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Chicxulub [Dec. 4th, 2006|11:14 am]

I wrote a poem. Free verse. Science-fictional. I wrote it in November, but had other things to post about until now.


After 80 million years
of Cretaceous glory
we arose
thumbed and aware
from among our feathered
brethren scaly beasts

A hundred thousand more
the spark caught fire
and we knew that
we knew

A dozen millenia
for us to write
our names
upon the world

A handful of centuries
to stare knowing
into the night

A single month
to see it come

And know that we were doomed

* * *

From halfway round the world
I saw the impact flash
reflected on the moon
a sudden dawn
to herald
coming darkness

And knew across the sea
a continent had died
in supersonic flame

The earth began to dance
and sway
a gentle glow suffused
the sky
from orbit molten glass
rained down
in iridescent glory

And as the waves bore up
as high as hills
to wipe us out of history

I stood beneath
their great green curl
beheld the death
of everything I knew

And all I could think was

[User Picture]From: zalena
2006-12-04 08:36 pm (UTC)
I really like it, thank you for sharing!

The way it is currently split makes it seem like two poems. I think it might be interesting to take out the doomed line and run the two parts together.

I'd also take out the first person until the end:

From halfway round the
world, the impact flash
reflected on the moon

and again near the end

Standing beneath their
great green curl

At which point you can revert to first person, (death of/everything I knew) or stick with the 'we' for an otherworldly feeling. (All we could think was beautiful...)

Several poems come to mind:
Robert Hass' Praise Something about a captain and a monster... it's not available online and public libraries tend to be skimpy on his work.
Gerard Manly Hopkins' God's Grandeur

It also kind of reminds me of one of Maynard's lyrics (by which no disrespect is meant. I like to say, "He's like William Blake reborn as a rock star." That has more to do with the feeling of possession both give me than by any similarity of their work.)

I dropped the ball on Nanowripo, but the usergroup is still up if you want to post to it.

I've been working on some new stuff too, but it's all hush-hush for now.
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2006-12-04 09:06 pm (UTC)

I originally had the second half a little different, but I decided I liked it framed as one individual's personal experience, so I put it all in the first person.

I thought about NaNoWriPo, but isn't it supposed to be poems about November, not just written then?
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[User Picture]From: zalena
2006-12-04 09:17 pm (UTC)
I thought about NaNoWriPo, but isn't it supposed to be poems about November, not just written then?
Yes, but there's always room for growth.

BTW - I only realized after I sent the comment that the polite thing to do would be "I love your poem, may I make some comments?" instead of proceeding with commentary. I was feeling so enthusiastic, I didn't stop to think.
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2006-12-04 09:36 pm (UTC)

No problem! I saw your first sentence. I've done enough workshops to recognize a constructive critique as positive commentary. =)

Thanks for the thoughts.
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[User Picture]From: melted_snowball
2006-12-04 10:23 pm (UTC)
Poems about November?

Grey and cold and dark
Did I mention the weather?
I hate November.

I mean, really, what is there that is poetic about November?
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[User Picture]From: zalena
2006-12-04 10:29 pm (UTC)
Precisely. The world is full of negative November poems. The point of NaNoWriPo is to write positive poems about November. (It was also an antidote to NaNoWriMo. Who has time to write a novel in November? A poem is about all I can handle.) You can check out what we came up with last year. Beemer's is really lovely, it introduced the word 'zazen' to me.

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[User Picture]From: zalena
2006-12-04 10:35 pm (UTC)

November in poetry

The entry that started it all. See particularly Eleanor Farjeon's November, which is one of the harshest poems ever written about the month.

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[User Picture]From: melted_snowball
2006-12-04 11:29 pm (UTC)

Re: November in poetry

Wow. That is one of the most depressing November poems ever. OK, it's a classic reclaiming event. I wish you luck with it, though I will still despise the month.
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[User Picture]From: ocschwar
2006-12-05 02:35 am (UTC)
Axl Rose found something poetic about November.
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[User Picture]From: dpolicar
2006-12-04 09:39 pm (UTC)
You've read "Inconstant Moon," yes?
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2006-12-04 09:59 pm (UTC)
Yes. There's also a short-short with a similar idea, though I can't remember who it's by.

I actually did research to make sure that I wasn't overstepping the bounds of poetic license!
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[User Picture]From: finagler
2006-12-04 11:23 pm (UTC)
I like it! Actually (not that you asked for critiques) I think I like the first part as its own poem even better -- leaving the exact nature of the doom unsaid...
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2006-12-05 05:42 pm (UTC)
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From: thetarnishedowl
2006-12-05 03:50 am (UTC)
Man, that was great.
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2006-12-05 05:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you. =)
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[User Picture]From: drdeleto
2006-12-05 11:52 pm (UTC)
Dr_Tectonic's Apocalyptosaurus!

I, too, especially liked the first part--although the earth-swaying-like-water and water-turning-into-hills-of-earth part (whether that's me reading too far into it or not) was very fine.

Question for the author: Upon first reading I thought that you were mostly writing from the perspective of a regular prehistoric creature. But when I reread the first part I decided you were positing an unknown sentient and maybe civilized race. Yes? If so, as a reader I'd love to know more about the "writing our names upon the world" part. What kind of civilization or semi-civilization might sentient reptile-things have (the nature of which would cause them to leave no paleontological trace after the catastrophe)? What did they strive for? How far did they get in a dozen millenia?
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2006-12-06 01:04 am (UTC)

But when I reread the first part I decided you were positing an unknown sentient and maybe civilized race. Yes?


I figure you could have anything up to pre- or early Industrial Revolution levels of civilization and still leave nothing that would survive that kind of catastrophe enough for us to see any traces of it. (Heck, except for the Moon landings, I don't know that we'd leave anything that durable behind if we suddenly vanished, either...)

So I was recounting stages of development. Millions of years as proto-sentients. A hundred thousand years at the stone age level: fire and speech and self-awareness. Ten thousand or so years with writing and early civilization. A few centuries of enough science to be able to look into the night sky and start to understand what you were seeing.

How far beyond that did they get? I didn't want to be specific. Just far enough to see their end coming, not far enough to avoid it. I think they strove for a lot of things, but the appreciation of beauty was one of them. Strawberries hanging from the cliff...

(Early on, I toyed with making them space-faring and the asteroid as a human saurian error, but there was too much exposition to fit into a poem, so they ended up more open-ended and unknown.)
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