Thursday, May 31, 2012

For Sasha (revised)

He struck off into the park
but at ten to 3 was himself struck
by the rotting branch of an old maple tree.
He was crowned mid-stride.

He might've sat beneath that tree,
lifted his eyes to the cold city skies
to script a new constellation of designs. 
But he was knocked out mid-stride.

He might've been killed outright.
But he was laid flat mid-stride.
His mind will never be what it might have been.
He was benighted mid-stride.


  1. Hi Arlene,

    You've got a story about a character, Sasha, who is hit on the head with a tree branch, and suffers brain damage that prevents him from realizing his full potential. It's a compelling underlying story, and I like the stronger verbs you've chosen for the repetend in this draft.

    The poem's main weakness is that it has too little concrete detail on which to pin its abstractions and feelings. Sasha's plight makes for a compelling tragedy only insofar as I can imagine the value of what he's lost. And for that, I need concrete details that convey a sense of his personality and intellect. I think that S2 is telling me he was an architect, which is a helpful detail, but I want more: what kinds of buildings he liked best, how he behaved when he was really excited about a new idea, his careful way of storing his notebooks or laying out his sketches, how he was always distracted from conversations because he was estimating the measurements of windows. Likewise, I want a more vivid and concrete picture of the way Sasha looked after the branch hit him. Was he in a coma? Could he move, but not talk? Did he just lose all ambition?

    Thanks for the read; it's a good start that could use a lot more fleshing out.

  2. I now you want a more thorough crit, but unfortunately, this is going to be rather quick. I liked the scene setting with the details in the timing and the tree and what might have been. I like the repeating words, with the changes in their meaning - they lend a sense of both doom and dark humor to the piece.

    I think the first strophe is the strongest. It has the most specific detail with the fewest "filler" words. S2 and 3 seem to have more "filler" for the sake of continuing the scheme you have set up. I'm not sure that mid-stride is benefiting the poem being used three times in the next two strophes, for ex. or two "buts."

    More detail and a lighter touch with the repeats, I think. Thanks