Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Colored Funeral

this is a rewrite of the post directly prior to this one
The Colored Funeral

It's like the graveyard in autumn:

feathered Sunday hats are held high
above acorn faces smoothed with pain.
Mothers and Aunties, wail, weak-kneed
to the ground like wind blown leaves.

Creased mahogany skirts in patterns
at their feet, swirled by afternoons
crisp with the scent of earth
freshly folded over a winter crop.

And as the wind keens in the oaks -
cold hymns sung through fingers
laced in a canopy of prayer -
the cicada is finally silent.

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  1. There's been a great deal of revision to this. I like it.

    I have to admit that I really liked the way that the first one began with a question. Sort of drew me in. I don't think this one suffers from not having that there, but I just liked it.

    You resolved the turnip problem on this one and I like the parallel of turning the fields in fall and the burial.

    Also, the final stanza feels more complete here. More like it was MEANT to be a part of the poem.

    Dammit, I hate it when I know exactly the impression a piece gives me, but can't express it.

    Sorry, I'm incredibly rusty at critique. Haven't done one in YEARS, and was never great at it then.

    Either way, I've read both versions of this one and, on first instinct, I almost said I liked the first better. (I'm a creature of habit and familiarity) But upon several reads, I definitely think this one is the stronger.

  2. I dunno if it's a question I need to add, but the opening is definitely lacking something - some sort of ease, it's too abrupt and relies too much on the title, which in general tends to be basically ignored or taken in as an after-thought.

    More work for this one, but it's getting, well... somewhere ;)

  3. Erin, I've read both several times. The newer one is denser, and the last stanza has more power. It's more timeless than the first version, more poignant. The last line is perfect- after the wailing and swirling and wind, the silent cicada sums up the feeling of loss and mute grief.


  4. Garnet, thanks for stopping by and giving me your thoughts on this! I agree that this ending is much more powerful. There are still some things I need to work on though!

  5. I agree with Garnet, Erin, the second version is excellent, powerful and moving right to the last line. One to remember!

  6. Thanks Ken, I'm glad you enjoy this one!

  7. Erin, I hope you do this "public" style of revision more often. I plan to do some as well. It's a great way to bounce ideas off each other.

  8. I used to do exactly this on various poetry forums, but lately, I've drifted away from them... I have no idea why that is either, because like you said, it really is great for the creation/revision process.

  9. Sorry I'm a bit late to the party here, but, as I keep saying, I have very limited internet time these days.
    Anyways, as for the poem.
    I think there was something that drew me into the first one. For me it was an "easier read" if there is such a think in poetry.
    However, I lover the last stanza, especially the last line. Very powerful.