Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: western decadence, expunged

  1. #1
    Registered User DieterM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Paris
    Posts
    816

    western decadence, expunged

    ashes on the ground
    still smouldering
    thin strands of smoke
    rising like remorse
    when there had been none

    they had acted
    as if lighting a barbecue
    on Saturday evening
    kindled the fire
    as if making sure
    it would be right
    for hot dogs
    cheese burgers
    and marsh mellows

    but it had only been
    Tom

    they had dragged him
    from his granny’s house
    faces shining with grim passion
    in the blaze

    sad to say
    but in the process
    no phenix had risen

    what’s left behind:
    smouldering ashes
    and the satisfying knowledge
    that things are whole again
    that sane people can be sure again
    of what is what

    and in his granny’s house
    a wig
    false eyelashes
    a fake beard
    Last edited by DieterM; 05-16-2014 at 11:46 AM. Reason: minor changes
    "Im Arm der Liebe schliefen wir selig ein…" ("Liebesode" - Otto Erich Hartleben)
    New poetry collection available (Kindle and paperback)

  2. #2
    Employee of the Month blank|verse's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    1,194
    From the heavy title, we know this isn't going to be a light read, Dieter. And the poem does tackle a seemingly very dark issue, complete with Pagan-style witch-burning imagery. The strongest idea of the poem is the personification of 'western decadence' which leaves the reader wondering to what extent this is personification or persecution of a real human being. Or both.

    However, as it stands, I do feel the poem is slightly over-written. If you'll excuse me, I wonder if a trimmed-down version might be more effective, removing some of the moments where you 'tell' more directly...

    western decadence, expunged

    ashes on the ground
    still smouldering
    thin strands of smoke
    rising like remorse

    as though lighting a barbecue
    on Saturday evening
    they had kindled the fire
    as if to make sure
    it would be right for hot
    dogs, cheese burgers, marsh mellows.

    They had dragged him
    from his granny’s house
    faces shining with grim
    passion in the blaze

    what’s left behind:
    smouldering ashes
    the sane people can be sure
    that things are whole again
    and in his granny’s house
    wig, false eyelashes, fake beard

  3. #3
    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Within the winds
    Posts
    8,833
    Blog Entries
    957
    The title of this really caught my eye and I quite enjoyed the poem. Quite disturbing and unsettling indeed. I wonder, is this based on some actual event? Because reading it, well quite a few different possibilities popped into my mind. It sounded like it was describing some hate crime of some sort.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  4. #4
    Registered User DieterM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Paris
    Posts
    816
    Thanks, blank|verse and Dark Muse, for reading and commenting. Sorry, but I think my answer will be a tad longish, so take a seat, get yourself a cuppa coffee or a glass of wine, and bear with me – thanks :-)

    Yes, this poem was inspired by some recent events, but it is not describing any real crime. No factual crime, anyway. It's about a crime that has been committed over and over again, in violent online comments and public reactions.

    I know, blank|verse, that I sometimes tend to overwrite my poems; call it enthusiasm, call it a non-native speaker's pleasure to "collect" words, call it a mere wannabe writer's and wannabe poet's easy mistake. Yet, in this particular case, I do not feel it's as overwritten as you state. There's one small part that can go, I agree, it's "the centre" in line 2. But the rest that you have taken out in your edit is important to me and important for the poem, indeed.

    Now, what is it about? Those who know me will understand that Conchita Wurst, the Austrian bearded dragqueen, winning the Eurovision Song Contest is a very important event to me. Simply because
    a) I love the ESC, have always watched it since my earliest childhood
    b) I'm Austrian (no fervent nationalist, but hey, we've only won once, 50 years ago so I am proud this year)
    c) like Conchita, I come from a small village in Styria (you have to live there to know how Catholic-conservative this environment is; I know; Conchita knows)
    d) like Conchita, I am gay (btw, many papers, without bothering to check the facts, have called her "transsexual", even though she is not; have called her "cross dresser" or "transvestite", even though she is not, either – she's no mere Edna Average, whom I adore but whose persona didn't bear a message; only the word "drag queen" has the "queen", i.e. gay component that fits)
    e) like Conchita, I cannot stand hatred and intolerance

    This said, I was cheering this bearded false lady on throughout the semi-finale and the finale; living in France, I even had the chance to vote for her, and I was beside myself when she won. Without wanting to go into a lengthy analysis of what she has done, what she represents and why she is hated (no wishy-washy hatred as in "I hate spinach", but hatred that, if some people had the chance to get away with it, would go as far as committing a crime), I just have to say that this frail young person with the disturbing looks and the beautiful voice has shown remarkable guts. She stands for what the haters call the "Western decadence". With that, they mean democracy, liberty, tolerance. Values I cherish because without them, I wouldn't be allowed to live according to who, what and how I am. This space is dedicated to poetry, so I beg you to accept my apologies – I won't write a longish essay, here, hoping instead that you got the drift anyway :-)

    So, you see, the lines you want me to take out are important. Let me just explain a few of them: "but it had only been Tom" – the guy behind the Conchita Wurst-persona is called Tom Neuwirth. they "drag" him to the stake – I think the word is fitting. and the "phenix"-part hints at the winning song "rise like a phenix".
    "Im Arm der Liebe schliefen wir selig ein…" ("Liebesode" - Otto Erich Hartleben)
    New poetry collection available (Kindle and paperback)

  5. #5
    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Within the winds
    Posts
    8,833
    Blog Entries
    957
    Very interesting, thank you for the explination.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  6. #6
    Employee of the Month blank|verse's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    1,194
    Thanks for the reply, Dieter. It was always clear this was an issue close to your heart, and it's found very powerful expression through the poem.

    It was Wordsworth who said good poetry is 'the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings' of course, although Oscar Wilde was later to turn this on its head, just to remind us perhaps that poetry needs a bit of emotional distance from the issue itself, in order for it not to be smothered by that emotion and for it successfully to become a poem in its own right.

    But the poem clearly means a lot to you, and as you stated there are words and images that are important to you, so it's understandable if you want to keep them in the poem. Thanks.

  7. #7
    It wasn't me Jerrybaldy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    3,343
    Blog Entries
    1
    This is really interesting because I think bv improved the poem, from my point of view as a reader ( he did the same to one of mine once) yet at the same time it removes what is personal to you about the story, which I also fully appreciate but would not have known until you explained. So it leaves the question as to who needs to be happy with the poem, the writer or the reader, if not both?
    Last edited by Jerrybaldy; 05-16-2014 at 04:49 PM.

    For those who believe,
    no explanation is necessary.
    For those who do not,
    none will suffice.

  8. #8
    a dark soul Haunted's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    10,145
    Blog Entries
    4
    Dieter, quite a departure from your other work. I got the hate crime reference, just not what hate crime, until you explained. The allusions are too vague to connect to anything so specific. I'm with Jerry wondering what you ultimately want with the poem: as a piece of self expression with meaning only known to yourself and that you'd be satisfied with the obscurity, or do you want to share with others this worthy subject? There's no right or wrong, just a personal preference.

    "But do you really, seriously, Major Scobie," Dr. Sykes asked, "believe in hell?"
    "Oh, yes, I do."
    "In flames and torment?"
    "Perhaps not quite that. They tell us it may be a permanent sense of loss."
    "That sort of hell wouldn't worry me," Fellowes said.
    "Perhaps you've never lost anything of importance," Scobie said.

Similar Threads

  1. decadence
    By cacian in forum Personal Poetry
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 10-20-2013, 02:25 PM
  2. Western Hamlet
    By Devman in forum Hamlet
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 03-12-2011, 01:30 AM
  3. This is civilization or Decadence
    By blazeofglory in forum General Writing
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 01-01-2009, 05:05 PM
  4. Replies: 9
    Last Post: 03-16-2008, 08:32 PM
  5. In need of western classics
    By Pantelej in forum General Literature
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 11-27-2005, 03:00 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •