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feathersedge (edited)

A scattered crane
broken beneath
my feet-
A child's fancy
scratched in chalk
and stone-
It will never
learn to fly,

13 Mar 07

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this is a tad forlorn, which works well.

one question i have is about the crane: is it a bird or a construction vehicle? either has its place in the poem, but it leans more to the bird with the title and the last stanza. if you're trying to cultivate both, bring out the latter further, maybe by replacing the first stanza's period with a colon.

the presence of the narrator in stanza one felt intrusive to an extent, but it may add the possibility of the adult stomping on the child's dreams in hindsight, or something.

my last suggestion would be to rearrange the iambic in this, because the last stanza sounds uncomfortable in that mold. it would seem more natural to read it this way:

neither ever
learned to fly

granted, this distrupts the continuity. but others may be shortened to simply "crane/underfoot" or "fancy/scratched by stone (or chalk)" if you were up to it.

use the changes if they appeal to you. thanks for sharing.
 — Virgil

Hi Virgil-

Forlorn is a good word for it, thanks :)

The crane was definitely references the bird; I thought about the vehicle after writing, but there was no intention so I'm okay with that part.

I'm glad you saw the awkwardness of that last stanza... I realize it doesn't read quite as well, but it was deliberately so. I want the flow of that line to reflect the leaden feeling, the disappointment of not having grace of the narrator. I know it makes it a harder stanza to enjoy, but I enjoy having structure reflect the content.

With that in mind, is it still poor? Perhaps I should rethink.
 — dandy

ok, that helps. i just got the impression that it was the narrator who was being graceless on that stanza and not the child's fancy.
 — Virgil

Not sure about this, just a bit obscure.  A feather is not the bird or is it here?  
 — Isabelle5


I'm not sure what you mean by obscure, but here you are:

It was inspired by markings that looked like feathery wings on a sidewalk that I noticed one day on my afternoon walk and it made me sad.

Simple enough?
 — dandy

that clarifies quite a lot. i didn't make the connection that the crane was the child's fancy. maybe consider making stanza 1's period into a colon or dash to aid the connection. but that's just me...

 — unknown

What I like about this is that the parts are interchangeable: any stanza could be the first, second, or third.  I see 2, 1, 3.

I like your choice of verb in "scratched", but am not so sure about trapped.  Consider using broken as your verb, and a more specific--lots of ways to be broken--adjective.
 — wily

Virgil, thanks for coming back to this, I appreciate it. I'll have to think about your suggestion, will probably take it.

Wily, thanks for very much for your comment. I changed the first stanza as suggested, to see how I like it. What do you think?
 — dandy

I think this would be made more clear if you got rid of the period end of line 3 and put a comma or a dash or even a semi-colon.

The word "either" is hanging me up.  What is the either relating to?  The bird and the child?  You would not expect a child to fly so that doesn't work.  Yourself?  

Perhaps if you change that last verse to something like, 'Neither of them will ever learn to fly."  

Actually, the crane isn't broken if it's made of chalk on the sidewalk.  It will be scuffed and scrubbed not not really broken.

I know, I'm too dogmatic, right?  lol
 — Isabelle5

I think that the third stanza carries the metaphor, and has just the right amount of ambiguity to not (excessively) confuse the reader but makes him or her think.

I like scattered a whole lot.  Fragments work here, but I don't think you would detract from the mood by adding a verb and using something other than a period or a semi (a comma or dash or colon) at the end of three.  A colon for such is usually my choice:

A scattered crane
[is] broken beneath [or lies, but the be verb slips in unobtrusively]
my feet:

[a or A] child's fancy/

Just a subjective thought for you.
 — wily

nice poem.
 — varun

Good morning, all-

Well, that's a number of people mentioning some other kind of punctuation on l3, so I think I'll go with a dash there. Colons don't do it for me somehow; they look like little locked doors. But I'll go with a dash.


The "either" refers to the narrator. The flying can be taken as literal for the drawing, metaphorical for the person. As for the "broken" part, that was the word that came to mind when I looked at it. Frankly, I'm not even sure it was an actual drawing, or just random marks that looked like a crane to me. But you, dogmatic? Heh, well I didn't say it first. But very, very literal minded, I will say. I'm much more interested in expressing things as I perceive them, not as they literally and absolutely are. If I did want to do that, I'd probably consider being a stenographer.


I'm not sure about a verb there, but hopefully the dash will do. Let me know what you think.


Heh. Thanks.
 — dandy

I like this edition better+
 — Virgil

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