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On the Lonely Ocean


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Umm . . . . Where is this poem?

Poem/Story is at http://www.awesomedude.com/tr/On_the_Lonely_Ocean.htm

Thanks for all the nice comments! :icon13: This thread began in the Poetry Forum, Gabe, but was moved to Readers' Rule, I assume because Dude lists my rhymed stories as stories, not poems. They are both. The other long, story-type poem I've done is The Midnight Chime , a tale of erotic horror.

In answer to your question, Camy, it took about the same amount of time a much longer, unrhymed short story would take. OTLO is under 4000 words and took as long as a 15-20, 000 word unrhymed story. I'd guess that either takes me something like a total of 24-48 work hours? I'm not sure, especially when I take extended breaks. I think I once clocked myself at around 500-1000 usable words average, per day (or per writing session/spurt). Rhymed stories can be far shorter, I've noted, since you pack more punch into each word or line than regular prose.

OTLO probably took under 24 hours total work time, working in caffeinated, high-nicotine spurts of about six hours at a time. I don't know if that's average or short or a long period of time but it's VERY draining, I have to say. After this one, my head was full of words running around rhyming one another and I was exhausted for quite a while. It takes some time to reenergize after finishing any story or chapter, as well as to sort of clear my mental palette. Rhymes can be worse, in some ways, because they tend to ring around in your head much longer.


I'm curious about which seemed the saddest parts of this story to readers. To me, the sadder parts were: **SPOILERS** when the mermaid found the boy, when the boy starting ignoring the mermaid and the mermaid tried to woo him with gifts and finally tried to help him 'escape', when the mermaid cried out "Don't go!' to the ship sailing off (saddest part, probably, to me), when they discussed their breakup years later, and when the mermaid realized he'd lost the boy long ago and swam off to live alone again.


Which part or parts made you cry, if you did? Myself, though I'm the author, I do tear up a bit at the mermaid's 'Don't go!' as the ship sailed calmly on AND when the mermaid says, 'What care I for gray hair?' etc. I'm not sure what kind of judge I am of my own stories, though, so I'm asking what parts were saddest or, if different, what parts were best (or worst) in OTLO.

QUESTIONS: Did the fact that neither had names matter to anyone, or was it even noticed? Was the term 'mermaid' confusing when applied to a male of the species? Was the story believable? Entertaining? Sad? Romantic? Was the ending believable, did it proceed logically from the story? Was the rhyme a distraction or did it add to the mood and feel of the story? Would you have preferred more graphic sexual descriptions (I considered doing that, then finally decided not to this time--The Midnight Chime is a bit more graphic, as well as shorter)? Was the ending too abrupt, or the romantic 'happy' period too briefly described?

I'm no expert on rhymed stories, this is only my second unless you count a couple longer poems(eg. Ten Fun Things To Do Before You Die or Sunshine by Starlight ). Thanks for posting and reading, and thanks in advance for answering any of the above.

Love and Kisses...


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I didn't overtly cry but I teared up at the part the boy started to get older while the mermaid didn't, which started:

The years went on forward

And brought them delights:

Days filled up with friendship

That warmed them at night.

then the turning point -

As beach boy grew older

While mermaid stayed young,

In dreams he remembered

And memories stung.

These three stanzas are the most poignant though:

He watched his one true love

Sail into the sun,

Watched while all happiness

And love came undone.

That sail in the sunset

Disappearing slow,

Shattered his sweet heart till

He cried out, “Don’t go!”

The ship did not hear him,

It calmly sailed on;

All night he lay staring,

He watched until dawn.

One question. Did you script this before you started writing?

As to your questions.

Them having no names didn't concern me.

I'm glad the sex was absent, 'cause it means you'll have a better shot at getting it published. In a book. Remember them?

The term Mermaid is fine, and I hadn't even questioned it until I read your post. Merman seems ... odd.

It's wonderful and I'm off to read it again.


PS The photograph, and the background colour of the page helped set the scene. Good call. I was there even before I started reading.

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The ending did indeed follow logically and the use of mermaid was not a problem, and neither was the lack of names. Overall it was a bit sad, almost a metaphor for mixed relationships.

I have to admit that my feelings on reading it are personal, but then, with all poetry and most prose it is the personal memories and expectations that cause our reactions.





His lips brushed the mermaid

Upon his brown cheek,

Suddenly, he felt shy

Unable to speak.

This brought memories of my own insecurities which triggered a bit of crying.

Determined towards something

That I could not name-

A vision of friendship

And love warm as flame.

Another jag of crying, missing this in my life, a deep warmth and love seemingly almost impossible to find, and having found it, lost it again.

The mermaid dare not ask,

His love did not say,

But it grew much harder

To hide his dismay.

This part, while not causing me to cry, caused some anguish, recognizing that the lack of communication was the start of the end.

He tossed them to dockside

Just before daybreak,

They landed unbroken-

A sound of heartbreak.

His love transcended his personal desires. He knew he was sacrificing all for his lover.

That sail in the sunset

Disappearing slow,

Shattered his sweet heart till

He cried out, ?Don?t go!?

The ship did not hear him,

It calmly sailed on;

The inevitable and inexorable sailing on of the ship, indifferent to the mermaid really got to me. Sometimes things are set in motion that the power of our anguish SHOULD be able to change, but cannot.

Thus startled, the mermaid

Let out a soft cry;

As he began weeping,

He simply asked, ?Why?

Love, why did you leave me?

Why did not return?

What made you unhappy

And my true love spurn??

This one really hit me in the gut. I had a serious breakup only a few months ago, and the ?Why?? really is such a cry for understanding and a return to love.

But you should have asked me

And told me your fears,

For I would have told you

I?d treasure our years.

The impossibility of expressing our inner fears and needs adequately was all brought back to me with this. Even when we talk about our inner fears, our deepest needs, it is well nigh impossible to describe well, and even more difficult for the other to understand, coming from a different life with different experiences and needs.

Next is super personal crap you can avoid reading.

(In case anyone wants to know, or cares, I, as an Asperger's Syndrome afflicted near senior, had a short, sweet, loving spring/autumn relationship with a 'normal' person, and my inability to express and deal with my inadequacies in the relationship caused our breakup. Sadly, the failure was not due to the age difference, but to my autistic challenges. Sadly, because that means there is even less likelihood of me finding anyone else to share my life. With AS the biggest challenge of all is the social dance of looking, meeting, and talking.)

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Hey TR,

I have been trying to write an epic poem for years. I can never wrap my mind around a single idea and they always come off as contrived. Right now I'm fucking jealous.

Not only did you weave this enormous story quite beautifully, the voice you channeled damn near broke my heart. The imagery and emotion gently sucked you in and the loss of love pushed you over the edge into the realm of beautiful diaster.

The choice about leaving out names only fueled the piece as it let the reader immerse himself into the characters.

Leaving out sex, probably the best descision you made. You'be shown every author/reader out in internet land that sex is only a tool not a standard. Sex can further a story but almost every time it bogs down the narrative.

As which part I felt was the saddest or made me cry. I can't answer that question. This piece is the sum of its parts. From the opening to the ending, you slowly build until the cresendo. (Probably misspelled)

Stylistically, this is probably the best poem on this site. Brilliant job


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One question. Did you script this before you started writing?

What do you mean by 'script', Camy? I don't write anything out, though with some stories I make notes and do research. For this one, I did a little research on mermaids but found only one thing that stuck in my mind, to use without mentioning: that some Japanese believe that mermaids used to live off the coast of Japan but now are extinct, though their 'mermaids' are not the ones of legend (normal human upper bodies, human-sized and with porpoise-style tails) but small, fish-y, vicious creatures. There are some bodies on exhibit in Japan, preserved many hundreds of years ago when mermaids were, supposedly, common off the coast.

I knew who the two characters were, I told the Dude about a week or ten days ago that I was going to write a love story about a lonely mermaid and a shipwrecked orphan. I knew they'd be lovers but not be able to live together happily ever after. I toyed with a somewhat different ending but found this one to be more believable to me, more like relationships I've known and observed where differences, miscommunication and fear led to love lost.

I also knew I wanted to tell it from the mermaid's perspective because he's the one who is willing to accept all his lover's differences, it's the human boy/man who finally chooses community and children over Love. He's right by his own lights but wrong by the mermaid's, and likely the reader's, too. Still, I think we do that all the time, make choices out of fear and fail to communicate enough to salvage 'true' love. I know I have.

I knew I wanted to tell it in rhyme (short couplets & had the desired rhythm in my head), have it set in an unspecified past (eg. ocean-going ships had sails), and make it somewhat lyric and fantastical, though keep the relationship rooted in what I saw as 'real' issues between lovers, esp male lovers.

How many gay/bi men are married to women right now, for the reasons the shipwrecked boy/man gives, and who left former male lovers or potential loves in order to live that mainstream life, to have children? How many of us have been left by men who feared living a strange or isolated (gay) life 'in the sea foam'? Even the age difference, here a difference in ability to age, is one that can lead to misunderstanding and breakup.

Too many, I'm sure. It made me sad and I was hoping it would strike a chord with others, memories of love and love lost, of things that might have been, of our own private 'lonely ocean'.



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Hey TR,

I have been trying to write an epic poem for years. I can never wrap my mind around a single idea and they always come off as contrived. Right now I'm fucking jealous.

Not only did you weave this enormous story quite beautifully, the voice you channeled damn near broke my heart. The imagery and emotion gently sucked you in and the loss of love pushed you over the edge into the realm of beautiful diaster.

Wow, thanks, Jason! :icon13:

I like trying new things and I'd tried the lyric story before, with The Midnight Chime, and liked the results. I like this better, though.

How to write a lyric story:

I think one thing is that you should approach it like any story, then tell it in rhyme, though a more old-fashioned style would probably be appropriate. Some of my regular prose is like that (eg. Some Enchanted Evening, and other tales) so I didn't find that a particular stretch. You just take a normal story idea, preferably something in the past or otherwise appropriate to an old-fashioned style, then set it to rhyme. I could have written this in regular prose, like Some Enchanted Evening, and still told the same story...that's just not what I wanted to do with it.

Rhyme takes a lot more concentration and is a bit like solving a puzzle, you tell your story but within very, very specific parameters, constrained by rhyme and line. You also probably need a pretty big vocabulary, to be able to easily pull out words that fit these constraints. If not, use a thesaurus. Eighteen pages of rhyming does mean dredging up some obscure synonyms and descriptors.

However, I don't think this is an 'epic' poem because it's not about legendary heroes or anything. Despite the tail on the mermaid, I think these are just two guys who couldn't make it work because they couldn't communicate well and were riddled with fear. They were different from one another, and their 'lifestyle' was unusual, and it worked, but it wasn't enough for the shipwrecked boy/man. He wanted a more 'normal' life...

So, to write a lyric story, you'd first need a storyline. I'd be happy to help you if you have one but I can't give you a storyline. The Dude has suggested we all write something for Halloween, so there's an option. My other lyric poem was also for Halloween: The Midnight Chime is a romantic/erotic horror tale. I might write another for this year's Halloween. I also need to finish up Drama Club.

Let me know if you want help writing in this form and I'll do what I can. Mainly, I'd say don't think of it as so very different, just tell a story in a different way.



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I remember reading for the first time the macabre The Midnight Chime in which TR had me reading much more rhymed text than I am used to. It reminded me so much of Edgar Allen Poe's poems... which I loved as a kid. I have to admit the 'short story in rhyme' is becoming one of my favorites... expecially the way TR writes.

I hope everybody gets a chance to read On the Lonely Ocean and if you like that... go check out his 'not so traditional' poetry page at his site Down The Rabbithole!


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