As I Looked: SJ Murphy

This poem has been written for One Stop Poetry’s Octain Form Challenge – see it here. I’ve attempted a few new forms over the past couple of months including Triolet, Villanelle and Haiku – I think I’ve enjoyed this form the most. Stop by and have a go yourself. Hope you enjoy the poem ~

As I looked out at crested waves
wind afar changed yesterday’s scene:
calm and mirrored some say serene.

I’ve sailed the seas numbered seven
people died and we had to hide:
some went to a place called Heaven.

Beauty – and dismay – all I’ve seen
As I looked out at crested waves.

Click the link to take you to an audio clip of the poem ~ย As I Looked

I would be grateful, if you guys at One Stop have the time, if you could critique it for me. I think I’ve captured the important elements and syllable count you’ve mentioned – I’d be most interested in meter, subject matter and if you think word changes here and there would add to it. Thanks for looking, no worries if you don’t get a chance to critique.


21 thoughts on “As I Looked: SJ Murphy

  1. ‘wind afar’ would feel more comfortable to me as ‘winds afar’… in fact, I’d prefer ‘a far wind blew and changed the scene’… It’s a much more comfortable line to read aloud…

  2. Thanks Jinksy – I was having trouble with the word yesterday and I like your suggestion – thanks for popping over and commenting – always appreciated :))

  3. Hi Steve, love the poem. The only line that pulled me up was
    ‘some went to a place called Heaven.’
    To me it seemed a bit hard for a gentle concept. Maybe something more along the lines of
    some reside, at rest, in Heaven…
    not that I am in any way an expert…just a softie! Well done on this High Octain – such a challenge wasn’t it?

  4. I liked your work. It does conform to the rules, and I like the suggestions others have made for it too. I particularly like the suggestion about “wind afar”. I’m unsure whether it’s the generality of the phrase or the rhythm that doesn’t quite work but it’s an easy fix. I think we’re all finding the form challenging. I know I am. Thank you, Gay

  5. Thanks for the comment Sally and the critique – much appreciated ! Yes it was a challenge – I really do like the One Stop challenges when I have the time to spare for them. I think the harshness in that line comes subconsciously from my disbelief in anything Heavenly – poetic license allowed me to use it – I really like your suggestion and will consider harshness in softer pieces in the future – thanks again !!

  6. Thanks for the comment Gay – I like and am very grateful for all the comments and critiques – a great way to improve one’s art [so to speak]. A challenging form indeed but a great way to move away from the comfort zones ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. You were much braver than me Steve attempting the high octain, it’s not written in iambs, but I don’t think it needs to be only 8 syllables per line as per Lukes specifications. Is the subject matter a metaphor for Rapture? I got stuck in purgatory!

    1. Hi RS, no no metaphor for rapture – it’s an episode I’ve written a few poems about when the ship I was on responded to a mayday call from a sinking ship – we were too late as other ships in the area – it was a long time ago but keeps cropping up when I write. Thanks for the comment – I’ll pop over and have a look at yours in the morning unfortunately I’m on my way to work for the night at the moment.

  8. hey steve – cool you gave it another go! really like your piece – few “complaints” though…ha…

    As I looked out at crested waves (A) should rhyme with (a)
    wind afar changed yesterdayโ€™s scene:
    calm and mirrored some say serene.

    Iโ€™ve sailed the seas numbered seven (a)
    people died and we had to hide: c/c – the first c rhyme should be on the fourth syllable – yours is on the third – but you can change this easily by making it for example (when people died we had to hide)
    some went to a place called Heaven. (a)

    Beauty โ€“ and dismay โ€“ all Iโ€™ve seen
    As I looked out at crested waves.

  9. I love where you have taken the form and believe that shifting the meter to iambic tetrameter throughout will make your poem sing. Your refrains and S2 L1 are in iambic tetrameter and when you read them out loud, the rocking rhythm of the meter enhances the message.I used to write by syllable counts and was a tough convert.

    This is a beautiful octain refrain.


  10. Hi Claudia, thanks so much for the comments and a special thank you for the free poetry lesson ๐Ÿ™‚ all of the points you’ve mentioned I did miss in the quick read through of Luke’s form explanation [my bad] and especially the rhyming of A/a/a and of course the rhyme of syllable 4/8 on line 5 – your critique was exactly what I wanted – thank you very much !

    1. hey steve – just learned from luke that the c/c doesn’t have to be on the 4th syllable necessarily…sorry – i assumed it because in all of luke’s octains this is the case…sorry for telling you something wrong..

      1. No worries – thanks for getting back to me – I’ll take all the comments and look forward to more octains & higher octains – thanks again for the critique !! :))

  11. Thanks very much for the comment Beth – I’ll have to go research the form more – I really liked doing this challenge and I think I will use this form more often – this was my first attempt at an octain – but feel I’ve really learnt a valuable lesson – both from writing it and all the helpful comments – thank you !

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