Red Petals (Revised)

Red petals float as wings of thorn stem

  fluttering down slow

  love’s darkness den


Six feet measures eternity depth

  bagpipes do vibrate

  memory’s breath


Red petals float as wings of thorn stem

  arranged in shadows

  by past kinsmen


Six feet measures eternity depth

  my span as a man

  no bridge to death


Red petals float as wings of thorn stem

  the last flower tossed

  a whispered amen


Six feet measures eternity depth

  bagpipes drone faintly

  echo love’s rest


39 thoughts on “Red Petals (Revised)

  1. ..Six feet measures eternity depth…was like a punch in the stomach..i like that you took red petals and not white – one would expect white more than red in a poem on death but think the red convey the deep feelings and passion…also think the bagpipes are very creative. the only two lines that IMO feel a bit weak in an otherwise very strong poem are
    Chariot swings low
    As Angels bless

    • Thank you, Claudia. This was a last minute poem as another idea wasn’t panning it. That was one of two stanzas I wasn’t that thrilled with. I too liked the measure of eternity line. I appreciate your help.

  2. Clever use of a duel refrain – six feet and red petals ( although if used at the start of a line, I think its called something else!) with the use of a range of end rhyming strategies( true rhyme and various slant rhymes). This helps avoids it becoming sing-song and clichéd). Each stanza also has a visual snippet that is often overlayed with sound/musical reference( bagpipes, chariot swings low) And it narrates over a story arch that is literally in seconds. Not sure what the metre strategy was but it has a wonderful feel in the mouth/jaw when read so probably something to so with a lot of vowels and simple words.My only niggles are layout and a spelling, Would it look better if laid out like this? i assume you have gone for capitals per line for a traditional feel but this may be at odds with the lack of punctuation. And isn’t it bagpipes?

    Red petals float as one with stem
    A slow flutter down
    To her darkness den

    Six feet measures eternity depth
    Bag pipes play
    A dirge of death

    Red petals float as one with stem
    Swallowed by shadows
    Hiding my gem

    Overall, I found it a refreshing “story” poem with subtle emotional underpinning..I can imagine this being song, very simply almost in a traditionally folk way

    • Thank you, the center layout was a last minute thing. This was a last second poem and yes I should know how to spell better 🙂 The piece I was working wasn’t panning out. I’ll try to get these things starightened out. I appreciate your comments.

    • Thank you, Sally. I too liked the red rose choice and the measure of eternity. I plan on working on the chariots line a lil. It was a last minute poem and it was what it was:)

  3. Like the movement and shape of this Henry… builds up a nice swing.. Personally, I think I would find this easier on the eye with no capitals.. would further enhance the flow for me..

    The alternating first line of each stanza is also effective… but I wonder if you might be able to find some less familiar words in some places… for example, I find ‘dirge of death’ a little predictable… perhaps you could use a specialist bagpipe term like drone instead of dirge?

  4. The repetition in tercet form works really well. I love the ‘chariots swing low’ line, as I sang that at a funeral, it seemed really appropriate.
    The only niggle is the word ‘death’ which doesn’t seem neccessary as you paint such a vivid picture with your other words. Also ‘bagpipes play’ is just 3 syllables and doesn’t scan as well as the other tercets where the middle line is 5 syllables. If I may?

    Six feet measures eternity depth

    Highland pipes sweep

    A dirge to the blessed

  5. Hi Henry…
    so beautiful… love both these lines…
    Red petals float as one with stem
    Six feet measures eternity depth

    I love the bag pipes and the Swing Low reference, it lets me experience the actual service…
    IMHO… what if the stanza Claudia refers to used more of those lyrics… although I know it hurts your rhyme… (and this is the exact moment I want to delete my comments and run 😉

    Six feet measures eternity depth
    Chariot swings low
    to carry you home

    p.s. miss the tree, love the leather bound journal look… really cool.

  6. Henry! Damn…this was awesome and this was felt! Love that you brought in the bagpiper…for reasons of mine alone, his presence means much. You have spoken to my bloodline with this write…and as for the critical eye, why, my own has yet to open! 😉

  7. Yes, a good rewrite, except for one teeny weeny line…in the 4th tercet;

    Six feet measures eternity depth

    my height as a man

    can’t reach in death –

    (last line doesn’t scan for me, the rhythm doesn’t flow as the others do), if I may?

    Six feet measures eternity depth

    my height as a man

    caught out in death

  8. I like how the sense are working together with the mind:

    “fluttering down slow
    love’s darkness den”

    “bagpiper vibrates
    memory’s breath”

    Wake-up curiosity…
    “arranged in shadows
    by past kinsmen”

    Then you go on to the mind needing to work…
    “my span as a man
    no bridge to death”

    Back to vision and sound…
    “the last flower tossed
    a whispered amen”

    Then to the spiritual…
    “between me and your
    heavenly rest”

  9. Just paying a quick visit here Henry as I’m still doing major critiques on those that haven’t had any feedback yet. A truly stunning piece. Love the double refrains, they’re extremely effective. Is this a standard form or one that you’ve invented, if so bravo! The only lines that aren’t working for me are these.

    between me and your

    heavenly rest

    ‘me and your just feels clumsy to me when i read it out loud which is a shame because the flow in the rest of the piece is both flawless and effortless. I can’t offer an alternative suggestion at the moment but will think on it and come back if that’s ok.

  10. Thank you, Cary. I am not pleased with the final stanza either. I’m helping someone a project this afternoon, but tonight I plan on revisiting the undefined – imageless my and your.
    Thank you also for your kind words.
    I haven’t read every poem in the world to say I invented this, but I haven’t seen it before with repeating first lines. It just developed and read well.
    Anyway, thank you again. And look forward to your return visit.

  11. Roses are a favorite symbol of mine. The wings/stems line is mighty and musical. The overall effect is quite musical with all its allusions. If you’re a musician, think you could expand for a song. Well done. G

  12. I read the first “draft” but couldn’t comment. Now I know why. I liked this the first time, was going to say that the flow and rhythm played like the pipes for me. But this… So good. I really appreciate being able to read the “before” and “after.” I’m learning, and this was a great lesson. Thank you, Henry.

  13. Nice one, Henry. Someone in my neighborhood will occasionally bring out his pipes at sunset, your syllabic strokes do echo that sound.

    My only quibble may be from ignorance, but I do not entirely understand the first refrain line, and in a poem as spare as this, that makes a lot of not understanding. I’m good on “red petals float” and “petals float as wings”, but “wings of thorn stem” is a concept cluster that loses me. If the petals are floating, they can’t wing the stem, so I must be reading it wrong. I think I know what you mean, and I do like compact phrasing, but hate that I feel I’m missing something so important that it is bearing the weight of the poem.

    The form: I like it for this piece, Have you tried it for anything else? If you built it yourself, it’s a keeper.

  14. Pingback: Bagpipe dirges | Tellasecret

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