When I read your first stanza, first thing that came up in my mind was: "He must be very awake early in the morning, noticing all of these details, aren't people supposed to be sleepy, he must be a morning bird, or he's sipping at his coffee" lol
I have to admit it was rather hard to get through your first stanza. It takes time to get into so many details. But when I got into it, I think I was fascinated by the cohesion of your imagery. Nothing random going on, everything fit in perfectly, even the corpse in the second stanza, due to your subtle hints. It seems like you've put a lot of thought in your first two stanzas, both alliteration and assonance remarkably mixed into your words. So I think these stanzas are perfect as they are. Even though I just can't figure out what putting your tea in the microwave has to do with putting in too much milk. Am I lacking some common sense here? o.o Fascinating nonetheless. Maybe I'm just dumb.
I think I enjoyed your second stanza most. First of all because of the skill shining through. Second of all, because you let the reader SEE your feeling and even allowed him/her to IMAGINE the situation you must be in (maybe recently married, or recently living together, hence only noticing these "flaws" now, or maybe it's not even about a lover, the possibilities are endless).
Somehow I think you must've rushed the transition to the ending a bit. Maybe you didn't quite know how to get to the ending while you already knew you'd end it with the ironic line of "On my way home I stop / to buy petrol, and milk."
While the first two stanzas were quite firm, the third seemed to be a bit loose. While I'm aware that you're supposed to be the day-dreaming persona of this poem (despite noticing so many details in the morning, lol), seeing that you use terms such as "vaguely" ... I think this stanza could still be a little bit firmer, if only just to fit better with the rest. A bit of changing qua tenses could already help a lot. Ending your verbs on -"ing"s and the exclusion of some "I"s could just make things a little bit continuous.
So I suggest changing this line:
"I find myself driving around the block after work.
I look at the road and listen to the radio"
"I find myself driving around the block after work,
looking at the road and listening to the radio"
And I think this line:
"I sometimes forget that I am on an island."
Sounds better if it were this:
"Sometimes I forget that I am on an island."
^ Because it stands out from the rest, but a little connection is needed. Beginning a completely other line with "I" only separates it more from the rest. Hence the suggestion of swapping the words around. If I were to write this I'd probably separate this line from the rest, altogether. It just doesn't feel quite right sticking it to the rest. But I don't think you're seeking such a dramatic effect, so the only thing left to do is moulding it to fit with the rest. =p
Loved the ending line, ironic and blunt. I liked the contrast of petrol and milk. For some reason I thought the petrol to be "masculine" and the milk to be "feminine", kind of funny you're buying them, yet the female is wasting the milk. (Not trying to insult you here, haha.) It's really interesting to ponder about the meaning of the milk. Your words suggest that milk holds importance, but the reader just can't figure out what it is. Nice write!
Well this is just a first-reading response, but in regards to meaning of milk (which I have just pondered more that I ever have in my life), to me it seems like a symbol for a disenchantment with the speaker's life.
"She never told me..." combined with details such as soot, corpse-like cereal, the phrases "too vaguely" and "I can hardly stand to watch", and the idea that the speaker is on an island seem to suggest a forlorn loneliness, one that the speaker despises and seems to associate with the woman who is being scrutinized.
Just a few thoughts.
The last thought, of having to buy petrol and milk, was what cemented this poem for me. It was delivered at just the right moment, with precisely the right words. Beautiful.
Well, i must say, i really liked this poem. I thought it had that funny side of it that had me glued from the beginning.
6 years ago
When I read this poem I first thought that this was about milk and nothing else, when I read it another time, I still think that this is about milk and nothing else... well, though there is one stanza that makes me doubt it...
"I find myself driving around the block after work,
looking at the road and listening to the radio
a little too vaguely, a little too colourfully.
Sometimes I forget that I am on an island."
When I first read it, I felt that that was a bit out of place or that it needed some more info.. something that went with the relationship with the milk. However, after thinking about it, I think it works great with the rest of the poem.
The impression that I got from this piece is that the author feels that there is no need to buy more milk because the lady doesn't even drink it all.
By the way, this part:
" And putting her tea in the microwave
because she put in too much milk."
reminded me of the times, I have had to put my warm coffee on the microwave to heat it up after I added too much cold milk.. lol
Nice touch to the poem.
5 years ago
This is fantastic colm,
I love the imagery you create by the lines
She is a terrible milk waster. She never told me before
that she leaves a pond in her cereal bowl
to buoy a few corpse-like corn-flakes,
abandoning it on the sink and rushing to work.
You have taken something small that probably happens to us all, (I will watch my wife now)
and turned it into a great poem of fine detail.
If I was to look a little deeper this could be a poem about that point in the relationship where you start to bug each other, the last line points to monotony