Maura.H.Harrison- poem Shash Careening Thrash



Maura H. Harrison is a writer, photographer, and fiber artist from Fredericksburg, VA. She is currently an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at the University of St. Thomas, Houston.  Her works have appeared in Dappled Things, Ekstasis Magazine, Amethyst Review, Solum Journal, Heart of Flesh Literary Magazine, Trampoline, Clayjar Review, and others.

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23 Responses

  1. Jeremiah Johnson

    “. . . . what rough beast, its hour come at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?”

  2. Phil L. Flott

    What skillful rhyme. She had me–I didn’t even notice until after a few lines. Bravo!

  3. V. Paige Parker

    Excellent iambic pentameter and rhyming couplets, Maura! I enjoyed Shakespeare’s divided lines, too! It’s a frightening poem, full of plausible concerns. Well done!

  4. Joseph S. Salemi

    I normally don’t like split lines, but in this case they actually work and serve a purpose. Sometimes they reinforce words that are powerfully auditory (“crack,” “crash,” “smash”), and in other places they introduce an imagined dialogue, or a question-and-answer interchange. And the fact that the meter and rhymes are perfect makes the poem as smooth and flowing as oil.

  5. Cynthia Erlandson

    What a vivid description of a thunderstorm and the thoughts that it brings. The last line is especially marvelous!

  6. Daniel Kemper

    I want to compliment Evan on maintaining the formatting– that can be quite a bugger beyond belief. I see that he used a screencap to preserve it, which only shows resourcefulness and practicality. Bravo!

    Next, I love the precise diction and equally precise, surefooted meter, the combination of which made me wince with jealousy.

    In L3, I get the iconic use of anacrusis here, but I always pick at metrical deviations, I can’t help it. The artistic choice is well justified and the impact satisfies.

    Since the rest of the poem is so perfect, the rosary/tree rhyme stood out. The meter is strong enough that the ‘y’ of rosary lifts, and there’s an argument that it illustrates the strain behind the prayer, but maybe something better could be made of it. Lifted syllables work better when the line doesn’t end with them. I never like to be one who stands on the sidelines and throws stones, so let me venture a few take-or-toss suggestions.

    go solar, pray the rosary [^ ee]
    or flee/don’t flee/for me/
    Go solar, pray the rosary? We’ll see.

    By the ending, I get a really strong subterranean vibe of Yeats’ “Second Coming.”

    I love the sounds and the placement in this poem. I’m not typically a fan of the text placement, but it just works so well here.

    I’m not sure about the choice of river/shiver. Feminine rhyme is totally fine, but like a scarlet, silk pocket square, the outfit that it’s matched against matters. I wonder if [ … stream/ … dream/together] could work. And nothing lost by continuing the stream sentence with “and boil it.” My point here is that the precision of flow isn’t usefully interrupted here. That flow, some might argue, pulls against the chaotic-ness and finality of the poem; however, I think it works perfectly on several counts.

    First, irony is a totally legit enterprise. If it were only irony, that would be fine. Second. The flow is so precise that it induces a trance in this vision, the variety of scene, line breaks, composition by field, etc. merely serves to make this vision take us on an intensely interesting ride, not just a dolorous chant.

    My thoughts on the use of feminine rhyme are the opposite for wonder/thunder. To me, they fit much better because of how their onomatopoeia, their vibrations set up the final booms. (Also serving as a closure device.)

    So long as I’m being hyper focused, let me say that I found the choice of “its” in the final line a fascinating touch. It could be the doom of the doom itself, as though this angel of death were to consume itself as it consumes itself. Or “its” can be straightforward, meaning the doom it has for us.

    I also love the varied sentence lengths. Those work wonderfully at times running me out of breath, at times straightening me up with a sudden burst. Those were layered wonderfully. I’m running on and on now into disorganization. So much to savor in this poem.

    All in all we’re really dealing in rare air here. This is exquisite.

    • M Harrison

      gosh, I am overwhelmed by the serious reflection you gave this poem. Thank you so much. It is greatly appreciated and I will give all of your comments thoughtful consideration.

  7. Daniel Kemper

    I was composing my reply offline and LOOK! Someone else got the Yeats vibe too. That’s awesome!!

    • M Harrison

      Oh, thank you for Mayakovsky’s name. I am not familiar with his work but look forward to exploring this path.

  8. Monika Cooper

    This is such a “these days” poem. You both get inside the racing thoughts of the anxious mind and stand a little outside it so that there’s a gentle humor running through the narrative. “Will Baby even eat a bean?” I love it.

    Also love the suggestion at the end that the storm may be a good thing (not safe but good), with a wonder in its wings, signalling the demise of “something awful.”

    (Come what may, we will indeed say the rosary!)

    • M Harrison

      Yes! We will indeed say the rosary! Thank you for your comments. They are appreciated.

  9. Jeremiah Johnson

    from Yeats’s “The Second Coming” – I was immediately reminded of that poem on reading yours. And I mean that as a compliment!

  10. Margaret Coats

    Maura, this can be a storm on one level, but ten times you go to apocalypse words and ideas, and I have to be glad the doom here is only a poem–very successful as such. I wouldn’t want to burn books in order to boil water!

  11. C.B. Anderson

    This is surprising and surprisingly good. For every convention you have abused you have elevated at least two others. You made me pay attention, which is one of the hardest things to do.

    • M Harrison

      thank you for the comments. I guess the crazy split lines do abuse the reader a bit….thanks for the endurance!


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