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Dream of fire

PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 2:46 pm
by Saturn
Dream of fire

I had a dream of fire,
An ashen, blackened,
Choking nightmare.

Walking home I saw
The twisted ruins
Of home; charred
Remains of life
Were half-hidden
In the soaking
And knee-deep
Carpet of ashes.

Bones stuck out,
Barbecued black
Ribs and skulls
Mocked me so
As I knelt there
Choking despair,
Swallowing pain.

Nothing was left:
Desolation spared
No fond memory
Or piece of life,
No remembrance,
Not a trace
Of my history
Survived intact.

Mother, father,
Brother and sister
All lay like pillows,
Bags of bones,
Heaped carelessly
In a pile of dust.

I do not know
What thought
Passed by me
As I looked at
The apocalypse,
I didn't weep
I didn't scream
I just knelt there
Knee-deep, hands
Running through
The brittle waste.

PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 6:24 pm
by AsphodelElysium
You didn't read Cormac McCarthy's The Road before you went to bed perchance? The tone of this poem reminds me of it; a devastation so complete on all levels that the person is beyond tears, beyond emotion. McCarthy summed it up in the son's reaction to seeing a man shot; the son was "mute as a stone." You've done something as interesting with your dream. I'm particularly fond of this turn of phrase:

I do not know
What thought
Passed by me

Not just beyond tears and emotions but really beyond any comprehension. The poem conveys this impression of a despair so bone deep that it can't even be felt. The reader also gets the impression that, not when the emotion sinks in, but when it re-emerges, the devastation will be complete. Your use of the word "apocalypse" has a nice bit of contrast to it. The literal world has not ended, but this man's world has.

Your metaphors are also very solid. I only had one, minor concern. You use "barbecued" and, for me, that will always be a food image (hey, I'm a fat kid, what can I say). It just threw the rhythm off for me. My first instinct, though, was to keep the alliteration but I think you could still do that, maybe you could use "burned" instead? I apologize. I feel like I'm taking liberties somewhat.

Anyway, I like the title and the ambiguity that is there. A "Dream of Fire" could be positive or negative, metaphorical or literal. Very interesting stuff. Framing the whole in a dream landscape is also a favorite of mine, so I really like that as well. I enjoyed the contrast of the soft and hard images too. My favorite:

All lay like pillows,
Bags of bones,
Heaped carelessly
In a pile of dust.

The pillows and the bones, but really a lot of your images have so much texture. Sensory poem, particularly touch poems, aren't always easy to pull off, but you've done a really great job.

A pleasure, as always, to read. :)

PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 9:40 pm
by Saturn
AsphodelElysium wrote:You didn't read Cormac McCarthy's The Road before you went to bed perchance?

Never heard of it to be honest with you, this is a memory of a dream, nothing more, a record of what I can remember.

Thank you once again for such detailed analysis and embarrassingly fulsome praise AE.

All that time and effort really isn't necessary for a poem thrown together in five minutes.

Really you take my poems much too seriously [not that they aren't serious] as if they were a real poet's work whereas they are nothing of the sort, just effusions of a hyper-active imagination.

I'm a scribbler, a dabbler.

Thanks a lot anyway you are too kind.

P.S. you may be right about barbecue, I wasn't sure of that myself but I was running out of adjectives and it has a specific relevance here so I left it in.

PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 10:55 pm
by AsphodelElysium
McCarthy's an American writer. I've only read that one thing and only because it was assigned for my contemporary American science fiction class (emphasis on dystopian literature). It was like a week later and the same novel was on Oprah's booklist. That's why I thought you might have heard of it (that's going to be the ultimate revelation at the end of time, Oprah is God---j/k). In any case, the story revolves around a father and son who are eeking out an existence in a post-apocalyptic world where Earth has been burned. Everything is ash and the few surviving humans have mostly turned cannibalistic. The whole story is extremely bleak but there is intense focus on the father/son relationship and the tenderness in hardship that it has.

That analysis took about as long as the poem did. This is the sort of thing I've been trained to do, Saturn. I'm cut off from the academy now that I've graduated. Reading your poetry and Denise's and the few other friends that I have that bring me their stuff is the only opportunity I have to flex those muscles. Please don't be discomfited by that. It means a lot to me to be able to read everyone's stuff and actually have feedback welcomed. If you really don't want me to, then I won't, but you're going to have to tell me so. "Fulsome" implies I'm being excessive. :wink:

And you are a real poet!!!!

And I'm not that kind. I'll be honest, good, bad, or otherwise. "Fulsome" also implies that I'm flattering. I'm not. :wink:

But what I really want to know is, when are you getting these poems published? :D

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 10:24 pm
by Saturn
AsphodelElysium wrote:
But what I really want to know is, when are you getting these poems published? :D


That will never happen believe me, my poor offerings would be pulled to pieces.

I wouldn't even know when or how to start even if I did think they were worth publishing.

Besides more people have read them online than would ever pay money to buy them.

Unless you're Seamus Heaney or something no-one buys poetry books anymore these days.