Copper Glances

 I wanted to try my hand at a “Shape Poem,” which some people call a “Concrete Poem” (I don’t know why)  Mine is really not a poem.  More like prose.  But it was long enough to fill the form so here it is…..  I actually posted it earlier under another name, but i like this one better…  I hope you enjoy it, if not please let me know why….  And thank you for visiting.


© 2011 John Richter

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About johnallenrichter

I am an aspiring Poet and adorer of life, a conqueror of nothing. However I am a champion curator of truth and friendship and hold both of those things most dearly to my heart. Welcome to my mind's eye. I hope you will enjoy what you may find and please know that you have a friend here. View all posts by johnallenrichter

34 responses to “Copper Glances

  • Jannie Funster

    Some really REALLY awesome images in here, John, with the chimney fires and coins in the pool.

    And guess what? While Googling some idea or another for a song not too long ago, I ended up on a page about “How To Forget Someone In 3 Days.” so if you really are in this sad situation there is a way out of the pain. Wishes CAN come true.

    And LOVE the face shape in this. You are a man of many artistic talents!!

  • johnallenrichter

    Hi Jannie, thank you so much for that encouragement! I LOVE getting positive feedback… But I want to ease your mind a little, I actually wrote this poem a very long time ago and at a time when I was a little down but nothing like this poem….. Of course this is exagerated for artistic vlaue, which happens to be from a guy who writes sad poetry sometimes. But I’m not sad. Thank you for your concern. It’s nice to know that if I ever should feel like the guy in this poem I would have fiends to help… But I could still use the link to the website you gave me, “How to forget Someone in 3 Days.” I would really like to forget about the #&%#@%& who cut me off in traffic this morning ….. LOL!

  • zumpoems

    This is great! Not only did you create a nice profile, but a great poem!

    You know when I started it, I thought you were going for a subtle internal rhyme: “The evening taught me well, || throwing away the fistfull || of fires that lined my soul” than I sensed no more rhymes though wasn’t quite sure when I hit “swells” and “shell”. Anyway, I didn’t need continuing rhyme to enjoy this as really great. I love the imagery with the pennies. Priceless.

    This is poetic prose and reminds me a little of how prose can be poetic such as the first few paragraph’s of Dreiser’s American Tragedy, the start of Dicken’s Tale of Two Cities or so much of Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men. Anyway, this is very poetic!

    • johnallenrichter

      Thank you Zumwalt! That completely overwhelms me and just caused me to grow an ego..!.. Yes, the rhyme thing… when I sat down to write this there were several thoughts going through me, none of them offering form or stanza. It has been a while but I can remember the feeling coming over me, as that first couplet was being finished, that this was not going to be a poem. It’s message was too strong to be broken by blank lines, and there was an absolute certainty that even the mild form of freestyle rhyme would be too constricting for what I wanted the reader to feel. Which oddly, and quite contrary to the general feeling of the piece, is love, not sadness. But you are very astute because those first two lines were originally written in metre for a rhyming sequence. Your experience and talent are well regarded here, thank you.

      Odd story: I read Dickens’ story as a boy, I don’t remember when, but after the first 20 pages or so I put it down and headed to my little bedroom desk because I was convinced, after seeing how easy Mr. Dickens made it appear, that I could easily create my very own extremely classic bit of prose. That page is long gone, and the memory of it too, but I’m sure it was less than a paragraph. And so I returned to Mr. Dickens and finished his book with one eye focusing on the miracle of his imagery while the other desperately tried to understand “How did he do that?” And I’ve been trying to figure that out ever since. And now seeing his name in the same paragraph with mention of one of my humble little things just blew me away……. !

  • Poetry Pastiche

    You just about made me cry with this one. The tears are sitting right there behind the heated barrier of my eyelids, willing them back in. I tried to copy/paste my favorite part, but I couldn’t. It begins with “bigger and smaller, bigger and smaller” and goes through the end. Very moving, John. And I LOVE shaped poetry. This is amazing!

    • johnallenrichter

      Tears are the highest compliment any poet can ever receive. Words completely evade me as I try to describe the measure of joy that just flushed completely through me as I glanced upon your note, Mrs. Pastiche…. Thank you……

  • manicddaily

    Hi John, I’ve never seen a shape poem with such a subtle shape. It really is a very realistic profile. Interesting here, because the poem is so interior–that’s not the right word–but it’s about the guy’s insides rather than the woman, so the profile fits. (It feels like a guy writing though though I’m not sure that it has to be.)

    I love the copper glances and descriptions of the pennies in the water.

    • johnallenrichter

      Oh Manic you have such incredible insight and your vision adds so much! Yes, I see that now, it is indeed all about the subject himself, and I’m sure his lover would agree – probably the reason she left! I absolutely love the places poetry can travel in the lives and hearts of the reader… And the shape? Started out as the silhouette of a woman, complete with hair in a bun like a cameo. This blogs column is unfortunatley too narrow to display the full width of that, so I cut off the back of her head and stretched the width of her face by about 30 percent. It’s funny how you can stretch and the distort the complete beauty of a woman and end up with the image of man. I’m sure that’s symbolic, just can’t put my tongue on it right now… When I blur my eyes and look at the shape of this one it brings to mind the subject’s “brittle shell nothing more than crumbling bits of ash…” But that wasn’t intended, it just kind of falls into that for me… Thank you for visiting!

  • ayala

    Such a beautiful poem…beautiful imagery…we’ve all been there wanting to scream how we feel…and containing ourselves. I felt the heartbreak and was moved. I read your reply to Jannie, that it was long ago…..and I felt relief. Great write.

  • colleen

    I like the idea of the soul as a blackened chimney and I like all the “vessel” imagery, pouring of the heart, throwing of the coins into the pool. Knowing you talked into the wee hours of the morning made me care.

  • Joanne Sprott (@muselady11)

    Poetic prose, indeed. Several different metaphors (cosmos, fountain and pennies, fireflies in jars), so I felt transported to more than one place. Not sure if I wanted more continuity or not, for the language flows nicely through the emotions felt in all those metaphorical worlds. The pennies and the fountain theme was my favorite, though. The sense of sparkle in love’s meeting, the loneliness of letting go of the heart’s treasure. Great story, but as you know from my verses, story is queen.

    • johnallenrichter

      Hi Joanne…. Yes, metaphors abound in this, for sure, markings of the chaotic emotions that can impede us at the time of a break up. All of them were intentional, though looking at it with a cooler head now that time has passed I think some of them can go away, specifically, “swells of ocean” because it is in the same breath as “fires” and “chimneys” and there is just a clash there, perhaps the “seething inferno that raged into my heart the day I met you” would be better. The intended story here was a man “tossing” away the emotions he doesn’t like, throwing them away to get rid of them… But as he tosses them away he turns them into wishes, hoping that she will return. My intent was to display the incredible love he held for this woman, but the sadness of losing her seems to have pervaded the story without my blessing, but that is so often the case. Thank you for your wonderfully constructive remarks Joanne…. The poet has only one set of eyes but he needs a thousand to be effctive… 🙂

  • Rhyme Me a Smile

    LOVED the poem “The sprinkling bits of stars and heavens have not just lost their meaning…” Amazing words. In times of heartache it is hard (for me) not to look at the sky that way.

    • johnallenrichter

      Hi Rachel!!!!!!! It is totally uncouth for a poet to spout off about his own work, so I shant do that…. but: since this poem came from thin air and was teleported to the little black box in the back of my mind from God or some unknown other source, I really didn’t choose the words myself. So….. That frees me to say that those words, “the sprinkling bits of stars and heavens,” are my favorite too! Thank you for your warm comments and appreciation for this poor soul, a keeper of a black box…

  • waysidewordgarden

    Sad and beautiful, and glad to read as well that this was a long time ago. Love the “copper glances” and pennies in the fountain. Amazing the profile/shape you made- wow!

    • johnallenrichter

      Anna, you have me blushing! Thank you for those kind words… I discovered that by using Microsoft word I can add a picture to the page, in this case a silhouette of a woman, enlarge it, and then change it’s propereties to display behind the text on the page, like a background image. Then simply fill the words line by line, bringing them as close as you can to both edges of the background photo, don’t worry if they don’t reach exactly, just don’t let them go over the edge. Then after you have all lines in the shape, sleect the text, line by line, and change it’s spacing under the properties function… if the line only lacks about an eight of an inch to reach the edge of the shape, then change the spacing to be about 103% of the original, and it will stretch over to meet the edge. It just takes a little practice. If you need it to stretch more, undo it and try 105%… and so on. I discovered that if your line goes over the edge and you try to shrink it, even by typing 99%, then the text loses some of it’s boldness, so that’s why I say try not to go over the edges. When you are done with all the lines delete the background picture and center your poem in the screen. Then hit “Cntrl” plus “Pause/Break” (at the same time) to capture the screen shot into memory. Then open your favorite image editing software, I used the very simple Microsoft Paint program here, and paste the screen shot into it. Then select just the poem from the image and crop it. Then save and upload that image to your blog and you have a shape poem! It took me about half an hour to do this one… But I spent 20 minutes looking for the right silhouette…. note: the spacing adjustments will not carry over to HTML on your blog, so in most cases you will have to use an image of the poem to maintain the perfect edges….. Have fun!

  • Ravenblack

    Like it and enjoyed it. A lot of such poems tend to go into self beating, but I like that you have expressed the grief and pain of missing a person with effective and clear images and metaphors. I can picture the narrator just standing there throwing pennies into the fountain, seemingly calm but radiating sadness as expressed in this poem. But I’m not sure if it’s the heart or the head that tells one to not show it, to keep having an unaffected exterior. Good write!

  • johnallenrichter

    Ravenblack, thank you for this insight…. I’m really happy to see that you picked up on this because other than the thesis of the piece, there was only one thing I wanted to definitely impart upon the reader and that was the subject’s heart telling him that he needed to pretend that it didn’t matter if she left, that he doesn’t care. To me that is a real human emotion and I wanted to explore it. And I think it does come from the heart, but of course the brain has the ability to give power or voice to what the heart wants… A broken heart is dejected and doesn’t want the object of that dejection to know about it…. he wants to hide that from her for whatever reason, pride, maybe… Thank you for noticing that….

  • claudia

    wow john – this is awesome…great imagery and filled to the brim with heavy emotions…the pain…ugh…think that’s my fav by you so far

  • Margaret

    I LOVE the artistry of this, the shape and the words are beautiful. Thank you!

  • Gay Reiser Cannon

    How did I miss this. I apologize if this was linked to FormForAll. It’s not prose–it is ingenious and ingenous–the beauty and simplicity of a heart laid open as though your mind was dissected and displayed for the whole world to see. Isn’t that the truth! That’s what break-ups do to us. Exposed to the ravages of the wild without the one we love.
    This is beautiful. Sorry for not being here until now!

  • John Ecko

    Hello John,

    This is a fantastic visual piece you’ve crafted. I believe you have a real knack for shape poetry. I hope you’re planning on trying a few more. This was a wonderful work to stumble upon. Nicely done. I’ve dabbled a bit myself and find it very stimulating to present poetry/prose in this way–gives it an extra dimension.

    John Ecko.

  • Nicola Kelley Hyser

    I’ve never heard of Shape Poetry before this … This is beautiful in its prose, its imagery, its emotions, and the profile of you staring out “into the ocean” is … just beautiful. Thank you, John!

  • Nicola Kelley Hyser

    Reblogged this on Chasing Pirates and commented:
    I appreciate good poetry — a writing form I don’t believe I have the discipline for. This falls into the category of Shape Poetry, which I’ve just learned about. Heartfelt, beautiful imagery and prose …

  • sonniq

    This is wonderful – the first time I saw it. I’m going to reblog it. thank you for this.

  • sonniq

    Reblogged this on Watch and Whirl and commented:
    John is very talented. His ability with words that enable you to see and feel what he writes cuts right through you so you can feel his heart. he was a treasure to find here at WordPress.

  • nagrij

    Nice. Tried this sort of thing before, it is harder than it looks. Well done.

    • johnallenrichter

      I used Microsoft Word, I don’t know if you can see that I set each line text width slightly differently so that each end would end at a certain point – giving the right-side outline. When you’re done hit Cntrl-Print Screen to capture the image into memory and paste it into an image editor. This one was too large for a single screen so I copied the top half and then the bottom half and then joined the two images together… Give it a try… Thanks for stopping by.

  • Copper Glances | Tapping the Well

    […] Originally posted on johnallenrichter: […]

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