advice which is cryptic, and at a "crossroads", which seems to indicate that perhaps the Captain himself did not really know where he was headed.

I liked "ghosts are hungry" - it made me think of the Hungry Ghost Festival, where people honour the dead with offerings of food and paper money and suchlike, to help their journey in the afterlife. Whether you intended that allusion or not, it works. Dissatisfaction, greed, etc. etc. are connotations I associate with hunger - wanting what one can no longer have. The "ghosts" can refer to both literal and figurative ghosts - I'm inclined to figurative.

Although the lines prior to "the ghosts are hungry" suggests literal ghosts - hiding beneath the ground to escape them - I read it as advice from the Captain to the main character to take whatever is eating away at him and literally bury it, so that harm will not befall him. The bullet symbolises whatever it is that will eventually kill the main character, whilst the hungry ghosts represent whatever it is that is waiting to prey on the persona.

At this point, I would like to let you know that I have been a fool. Something about the first half of "Palace of Wisdom" has been off for me, and I couldn't figure it out until I glanced over my notes, and made a mental note that the opening of "Africa" as a blatant statement had an importance to it, and that I would have to address it.

The first half of "Palace of Wisdom" has the "Heart of Darkness" theme! The Captain, crossroads, Victorian era, "no secret heart", shriven heads and of course, the hungry ghosts - all elements from "Heart of Darkness", and I was so blind! that I did not draw the connection earlier.

The does, throw a whole new cast on the poem. Not so much in the contents, but what the relationship of the poem is to you, and subsequently, what it means to me. Unfortunately, I never finished "Heart of Darkness", so I am unable to draw the parallels as well as I may have been able to. I did, however, read a foreword about Joseph Conrad, and he seems quite similar to the Captain in his book. A connection between author and character - Conrad and Captain, Dandy and Hermit, eh?

2.i. after "Dead in a year, my Captain"

I decided to split my comment on "The Palace of Wisdom" into two parts.

Lines sixty one to seventy six allude to "Heart of Darkness" too, or, at least, share similar images. The human heart of darkness theme is one evident in all your poems, and rests heavily in this one, too. I very much like how you've woven "Heart of Darkness" into this - the questions of what humanity truly is, how dark our souls are, etc. etc., brought up by the novel impose themselves quite nicely into your poem here.

The sixth and seventh day imagery puts into my mind the seven days of creation, and I found that to be strong in contrast to the death themes littered all throughout the epic. The cypress trees and lions for some reason put into my mind Macedonia, and because of that, the associated latter fall of power. It seems almost as if the "he" depicted - whether the same person as the Captain, or different, or even both - had fallen from grace, and lost everything.

It's as if the character told about there is a bit of a martyr: bread eaten with sweat, the thistles and brambles - all very "Jesus"ish. All in all, a very desolate figure.

I like how lines seventy two through to seventy six begin to ramble, and lead into the next chapter of "The Palace of Wisdom". By the way, "the bitch is sober now" suggests that the once-prince's downfall came as a result of a woman. I can't say that that does not make me think of you :)

Now, my favourite lines: "I knew this girl/her name was Maya/She tasted like a bad dream". I have never read lines truer than that, about this life. I love the many meanings of Maya: a feminine name, the Maya people and their myths and legends, and the Maya illusory world are my favourites.

I especially enjoyed how "she tasted like a bad dream" followed "her name was Maya". My favourite "Maya" association is most definitely the allusions to the Samsara/illusory world.

Following this train of thought, it appears as if the character longs for something although it is bad for him/her: "Maya" represents the bad thing, and "DEATH SMILED" whenever the main character touches her indicates that all that the main character touches is tainted. Everyone s/he has come into contact with has died.

The following stanza starting "One hundred years in a night" seems to bring the whole "Palace of Wisdom" segment back to the present for the main character, as if all the previous stanzas were mere reminisces for him.

For some reason I can't quite place a finger on, the old man on the road back to the Palace of Wisdom is also the same person who loved Maya, who revered the Captain, who listened to the Shaykh. I get the feeling that all these characters are the same people, yet they are not - at the very same time, the person who loved Maya was not the same person as the one who listened to the Shaykh. I know you understand what I mean here.

3. Room 101

Firstly, nice use of 101 to represent the very beginning. It also is a very clinical and cold number; 101. This segemnt means exactly what it reads. I love the "see no evil, do no evil" play on words. It truly is easy to be a saint in a cell.

I especially liked the insanity expressed within the words "room", "bare walls", etc.

"Rats" in brackets gives the feel of an enclosed area of the mind, something secretly and frantically whispered but dying to get out, especailly when "RATS" is almost shouted at the end of the stream owaiting to be expressed, through the repetition.

The connotations of secrecy, death, wile, etc. etc., attached to rats also help with the insane vibe of that segment, and further perpetrate the themes of the poem.

4. The Great Divorce

The title for this segment is appropriate, considering the following stanzas. A divorce from this Maya world, I am reading it as.

The images here are so vivid, so melancholy, so sad. From the Shaykh, to the Captain, to the Master: this character is always searching for peace, it would seem, but never finding it. No matter where he turns, no matter how wise his/her teachers are, s/he never seems to be able to make peace with him/herself, but is always longing for it.

The line "I was young then, and I am old now, and one day I will be free" pretty much sums up the whole poem: not just that, it pretty much sums up each and every human's quest. There is so much longing and want expressed in that line, it is so incredibly bittersweet, hopeful, but almost despairing at the same time. It's a beautiful line.

5. A Good Man is Hard to Find

This wraps up the whole poem: finally, the main character seems to have come to some sort of reconciliation with himself, and is on the road to salvation - he seems to have finally found peace.

I very much liked the Prufrockian feel of "Diamonds fall/from the sky/and they don't fall for me". It's musing tone is so lyrical, I can almost feel the music behind it.

Train is a nice association with movement, alhough over the same areas, again, adding to the cyclical nature of this poem. More stars: representing something out of reach, though still lovely and somewhat guiding the Hermit: "a man can see by stars alone".

This last segment makes me think of "Pilgrimage to Infancy", and I know that they're related.

Overview.

The first time I read this, I liked it. The second time I read this, I liked it even more. When I came to analyse this, I found that it was a huge task, taking this apart, putting it back together, then having to regard it as a whole.

"After the Fire" has such a weary tone to it, the realisation that the material can no longer satisfy one is not so much a moment of enlightenment as a moment of defeat for the soul, and one can't help but wonder if the persona will ever reach satori.

"The Palace of Wisdom" tells of the persona's journey to find someone who could help him/her find contentment, and how everyone s/he turned to couldn't: from Shaykh to Captain to lover, they all failed him and Death/fate took them. S/he is still alone.

"Room 101": I get the message that the writer - you - are trying to communicate that it is all well and good for religions/leaders to set certain morals and rules to live by, and those rules and morals are easy to follow, but only if you are in an environment which promotes that conformity. It is harder to be "good" if you are surrounded by temptation, vices - incidentally littered throughout the whole poem - and eventually, you will become crazy if you adhere too closely to the rules.

"The Great Divorce" makes me think of the Hare Krishnas, and people who journey to places such as India for spiritual fulfilment, and then not finding it.

"A Good Man is Hard to Find" is my favourite passage, and I forgot to add that the title for the segment is more than fitting, addressing the fact that supposed great leaders are not always so, and suggesting that the Hermit/main character is more good than all those others he once followed.

That last segment tells of peace, at last, as a wandering hermit, thinking for him/herself.

The more I think about it, the more beautiful this poem is to me. There is so much vibrancy in the characters here: although they are all different people, they could all be the same, at different stages in life - or, vice versa.

These people are all you, too. I see Boy Jubilant in here, I see the Magus, I see all those semi-autobiographical poems that you've ever written in here. You know what I'd love? To sit down with you, and discuss all the aspects I read here that I would need a manuscript to fully explore.

To sum up my comment, there were no truer words, and I believe that this poem is pretty much all about: "I was young then, and I am old now, and one day I will be free", and how that one day never came. Rather, that day became every day the hermit rejoiced in being alive, under the stars, with his unfettered thoughts.

It's past 2AM now, and I am tired beyond belief. I made the deadline, and will have more thoughts on this the next time I read it. I hope that you have found my comment satisfactory.

Well done, my Dandy dear.
 — wendz

Wow, Wendy. That was in depth.

I shall go over it again tonight and address some parts.

Thanks so much. I really appreciate it.
 — dandy

even the comments are too long...
 — unknown

Thanks, unknown. That was helpful.

Chuckles, if you're around, I'd like to hear sometime what you thought of my opus, as you called it.

I'm honestly curious.
 — dandy

gimme a bit to re-read
please?
be back later...
 — chuckles

dang!
what's the order again?
 — chuckles

No problem. Just had to highlight the title so you'd see, heh.
 — dandy

The order is

The Magus
The Emperor
The Hermit
and then one more, which is in planning.
 — dandy

By the way, please and thank you, chuckles.
 — dandy

Okay, Wendy. I've been reading over your analysis, so I'm going to go into each canto one by one, as you did.

It's interesting that you should connect the beginning of this one with my Magus; this one is about fire, while the Magus is about air. That's kind of a thread between all of them, actually, each with a different element in my mind.

I think you got the tone of the first canto just as I did. I'm not so sure about the Zen quality, but it does have to do with being very, very tired of the things that once brought one pleasure. I think it happens to everyone eventually.

As for the seventh stanza- I'm not sure what song you're referring to. I didn't consciously make a reference, for once. I'm interested to know which one you mean. Other than that, I like what you have to say about that section.

Right, and on to the second next time.
 — dandy

Alright, Wendy, onto the second canto...

It seems you like this one the best, going by length of reply :) In short, I like all your various interpretations of this section. It is similar to the Womb canto from the Magus, but where that character went deep into the desert, this one just travels on the outskirts. It's also, from my perspective, a spiritual period of withdrawal, of cold turkey, of sobering up. Of course, there's many kinds of sobriety.
 — unknown

and many kinds of "pseudo-poetry". the Bronte sisters wrote some very fine ones.
 — mikebauer

And on to the third...

This canto was a bit more difficult for me, Wendy. Some readers have picked a "1984" reference out of it, which is fair enough, and there's a definite nod to Lovecraft. Have you ever read "The Rats in the Walls"? Wonderful story. I suppose this one, to me, has to do more with falling into old traps. There's always temptation to backslide.
 — dandy

Song: http://www.arlo.net/resources/lyrics/flowers-gone.shtml

Ugh, so little time; I'll get back to you with more thoughts at a later date.
 — wendz

Ah, that song. Yes, that one I definitely know, but can't recall whether I was thinking of it when I was writing. Entirely possible; you know my memory ;)

As for the Divorce Canto, I'm pleased and surprised that you liked it so much. It was definitely the most difficult to write, and took the longest. Much like that one canto in the Magus, it had to be completely removed, rewritten and restructured. I didn't think much of that one line when I considered just by myself, but it's growing on me...
 — dandy

Okay, last part to your critique, Wendy...

The last canto, definitely I was going for a feeling of satisfaction, of contentment. In a way, it's the exact opposite of the beginning; that persona was frustrated, locked in a room, and so very tired, while this one is constantly in motion and at peace with that.

I must say, while I think it's a natural connection for you, I don't really equate this with "Pilgrimage". That was about going home, and regret for things that can't be again. This is more about not "having" to go home, and being content with those things. But perhaps it's just my obsession with trains :)

Thanks again, Wendy. We should discuss that, when we actually manage to be online at the same time. Ta.
 — dandy

  i cannt believe how looong this is. you shoud just rite a book instead
 — unknown

Wow, what a great way to get around the two per week limit!
 — unknown

Sure, you could think that.

Or you could actually read the poem and realize it's one long poem, in various pieces.

Either way.
 — unknown

I know what you mean by the differences between "Pilgrimage" and "A Good Man is Hard to Find" in terms of content. The tone; the slight wist; that's what was familiar, to me.

I just noticed the diamond imagery in the last part - "Diamonds fall/from the sky/they don't fall for me". I like the representation of something supposedly rare, exquisite, romantic, precious, never to belong to the persona. It's fitting for a Hermit, and works even better after "The Great Divorce". Sort of like an ultimate letting go of the material world.

Damn it, I've got work soon. More thoughts, and molestations, later ;)
 — wendz

Alright, the wistfulness, I could see. We wrote a song largely based around the lyric of Pilgrimage, did I ever tell you that?

I'm glad that you like that about the diamonds. I liked it too.

Molestations? Creepy... heh.
 — dandy

awesome mini-titles. one thing i've noticed about your connected epic pieces is how the Mother Title uses colons to split the subject from the type of poem, in this case Reflection. i see why a lot of people commented on it, and favorited. i won't favorite, only because i like poems a little bit shorter and more concentrated, with one central focus symbol and a different view of an emotion. but your poem is lovely, don't let that sound as though i am too lazy to understand the type of complexity in this poem. i must admit it was over before i knew it, of course i will read this more than once. if anything, here's a ten.

i'm sorry it took so long to read this, i'd been contemplating it for a long while and finally mustered the courage to continue your masterpiece quad-rilogy, if i'm correct. and grand adventure.
 — listen

Hello Listen-

Thanks for commenting- I'm glad that my work was in your mind. It's always nice to attract a reader; few people have commented about the subtitles, strangely.

If you read the whole thing, I certainly don't think you're lazy, heh. I appreciate it.
 — dandy

Theatrical nonsense, attempting presumably to present itself as poetry.
A masquerade perhaps; inaccurate, and poorly written.

Obviously, by someone who has never been to Marrakech

Line 150 is an absolute gem, not even the wise Men of Gotham could have thought that beauty up.
 — unknown

Thanks, I'll take that under advice.
 — dandy

what's this shit doing on toprated?
 — unknown

when will
you
ever learn
to write
little
short
GOOD
pomes?
 — unknown

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