transfigurating - now there's a word to conjure with. (Hugh McD would've liked it).I wondered - aged or old? On the one hand "aged" suggests something "done to" something but on the other, it is an earthy poem and the word old is "down to earth".
aye it's a good word innit? :)I see what your saying, though I was using 'aged' with the accent - 'agèd' to give it more of a rhythmic chanting sound.I appreciate your thoughts, dominic :)
I never really got the transfiguration. I think it was the word. As a kid it evaded me. I was fascinated by words but the word ‘transfigure’ never sat well with me; I thought it was a bad word. I’m still not crazy about it although ‘metamorphose’ (which is closer to the original Greek) isn’t much better. I got ‘transform’ though and ‘transfigure’ is just a more specific version, a version that only applies to people I suppose. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the word used outwith a religious context actually. Maybe that’s what bothered me.I like the shape of this poem—it reads like a religious chant—but I would personally indent that last line so that it matches the rest of the poem. Also I might be tempted to change ‘aged’ to ‘old’ to lose a syllable; I think ‘aged’ is a better word but reducing the line to three beats is stronger. The same with ‘Three witnesses’—perhaps ‘Three stand watch’? I also find that last line awkward. I think it’s the commas, breaking the rhythm and slowing it down not that final line can’t slow down like that but it feels like a line of prose tagged onto the end of a poem. I’d go with ‘Spirit, Water and Blood’. Simpler. Cleaner.Do you need to specify the Atlantic? Wouldn’t ‘ocean’ be better and sonically better? I think ‘galloping’ is predictable and not a very good adjective. I know waves have been compared to horses in the past—I’ve seen the Guinness ad—but I’d change it. How about ‘mute before the breakers’As the title is ‘transfiguration’ why not change ‘transfigurating’ to ‘transforming’ which opens up other sonic possibilities, e.g. transforming in the foam and wrack.My personal niggles aside this is a strong poem. Take time to make it perfect.
powerful, like a spell, indeed!i agree with ‘Spirit, Water and Blood’...
thanks for this jim, given me lots to think about. to my ear 'three agèd men' is a three beat line (stressed-stressed-unstressed-stressed)thankyou roxana!
i'm finding very little not to like in this. i see jim's point re transfigurating. maybe shorten to transfigured?i also agree with taking out the direct articles in the last line
thankyou, that's a good help :)
i agree with the others on the last line, and on the "galloping breakers"i think you have to keep "transfiguration" precisely for its religious significance, and "witnesses", too, for the familiar form of the passage you allude to ...i love the density of language -- "barnacled, shell and crust-laden," "dreaming in the skirling gales" ...i wondered if this poem refers to a particular site, which might explaint he specificity of "the Atlantic."
thanks james, that's very helpful :) not really, I started writing about three stones in the Clyde but I felt the poem needed it to be a sea or ocean and the Clyde empties out into the Atlantic...
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