Monday, October 15, 2007

A experiment in revision

I've thought it would be interesting to post an early draft of a poem, and then revise it based on comments. So here's a first draft (now second or third) of a poem. Let me know how to improve it, and you may see your ideas incorporated into a updated post:

Late Night Agnostic (version 2)

Are you awake,
aching to fill your heart
with the perfect tv show?

Are you so hungry
you eat all the cookies
to see if God is in the chocolate chips?

Do you strike out
under frosty stars
and wonder at how beautiful they are
and how distant?

Do you return
from the cold search
to the warm silence
of your empty apartment?

7 comments:

-Dave said...

I think the first and second paragraphs (stanzas?) and the third and fourth go well together, but there seems an unnatural break between 2 and 3.

1 & 2 both have a sense of futile search. 3 just gives me a sens of "hey, stars are cool." 4 carries the weight, but I'd like it if there was some contrast between the stars and the apartment. The cold night, the warm room. The bright stars, the dark building.

I also think that paragraph 2 is long, but I can't think of what to cut. I love the last 3 lines, but maybe if it were rephrased, you can tighten the first two, a la

Do you rummage
through the cookies
just to make sure
He's not in the chocolate chips?

Kenny said...

Dave, thanks for these comments. I think they’re right on.

With the stars, I was still trying to convey ‘futility’ because although the stars are beautiful, they are also unreachable. To me, God often feels like that.

Really good points, and I’ll see what I can do with them…

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

Forgive me, but I don't have anything to contribute the way you requested. I thought the poem is interesting and fine just as it is. Perhaps it's because that isn't my style of poetry, so I don't have an aethetic sense for it.

What I want to comment on is something you wrote to Dave, "With the stars, I was still trying to convey ‘futility’ because although the stars are beautiful, they are also unreachable. To me, God often feels like that."

I think I know what you mean about God often feeling unreachable, but… for me, it's usually the people who are beautiful but, like the stars, unreachable, rather than God.

God, our God, is always reachable by our simple trust in Him. It's in those moments when we want to cling to our own wills that He seems unreachable. If we acknowledge the necessity of His will in our lives and the lives of those around us, and in the world, then I think we can find God to be utterly reachable, even touchable.

But we, myself included, have a difficult time trusting Him so completely, when we only want to have things our way.

God, save us from that!

Kenny said...

Romanos -

That's an interesting comment because I've recently been thinking that the way to greater "closeness" with God is through greater submission to Him throughout my daily life.

Jose said...

I'd be tempted to make the parallel between the cookies and the Bread more obvious.

Where's the baptism equivalent?

Kenny said...

Jose, I'm not sure I was implying the equivalents you're seeing, but it's a good idea.

I pretty much want this poem to be about the absence of God, about the things, late at night, a person does in futile attempts to fill themselves.

I also have considered writing a more hopeful poem, having each 'god replacement (tv, food, nature)' hint not at God's absence, but his presence. Night turns to day; cookies like bread of communion are ways to go that direction.

But I guess here I wanted to write something about those empty times.

jose said...

I guess I should have said contrast, not equivalent, between the two. I wanted to tell the late night snacker, "Christ in the cookies? Don't be silly. He's in the bread."