The Apple Tree (v2)

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NotQuiteSure
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Wed Aug 03, 2022 12:58 pm

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v2
The Apple Tree


stands as if its back is turned
against her house. Above

the tack of flypaper, snarls
of bark, knapped like flint:

climbing requires permission
and the long ladder.


Goal post, wicket, elephant's leg,
gnomon for a slower clock;

it grudges fruit, or gluts.
Each season's crop a secret

cloistered in white flowers,
overseen by wasps.


Early morning windfalls
sit tear-struck on the lawn,

cold and bruised
and ripe with worms.




______________


The Apple Tree


stands as if its back is turned
against her house – above

the tack of flypaper, snarls
of bark, flint sharp –

climbing requires permission
and the long ladder

goal post, wicket, elephant's leg
gnomon for a slower clock

it grudges fruit, or gluts
each season's crop

a secret cloistered in white
flowers, overseen by wasps

early morning windfalls
lie weeping on the lawn,

cold and bruised
and ripe with worms.



_____________________


Originally,

https://proleartthreat.co.uk/forum/view ... =3&t=24174


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Last edited by NotQuiteSure on Thu Aug 04, 2022 5:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Macavity
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Wed Aug 03, 2022 2:52 pm

gnomon that was worth the read alone :D

Du Maurier did a good malignant apple tree story.

Anyway, enjoyed the poem Not. 'overseen by wasps' is a definite deterrent and 'ripe with worms' is an apt irony.

Not sure about weeping, too much pathos in one sense, but have no suggestions at mo

Good one

Mac
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NotQuiteSure
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Wed Aug 03, 2022 3:13 pm

Hi mac,
thanks for the read.

Du Maurier did a good malignant apple tree story.
I'll keep an eye out for it.

I agree with you about weeping ... I'll keep looking.

Regards, Not

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Macavity
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Wed Aug 03, 2022 3:19 pm

I did think morning/forlorn/lawn, but felt OTT

bereft?
The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.
ray miller
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Wed Aug 03, 2022 3:35 pm

I liked the last 4 stanzas best, probably because of the flow - the flint sharp line ends quite abruptly. So, are we meant to imagine that the long ladder is also a makeshift goalpost and wicket. Seems a tall order. I'd have no issue with weeping, I assume you're referring to dew - lie tear-dropped on the lawn popped into my head, though.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.
NotQuiteSure
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Wed Aug 03, 2022 5:25 pm

Hi ray,
thanks for the read.

the flint sharp line ends quite abruptly.
Maybe
of bark bite, sharp as flint ?

So, are we meant to imagine that the long ladder is also a makeshift goalpost and wicket. Seems a tall order.
Just seeing how far I could get without punctuation :) I'll put a period after ladder.

I assume you're referring to dew
Yes.
tear-dropped on the lawn popped into my head, though.
Now that's something to ponder. (Maybe not dropped, too egregious a pun, perhaps, but definitely tear- something.)

Thanks again,

Not.
JJHenderson
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Thu Aug 04, 2022 12:48 am

There's some strong, beautiful, and powerful imagery in this. Bits reminds me of Keats's To Autumn, especially "gluts / each season's crop." I don't know if it's your intention, but I want to read this as symbolic for a neglectful parent: the apple tree with its back "turned against her house," with its mean "snarls / of bark, flint sharp" that's so dangerous that it requires permission to scale. Further, it's mysteriously selective in when it gives or when it chooses to withhold; and its offspring themselves are "cold and bruised / and ripe with worms" because of the neglect and thus lie weeping on the lawn. If my reading is right, my one issue is that the metaphor gets a bit mixed because the fruit is referred to both as what it gives (presumably to the people of the house), and its children, and it can't be both. My thought is that you have to keep the latter, which is a shame because the former is responsible for some of the poem's best images. Of course I could be completely off and you've intended something else entirely. Without your confirmation/denial I'd hesitate to offer any more suggestions as I think most everything here works.

My only other quibble would be in some of the grammar. The lack of punctuation and elisions can make the syntax ambiguous in some places. EG, the whole "and the long ladder..." phrase lacks a verb, so I assume you're trying to imply the "is a" or "is like a." It's fine if that's what you're doing but it makes a reader pause when they emerge from that verb-less clause and land on a new subject/verb like "it grudges" as we aren't told that the sense has stopped. Likewise, "a secret..." leads one to ask whether what's meant is "(like) a secret" or "(it is) a secret," meaning whether the secret is referring to the glutting of the season's crop, or whether it's referring to the apple tree in general. Often this kind of ambiguity can make poems more interesting and serve a thematic purpose. Here, I'm not quite seeing the purpose other than just getting the reader's brain to "fill-in-the-blanks," so to speak. It doesn't really bother me, but it might others.
NotQuiteSure
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Thu Aug 04, 2022 12:52 pm

Hi JJ,
many thanks for the response.

a neglectful parent: the apple tree with its back "turned against her house,"
Yes, a grandparent, in this case, with the 'neglect' being passed down through the generations.

I'll revisit the grammar/punctuation. Clearly that element's an experiment that hasn't worked.

Thanks again,

Not

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Lia
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Thu Aug 04, 2022 4:02 pm

It's interesting to look back at the older versions in the link and see how these two poems have been found. It could be a risky thing to break up a poem in this way, but to find two poems stronger than the original is particularly satisfying. By a small inch, this one is my favourite of the two. It's unexpected and lightly handled.

Look at this opening, Not;


"stands as if its back is turned
against her house – above

the tack of flypaper, snarls
of bark, flint sharp –

climbing requires permission
and the long ladder

goal post, wicket, elephant's leg
gnomon for a slower clock"


I think there's a punctuation situation, but the play with language and the development into the list of uses is lovely. I enjoy every word of it. Normally, the punctuation might look like this;

stands as if its back is turned
against her house; above

the tack of flypaper, snarls
of bark, flint sharp –

climbing requires permission
and the long ladder,

goal post, wicket, elephant's leg,
gnomon for a slower clock


Consider this for the second half,

gnomon for a slower clock

grudging fruit, or gluts
each season's crop –

a secret cloistered in white
flowers, overseen by wasps

when/where early morning windfalls
lie weeping on the lawn,

cold and bruised
and ripe with worms.


Only ideas that you might be able to springboard from.

Moody and beautiful. It needs to be sent out, I think.

Lia
NotQuiteSure
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Thu Aug 04, 2022 5:29 pm

Hi Lia,
a short inch? Anyway,
I can see why you want the /w/ (when/where) but ... it doesn't flow out of either the preceding, or the title. So, must try harder.

I think the punctuation (see revision) precludes grudging which is a shame. I'll keep tinkering with that though.

It needs to be sent out, I think.
Still has to dry its hair. Do you want it to catch its death?

Regards, Not

And before you say it ray, I know 'tear-struck' isn't right, but it's the best I've got for now. Still pondering.

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Lia
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Thu Aug 04, 2022 6:00 pm

a short inch? Anyway,
A poetry term, Not.

What about the singular,

an early morning windfall
lies weeping on the lawn,

cold and bruised
and ripe with worms.

?
(lie/s weeping is better than sits tear-struck)

It needs to be sent out, I think.
Still has to dry its hair. Do you want it to catch its death?
Obviously after the tinkering.
JJHenderson
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Thu Aug 04, 2022 10:25 pm

Since you've decided to go with punctuation I think I can help on that front:
...Above

the tack of flypaper, snarls
of bark, knapped like flint:
I assume you want us to read this "...flypaper, (there are) snarls / of bark?" The comma is confusing here because it would more typically lead us to want to read "flypaper (and) snarls..." If you want the former what I'd suggest would be putting a colon after flypaper or, at the very least, removing the comma and putting snarls on the next line. Often if you're going for syntax in which there are elisions you can use the line break as signaler of such elisions. If you did mean "and" then you'd need a "--" at the end of flint to signal an anacoluthon.
climbing requires permission
and the long ladder.
The "and the long ladder" clause is missing a verb, and on this one I'm a bit stumped as to what's really going on. "With the long ladder" would work fine.

Other than that I think the rest reads fine now. One thing I would say is that you shouldn't give up on this more elided style. Like anything else in poetry it's a tool that can produce some interesting effects and one just has to play around with it and get a feel for it.
ray miller
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Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:39 am

clock/crop/wasps/ tear-dropped - 'Ave it!.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.
NotQuiteSure
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Fri Aug 05, 2022 12:22 pm

Hi JJ,
thanks for the pointers. Always comma happy.
I'll move snarls to the next line.

long ladder.
To climb the tree you need both permission (it's not your tree, after all) and the long ladder (because there are no branches for the first twenty feet or so.)

you shouldn't give up on this more elided style.
I won't, thanks. But it wasn't working here. (Though it might be I come back to this at some later date when I know a bit more.)
Hi ray.

tear-dropped - 'Ave it!.
tear-dropped after windfall? Are ye mad? (It's practically 'dew-dropped'!)

Regards both,

Not
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NotQuiteSure
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Fri Aug 05, 2022 4:18 pm

PS. How about

Early morning windfalls
sit in sorrow on the lawn,

?
JJHenderson
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Sat Aug 06, 2022 12:45 am

NotQuiteSure wrote:
Fri Aug 05, 2022 12:22 pm
long ladder.
To climb the tree you need both permission (it's not your tree, after all) and the long ladder (because there are no branches for the first twenty feet or so.)
Ah, well don't I feel dumb. :lol:
Macavity
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Sat Aug 06, 2022 6:51 am

hi Not

I still feel the weeping/dew/tear/sorrow is pathos and begs sympathy. I feel the poem would deliver more to run with anger in that waste and thread with the hard consonants.

cheers

mac
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Lia
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Sat Aug 06, 2022 10:33 am

I agree with Phil. The poem wants an oozy trickle of seepy rottenness just there.
NotQuiteSure
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Sat Aug 06, 2022 1:37 pm

JJHenderson wrote:
Sat Aug 06, 2022 12:45 am
Ah, well don't I feel dumb. :lol:
In all fairness, JJ, no way you could have know about the lack of branches. But it makes sense now?

Hi mac, Lia.
No sympathy, gotcha. Anger (open to suggestions.)
Oozy trickle of seepy rottenness! Got just the word, oh no, wait, it's slipped my mind. Step up, step up.

In the meantime ...

Early morning windfalls,
squat like bullfrogs on the lawn,

?

Regards all,

Not

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Macavity
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Sat Aug 06, 2022 3:05 pm

Early morning windfalls
squat like malefic frogs
The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.
JJHenderson
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Sun Aug 07, 2022 2:15 am

Yes, it makes sense Not, and fwiw I think "tear-struck" is fine, so I'll politely disagree with Phil on that. People can cry for all kinds of reasons, including out of anger. Unhappy households have lots of tears, so it's not like it's not keeping with the poem's themes. I don't think pathos should be avoided in poetry, just earned. I think it's earned here, for me at least.
NotQuiteSure
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Sun Aug 07, 2022 12:53 pm

Hi mac,
not sure about malefic mac (fine word though it is.)

Dripping for weeping/tear-struck ? (But then, can the frogs be saved?)

Hi JJ,
thanks for the 'earned', much appreciated.
I'm not managed to sell myself on the 'struck' part of tear-struck, something not quite right there. Will ponder ... again.

Regards all,

Not

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Lia
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Sun Aug 07, 2022 1:41 pm

Not, just thinking about dripping.

Would it be,

Early morning windfalls
drip [two words] on the lawn,

?

I wonder if frogs are the right idea for this. They don't suggest damaged windfalls.

Lia
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Sun Aug 07, 2022 3:15 pm

For some dolorous inspiration...with Thomas' rough with dew

https://www.poeticous.com/r-s-thomas/th ... mer-speaks

a with construction maybe an option

sit with tears

shingled with dew

mocked with dew

teased with tears

etc
Early morning windfalls
sit tear-struck

cold and bruised
and ripe with worms
To my ear, sounds better without 'on the lawn' (besides windfall tells us they are on the ground)

I am beginning to feel the merits of tear-dropped with the edit.
The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.
JJHenderson
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Mon Aug 08, 2022 12:45 am

NotQuiteSure wrote:
Sun Aug 07, 2022 12:53 pm

I'm not managed to sell myself on the 'struck' part of tear-struck, something not quite right there. Will ponder ... again.
I think the reason "struck" strikes (npi) a slightly wrong note is that it seems the poem is more about neglect, while "struck" implies more direct, physical abuse. The problem is that it's difficult thinking of a word that you could pair with "tear" that would be more in keeping with the rest of the poem. Something like "tear-abandoned," but not that terrible, lol. I'm also tempted to suggest "tear-dropped," which of course plays on "teardrop" but also the "dropped" nature of the apples; but that's probably just my love of wordplay/puns coming through.
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