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CassandraW
03-13-2015, 11:54 PM
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CassandraW
03-14-2015, 04:43 AM
While comments are always welcome, I do have a specific question or two I'd like input on, if anyone is inclined.

Is it clear I'm talking about ISIS's recent bulldozing of the ancient ruins of Nimrud (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/05/iraqi-ministry-islamic-s_n_6811168.html)?

If not, does it matter? Does the poem still make sense?

Actually, even if it is clear, does the poem make sense? I'm obsessed with both ISIS news and antiquities (bulldozed or not), and I'm just not sure how this comes off to someone who isn't as absorbed in that stuff as I am.

I considered making a more direct reference to ISIS, but somehow I felt like the lamassu wouldn't be all that into modern political conflicts. To it, it would be just one more in a very long string of conflicts and atrocities it has seen, the difference being that this time it will be destroyed. And as I imagine would be the case if one were condemned to die, it is mostly concerned with its own life and what meaning it had rather than with the lives/feelings of its executioners.

If you have any thoughts on those issues (or anything), please do share them with me. And as always, thank you for reading.

Magdalen
03-14-2015, 06:16 AM
"Hybrid" or "Scion" (not that it has to be an electric vehicle instead of a mythical creature) or perhaps just delete "Lamassu" because the rest of it I totally understood and related to. May be a bit more obvious (topical ) than either of us perceive now. I'll read this again and may have other comments. I'm soft on the crit side right now, sorry. Thanks for posting this!

Kylabelle
03-14-2015, 06:25 AM
It was clear. The only thing I wanted was to remove the phrase "As such".

ETA: The poem stands even without the knowledge of that atrocity of destruction. I knew that was its subject but could have taken it as more generic -- either way, it stands.

CassandraW
03-14-2015, 06:31 AM
Thanks so much for reading, Magdalen and Kyla.


It was clear. The only thing I wanted was to remove the phrase "As such".

You know, I took that damn "as such" out and put it back in four times, and still haven't settled on it. FWIW, it's in there because I wanted to tip off that while the lamassu may be a fraud as a deity, he's not worthless. And because the "As" kind of helps bookend my first line. But yeah, I'm back and forth on it, and I'll take your thumbs down into my thinking. Thank you.

Kylabelle
03-14-2015, 06:35 AM
I would think the whole poem is what says he's not worthless. The as such phrase.... pulls it out of the gut and puts it in a dry legalistic space, or dry scholarly space.... to my ear.

CassandraW
03-14-2015, 06:44 AM
I would think the whole poem is what says he's not worthless. The as such phrase.... pulls it out of the gut and puts it in a dry legalistic space, or dry scholarly space.... to my ear.

Well, he is being tried and sentenced...

Just kidding. I don't want a dry legalistic sound. I'm going to sleep on it, but I'll probably take it out.

Very useful feedback. Thank you.

And Magdalen, I'll consider whether I should use the word "lamassu" or just something like "deity." I'm describing a very specific deity --a winged lion (though some are bulls, actually) with a human head and in the case of this one at Nimrud, human arms -- whose purpose was to protect the city and ward off evil. The Assyrians were way into them. Since it was specific, I used its name. But this is exactly why I wanted input to balance my extreme double-barreled nerd factor with regard to this kind of stuff.

C.bronco
03-14-2015, 06:55 AM
I don't know if the title does it justice. I enjoyed it, and the journey through time!

Kylabelle
03-14-2015, 06:56 AM
I like the specific word Lamassu. The poem explains what and who that is adequately, I thought. :)

C.bronco
03-14-2015, 07:03 AM
I do like the title, but think it could be taken up a notch. I truly enjoyed reading this.

CassandraW
03-14-2015, 07:44 AM
Thanks for reading, C.B.!

Kyla -- you win, even without the sleep. (And who am I kidding -- I don't sleep anymore.) "As such" is out. Thanks!

Friendly Frog
03-14-2015, 01:35 PM
The link with IS destroying the archaeological sites was obvious to me, but then I have been following it. To have these #%*& running amok in the Cradle of Humanity is painful.

Powerful poem. My mind kept adding a phrase to the very end of the poem, sort of to create a loop back to the beginning. 'He knows as little of gods as I'. While the Lamassu started out as a god, powerless though it was, it became a testament to people long gone and an art object of its own right. And considering IS has been reported looting and destroying what is left, like the Taliban and Boko Haram have done, this really is not about religion for them either, but all about control.

CassandraW
03-14-2015, 07:16 PM
Thanks so much for reading, Friendly Frog. Yes, it is horrifying to think of all that irreplaceable history -- not to mention irreplaceable human beings -- at the mercy of these fanatics.


My mind kept adding a phrase to the very end of the poem, sort of to create a loop back to the beginning. 'He knows as little of gods as I'.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, when I made the decision to have this poem be from the point of view of the lamassu, I decided not to touch too much on the Islamic State's agenda too much. (btw, I have an earlier version or three with an omniscient viewpoint and one from the point of view of the guy on the bulldozer, both of which got much more into the Islamic State agenda, but I thought the first version was less powerful, and the second version missed some poignancy because bulldozer dude is oblivious to the value of what he's destroying.) And I wanted to end with the bulldozer blade rushing at the lamassu, at the moment before it shatters to dust and rubble.

But I did try to allude a bit to what you're saying by having the executioner have hard eyes, stony ears, and rigid lips -- just like the "false god" he's destroying. He is as unmoved by and deaf to the lamassu's testimony as the lamassu was to the atrocities it has seen.

Of course the executioner, unlike the lamassu, doesn't have a value as a testament, an art object, and a door to history. I for one would happy to turn his own bulldozer on him and see how he likes it.

Steppe
03-14-2015, 07:16 PM
It was clear. A wonderful read.

Friendly Frog
03-14-2015, 08:03 PM
But I did try to allude a bit to what you're saying by having the executioner have hard eyes, stony ears, and rigid lips -- just like the "false god" he's destroying. He is as unmoved by and deaf to the lamassu's testimony as the lamassu was to the atrocities it has seen.
The allusion had escaped me the first time. But now that you mention it, yes, that works just as well to reference the beginning, maybe even better.

frimble3
03-15-2015, 12:06 PM
He revs his mighty war engine
stomps his boot
rushes toward me
.....with his blade.

I like this, the sense of history, and changing ideas. Definitely got the ISIS connection, and I'd keep the title as is, because unless you intend this to vanish in a moment of time, it'll be useful as a reference next year, when intervening events blur our memories.

I don't know enough about poetry to say anything useful, but that last stanza does an excellent job of clearly describing a bulldozer, while showing it as a weapon of war, seen through ancient eyes.

I still remember the only lammasu I ever saw, in the British museum, they had looked so small as pictures in art history books, so big in person. I'm glad you've memorialized them in a poem.

CassandraW
03-15-2015, 06:10 PM
Thank you so much, Steppe, Friendly Frog, and Frimble.



I don't know enough about poetry to say anything useful, but that last stanza does an excellent job of clearly describing a bulldozer, while showing it as a weapon of war, seen through ancient eyes.


In particular, thank you for this, because that is indeed exactly what I was trying to do.

CassandraW
03-16-2015, 03:27 AM
If anyone is interested, I recorded a reading. https://soundcloud.com/cassandraw-1/final-statement-of-the-last

I'm afraid I'm temporarily obsessed with soundcloud. I'll probably get tired of it soon.

Stew21
03-16-2015, 10:49 PM
This is very poignant and well-crafted. Really interesting work. The POV is fascinating and I couldn't stop reading. Wonderful.