Albany Poetry 
Workshop Logo

Improbable Tales Poem

Delores McAnuff-Gauntlett

Fire and Ice

Evening spreads its darkness downwards
along the coming night
A spaced demand from aliens
explores my space like light

Under the weight of my shadow
midst my speechless surprise
I leapt to another future
and timed regret besides

Ten years of freezing ridicule
clock towards forever
a village of speculators
poke and joke together

Lie-detectors passed all their tests
but my family failed
and could not hide the discomfort
we masked behind the tale

I try to tame stubborn nightmares
continue to make grace
my child will outgrow the teasing
& I, will dream in space

November 1997

Delores McAnuff-Gauntlett's questions:

This is my first attempt with a structured poem, and I would like to know the strengths and weaknesses in the piece.

The fourth stanza halted my reading, but I resumed the read with the fifth stanza. For me there needs to be more transition language. Or maybe just more flesh to the coat] hanger outline written here. All in all I enjoyed the read and thank you for the opportunity to join the discussion.
Mabel A. Dilley
Seattle, WA USA - Wed Aug 2 18:47:26 2000
It took me a while to pick up on what you were saying, but I was not disappointed when eventually I did. The line that interests me is: " Lie-detectors passed all their tests". As if they tested the testers. And I think that the "discomfort" line should grate the ear. I also agree with the period point - it seems almost like a mistype. In terms of form I thought the last line was very appropriate. Keep it up - you've got a spark alright.
Darren Hughes
Dublin, Ireland - Thu Jul 29 20:00:33 1999
The ampersand and the comma after the I in the last line are a little akward. also, the title is a little banal. other than that it is a very nice piece of literature.
USA - Thu Oct 29 16:20:19 1998
Delores, I like the images, but I think you need to work on the rythm a bit. There is the danger, in structured poetry, of creating "nursery ryhme" or boring patterns. And there are alwas variants in syllable number and line length. However, there needs to be a predominant cadence. I don't pick that up in this poem. Maybe I'm reading it wrong. I'd work on it some more to see if you could get it to scan a little better. Love that first line. Denver
Denver Perkins
Peachtree city, GA USA - Fri Jun 19 12:13:23 1998
It was pretty good, considering it was your first. You have good choice of words, but they don't flow quite as nicely as they could. It's definantley a good start. Just keep in mind we don't all hav your voice in writting and if you want your voice to be heard you must speak a little louder. I wish you luck and I congradulate you on a good start.
Debbie Quetschke
Albany, OR USA - Thu May 14 15:37:54 1998
I like this poem. The meter is concise and you still work the verses well. Your imagery is great; as abstract it may be, I think your feelings are still evident. When the two come together I believe a kind of poetic zen is reached.
USA - Wed May 13 11:53:33 1998
I think that this poem is pretty good. You have a great talent of bringing things to life. You do need to speak clearer though, and try to repeat yourself less.
Orlando, Fl. USA - Mon Mar 16 15:36:58 1998
I enjoyed this poem. The picture that formed in my mind was of evening, where there were no shadows, then a shadow from the light of a space ship which, apparently, abducted our poet. She lived with the scorn and ridicule of her neighbours for ten long years, even though she passed lie detector tests with flying colours. I am not sure whether the child is the result of the space abduction and seduction. In stanza 4 the line "and could not hide the discomfort, grated on my ear but I cannot find anything technically wrong with it. Thank you for sharing.
Elsie Hemming
USA - Tue Feb 24 14:57:50 1998
hi delores, ive just read your poem and i think its really good considering that its your first attempt. I loved the first line (evening spreads its darkness downwards..) actually i liked every damn word you wrote. the best parts are the first and third stanza. write some more, i think your really good.
Philippines - Tue Feb 24 09:41:32 1998