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1000 Black Lines

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Write Stuff: My Father’s Promise

This week's Write Stuff poem is based on a writing prompt--write from a child’s perspective: My Father’s Promise.

Comments so far:
As usual ... you’ve said a lot in just a few words.
This shows absolute trust - I hope the father doesn’t let him down.

This is loaded! I love it.

"He saught tautness, compactness, the hard image that both conveyed and ... was the meaning the poet was after," wrote critic Thomas Lask (Nov. 2, 1972) in his obituary of Ezra Pound (reprinted in Alan Levy's book Ezra Pound: The voice of Silence). "Every word that was not functional in the line was eliminated."

That is what I am striving toward--"tautness, compactness, the hard image."

Crafting the poem My Father’s Promise took more than a week. It was a process of subtracting or distilling toward a dense yet simple five lines or eight words.

My wife and I debated the last word; “wait.” Initially, I used “waited” to fit a two-syllable line, but I changed it after much discussion to “wait.” She helped me turn the line with a voiceless alveolar fricative stop--word ending with a "t." Using "waited" added voiced alveolar fricative stop which, when read aloud, sounded like I ran over a speed bump. When the last line is read aloud, the "t" in "wait" explodes of the alveolar ridge and ends the poem with gravity and urgency.

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