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Second Commandment


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This one is nearing completion. I would appreciate some help. I am dubious about the second question. Regardless of how you feel about the whole thing, better with or without that question?

Second Commandment


You have reason

to be jealous,

and we feel Your fear

behind the bitchy rant.

At the beginning,

we ate the juicy pulp.

Did Your fear begin then,

when we outran You,

became, as You feared,

like one of You?

Did Your own intemperate fire

finally singe Your leaves?

Five thousand years

of pique have not

calmed Your jealous heart,

because You know that,

kneeling together,

entering human communion,

drinking an offering

from the same stem,

sharing the salty spend,

a manna of human devotion,

we hear You aghast

that we know Your heart.

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I love the first line of the second question, "Did Your own intemperate fire" is very evocative. The second line caused me to stop... it's the "leaves" – and possibly the "singe" – that seems slightly out of place. If the second question were left as-is, I'd say remove because it doesn't seem to connect the prior and following stanzas. The poem reads beautifully without the second question; but... that first line for me is a "wow!" moment.

Colin :icon_geek:

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I agree with the lads, but I have another slant on the question, if you will permit me the latitude?

First, I want to say how much I enjoy this poem. It makes you think and the perspective is sublime.

The final lines are so daring; they got my wow factor, and a resounding Yes!

Now for my thoughts about the second question. Colin is right about the second line, the leaves and singe do jolt.

I therefore with much respect, since you asked, looked at the problem and thought the question could be a hint of the daring, a preparation for the final line, without actually telegraphing it.

This is what I came up with, but please feel free to do with it what you will...

Did Your own intemperate fire

feel singed by our queries?

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Far be it for me to critique another person's poem, particularly one as sublime as this one, but since you've asked I'd have to say I think the second question throws the reader off by introducing a puzzlement that he then stops to think about, thus losing his place in the flow of the poem. Without those two lines the poem scans beautifully and is quite wonderful.


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Thank you all for your help and the sensitivity in which it is couched. A mentor once told me that the acceptance of frank response from those of good will is requisite to collegiality. As I read through the admirable work you all have written, I am convinced of your good will, and have developed a sense of collegiality with you. I promise not to toss any balls your way without wanting you to take free swings!

I am intrigued by Des's suggestion, but will have to ruminate on it for a while. I am presently inclined to get rid of the second question altogether. That said, I am fond of fire images. Thanks, again.

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