autumn cleaning

“September on the doorstep” – not yet a poem, but maybe it’ll grown up to be one when it’s older.

Vacuum cleaners are great, but there’s nothing quite like taking your aggression out on a dusty carpet hung on the line!

carpets hung on a washing line

September on the doorstep

Carpets on the washing line,
windows and doors flung wide
for one last cleaning binge
before the autumn avalanche
of new school term, work projects
and rain that traipses muddy feet
to dry before an open fire.

Of course, this makes most sense when you live in a place where practically all work projects grind to a two-month halt at the end of June, and where the weather has a tendency to change punctually at the start of September.

Since I’ve been living in Spain, that’s usually been the case but this year has been extraordinarily dry and I don’t think there’s any rain forecast for the foreseeable future. There isn’t much hope of new work for most of the population, either, I’m afraid, but that’s a-whole-nother subject.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

10 thoughts on “autumn cleaning”

  1. You have some vivid vocabulary here – viz. “flung”, “binge” and “avalanche” – but the vivid words evoke images that don’t blend interestingly with each other.

    “Work projects” is a prosy pleonasm for “work”, and “an open fire” is a cliché. In fact, there’s more of Dickens’s Xmas here than Rajoy’s Spain. It’s twee. I don’t like it.


    1. Perhaps there should be a “Don’t like” button, though that in itself wouldn’t be much help.
      Thanks for taking time to point out what isn’t working. (Pretty much all of it, apparently!)
      I knew it wasn’t really not a poem yet, but I hope something can be rescued and included somewhere else eventually.


      1. I do “like” your post, though I don’t “like” the poem it contains, but the idea of a “don’t like” button is appealing. If there were an antisocial network, where one could “hate” what one’s “enemies” wrote, I’d be tempted to join. It would be rather like Usenet after the invasion from Google Groups, but with even less typing and even more clicking.

        As for what can be rescued from the poem, I’ve already specified which three words I think are rescuable. Sorry.


      2. A few days ago, over on quadernodenotas, we considered other possible buttons. Maderabloj suggested something along these lines (my approximation of the Spanish originals):
        -I don’t agree with what it says but, although I’m not sure why, I like it.
        -No. I don’t like it at all.
        -I’m not sure if I like it.
        -It does nothing for me.
        -Perhaps, somethime in the future, it’ll grow on me.
        -I don’t really understand what it says, nor what it was meant to say.

        For me, even changing it to ‘recommend’ rather than ‘like’ would be a major improvement.

        As for ‘binge’, avalanche’ and ‘flung’, I don’t think they’re headed for a poem together. I hope I can remember the idea that prompted me to write this: *that’s* what I want to rescue.


      3. There seems to be no button to click for “I detest what you wrote, but I’ll defend to the death your right to have written it.” Perhaps there’s no such button because the people who’d click it are all dead.

        Anyway, four bloggers (so far) like this.


      4. Defending to the death may, presumably, result in a world where no one is alive to continue said defence.

        Perhaps those who apparently ‘like’ this post are actually liking the comments. I hope they realise they would be welcome to join in.


  2. I came upon your blog after reading your 2001 bit here on Critiquing Poetry. I have just started experimenting with poetry and noticed the etiquette of sweet-compliments-or-nothing in many comment threads. Then I came to this “poem” and Peter’s critique — ah that was refreshing. And your response was fun and open. (I wish Peter had a website)

    I have never been to Spain (but would love to) – the realistic taste of Spain in your prose today was informative. In your poem, I enjoyed the playful image of “doors flung wide” and the grammar twist to make the rain do the traipsing.

    PS – Comment Hierarchies can be awkward — see my suggestion here if you are interested.


    1. Welcome! & thanks for adding your thoughts.
      Look out for other comments from Peter – his criticism is always appreciated here. I wish more people would be prepared to offer comments, but this is hardly a workshop space and I suspect most people are blogging for the compliments.

      Commentary takes time, and even negative comments make me believe I’ve written something worthy of a reaction and which I might eventually re-write more successfully.
      What’s posted here is usually work in progress but, even when a piece has been published elsewhere, I know that I may later find ways to improve it, so criticism is welcome.

      I agree about comment hierarchies – especially how thin the columns get – but am used to viewing Usenet comments as conversation threads and like the indented presentation. I have reduced the threading-depth to three, to see if that helps for reading.


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