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Friday 2 October 2009

Sleep and the Poet

First draft - made late evening before retiring..

On Eating a Grape

It was not meant for this,
but to tumble into slime,
to rot - men say to die -
to mingle with the soil,
its seeds to germinate,
initiate new life.

I stroke its skin,
touch it with my tongue.
I use the dampness of my lips
to burnish it,
then hold it in my teeth
and kiss its fervent blackness.

Then finally bite into it.
A stinging jet.
Acidic juice,
is shrivelling my taste buds.
Sweet revenge on me,
subverter of its destiny.

Second draft - first thing the following morning.

The black grape bitten,
its bitterness at its lost seed
strikes at my throat.


Jim Murdoch said...

They both work. The problem I have with the second one is that I've already read the first one and my mind is primed for the shorter version and so I read into it more than I think is really there. Hard to be sure but I think it's a tad too short.

Dave King said...

Thanks for the comment. I think you may be on to it, but all the same I thought it interesting - the possible effect of sleep on the workings of the mind.

A Cuban In London said...

Beautiful. It's funny how we forget that grapes have an acidic juice that betrays their sweetness sometimes.

Thanks for giving me permission to use your poem next week.

Greetings from London.

Jinksy said...

I'd take the haiku, any day. It condenses the grape juice to a potent brew!

Carl said...

I like your themes.. existence, the cycle or arc of a life and how you set those themes in such diverse subjects. I very much look forward to logging on in the morning and finding you have written a new post. Some of them quick like this and others I have read and read and read. I like it both ways.


Karen said...

I vote for number one! I like the sensuousness of it, which is lost entirely in the haiku.

Shadow said...

at first i thought you were teasing, but reading it again, i think the 2nd draft is potent, powerful, and says everything amply!

Unknown said...

It's #2 for me, hands down. Very good writing!

SG said...

I vote for # 2. I enjoyed both, though.

Rosaria Williams said...

Two different views. Two different effects. The first one strikes me as existential, contemplative, modern man's dilemma. The second feels too artistic, formulaic: and it is meant to be!

Just can't stop yourself. Right?

Helen said...

I like the way your haiku condenses poem #1. I like both of them together!

Reminds me of my very first visit to Phoenix with a group of co-workers. It was winter when we flew away from Minnesota and a sultry night in Phoenix on arrival. Our resort was huge and beautifully landscaped.
A co-worker simply picked an olive from a tree believing he could experience the fresh flavor. Little did he realize that olives go through quite a process prior to consuming! It was hysterical watching his face .......

Raj said...

i like the first one better. (destiny intrigues. :P)

shrivelling my taste buds. the usage of words is envious. dont mind me saying that. its more of a complement. :)

Linda Sue said...

Haiku Great for starting out the day - Thank you for that! Most effective.

The Weaver of Grass said...

You may be interested to know, Dave, that when I read the second one digestive juices sprang into my mouth!!! How's that for effect?

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

I feel the force of the impact of a perception behind this with an an awareness of "consummation" matter is destined to.

Even if I didn't rest on its taste like you did with the apple it reminds me of a poem I wrote about consuming, eating brown bread. Difficult to find it here, they had brought it to me as a present from the UK...

Kay said...

it takes a keen eye and brillant mind to value the simple pleasures of life; and a masterpiece created by a gifted soul to reinvent its pleasure to everlasting art. i love it!

Conda Douglas said...

I prefer the haiku, Dave--the other poem is okay, but goes on too long for me.

Lucas said...

I'm very glad you posted both versions - the first one is more meditative. The Haiku though is outstanding as a Haiku, and is a remarkable transformation. In a way it justifies and illustrates the use of that difficult form which aims to capture a world of thought in one or two sharp images.

Madame DeFarge said...

On reflection, I like number one more. it sounds more sensual and makes me think of Tom Jones.

Harlequin said...

really like the haiku version, but I miss the taut skin of the fruit that I had a sense of in your earlier version... nice work with these wonders of the mundane world.

Enchanted Oak said...

I'm not a critic. I just love good poetry. I loved both the sensuous, dry humored, luscious first draft, and the next day's reduction. Poetry written well is a great gift in life for the reader, and a wonderful challenge for the writer.You pleasured me greatly.
Chris Alba

Cloudia said...

Masterly exposition via 2 disparate styles......Thank you for the very visceral poem & lesson, Dave!

Aloha, Friend

Comfort Spiral

Dave King said...

A Cuban in London
Yes, like much that's good in life, they are bitter/sweet. Good luck with the poem.

I'm all for potent brews!

Thanks for the encouragment. Stiffens the resistence to that ole self-doubt!

I felt the same at first. Not so sure now, though.

Teasing? Moi?

Thanks John.

Doubly pleasing!

Spot on! Always been my trouble, that.

Thanks for the little story. A similar encounter with a very sour grape sparked the poe. Doreen made similar remarks about the expression on my face.

I don't mind you saying it at all. I appreciate it, would appreciate it even had it not been a compliment.

Linda Sue
Yes, it's kinda portable, isn't it? Easy to take with you.

Wow! I'm gobsmacked! Thanks for telling me.

The bread, I take it? Shame you can't find it - the poem, I mean!

That is a very generous compliment. Thank you for it.

I guess my subconscious thought the same, though I did think at first that it had maybe gone too far down the other road.

Many thanks for that obviously very well considered comment. It goes some way towards answering one of my unasked questions (which Jim touched on): How would the Haiku stand up without the first draft?

Madame DeFarge
It is more sensual, and so is Tom Jones - but have I missed another connection?

I see the point. Thanks for raising it.

Thank you very much for that encouraging response.

Thanks for that. Very much appreciated.

Unknown said...

Hi Dave,

I prefer number 1 but that's just the romantic in me! I particularly like:
"I use the dampness of my lips
to burnish it"

Your haiku is also great but I'm glad I had been able to read the other first.

Unknown said...

The first poem is more like the grape vine and the second more like the grape. Where the first poem rambles the second is compacted and packs a punch. I enjoyed reading both poems. I think Kay is correct in her observations. I'm off to have some grapes and share this experience.

If you eat grapes make sure they are well washed or organic. Their skins collect and store chemical sprays.
Many vineyards are consistently sprayed.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Dear Dave, is a second draft coming? Great fully tasting and tasted line "subverter of destiny".

I have found my poem on the bread...well, it's not exactly only about brown bread, it's about the fullness of an act, and in this sense I feel it close to yours.
It's in the blog.

Susie Hemingway said...

I loved the first one Dave, I love more words, your words. I found this quite sensual. Made me wish to reach for a divine grape to savour, in fact like I savour your wonderful words. Thank you

Titus said...

Ooh Dave, that's tough. I instantly thought the first, then on a re-read swithered to the second, then read the comments and wanted to be in the minority and choose the first again.
Bottom line for me is that they are both terribly good, and I couldn't get a hair between them. Congrats.

Dave King said...

It seems to be coming out about equal, so you are not the only romantic around! Intersting last sentence, echoes what others have said - or reverses it.

That is a very interesting analogy - and a clever one, too, I think. And thanks for the tip. Will do.

The Haiku is actually the second draft. There maybe another when my muse has decided where she's going with it!

Shall have a read of your bread poem.

Welcome to my blog and thank you for the very generous comments.

Thanks very much for that. It's amazingly close to the path my thoughts have trod!

steven said...

hi dave - i'm reluctant to be critical of either as i think both capture the same experience with clarity and insightfulness. the first in fullness and the second as essence. nice writing dave. steven

Fantastic Forrest said...

What Karen said....and what lakeviewer said...and enchantedoak, too.

And Derrick and Linda, also.

I'm not lazy; I just like what these folks have said because their comments capture my thoughts.

Thanks for the gift of your poems!

Friko said...

they both work ell; actually, I think, singly and together, the new version could easily be the final verse in my opinion.
Whatever you decided, I like 'the' poem.

Mariana Soffer said...

Very very good poe, interesting indeed. My favourite part if when you say the subverter of its destiny, it is a really poetic part (at least I think)

Interesting the differences among the drafts, that is so cool for me, irony, life, it is what it is?

Take care david

Dave King said...

Thanks for that, but no nneed to be reluctant! Comments much appreciated, though.

Fantastis Forrest
Much appreciated - and I would not have thought you lazy! It is difficult following other comments sometimes, when there's only so much to be said. Much thanks.

I think I'm coming round to the haiku being the preferred version. Thanks for your help.

What I thought was interesting was that no thought or work of any kind went into it between the drafts, except that which (presumably) took place subconsciously while I was asleep.

Catherine Zickgraf said...

I enjoyed your skills applied to describing the value in fruit.

Dave King said...

Welcome to my blog, and many thanks for the kind comments.

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