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CassandraW
03-10-2015, 12:29 AM
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Kylabelle
03-10-2015, 02:42 AM
Wonderful. I like this very much. Changing to third person strengthened it, too. (I read it shortly after you posted it but wasn't ready to comment just then. :) )

Though the sentiment is quite different, it reminds me of a painting I have heard of (never seen) of three spindly pine trees growing in an otherwise clearcut field of stubble. The title of the painting is Rejected as Timber They Laugh at the Sky.

:D

Magdalen
03-10-2015, 02:55 AM
Top-notched!!! Really, the ending rhymes come up so fast (for this reader) and drop so quickly as to cause an unintended exhaled "awww" at the end - so I guess your Unfelled found me Breathless! Thanks for posting this!!

William Haskins
03-10-2015, 04:28 AM
good stuff here.

bookending the first stanza with the poet's emotional reactions (bristled, fearing)

the causally tossed-in (but quite effective) rhyme of fit and bit

the rather abrupt but well-balanced turn in the second half of the poem to, if not regret, at least some bittersweet self-recrimination over having dug in so deep, become so intransigent...

i would lose the final "the." but that's me.

strong metaphor, a poke in the universal eye and hopefully a bit of self-realization...

enjoyed it.

CassandraW
03-10-2015, 04:53 AM
Thank you all so much for reading.

And thank you for the suggested edit, William -- I'm taking it.

CassandraW
03-10-2015, 06:23 AM
Wonderful. I like this very much. Changing to third person strengthened it, too. (I read it shortly after you posted it but wasn't ready to comment just then. :) )

Though the sentiment is quite different, it reminds me of a painting I have heard of (never seen) of three spindly pine trees growing in an otherwise clearcut field of stubble. The title of the painting is Rejected as Timber They Laugh at the Sky.

:D

Kyla -- I got curious about the painting you mentioned. And with a little google-fu, I think I found it.

If I've got the right one, the title is actually Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/388857749046342557/)

Stew21
03-10-2015, 03:09 PM
This is wonderful, Cass. I love it.

Kylabelle
03-10-2015, 03:21 PM
Kyla -- I got curious about the painting you mentioned. And with a little google-fu, I think I found it.

If I've got the right one, the title is actually Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/388857749046342557/)

Great! That is likely the one. I was only told about it once, years ago, and possibly my own memory, or that of the teller, got the title a bit off. (I was sure I remembered "laugh at the sky" but oh well!)

What I did recall was this painting was part of a school of Canadian art that my friend thought was important and neglected..... Thanks for searching out the image.:)

Steppe
03-10-2015, 05:32 PM
Like everyone else I think it's very well done Cass. Only took two reads to have it down. Think it's just great.

CassandraW
03-10-2015, 07:34 PM
Thank you so much, Stew and Steppe.

This one was all over my desk in pieces for a couple of weeks, so I doubly appreciate the kind comments. Alas, it seems to be part of my creative process to upend my poems, shatter all my ideas to bits, and scrabble around in the debris. (Except for my last lines, which I nearly always write first and nearly always leave intact.)

Stew21
03-10-2015, 07:43 PM
My process is similar. You should have seen the dead poet all over my desk. Oy. What a mess.

Your process, though, however it feels at the time is yielding beautiful work.

CassandraW
03-10-2015, 09:36 PM
Yes, you and I are definitely twin souls when it comes to self-torture.

I recorded a reading of this (https://soundcloud.com/cassandraw-1/unfelled), if anyone is interested.

poetinahat
03-13-2015, 04:22 AM
I feel obliged somehow to find some critical comment to make, some improvement to suggest. Some way to validate my existence as a poetry moderator.

Wonderful poems do this to me sometimes: make me self-conscious, bring out my petty qualities.

I love this poem. It's a marvelous scene, clearly told, elegantly worded - very carefully done, but un-self-conscious. I'm sure it took a lot of painstaking carpentry, but none of the joins show at all.

If you'll allow me to make one comment, it would be that I'd like to have seen "I grew tall and proud" expanded a little; as it is, I read it like one of those "Two years later..." signs inserted for a jump ahead in time. (On reflection even now, I mentally inserted a period or colon after 'grew', and that changed it for me.)

I mightily enjoy and admire this poem, Cassandra, and I'll remember it this Christmas.

CassandraW
03-13-2015, 05:54 AM
Thank you so much, poet.



If you'll allow me to make one comment, it would be that I'd like to have seen "I grew tall and proud" expanded a little; as it is, I read it like one of those "Two years later..." signs inserted for a jump ahead in time. (On reflection even now, I mentally inserted a period or colon after 'grew', and that changed it for me.)

Interesting you say that. The thing I struggled mightily with when writing this poem was the pacing. For better or worse, my decisions on that front were deliberate, including the rather abrupt jump.

Everything from "years coiled round" forward has been in almost word for word since my first draft or two, so that part was not the problem. That was the punch of my poem, and it came easily.

But I spent a lot of time pulling my hair out about how to balance the first half, partly for the reason you cite.

I finally decided that the poem was really about the ending, and it was the refusal to be felled that led there, not so much the success in growing tall. I thought putting much emphasis on growth, success, etc. would undermine the conclusion, which was, damn, the tree did its thing, and it's tall and everything, and that's just great, but will anyone care when it falls? And while I considered discussing that others had tried to chop the tree down during those years, I thought that made the poem less powerful rather than more. (I hinted at it a bit, I hope, with "one by one, they passed me by", which I wanted to have dual meaning.) Anyway, in the end I decided that should be a touch before moving on to the years passing and thickening (the intransigence, as William so aptly put it).

I worried a lot that the proposal/Christmas tree part was too top heavy, and that the tone was off from the rest of it. But after wrestling with it for quite a while, I finally decided I wanted the second stanza to be more rushed and crowded, to have a bit of a harried feel, and to get in something of the fear not only of being clipped and restrained, but also of mind-numbing routine (in my alliteration, I hope), before I escaped, with a deep breath, to (what I hope is) the more contemplative tone of the rest.

Whether I succeeded, or those were the right decisions, I guess is up to the reader. But that was why I did it the way I did.

Apropos of nothing, I set myself the challenge of working the tree metaphor all the way through the poem without ever mentioning the words "tree," "pine," "limb," "trunk," "sap," "forest," "twig," "roots," "bark" or "branch." (And I had a tempting place for every one of those. Puns? I had a few.) I couldn't resist needles, though.

poetinahat
03-13-2015, 07:27 AM
I think the attention you put into it was well worth it -- it conveys to me just the sense that you descriibe here. And I agree that the growing isn't the focus; I feel some guilt for even mentioning it.

Another thing I neglected to mention before is how effective your alliteration is:

burdened with baubles, bowed beneath, bound between. . .

The words sound, and feel, like one more pressure after another, incessant and accumulating. One can almost see the tree bending under each new weight.

And, after the passing by, the sky and barren ground testify to having outlasted all the tormentors.

Then, in the end, will anyone be there to witness? That is the question you've left to the reader, evoking the universal "if a tree falls in the forest" question. That's a coup in itself.

frimble3
03-15-2015, 12:27 PM
Wonderful. I like this very much. Changing to third person strengthened it, too. (I read it shortly after you posted it but wasn't ready to comment just then. :) )

Though the sentiment is quite different, it reminds me of a painting I have heard of (never seen) of three spindly pine trees growing in an otherwise clearcut field of stubble. The title of the painting is Rejected as Timber They Laugh at the Sky.

:D
Sound like a variation of Emily Carr's 'Rejected as Timber, Beloved of the Sky', http://arttattler.com/Images/Archive/Emily%20Carr/CarrScorned.jpg