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The stare of her toys

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  • The stare of her toys

    vested in marigold
    steel capped sauntering
    short of forty he fell
    blue faced in the mall
    and his girl among her few
    confessors plastic or plush
    at the news let roar
    like a star had died toward
    her voice alone
    from a startled void
    and the stare of her toys
    her doll and bear and rabbit
    mirrored her tiptoe song
    of seven from where they sat
    the bedtime trinity
    of her answered hell

  • #2
    Wow Grant. This deals quite a punch. I'll absorb it more when I have time.

    Comment


    • AlexandratheLate
      AlexandratheLate commented
      Editing a comment
      I had come back to this and had viewed it as an abused child but got busy and by the time I was going to comment, the other comments left me wondering if I had misunderstood. I enjoy the variety of poems posted here.

  • #3
    What do I see?
    Mall Security,
    police​​​​​​ routine?
    Like a tree,
    felled at forty.
    A heart-stopping,
    child rending
    moment in time
    realigns other lives.
    Toys incurious eyes
    still return their stolid
    gaze unknowing.

    Put me right.
    Last edited by Johntee; 08-09-2017, 05:54 AM. Reason: Police routine added

    Comment


    • #4
      A haunting story of a child who has been bereaved, I think?? The imagery of the toys staring at the child is really quite something especially as a child will look to them for comfort. This reminds me of when my mother died, my younger sister was 4 and she became obsessed with cuddly toys - her comfort in an age where death was not discussed. Powerful stuff.

      Comment


      • #5
        I've heard you mention several time to others - 'Publishable'. This strikes me as definitely fitting that bill. As Alex & Karen alluded or said - powerful stuff.

        Comment


        • #6
          Hi Grant! Is this piece about a girl dealing with a love one's tragic accident and her friends coming over to comfort her (somewhat) but grief strikes her as her hell when she's alone?

          Comment


          • #7
            Little girl lost her dad to a heart attack at the mall is what I'm getting. He's either 40 or he fell 40 feet?

            Comment


            • #8
              Hello all. I see that the consensus interpretation of this piece is that it depicts a girl's bereavement. Some have intuited that the man who comes to grief in the first four lines is the girl's father. May I say that the piece can definitely be read this way. That you do read like this is a reflection of your hearts - that you tend to be empathetic souls who seek and hope in what is good.

              It may surprise you to learn that my piece was composed with a considerably darker, even macabre underlying narrative in mind.

              How would it affect your interpretation if the girl's roar at the news of the man's demise was not an expression of grief, but exultant relief, animalistic in its intensity? And the passage about the dying star in the startled void does not necessarily imply that the man was a 'star' in the girl's esteem. Rather it can express an astonishment, the sort of astonishment you might feel if a fixture of the heavens like a star were to fall suddenly at the power of your word.

              In other words, consider that this is a girl whose prayers have been answered. After the roar of relief she sings on tiptoe, in the way of a child (tiptoe song of seven). Her trio of toys functions like the divine (confessors, trinity). There is an implication that they have been present when her desperate pleas were uttered, and their witness of her animated relief (stare of her toys / mirrored) hints that they may have seen other things, namely the hell which has been answered with news of the man's sudden demise. What might this hell be, such that a child would wish a man dead? I leave that to your imagination.

              That the girl is described at first as his girl leaves open the exact nature of her relation to the man. I did imagine him originally as the girl's father, but the phrase his girl could just as easily represent the perverse term of endearment of an abuser who is not a relative. The initial lines are meant to capture deftly the man's occupation and demeanour: vested in marigold refers to the bright safety vests worn by men on worksites, and steel capped (boots) is part of such work attire too. Steel capped does double duty, alongside sauntering, to suggest an easy, swaggering brutality. It's not absolutely clear that the man has died, although that is what I had envisioned with fell blue faced. It's possible that he has been only impaired painfully.

              What I've elaborated here is by no means a 'correct' reading; I have written deliberately in such a way that more than one interpretation is possible.

              Comment


              • #9
                Cleverly done as ever.
                Your path of pederast
                allows a happier
                outcome but
                was untrod by
                your audience
                who trailed the
                yellow brick road
                of despairing innocence.

                Comment


                • #10
                  Grant, after reading this thread in full and suddenly finding myself with some unexpected spare time on my hands I felt compelled to speak out. You might not like what I have to say, but I think you really need to hear it.

                  First of all, consider yourself lucky to have such a considerate set of readers on this site who don't call you out on presenting what you yourself admit to be vague poetry to them on a regular basis.

                  How would it affect your interpretation if the girl's roar at the news of the man's demise was not an expression of grief, but exultant relief, animalistic in its intensity?
                  I'm sure it would greatly affect the reader's interpretation, if only you had written clearly enough to allow them that opportunity.

                  And the passage about the dying star in the startled void does not necessarily imply that the man was a 'star' in the girl's esteem
                  Of course it doesn't necessarily imply it, but the reader would probably need to live in your head to take an alternative interpretation.

                  Rather it can express an astonishment, the sort of astonishment you might feel if a fixture of the heavens like a star were to fall suddenly at the power of your word.
                  See above, re: living in your head.

                  After the roar of relief she sings on tiptoe, in the way of a child (tiptoe song of seven).
                  So that's what the garbled syntax of those lines tell us? Ok.

                  There is an implication that they have been present when her desperate pleas were uttered, and their witness of her animated relief (stare of her toys / mirrored) hints that they may have seen other things, namely the hell which has been answered with news of the man's sudden demise.
                  Is there really such an implication? Where? Does 'stare of her toys / mirrored' really hint at seeing other things?

                  What might this hell be, such that a child would wish a man dead? I leave that to your imagination
                  You leave far too much to our imagination. Why not just present an empty thread and let us imagine whatever we please?

                  That the girl is described at first as his girl leaves open the exact nature of her relation to the man.
                  Really? I'm not sure it leaves it as open as you think.

                  I did imagine him originally as the girl's father, but the phrase his girl could just as easily represent the perverse term of endearment of an abuser who is not a relative.
                  So you don't even know who it represents? Fantastic.

                  The initial lines are meant to capture deftly the man's occupation and demeanour: vested in marigold refers to the bright safety vests worn by men on worksites
                  I'm shaking my head now.

                  steel capped (boots) is part of such work attire too. Steel capped does double duty, alongside sauntering, to suggest an easy, swaggering brutality
                  You don't even mention boots, except in your reply comment. So it suggests nothing of the sort.

                  It's not absolutely clear that the man has died
                  Bingo. Very little in this poem is absolutely clear.

                  I have written deliberately in such a way that more than one interpretation is possible
                  How charitable of you. It's also a nice escape clause for when nobody has the first idea what the poem is about.

                  If a sixteen line poem takes a tome of explanation to clarify, there's something wrong with the poem. Maybe it's indicative of society and instead of wanting to communicate something specific, people are just happy to communicate anything. People on this site are very kind to stumble around your words, grasping for meaning, and to sit back and say nothing (probably assuming the failure is theirs) when they haven't a clue what you've posted. And you get to look like the smart one thinking a few levels above them. Come on Grant, you're obviously an intelligent person, you're clearly someone who puts thought into their work, and that actually does put you a level above most amateur poets. Why not use those skills to focus on communicating effectively to your readers? When you write a poem about an abused child who feels elated by the plight of their abuser and folks see it as a mournful piece about a (positive) bond being broken, you're clearly not utilising your skills even close to effectively.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Hmm, I see, Miss Terry, or Mystery, or....

                    I don't expect anything from anyone with regard to reading my stuff here. Nobody is forced to do so and I admit it can be obscure. If readers don't like that, I am not twisting their arms to say otherwise. And I do not impose interpretations on my texts in the smug manner you claim. I am genuinely interested in how others construe the work, and I have said so regularly. Indeed, those who read here are often generous in their appraisals, as you say, and I always express my appreciation for that. I am not thereby labouring under illusions about the quality of my work overall. I am well aware of its limitations.

                    I'm fine with you not liking the piece and the reasons you give in your (relatively copious) comments are fair enough. And I appreciate the closing admonishment.

                    That said, I would suggest that you show *how it's done* by sharing more of your own material. You are quite the critic, but thus far have contributed little else to the forum. And there's a bristling ire in your lengthy critique that suggests I have hit some nerve. Hahahahahaha, have at it then.

                    Consider me thoroughly chastised.

                    Comment


                    • RhymeLovingWriter
                      RhymeLovingWriter commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I'd agree with Grant that I'd like to see more of your material MrY.

                  • #12
                    None of this was on my first comment. After Grant's explanatory comments, I felt less need to share. Now, with MrY's critique, the desire to comment returns.

                    Quite a few of us post many poems here. We all seem to appreciate the comments people leave. (I'm partial to those which offer analysis.) We seem to surprise each other with some regularity as to meaning. Usually the surprise is a delight. We read and/or comment on as many pieces as time allows. I've increased my vocabulary and learned new forms by doing this. Not from everyone, every time, but often enough. I could probably find that in other places, but the Rhymezone feels familiar.

                    It seems natural to hesitate when commenting on poetry we don't understand. It can get us down AND/OR serve as an opportunity to learn something new. If not about the poetry, then about the poet.

                    My first glance at this piece held the impression Grant conveys in his later comments, but I didn't want to post that in case it was way off. I might have had this inkling for two reasons:
                    1) I've read Grant's poetry for over a year now and have come to expect the unexpected
                    2) A family friend is right now dealing with just such abuse and it has been heavy on my heart

                    Our diversity sometimes rubs up against each other in uncomfortable ways. Can that be OK here in the zone?

                    You both offer valued commentary. It would be a gift for that to continue.

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      I was temped to read all the commentary but found it too verbose. I sure all the commentary was of great value and I would profit from studying it. I just don't want to. Your posting of "Mystery" lead me to this.

                      It is not for me to offer critique. I am neither a scholar nor a great poet. I simply enjoy your poetry. Admittedly, I do not always understand it, but it is always fun to try.

                      This was no exception. Thank you for letting me interpret this for myself.
                      Last edited by rhymetime; 08-10-2017, 02:28 PM.

                      Comment


                      • grant hayes
                        grant hayes commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I tend to agree about the verbosity of my commentary here, rhymetime. I am not a scholar or great poet either, so I would not cavil if you were to offer critique. When you do offer your own take on my stuff, I find it a delight to read. That you simply enjoy what I write and have fun with it I take as a great compliment. Thank you for your generous readership!

                    • #14
                      MrY Your analysis is always detailed and makes good points but there is a group of poets here who have posted many poems and we all benefit from the friendly reception. grant hayes doesn't get a completely free ride.@Johntee has very effectively challenged Grant here although in rhyme( so his feedback also requires a little thought). I do challenge Grant and you would not see all my challenges because for really controversial points I use private messaging.. Grant is revered here because he can do things with words and see word combinations others can't. He truly has his own style.I have learnt things from Grant and his input has widened my range. Like RhymeLovingWriter the zone has been good for me to develop my poetry. I will echo the point that it would be great to see your wotk here.Grant knows that his poetry is not populist but like everyone else here is entitled to follow his own road.

                      Comment


                      • grant hayes
                        grant hayes commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Widening range: if I have contributed toward this, I am pleased thereby. I too am helped by participating in the forum here. It keeps me productive and thinking about ways to improve. Plenty of food for thought.

                    • #15
                      It is so much easier to criticise than to create. I admit to having struggled to interpret much of Grant's poetry but every now and then I come across one which I really seem able to connect with. I much admire grant hayes ability to create such powerful imagery, something I struggle with so I read as much to learn as to enjoy. Grant gives constructive feedback, which I value so that I can develop my own style.

                      Comment


                      • grant hayes
                        grant hayes commented
                        Editing a comment
                        That you really connect with even a single one of my shares gives me joy, mooneyblack. Putting up one's material can be a hit-and-miss endeavour; what I like is when people with quite different tastes and perspectives can agree that a piece *works* for them, at whatever level. When that happens, I feel I may have done something right. So many thanks!
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