1. Presence
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    Presence Member

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    punctuation assistance...

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Presence, Jun 10, 2014.

    Hi. I need help with one punctuation:

    "Remain in this presence, attention of mine;
    Give less power to what happens in time."

    Perhaps I've read the first line far too many times, confusing myself utterly, but I want the phrase, "attention of mine" to sound like the speaker is speaking to 'attention' and telling it to "Remain in this presence."
    I fear it may sound like a continuation, as in the phrase, "Remain in this presence, this attention of mine."

    So, my question is about the comma: does the it serve the purpose I want it to? Is there a more precise punctuation? I'm tempted to just throw down a colon and then run...but I thought I would check in with you folks before upsetting old lady grammar.

    Thanks.

    -MichaeL
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    "Remain in this presence, attention of mine;
    Give less power to what happens in time."

    Not sure I understand the sentence out of context. But just looking at the punctuation, either change the semicolon to a period or the capital G to lower case. My preference is the latter. Otherwise I believe the punctuation is fine.
     
  3. Presence
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    Presence Member

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    The G is capitalized because the lines are from a poem.
     
  4. Presence
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    Presence Member

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    ...and the context is the speaker is telling 'attention' to do two things: remain in this presence and give less power to what happens in time.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I'm not aware poetry is subject to different rules of punctuation and capitalization. Someone else will need to help you.
     
  6. Presence
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    Presence Member

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    Well, you could see it this way:

    "Remain in this presence, attention of mine; give less power to that which happens in time."
     
  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    That's better as far as punctuation. If you want it on two lines, why not just use a period instead of a semicolon?

    I like the first half of the sentence.

    The second half confuses me. Everything "happens in time" so it's not clear what you mean.
     
  8. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I think the way you have it is clear enough.
     
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  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    capitalizing every line hasn't been the standard for poetry for nearly a century... nowadays, it's only done for greeting cards or schlocky wall hangings...

    capitalization/punctuation of poetry, if done at all [much of it isn't] should follow the same rules as prose... and semicolons or colons are seldom called for/used...

    for those lines, better choice would be a period, an em dash, or ellipsis...
     
  10. Presence
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    Presence Member

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    The reason for the semicolon to allow for the two clauses to share a sense of intimacy or continued flow when read.

    Interesting reaction to the second line. It's clear the speaker doesn't believe everything happens in time. In the same sense of the questions: Does space happen in time? Does silence? If time ceased to exist, what would remain? The line isn't meant to be clear intellectually, but to be calming and felt intuitively.

    I'll look into revising it.
    Thank you.
     
  11. Presence
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    Presence Member

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    I'm a big fan of capitalization.
    Any chance I can, I'll do it.
    It's so lovely.
     
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  12. GingerCoffee
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    I had to 'like' the contrast. @mammamaia is the only person on the forum that thinks hitting the shift key takes up too much energy.

    As for the semicolon vs the period, you expect the second clause to be clear to the readers but you don't trust them to see the two sentences are connected when they follow each other in a poem?

    My other question is, just what were you looking for in the OP? I told you the punctuation error and you resisted. Just what is your concern?
     
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  13. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Yes. The comma in "Remain in this presence, attention of mine" is absolutely correct as the are referring to 'attention of mine' as you would refer to a person and if you sub the three words for a name, you would need the comma:

    Remain in this presence, Geoffrey.

    For the rest of the punctuation, I would change the semi-colon for a comma but still use the capital G on the second line. I'm a big fan of poetry lines all starting with capital letters as the commas/full stops show how its read.

    Remain in this presence, attention of mine,
    Give less power to what happens in time.
    Then this line would end with a comma,
    And this one ends with a full stop.

    (obviously not all poetry follows these rules)
     
  14. Presence
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    Yeah. That does look pretty clean and simple. I suppose the semicolon isn't entirely necessary due to the format of the poem.

    I was looking for multiple perspectives to choose from in the OP.
    Mm...resistance. If only I could resist you!:love:
    Seriously though, the period just didn't cut it. Sorry. We're still friends. I promise.
     

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