Login   Sign Up 



by Adam 

Posted: 30 August 2003
Word Count: 30

Font Size

Printable Version
Print Double spaced

The without that grows within.

Day dawns in a prism of light;
Spectra of colour piercing eyelids,
Shattering dreamscapes.
I stumble from slumber.
Absence. My dreams are black and white.

Favourite this work Favourite This Author

Comments by other Members

Account Closed at 09:21 on 31 August 2003  Report this post
Adam - excellent! This is superb - it left me with a feeling of excitement and darkness (does that make sense??). I wish I'd written it, darn it ...

Bit radical, but reading it again - do you need the first line ("The without ...) or is that the title?? Either way, I'm not sure if it doesn't read better just starting from "Day dawns ..."

The end thought of the black and white dreams is very strong.

Anne B

Adam at 11:58 on 31 August 2003  Report this post

Thank you for your kind encouragement. I think I agree that the poem is stronger starting at 'Day dawns..', which had occurred to me before, but I somewhat stubbornly stuck to the line because I liked it. I may use it as a preface/subtitle, either underneath or in parenthesis after the title. I'll have a think... What do you reckon?


Adam x

Account Closed at 23:02 on 31 August 2003  Report this post
Ooh, Adam, I don't know. Both ideas are good, and yes the line is question is sock-it-to-you strong, but there's still something in my gut (nasty! don't go there!!) which wonders if "The without that grows within" is actually begging for an entirely different poem to go underneath it??...

Lots of love

Anne B ==:O

Adam at 23:23 on 31 August 2003  Report this post
You're probably right, Anne, but it's that lack of distance that a writer has: I've become quite attached to line! I desperately want to use it in this poem, although maybe you're right, that I should save it for another... It just seems to fit in with 'absence', although not necessarily the poem. I did think about working into a haiku of the same title. I'll have a think.

Anyway, thank you,

Adam x

fevvers at 12:18 on 01 September 2003  Report this post
Hey Adam

Holy's right, you should save it for another poem. You should also question exactly what it means to you and to your reader. It's very easy to get attached to a line because it sounds lovely, but the poem itself is saying soemthing different to the line. A 'without that grows within' does not have to be negative, it could be birth for instance - a body or thing (a poem?) existing without experience, corruption, time even.

Your last line is damn good, but I worry about the 'absence' especially because it's in the title. Have confidence in your reader, even without the title there is a sense of loss and yet resolution, even if it's painful.

That said, it feels a little too distant for me just yet. I want as a reader to really care about this pain and the colour and what it means metaphorically as well as literally, and at the minute I'm on the edge of that. Really try to enter into it, drag it out and slap it on the page - I think there's much more to this poem, and I think you can do it justice.

Hope you don't mind my observations.



PS It sounds very US poetry, which I like.

Adam at 19:51 on 01 September 2003  Report this post
Hi Jacqueline!

Not at all - I really aprreciate your comments! That is, fundamentally, why I joined WriteWords: to obtain a distance, an objectivity difficult to attain as a writer alone.

I think you and Holly are probably right about the 'without'/'within' line - although I still feel attached to it! - but I'm not as convinced about the 'Absence' point. I wanted it to stand out, to hit the reader as suddenly and forcefully as the writer. Perhaps this is not the effect achieved? However, I think you're right about not really conveying the essence of the absence - the poem doesn't quite hit the note I'm grasping at, and is perhaps a little... objective (for want of a better word). I'll play around with it, and see what arises!

Thanks for your constructive criticism, and indeed your encouragement: who knows what is possible!


Adam x

p.s. Do you mean U.S. poetry or "us" poetry? Also, in what way?

p.p.s I have subtly altered the verbs in the second and third line so they scan a little better and feel more "active" - 'piercing' instead of 'that pierce'; and 'Shattering' in place of 'Shatter'.


p.p.p.s (This is just getting silly now!?!) I've left the 'without' line in for the time being, to see what other people think...
It may be better used in a one line poem of the same title?!? 'Absence: the without that grows within'. Anyway...

fevvers at 12:51 on 03 September 2003  Report this post
USA - I don't even know what 'us' poetry might mean. USA in that it deals head-on with huge abstracts without being too obscure or pinning it down on a page with too heavy concrete images. I have to stress here that it is important to have a good concrete base when writing about abstract subjects but having got a good base (which keeps coming into the poem) you should be able, in my opinion, to use this as a jumping board to explore the poem. Look at Jorie Graham or Geoffrey Hill.

I still think this is a lot longer poem than you're committing it to at the moment. I also think you have to be careful about the change of verbs - one of the most used sounds in poetry is the 'ing' sound, do you truly need to use it? If you want to make the line more active, re-write the line. Think what it is about "Spectra of colour that pierce eyelids" that you feel is not working, and not working because it's not 'active' enough for you - it might be that you don't need the "spectra" because you already have the prism and we know colour is emanating from it - this would mean you would immeditately be thrown into the action of the second line thereby sustaining the action of the previous one eg Day dawns in a prism of light;/ colour pierces eyelids. It would also give you more space to explore what the colour is doing. And why is there more than one spectrum anyway?

The without line is a tricky one, sometimes as writers we get so attached to lines that we can't see how it works or doesn't work or how it weakens other lines. I know I do it all the time and then go through each line and see what needs or doesn't need to be in the poem - try asking the poem what it wants. It strikes me the strongest lines inthis poem are "Day dawns in a prism of light" and "My dreams are black and white" - because they are full of possibility and resonance that isn't forced on to the reader. This is where the poem is - the colour, lack of colour, vibrancy, strange worlds created in dreams and in the dawn light (makes me think of Bishop "where everything was rainbow rainbow rainbow") and maybe even your position to all of this - stumbling around from one world to another to another (the real world). I'm getting this from those 2 lines and a sense of the stumbling one - but 'stumble from slumber' is a bit heavy at present, it might work with re-writing, I'm not sure.

I think your without line is the line that got you to the poem and is not necessarily one that needs to stay. I'm trying to think who it was that said 'murder your little darlings" meaning get rid of the lines that you think are the most wonderful if they're not working in the writing (which is one of the hardest things to do). When I remember who said it, I'll let you know.

I hope this clears up some of what I said, wasn't too much of a ramble and proves helpful in some way.


Adam at 23:48 on 03 September 2003  Report this post
Thanks for your comments! I have been working on the poem already, but need some more time to get it together properly. I've printed off your comments, as I found them very useful, and will get back to you as soon as possible.

The way things are going, I think you may be right in that it's going to be a longer poem (I don't want it to be too long though, as I think it goes against the grain of the short sojourn between two worlds, two separate dimensions). I'm toying with 'Prism' as a title - what do you think? I'm presently finding it difficult to find my voice in the poem - I'm struggling far more than I usually do to find the "essence" - but I think, or rather hope, that there's something there (even if its mental, or abstract, as opposed to the words as they stand).

Anyway, thanks for all your help,

Adam x

p.s. In hindsight, the "us" poetry thing was silly, but I thought you might mean "poet's poetry" or something, and highlighting the point with capitals. Nevermind.

peterxbrown at 01:17 on 04 September 2003  Report this post
I am very sorry Adam but I found this poem, in its entirity, bloody marvellous exactly as it is! I respect contrary comments by the group but hope you leave it well alone.
Absence, longing, regrets, missing that other, are emotions we all experience and you have captured them brilliantly.
I believe "The without that grows within" expresses forcefully, succinctly and effectively a growing emptiness. Waking to what could be a bright and hopeful new day is in the reality of your poem a false dawn.Something is still missing. Absence is pervasive and even the dreamscapes which were shattered by waking are black and white (and how many levels is that working on ).I love the structure of this poem and the stark opening line, packed with meaning; followed by the waking is, for me, a crucial source of the poem's great strength. The final line had to be special and , my god , it is wonderful!

Adam at 01:04 on 05 September 2003  Report this post

What can I say? Thank you! I think you really understood the poem.

I really appreciate your comments, and indeed your appreciation, yet I think that the poem deserves something more injected into it. As it stands, it is lacking a certain 'je ne sais quoi'... Also, despite my love of the line 'The without that grows within' (without sounding self-congratulatory!), I think, on reflection, the line does not work rhtyhmically or is not really meant for this particular poem. However, I hope to incorporate it in a metamorphosed form...

See what happens in the next stage of the poem's life, and feel free to approve or disapprove...

Thank you so much,

Adam x

Adam at 20:19 on 08 September 2003  Report this post

There's a re-working of this poem entitled 'Prism' - it's now on the website... Check it out!

Adam x

To post comments you need to become a member. If you are already a member, please log in .