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Frank James Ryan Jr...fjr Male, 55, United States (10/21/2013 8:25:00 PM)

Souls In Sleep


Souls in sleep, beneath morning's dew,
heard the dregs of death by graveside,
smelt the stale of floral, on freshly dug sod
too soft to take knee and whisper
unspoken words...now lost to regret.

Shadows eclipse sod and stone,
sunfall peeking through naked branches,
twilight casts arched silhouettes
over rows of flaking granite,
names and dates lose their stipple to the night.

And who be these occupants, lying here,
sleeping within these hallowed acres?
Were they collar blues, or Wall Street suits,
common folk... or recherche?
Doesen't matter here, for once we are equal.

And if these occupants awoke
would they speak of a kingdom
or spew of an incubus?
Ashes cannot speak or hear,
still we talk to the ground,
wait for our answer from a sudden breeze.


I marvel at graveyards, what can I say,
and the customs for which we adhere to.
We live, we die, and somewhere in between
we'll speak of the many souls in sleep
until we, too, rest beneath mornings dew.

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  • Rookie - 1st Stage Scotty Dogg (10/22/2013 4:03:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    " Spew" and " stipple" are good in the poem. Keeps the " s" sounds moving up there in the 1st couple of stanzas. Those words reach out grab us. " spew of an incubus" is a little out of character with the rest of the poem, but let's face it, it IS a graveyard. Great Expectations anyone?I like " be" in there too for some reason. The poem is very austere (too much so?) and I think that " be" jerks it back down amongst us commoners. The " Be" be-fitting.

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    • Rookie - 1st Stage Frank James Ryan Jr...fjr (10/22/2013 7:05:00 PM) Post reply

      Thanks Scotty...Opinions and honest feedback are in many cases what enables mediocre verse to transform into good poetry, so long as the author keeps an open mind to the fact that almost any piece of ... more

  • Rookie - 1st Stage Lamont Palmer (10/22/2013 3:44:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

    One person's 'gracelessness' is another's inventiveness. Apparently Frank heard music too in those first two stanzas or he wouldn't have written it. Thats the best part of the poem. That last stanza is extremely trite; 'Chicken Soup for the Soul material, and not saying anything new.

    'We live, we die, and somewhere in between
    we'll speak of the many souls in sleep
    until we, too, rest beneath morning's dew'

    Thats a (high end) Hallmark sentiment. Sweet, but said before. At the very least, I would lose that last stanza. But its Frank's poem. These are all just opinions. -LP

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    • Rookie - 1st Stage Lamont Palmer (10/23/2013 10:09:00 AM) Post reply

      Your primary flaw (though it may not be one to you) is you often are heavyhanded on the moralizing and sentiment. Remember Auden's quote: 'if a young man wants to become a poet because he has a lot t ... more

    • Rookie - 1st Stage Frank James Ryan Jr...fjr (10/22/2013 6:45:00 PM) Post reply

      All opinions count or else I would not have posted this poem here...I have since revised the piece...yet there is still missing links...or perhaps links that should not be hooked on to the nexus bette ... more

  • Rookie - 1st Stage Jefferson Carter (10/22/2013 1:57:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Frank, as usual, I totally disagree with Lamont. Those first three stanzas are riddled with infelicities: " stale of floral, " " heard the dregs, " " lose their stipple, " " who be, " " collar blues." Lamont hears " music" ; I hear the clunk of graceless phrasing. I like the last two stanzas better; their less ornate style doesn't fill my ear with clotted sugar (except for that awful " spew of an incubus" ;) . I'd revise them a little, see below, but they're pretty nice.

    And if these occupants awoke,
    would they speak of some kingdom?
    Ashes cannot speak or hear,
    still we talk to the ground, wait
    for our answer from a sudden breeze.


    I marvel at graveyards, what can I say,
    and the customs which we adhere to. " For which we adhere to" ???eekkk!
    We live, we die, and somewhere in between
    we'll speak of the many souls in sleep
    until we, too, rest beneath morning's dew.

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    • Rookie - 1st Stage Frank James Ryan Jr...fjr (10/22/2013 6:30:00 PM) Post reply

      AS USUAL" indeed my prosaic pal! But of course you didn't like the first few stanzas. The only fodder I failed to serve up to you was a jumbo plate of rhyme! HaH! Hey, to each his own, my friend. ... more

  • Rookie - 1st Stage Lamont Palmer (10/22/2013 8:47:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Frank, I like your first two stanzas, which are nicely descriptive and may be where the poem should end. After that, the lines sink into preachiness and bathos, and the self-impressed speaker syndrome. -LP

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    • Rookie - 1st Stage Frank James Ryan Jr...fjr (10/22/2013 6:00:00 PM) Post reply

      Thanks, Lamont...Always appreciate your feedback...I have re-drafted this piece several times, and am not yet totally satisfied with it.So why post it, and on here?Because I wanted feedback, and nowad ... more

  • Rookie - 1st Stage Scotty Dogg (10/21/2013 9:20:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    I like how the soil is too soft to kneel on. And, " stipple" is a terrific word for a poem. Line 11, " who 'be' these occupants" ?Unusual phrasing. I like it.

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    • Rookie - 1st Stage Frank James Ryan Jr...fjr (10/21/2013 11:06:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      Every poem should include text that carries an esoteric air for effect, interest....muse?...unusual, yes...but so long as it jives with the tone of the poem as a whole, I think it's creatively accepta ... more

  • Rookie - 1st Stage Frank James Ryan Jr...fjr (10/21/2013 8:36:00 PM) Post reply

    Mike, sorry for aborting your comment along with the deletion of that poem which I felt needed some revising. I cut & pasted your kind comment below, as I appreciate your read and feedback...Cheers 2-U, my friend ~FjR~

  • Rookie - 1st Stage Frank James Ryan Jr...fjr (10/21/2013 8:28:00 PM) Post reply

    Mike, Thank You...FjR
    Mike Acker(10/21/2013 3: 42: 00 PM) Post reply
    Nice poem. I like it, FJR.

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