Sunday, July 30, 2006

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

A poem that is not poetry.

The wind went away softly tonight
- and I cried.
For the loves,
the black and tan puppy dogs,
and the high hills I have lost.
And for the wind
that went away softly tonight
- like a heart beat.

Someone asked for parenthesis ( ) suggestions:
Basically, parenthesis are used to enclose a side remark and does not affect the grammatical structure of a sentence.

1. To enclose information that is not part of the main sentence but is too relevant to omit.
Ex: Faulkner's novels (published by Random House) were chosen as prizes for the competition.

2. To enclose part of a sentence that, if set off by commas, would confuse.
Ex: The authors he advised ( none other than Hemingway, Lewis and Cather) would have been delighted to honour him today.

3. To enclose an explanatory item.
Ex: He wrote to The Paris (Ontario) News.

Frankly, the necessary information could be (usually) be better conveyed by revising the examples above.

I don't care for parenthesis in fiction ( in fact, they irritate the hell out of me - prefer dashes for such extrapolations) because they visually disturb the flow of the narrative ( in a manner that dashes do not - but that's just me), though they have their place in non-fiction.

4. To enclose numbers or letters that designate (and emphasize) each item in a series.
Ex: The project is (1) time-consuming, (2) expensive, and (3) under- staffed.

5. To enclose a numerical figure used to confirm a spelled-out number.
Ex: Enclosed is a cheque for twenty-five dollars ($25.00) to cover the cost of the order.

Brackets, [ ] { }, it seems, may have precise functions for the copy edit purists - though often parenthesis may be used as alternatives.
I'll get into those guides another time.


Erik Ivan James said...

The poem: A kiss on the heart.

Bernita said...

Now THAT'S poetic.

S. W. Vaughn said...

Beautiful not-poem! The perfect thing on a Sunday morning.

Uh-oh -- did I inspire you to rant about parenthesis? :-) I agree; they are beyond annoying in fiction. They pull me right out of the story, even when they're used correctly.

Parenthesis should be banned from fiction!

Bernita said...

Thank you, Sonya.

Nooo, my feeble memory suggests it was Flood.
A casual comment of yours inspired another topic - to be forthcoming.

MissWrite said...

Beautiful poem, Bernita. I agree, too, about parenthesis in fiction. Yuk. I did have to laugh at how you were crafty enough to use the parenthesis in your statement on not liking them in fiction. It was appropriately hilarious.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Tami. You know me too well.
Just. Couldn't. Resist.

M.E Ellis said...

Another of your poems? It was lovely. Really wistful, evoked many emotions.


H.S. Kinn said...

Have you ever considered editing, Bernita?

Bernita said...

Thank you, Michelle - just one of those moments when sorrows link like a chain.

EA Monroe said...

Thanks for the Sunday morning poem and the photo image (I'm ready for cooler weather!).

Parens are too much like author intrusion for me. If the info in parens is important enough, then it's important enough to dramatize in a scene.

I suppose if it's a first person narrator then a 1st person pov can get away with () more than a 3rd person narrator can.

Most of the parens I see are used in legal mumbo jumbo and disclaimers.

Bernita said...

Never occurred to me, HS...but thank you for the implied compliment!

That's exactly it, EA, an unnecessary intrusion.

kmfrontain said...

Lovely poem, Bernita. :D

archer said...

Not to be poetic about it myself, but that not-poem is fucking gorgeous.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Karen. Ephemera only.

Archer! Thank you.

Ric said...

Lovely poem, my Dear.

Also, the clarity of your thinking on the topic is a breath of fresh air.

Bernita said...

Dearest Ric...thank you.

archer said...

You're welcome! I just read it again. It's not just gorgeous, it's shocking, the way it repeats like a heartbeat and then stops. It made me shiver.

Bernita said...

My gratitude, Archer. That means a lot to me.

Anthony J. Rapino said...

Cool non-poem. I love poetry that isn't.

Jeff said...

I enjoyed your non-poem very much. :)

Bernita said...

Thank you, Tony, Jeff.
Kind of you.

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