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grim task (Villanelle) by lmp
at the end of a gruelling day, in the middle of a dreary week, he collects himself and his meager pay. there are no words he cares to say amid dirt and grime and his own reek at the end of a gruelling day. ev'ry day he toils and prays needlessly for what he seeks. he collects himself and his meager pay. carving into wet silty clay another sepulcher for the meek. at the end of a gruelling day, his life's work is death, per se. he stands watch while the wagon creaks, he collects himself and his meager pay. no matter if they work or play, no matter if they're strong or weak, at the end of a gruelling day he collects himself and his meager pay.

Up the ladder: What's World Peace?
Down the ladder: The girl next door

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Votes: (green: user, blue: anonymous)
 GraphVotes
10  .. 00
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Arithmetic Mean: 5.3333335
Weighted score: 5.0896473
Overall Rank: 6211
Posted: April 19, 2006 4:06 PM PDT; Last modified: April 24, 2006 2:54 PM PDT
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Comments:
[6] Dovina @ 12.72.43.38 | 19-Apr-06/5:10 PM | Reply
Verses 1 and 2 are good. Verse 3 is awkward. The repeated line, "he collects himself and his meager pay" seems bland for a "grim task."
[n/a] lmp @ 141.154.134.3 > Dovina | 20-Apr-06/1:26 PM | Reply
perhaps i will work on rewriting this line throughout; it will change verse 1 if i do since i followed the villanelle rhyme format...

the idea is that the grim task is a rather bland one as well, very much devoid of life, if you will. in that case, i guess it is successful, eh? :P
[9] Ranger @ 86.137.108.141 | 20-Apr-06/2:04 AM | Reply
Nicely written! I'm of the opinion that poems with complex structures require a careful reading, so I shall make a more detailed comment later today when a) I'm more awake and b) I've thought about this more. In the meantime, here are a couple of minor suggestions:
'he cares to say' would bolster the rhythm a little (in my reading, anyway). 'He does awake...' would work better reworded without the 'does'. It brings nothing grammatically. 'he awakes and *insert passage here* to pray', maybe? And a couple more adjectives would have looked good to me.
Good, strong rhyme scheme here. I will return later, hopefully with more to say. In the meantime, here is an 8
[9] Ranger @ 86.137.108.141 > Ranger | 20-Apr-06/2:37 AM | Reply
Oh, and 'for what he seeks' would feel better to me. Don't be too concerned about making the rhyming lines conform entirely, as that can limit poetry too much sometimes.
[n/a] lmp @ 141.154.134.3 > Ranger | 20-Apr-06/1:24 PM | Reply
Thanks, Ranger. i do hope you get a chance to re-read, as i have tried to work in a few double meanings here.

the line is supposed to be "he cares to say". i will work on painting the "wake and pray" line a bit; didn't sit perfectly with me either.

thanks.
[9] Ranger @ 62.252.32.15 | 24-Apr-06/3:10 PM | Reply
Better word choice and as such the rhythm is stronger. There are so many meanings that could be attached to this; obviously there is the gravedigger, possibly also a very puritanical preacher as well. In fact, it's one of those poems which can have any interpretation applied and justified. That is a sign of a well-written piece, in my book. Actually, that's not entirely true. Poems which are totally grey can be given any interpretation because they're just completely ambiguous. The success here is to make a more colourful poem open to alternative readings (by 'colourful' I mean that it has plenty of images in; the colours invoked are very 'grim and dreary').
I think that every verse in this poem is geared towards 'weak'. I won't try to justify it, but I think you've done the same as I did in my meta-vil. It's possible that you've included deeper meanings, but these take a long time to read into. I think I've done pretty well with the reading so far, and I think you've done very well with the writing.
[n/a] lmp @ 141.154.134.3 > Ranger | 25-Apr-06/6:32 AM | Reply
thank you for your insightful comments. truly, i appreciate them.

you are correct on the gravedigger, although i had not intended the preacher. i have intended a less corporeal character as well, albeit this portrayal makes the character rather sinister in a way. also, pay is not always cold, hard cash. another double meaning is in verse 4. i won't spoil; see if you can find the pun.

i am not sure how you mean that every verse is geared toward "weak". unless you mean that the subject appears as a passive bystander, not a "mover & shaker", if you will. which is true, at least in the verses i have written.

i appreciate your reading, and yes, you have done very well. thanks again.
[9] Ranger @ 62.252.32.15 > lmp | 25-Apr-06/6:59 AM | Reply
Okay, this will take two comments I think as I can't remember how I arrived at 'weak', it was to do with the word choice though (I think).
I see Charon in this, the boatman of Hades. 'Pay' comes from the Latin for 'peace' - peace being attained through death (verse three - 'needlessly for what he seeks', well all he'd have to do is step truly into the underworld to achieve peace, whereas the way he is in his current state is just receiving 6 pieces of silver - a meagre pay. And of course he receives the soul but not to keep). 'Pay' is also for the turning of a boat, which is of course what he transports souls in. Verse four I'm still working on; I shall return with my interpretation of that.
Right, back to reading it.
[n/a] lmp @ 141.154.134.3 > Ranger | 21-Jun-07/9:05 AM | Reply
you are getting closer, Ranger, to the less corporeal character of whom I hinted. (and that previous sentence in itself is a hint.)
[9] Ranger @ 62.252.32.15 > lmp | 25-Apr-06/7:14 AM | Reply
"Weak". Here goes.

Stanza 1 - the end of the day = death. The middle of a dreary week (1st reflection of 'weak') is eternity; whenever you are is in the middle of it, like being at any point on the circumference of a circle.
Stanza 2 - I can't remember what I arrived at with this one, it might have been with the connotations of dirt and grime (i.e. the weak souls, maybe those too weak to resist temptation?) His own reek reflected the zealous sort of attitude of a preacher, never admitting to being holy enough to be worthy of a place in Heaven - the weakness of being mortal.
Stanza 3 - pray/prey. Either he is prey to something, or the other souls are weak prey.
Stanza 4 - 'wet silty clay' offers no resistance to his actions; and then there is 'meek', which is obvious enough.
Stanza 5 - 'creak' carries connotations of old age, fragility and immobility.

So that is possibly how I got to my conclusion...I'm sure there's stuff I thought of but have missed - now all I have to do is find the rest of it and make it all cohere!
[2] Edna Sweetlove @ 85.210.41.220 | 15-May-06/8:42 AM | Reply
I have mixed feelings here. I loathe the Americanised spelling of meagre and sepulchre. And this alleged modernity clashed with the archaic and pseudo-poetic "ev'ry". And punctuation: if you eschew capitals I feel you could drop the commas and fullstops (or as you amusingly and coyly call them "periods").
[9] Ranger @ 62.252.32.15 > Edna Sweetlove | 15-May-06/9:23 AM | Reply
Did you spend even thirty seconds reading the poem?
[n/a] lmp @ 141.154.134.3 > Edna Sweetlove | 17-May-06/11:42 AM | Reply
if you dont like the content, fine. but to put a poem in so poor a place purely on personal punctuation preferences is pretty petty. (how's that for alliteration?)

to be honest, i do like the British spelling of some words, but it is not intuitive to me. if they were to be changed, how would that affect your impression of the poem?

addressing the use of "ev'ry": some may pronounce the word "every" as "ev-er-y", which would have thrown off the rhythm of the reading. to ensure that a two syllable pronunciation was used, thereby preserving the rhythm, i used "ev'ry". which, in actuality, is not archaic at all; to this day, do not ommitted letters in a word call for that punctuation called an apostrophe?

whereas punctuation will also help with the phrasing and rhythm of the piece, capitalisation (British spelling for your pleasure) does not - in my opinion - have any bearing. i tend to write without the use of capitals because i prefer to, and this is not without precedent(e e cummings). however, punctuation i do not forgo as it also helps collect certain parts of the written content together.

so if you read the poem and have some actual reasons why it is rated with a 2, i would be appreciative should you care to share your thoughts with the rest of us.
[7] SupremeDreamer @ 130.65.109.104 > Edna Sweetlove | 29-Apr-07/2:12 PM | Reply
Take your pompous British opinions and shove them up your wrinkled cunt.

Do you not find it amusing that the United Kingdom is simply another American pawn in the workings of this world? I do. So fuck your superior clingings to "English Proper", twat.

British clinging to rigidity stifles any evolution in language. Go roll in dusty volumes of the Lord Faggatus.
[9] Ranger @ 81.103.124.179 > SupremeDreamer | 29-Apr-07/2:24 PM | Reply
Ahem?
[7] SupremeDreamer @ 130.65.109.104 > Ranger | 1-May-07/1:35 PM | Reply
I was speaking to Edna.
[9] Ranger @ 81.103.124.179 > SupremeDreamer | 1-May-07/2:59 PM | Reply
I wasn't sure if the bile was directed more at Edna or at the pompousness of British opinions. After all, I consider myself to be incredibly pompous where nationality's concerned.
[7] SupremeDreamer @ 130.65.109.104 > Ranger | 4-May-07/11:19 AM | Reply
Well Edna is in a category of pompousness all of her own; she simply happens to be British.

British opinions being pompous simply made my bile all the more venomous. :)
[8] Christof @ 62.121.23.56 | 21-Jun-07/7:35 AM | Reply
The villanelle is tough little nut to crack and i think this pretty damn good. I don't really like 'ev'ry' - I think the metre would make the syllabic count of the word clear, and it would be nice not to have that archaism. But it's only a small thing and it's made up for by 'wet silty clay' - you've obviously been digging in my garden. Not wanting to get pulled into the British pomposity argument above but - really, the Brits don't have the monopoly on pomposity. Our most pompous novelists are laugh riots next to Dom de Lillo or Sinclair Lewis and as for linguistic rigidity - have you seen the New Yorker? It's like Edith Wharton never died.
[n/a] lmp @ 141.154.134.3 > Christof | 21-Jun-07/9:03 AM | Reply
Thanks, Christof.

"Our most pompous novelists" leads me to believe you reside "across the pond" from the Brits, yet you spell "metre" after the British way. I find no fault here, just interesting.

I like "connexion" much better than "connection", myself, and for some reason "theatre" seems more approriate than "theater"; I guess a bit of British pomp is appropriate for some words. I rather do prefer the British spelling of most words (among them the ones that Edna so sweetly pointed out), but when they spell "truck" as "lorry" it really makes no sense. (heh)
[8] Christof @ 86.133.189.95 > lmp | 21-Jun-07/2:46 PM | Reply
By 'our most pompus novelists' I was referring to British novelists - I was comparing Brits to de Lillo and and Lewis. But as I said, there's no pomposity monopoly on either side. I don't know where 'lorry' comes from, but it's definitely different to a truck. A truck is smaller and cuter.
[n/a] lmp @ 141.154.134.3 > Christof | 26-Jun-07/1:36 PM | Reply
eh, i apologize that i am not much up on classic literature, so i cannot drop names of authors nor converse intelligently upon their styles or works.

however, i do take pity on your gardener (you?), working with all that silt and clay. supposedly very fertile though. live on an alluvial wash, eh?
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