Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Writer's Diary #20- A Decision To (First Draft)

While this is a very rudimentary draft, I've been playing with this idea in my head for a while now...

A Decision To

If he will tell,
neither heaven nor hell
will help.
A grain could become a heap
but he’ll sow more than he’ll ever reap,
write more than he’ll ever read,
live more then he’ll be dead.
He will outlive the minor deed.
(Truth had already died
when the snake looked to Eve and lied.)
He justifies and tells more lies.


Allison said...

I like this line the best,

Truth had already died
when the snake looked to Eve and lied

Lately, my favourite kind of poem is the short verse one, like you've written here. I find its hardest to make impact with only a few short lines. Nicely done.

John Mutford said...

Thanks. After last night's Writer's Club I need that. It's not that anyone was cruel, it's that I didn't give anyone a chance to be. For some reason, I couldn't bring myself to even share a piece of writing. I choked! I had brought along the short story I had written here a little while ago, Magic. As I printed off copies beforehand last night I realized how dreadfully awful it was and pretty much had decided that I wouldn't be sharing it. I knew this was wrong. The whole point of writing club is the feedback. If it sucked as bad as I thought, they could help me fix it. But then when I got there, there was a published short story writer amongst us, and my insecurities got the better of me. I was at a point where I knew I just couldn't handle any criticism, constructive or not, and so I didn't share. I'm not proud of myself!

Allison said...

I remember reading that story a while back, I just didn't comment. I remember reading it a few times, I liked it, and thought it was a good start. Well, there is always next week right?

The process of feedback is horrible, I know, I've had to defend my documentaries in front of the class and thought I was going to be ill. But the suggestions were very helpful, and you benefit much more than from someone just saying, twas good. Although that too is always nice to hear!

John Mutford said...

It's only in the last few years that I've been open to constructive criticism. I've probably missed out on a lot of great advice because my back has been needlessly up. I guess I felt I had regressed last night and steering clear of any advice or opinions whatsoever seemed like the safer plan of action. I'm not sure where any of it came from, I've just been having a couple of down days I guess. All the sensitivities of a poet, none of the skill.

John Mutford said...

Has anyone noticed the significance of the last word in each line?

I've been wrestling with this ever since I wrote this poem; do I reveal one of its features or not? My cousin Steve thinks not. He compares it to a magician who secretly longs to reveal the tricks of his trade, but in doing so destroys the illusion. My wife is of the opposite mind. She says she was always able to appreciate a poem more when a prof was able to point out some of the more hidden details. In the end, I've gone with my wife's suggestion. My other defence for drawing attention to the last words, is that I'm still not interpreting. One of the things I like most about poetry is the semi-opened interpretation a reader can have. So despite pointing out that there is something up with each of the ending words, I've still left it up to you to decide what that means or why I've done it that way.

Of course, if you thought the whole thing was obvious from the get go, this whole dilemma of mine has been moot. As the poet, it's always been obvious to me, so I've been a poor judge as to how blatant it would be to others. Once I saw that it didn't seem to be obvious at all, I questioned if I should say something. I prefer poems in which there is something more going on than initially meets the eye, which I hope to have accomplished here to some extent. Now however, I've gone and blown the whole thing wide open, or partially anyway. What would you have done?

Allison said...

I have to agree with your wife. I always appreciate a poem more when I can decipher hidden details, which yours does. Like lyrics to a song, I don't like to know too much about everything that went in (at the start), I like to figure it out myself, along the way.

I've totally avoided your question, I know. There's a reason I'm not in English anymore. But no, I don't think you've distroyed the illusion. Subtle hints are good.