Saturday, June 10, 2006

Workshopping: Stanley in Moonlight

I'm currently workshopping this one over at pffa. For the exercise I changed the title to "Sydney in Moonlight", but I think overall I prefer the name "Stanley". Strange things, titles.

Stanley in Moonlight

He lopes slow-motioned, each footstride
matched by the seesaw dance of shoulders
humping over his nape. He keeps his ears

pert: black tips scanning tufts and twig-tumbles
for scuffles, volesqueak. The morsels whistle
warnings ahead of his thoughtless trek -

then silence. Odour sources tangle colour
through his greytone bush-scapes. He sits,
sniffs his tailpit tag glands, tongues clean

his fur-pursed wolfhood: still the gift-disk shines.
When he howls, his bones recall the loss, the pain
of change, complexity; the moult of flesh.

Feel free to de-lurk and comment ...


  1. I like "Stanley" better too.

  2. Thanks!

    I'm not sure what to make of the feedback I've got at pffa. One commentator seemed to bring his own werewolf to the reading which leaves me struggling to make sense of their overarching issues with the piece.

    Others commented on the sound "overwhelming" the sense. I'm going to have to research this one further - is it just the modern tendency to prefer a minimalist soundplay, or has the world's ear got more delicate without telling me?

    All useful feedback, but I'm going to have to give this one time before revising. It'll break my heart to change more than a few words - I thought this was one of my best efforts for ages!

    Oh, well ...

  3. Y'know, Rik, ignore us.

    I was one of those that thought the sound of s.2 "overwhelmed" the sense. For me it wasn't minimalism. It was the question of balance. The sounds that Stanley is listening to are so delicate and so small that the jumble of different soundplay (alliteration as well as onomatopoeia, internal rhyme) created for me a thickness of sound that was at odds with the description. I don't think you'll have to change more than a few words, but just try and say lack tips scanning tufts and twig-tumbles
    for scuffles, volesqueak
    aloud three times.

    But ignore us, of course, if you like -- it's your poem, not ours. I may ignore all comments on "Swing a Cat" -- who knows?