Author Topic: Sea Shell Game 1  (Read 13415 times)

John McManus

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Sea Shell Game 1
« on: October 08, 2011, 02:17:52 AM »
I hope the following two haiku bring as much for you to ponder as they have me. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on them and which you think is the stronger poem of the two.



Osiris
reconstructed
buttercups

Peggy Willis Lyles



wild roses
tarrying beside one
touched by time

Robert Spiess

« Last Edit: October 08, 2011, 08:19:22 AM by John McManus »

Jack Galmitz

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Re: Sea Shell Game 1
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2011, 08:36:30 AM »
These are both admirable poems, each for its own reason.
Not to be pedantic, but a bit of background on Lyles's poem.  Osiris, later the Lord of the Underworld (which if you know your Egyptology is really the living world because the Book of the Dead is about the transit through life), was scattered throughout the world by his evil brother and then Osiris's loving wife Isis found every piece of him and put him together; he became the bestower of life, the first god of resurrection (for those interested Gerald Massey and Alvin Boyd Kuhn, noted comparative religionists, find the origin of Christ in Osiris.
Peggy, like the early modernists, used allusion to ancient religions to make her point:
The buttercup, such a small flower, stands for the return of creation in the cycle of life and death and that is what Osiris's reconstruction was; oddly, the poem is not unbalanced with such a huge theme concentrated in such a small flower; to the contrary, it makes us aware of the largesse of creation.
Spiess's poem on the other hand addresses a similar theme in the opposite direction, the dying of things in time. This is a common poetic theme, but I think he pulls it off by using archaisms to discuss it: "tarrying" at first put me off until I realized he was using outdated or archaic language to discuss an archaic process and then he won me over by his adroitness.  I suppose for some they would have preferred images, withering or blackening of the rose, but I am fine with "touched by time," just as I am by the cycle of birth and death, its eternality, discussed by reference to a demised religion.
My vote finally is for Lyle's poem, as it is pithy and fecund and touching slightly more than Spiess's.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2011, 09:57:10 AM by Jack Galmitz »

Jack Galmitz

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Re: Sea Shell Game 1
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2011, 09:45:59 AM »
Just going along.
It's interesting that Lyles's uses an essentially modern term, reconstructed, in place of resurrected, whereas Spiess uses an archaic tarrying in his poem.  Both convey their intentions; Lyles's poem is about the world without end; Spiess's is "touching" because he shows how even words, like the wild roses, are lost in time.
Even split as to language use!

John McManus

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Re: Sea Shell Game 1
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2011, 09:52:20 AM »
Jack thank you for your wonderful reply.

I hope others will be kind enough to give their thoughts on the poems and of course any of the points you have touched upon.

warmest,
John

Don Baird

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Re: Sea Shell Game 1
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2011, 10:40:12 PM »
In a way, Lyles gets my vote by default!  While "tarrying", in the Spiess haiku is a striking word and as Jack mentions, archaic and therefore somewhat attractive, L3 is a let down.  I believe there is so much more he could have brought out by unfolding a more brawny final line.  L3 is the closer and I think it is too subtle considering L1 and 2.  Frankly, it's too poetic for my taste (L3).

Just my quick, humble pondering out loud.

Don

Vote to Lyles.
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AlanSummers

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Re: Sea Shell Game 1
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2011, 10:21:36 AM »
Well, first of all we are talking about haiku from two completely different eras. 

Osiris
reconstructed
buttercups

Peggy Willis Lyles

Publication credit: Roadrunner issue X:2 (2010); Roadrunner 11.1
-February 2011 (Favourites from 2010)



wild roses
tarrying beside one
touched by time

Robert Spiess

Publication credits:
"wild roses": From "noddy," by Robert Spiess (Modern Haiku Press, 1997); selected for "The Red Moon Anthology," (Red Moon Press, 1997); selected for "Favorite Haiku" Vol. 3, H.F. Noyes (Red Moon Press, Pond Frog Editions, 2000)


Both haiku have distinctive styles, and while Bob's style suggests it was written last century, I don't feel that that is a problem.

I think ten years from now, we'd be better able to compare the two styles.

On a purely personal level, I enjoy and appreciate both haiku, and would not be interested in stating if one was better than the other.  They are to me, perfect examples of well-crafted haiku, very different in nature, but full of resonance and vertical axis.

I'd be happy to see them in an anthology together without finding that incongruous, not because I have eclectic tastes, but the fact they are both beautiful in their own, and both important for haiku history.

If I was pushed for a vote, should I vote the modern haiku written by Peggy?  As much as I admire that poem, Bob's haiku nudges minutely ahead.

My vote is for Bob Spiess.

all my best,

Alan


Peter Yovu

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Re: Sea Shell Game 1
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2011, 01:53:59 PM »
First of all, thanks to John for bringing the seashell game back. I'd like to see it continue. One way this  could happen would be for John at some point to invite someone else to present a pair of poems, and keep that going, Virals style.

About these two. I think "wild roses" has Robert Spiess's stamp all over it. It's the kind of thing he could do well. It is both personal and impersonal at the same time. It is warmly objective. The use of the word "tarry" has his smile in it, and I'm sure he liked the succession of ticking t's it added to.

Peggy Lyle's poem is notable, I feel, because like a number of poems she was writing toward the end of her life, it has her stamp, yes, but a stamp she was doing different things with than she had been doing for many years before. (Some many argue otherwise). Of poems that appeared in Roadrunner, "Osiris" is not my favorite, though I like the brief cascade of words, each carrying very different contexts that fall through each other and land on the earth: the mythological context of "Osiris" turning to the Latinate,  somewhat thought-bound notion of "reconstructed", turning to the vivid sensual flower. Leaping poetry.

If, based on the scoring system used by the Iron Chef series-- I award points for taste, presentation and originality, I consider both poems about equal for the first two categories, but go a couple of ticks higher for the originality of PWL's poem. Both poets, nonetheless, are mighty good cooks.


AlanSummers

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Re: Sea Shell Game 1
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2011, 04:09:55 PM »
I particularly like Peter's statement:
Peggy Lyle's poem is notable, I feel, because like a number of poems she was writing toward the end of her life, it has her stamp, yes, but a stamp she was doing different things with than she had been doing for many years before. (Some many argue otherwise).

Peggy could have rested on her laurels and been lazy, but as a true writer, she kept at her craft and kept relevant.  I for one argue for her case, to keep fresh and relevant.

I personally felt these two poems were on a par, although reading into Peter's comments, I feel, like me, Peter should be pushed into a corner, and vote, even if that vote is a micron's distance apart.

But I still feel both poems need another ten years to properly put them into perspective.

Alan

First of all, thanks to John for bringing the seashell game back. I'd like to see it continue. One way this  could happen would be for John at some point to invite someone else to present a pair of poems, and keep that going, Virals style.

About these two. I think "wild roses" has Robert Spiess's stamp all over it. It's the kind of thing he could do well. It is both personal and impersonal at the same time. It is warmly objective. The use of the word "tarry" has his smile in it, and I'm sure he liked the succession of ticking t's it added to.

Peggy Lyle's poem is notable, I feel, because like a number of poems she was writing toward the end of her life, it has her stamp, yes, but a stamp she was doing different things with than she had been doing for many years before. (Some many argue otherwise). Of poems that appeared in Roadrunner, "Osiris" is not my favorite, though I like the brief cascade of words, each carrying very different contexts that fall through each other and land on the earth: the mythological context of "Osiris" turning to the Latinate,  somewhat thought-bound notion of "reconstructed", turning to the vivid sensual flower. Leaping poetry.

If, based on the scoring system used by the Iron Chef series-- I award points for taste, presentation and originality, I consider both poems about equal for the first two categories, but go a couple of ticks higher for the originality of PWL's poem. Both poets, nonetheless, are mighty good cooks.



Peter Yovu

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Re: Sea Shell Game 1
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2011, 05:04:50 PM »
Alan, I guess it wasn't clear, but I did come down in favor of Peggy's poem-- based on a slightly higher score for originality.

Vida

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Re: Sea Shell Game 1
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2011, 08:22:38 AM »
Hi John,
thank you so much for starting this thread! I have been checking it every day.

Jack, Peter, nice to meet you :). It is my first shell game, so that should tell you how new I am to the haiku world. For a while, I was planning only to read here, but since nobody else commented these last few days, I got all my courage together and there it goes :)

Quote
Osiris
reconstructed
buttercups

Peggy Willis Lyles

Publication credit: Roadrunner issue X:2 (2010); Roadrunner 11.1
-February 2011 (Favourites from 2010)



wild roses
tarrying beside one
touched by time

Robert Spiess

Publication credits:
"wild roses": From "noddy," by Robert Spiess (Modern Haiku Press, 1997); selected for "The Red Moon Anthology," (Red Moon Press, 1997); selected for "Favorite Haiku" Vol. 3, H.F. Noyes (Red Moon Press, Pond Frog Editions, 2000)


I live in Georgia and the first thought in my mind when I read

Osiris
reconstructed
buttercups


was that Peggy Willis Lyles was talking about the King Tut Exhibition in Atlanta, 2009. It was a big thing. I could see her in my imagination (unfortunately, at the time I didn't even think about haiku), coming out of the exhibit and looking at the buttercups outside (it was in spring), and comparing them. The mighty Egyptians, dreaming of immortality and the fragile flowers.  
I think she picked reconstructed simply because that's what it is- a document, a monument, a mummy, if you want, but reconstructed, not brought back to life. The buttercups are alive though.
The other funny thing is that, there was a story about a mammoth, found well preserved with buttercups in his/her mouth:). Which, in my imagination, puts the flowers in Osiris' mouth and adds a new flavor to the haiku.
I like it very much.

wild roses
tarrying beside one
touched by time


I did not know Robert Spiess either. I have been reading his Speculations since this thread started which is not enough, I agree, but it helps.
I think it's a haiku that will stay, that one can read many times. In my reading, real roses are compared to one real rose, touched by time .They are not just hanging beside, the poet is asking why they don't age as this one and why they stay by it then. And I like touched by time. It doesn't mean withered (English in not my first language, maybe that's why:)) for me. It means just slightly more tired. One or two more wrinkles :)
Also, if I read it wild roses/tarrying beside one/...touched by time , all of the roses become touched by something bigger than them. Are they aging faster because they are staying with this one?

I have more questions about these roses, so I guess, my vote is for them.

Best,
Vida


« Last Edit: October 12, 2011, 09:44:58 AM by Vida »
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John McManus

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Re: Sea Shell Game 1
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2011, 09:07:19 AM »
Thanks for joining in Vida.

I enjoyed your post immensely and found your information on the exhibit very interesting, as I'm sure others will. 

warmest,
John

AlanSummers

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Re: Sea Shell Game 1
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2011, 09:14:55 AM »
I agree. ;-)

It's also interesting that both haiku are getting votes, despite one being very modern in take, and Bob's being an almost traditional 20th Century Western haiku, yet still catching the eye of some of us. ;-)

Alan

Thanks for joining in Vida.

I enjoyed your post immensely and found your information on the exhibit very interesting, as I'm sure others will. 

warmest,
John

Vida

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Re: Sea Shell Game 1
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2011, 09:42:19 AM »
Thanks for the encouragement, Alan, John!
That italic thing at the end of the post was not intentional. Sorry, I will try to fix it.

:)
"The pain felt in my foot is not my hand's,
 So why, in fact, should one protect the other?"
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colin stewart jones

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Re: Sea Shell Game 1
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2011, 05:05:27 AM »
Osiris
reconstructed
buttercups

Peggy Willis Lyles



wild roses
tarrying beside one
touched by time

Robert Spiess


well i am no expert in egyptology so i cannot categorically state whether

osiris did reconstruct buttercups :D

perhaps peggy is saying that all life is fragile/delicate and even the simplest flower has its place and purpose

robert's poem also explore similiar themes of mortality

robert's poem can also be read as a run on

but their are 2 distinct readings here

wild roses --
(a person) tarrying beside one
touched by time

and this reading which gets robert's poem my vote

i see an overgrown garden
taken over by wild roses, which are tarrying a while with a person who is aged

tarrying ...to wait until a certain time...is for me the perfect verb
the person, touched by time, also gives this poem like peggy's, a sharp sense of the ephemeral nature of life..i see the person in this poem expecting their death and is just happy that wild roses have chosen to wait that time out with him

col :)
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AlanSummers

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Re: Sea Shell Game 1
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2011, 07:36:55 AM »
Hi Peter,

You were perfectly clear. ;-)

I was just comparing my own decisions where each haiku were on a par, but a favourite just edged out.  Mine being Robert's, and your choice being Peggy's.

all my best,

Alan

Alan, I guess it wasn't clear, but I did come down in favor of Peggy's poem-- based on a slightly higher score for originality.