Category Archives: Poetism Commentaries

Poetism Commentary: “Stormy Weather”

The poem in question: Stormy Weather

An alternative title for this poem would be “Letter to the Devil.”  In LDS theology the Book of Mormon offers some insights to Satan’s workings in 2 Nephi 26:22 and 2 Nephi 28:21-23.  Basically the idea is that the devil will attempt to be our friend, slowly putting a “flaxen cord” around us so we don’t realize we are under his control, until one day it’s too late, we’re bound by his “awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance,” and he gleefully abandons us and moves on to the task of ensnaring the next poor soul.

I tried to capture this idea in my poem, and I like the subtle progression the speaker makes in realizing that he is becoming more and more trapped.  It starts out somewhat light-hearted: “we… played our game together,” progresses to “let’s go tonight,” and arrives at the conclusion that “we dug my grave together,” all while not quite making the full logical connection that this relationship is not a good one, because he keeps coming back to it.  I think this is something that everyone struggles with on some level.

The last stanza is also based in LDS theology, but it is also a bit overly-negative by my reading today.  While Mormons believe that eventually Satan will be cast down forever, the phrase “your demise will be my finest hour” seems displaced from the spirit in which the triumph will take place.  That spirit is not one of boastfulness, but of relief and gratitude toward the delivering power.  I don’t think I conveyed that sentiment, but I also think that I was 18 when I wrote this and overcoming Satan’s ceaseless attacks was constantly on my mind.

As for the style of this poem, I generally enjoy it.  I think I did a pretty good job with the rhyming pattern, and I think the meter generally flows pretty well.  Similar to something I mentioned many years ago in a different commentary, the repeated use of the line “then came stormy weather” probably had some influence from Paul Simon’s “Hearts and Bones.”

Poetism Commentary: “réparation de l’amour”

The poem in question: is here.

This is the second of two poems I wrote for assignments in a BYU French class.  This one is more serious in nature, but I still giggle every time I read it, because I thought I was so clever, and I’m still wise/immature enough to think I was clever.  We were studying some different French poetry and themes and the assignment was to write a poem of our own using one of the themes.  I remember three of the themes being love, nature, and death, and it seems there was at least one more, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it is.  At any rate, I decided to try to use all the themes together, and I think the result is morbidly splendid, not to mention the foreign-language writing being not too shabby.  Like the last poem, I got an A-, probably for minor grammar errors (which are corrected in this text).

This is called “réparation de l’amour” (“reparation of love”).

Depuis que tue es partie
je sais que tu me regardes du ciel
j’entends ta voix sur le vent
et ta presénce m’enveloppe avec
chaque souffle que je prends.

La forêt de notre enfance
a changé aussi—
trop pour te décrire tout

Ton esprit me touche
chaque fois que je pense à toi.
Tes yeux me regardent
avec une innocence aveugle.

Et quand je me souviens
du dernier jour
je veux mettre la même corde
autour de mon cou
et te trouver où je t’ai envoyée.

And the rough English translation:

Since you left
I know that you watch me from heaven
I hear your voice on the wind
and your presence envelops me with
each breath that I take.

The forest of our childhood
has changed also—
too much to describe it all

Your spirit touches me
each time that I think of you.
Your eyes watch me
with a blind innocence.

And when I remember
the last day
I want to put the same rope
around my neck
and find you where I sent you.

Update 6/27/2016: Here is an image of the paper I originally turned in for my assignment.

reparation de l'amour

Poetism Commentary: “Le Singe et Son Thon”

The poem in question: is here.

Several weeks ago I was going through some boxes in my closet and found two poems that I wrote for assignments in a French class at BYU.  This is the sillier of the two; the other will be the subject of my next commentary.  This is called “Le Singe et Son Thon” (“The Monkey and His Tuna”).

Il y avait une tortue qui voulait du thon,
a demandé d’un singe s’il en aurait un peu.
Le singe a dit, Quoi?  Le demander à moi?
Allez ailleurs, attendez dans une queue!
La tortue a pleuré, elle a mendié,
Donnez-moi du thon, j’en ai besoin!
Le singe a gloussé, gloussé, et gloussé,
a dit, C’est ton problème, pas le mien!
La tortue a crié, Pourquoi être vilain?
Est-ce que vous ne m’aimez pas?
Le singe a dit, non, mais j’ai une leçon
que je vous enseigne maintenant:
Le thon sera bon
la semaine prochaine
mais cette semaine-ci
il faut que tu te baignes.
En réalisant qu’elle se sentait mauvais,
la tortue a promis un bain,
seulement si le singe lui promet du pain—
le thon—avec un peu de lait.

And a rough translation:

There was a turtle who wanted some tuna,
and asked a monkey if he had any.
The monkey said, What? Ask me?
Go somewhere else, wait in a line!
The turtle cried and begged,
Give me tuna, I need some!
The monkey chuckled, chuckled, and chuckled,
said, That’s your problem, not mine!
The turtle yelled, Why be mean?
Don’t you love me?
The monkey said, no, but I have a lesson
to teach you now:
Tuna will be good
next week
but this week
you need to bathe.
Realizing he smelled bad,
the turtle promised a bath,
only if the monkey would promise him bread—
tuna—with a bit of milk.

While it’s silly, I’m impressed with myself that I managed to create the rhyming scheme in a foreign language.  And I got an A-, I think for some minor grammar errors (which I’ve corrected in the above text).

Update 6/27/2016: Here is an image of the paper I originally turned in for my assignment.

Le Singe et Son Thon

Poetism Commentary: “a new beginning”

The poem in question: a new beginning

I wrote this poem for an assignment in my freshman English class at BYU.  I don’t remember what the assignment was, specifically.

As with many others, this poem is about inner demons and what ifs, but with a much more hopeful tone, kind of like From now on.  I may have mentioned this before, but I always found it much easier to write well (what I considered well, anyway) about bleaker subjects than happy ones, and in bleaker tones, so poem this was something of a breakthrough for me.  Not only is it hopeful in tone, but I think it’s also decently written.  Double whammy!

I don’t have the original copy, but I can tell from some erase marks in my notebook and an old web print out that the last stanza originally read differently.  The original version—likely what I turned in for my assignment—is:

effortless though it may be
I cannot be brought down
I’ve been relinquished of myself
and set out toward what I’ve found

In fact, all of the copies I have, except the one now on my web site, have that last line.  I do like “and set out toward higher ground” much better though.  In fact, I really like the message of the last stanza.

Poetism Commentary: “Weep For The Damned”

The poem in question: Weep For The Damned

I also wrote this poem while sitting in a class at BYU.  It seems I did a lot of that in 1998.  By my count, there are nine poems that I wrote either during class or for a class assignment, or were at least written down in the notebook that I carried with me to school every day.  This particular poem was written during a class called American Heritage.

It seems to be a throwback to Aftermath and Achievement, at least by the subject.  I think I was just bored in class one day and started writing.  I guess I just like morbid battleground scenes.  I do think it’s an interesting idea that the survivors were driven mad by what they had experienced, and eventually the madness started to spread.  It reminds me of Mordeth in the Wheel of Time books.  Who knows, maybe that’s what I was thinking of at the time.

There is one oddity: one copy I have of this poem changes the punctuation on two lines, but I’m not sure how much it affects the poem itself.  I’ll let you be the judge.  Instead of

Haunted faces stare about;
Disabused by fear and doubt,
The scant survivors sigh relief and drop their weary heads.

it reads

Haunted faces stare about,
Disabused by fear and doubt.
The scant survivors sigh relief and drop their weary heads.