Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hydro's Day 3 and 4

These are my Day 3 and 4. The first is a second draft, thanks to the feedback I received at PFFA. If anyone saw that, I'd love to know, however briefly, whether you think it's an improvement.

NaPo3: Water Rail with Moses

She breaches warm waters:
distorted kiwi, beak too short
and orange to be a curlew's;

wears a similar fibre-blend
of brown-tan feathers.
Her eyes are dabs of blood.

Moses basket and blanket
appears in the rushes; she parts
a sea of them to meet him.

Her sharming startles his story
into fruition: gnat fly, locust, all
in a day's plague

to a migrant rail. She utters
a series of grunts followed by
a scarpering-piglet's squeal,

ending in purrs of contentment
(for territorial claim, alarm
or announcement).

She dips for food, and I am made
to remember manna, her mouth
a pillar of fire with a reed's girth.

NaPo4: Eunuch

She braces her body,
a dromedary

for water, bedchamber
alive with pangs.

Curse this lengthening want
for an older night;

desire, dispensation, devotion,
a son – a lack

us of the clean, white cloth.


  1. Hydro, hey! What's up now the PFFA is down? You are! Up and running
    a helluva race here. Blew me away, both of them.
    I didn't know rail in English, 'rikse' here. It would definitely find Moses in the reeds.
    Dromedary: minimalist, perfect starkness!

    Waiting for more!



  2. distorted kiwi is sooo right, having seen the photos of the Water Rail.

  3. Breaking the sentence into manageable chunks is helpful, and I like the new image of the parting sea of rushes. I no longer feel confused, but will leave a summary of the previously-confusing bit so that you can check for yourself whether I've understood it.

    S3: Surprising appearance of anachronistic baby Moses in the actual world (good work getting rid of the extra counterfactual world, I think)

    S4: The rail's sharming startles a plague of insects out from the rushes. These insects are the fruits of Moses's story (not the one being told in this poem, but the one in Exodus, most of which happens in the future of this poem).

    S5: The piglet noises are coming from the rail. (There is really no room to attribute them to baby Moses now, since you've made the rail the subject of the sentence.)

    I'm going to quibble that "migrant rail" is a little bit distracting to me, because it makes me think "migrant rail worker"; this may be sufficiently idiosyncratic that you don't have to worry about it.

  4. Sorella, Bugs (?), Featherless, thankyou so much.

    Featherless (I still need to memorise everyone's actual names - weird talking to everyone on Facebook and then not knowing them here), your evaluation of the narrative is spot on. So I seem to have cleared up the problems, many thanks for pointing them out.

  5. Well, I don't know about Moses, I'm a bird person and I thoroughly loved your description of her birdiness. Lovely image. And isn't Moses rather a minor player here? The bird is the actor and she kind of introduces him and if I'm not mistaken, is he looking at her as food?

  6. Oh, yes, I forgot, two poems published in one post. A very poignant image for miscarriage, yet I am not sure with the title and dromedary that you want bedchamber in there. I wonder if there is a way to place the poem without that? Otherwise, extraordinary poem.