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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 434 Response

“Search Light” and “My Sculpted Garden”

with Tom Wylie and John Stocks

In Thomas F. Wylie’s “Search Light”:
  1. How might the poem be read as a companion to John Stocks’ “My Sculpted Garden”?
  2. Assuming a common theme, in what way do the two poems differ?

I like John Stocks’ poem; I sense similarities but also differences with my own.

In many respects “My Sculpted Garden” emits a feeling that is a counterpoint to “Search Light,” i.e. arrival at a certain sense of place; a going back to a center for hoped-for nourishment and renewal.

The poems are similar in that each is a journey. “Search Light” is more uncertain and unknown — with an emotion of fretfulness — of “Will I ever get there?” and John’s “Sculpted Garden” suggests that arrival is a real possibility. Too, with the talk of the seasons and weather John’s poem offers a sense of ritual that perhaps, in spite of “fractured rapture” has a certain predictability.

I love the last line “within the daring instant I am born.” I find that to be beautiful, subtle, and strong; leaves the reader with a bit of “afterglow” of the possible.

Tom Wylie

Hi Tom,

Don forwarded me your message and kind words about my poetry. ‘Searchlight’ is a fine way to open your ‘BwS’ account. The extended metaphor holds its shape throughout the poem, and you touch on emotions that are accessible to all. My favourite lines are:

gathering soaked-up images
thoughts and words,
shedding small rays of light

I assume a fine take on life’s random accumulations? I think you should definitely keep it going. ‘soaked-up images’ speaks clearly to me.

Glancing at your profile — mine is probably 10 years out of date — I see we share a few common obsessions, both physical and emotional. In the context of running, however, I would see you as a mere speck in the distance. I am more of a cart horse lumbering over great distances.

I am sure that you will enjoy contributing to Bewildering Stories Don and the rest of his team are a remarkable bunch of people, and there are other contributors on here that I have found to be inspirational. Check out Oonah V. Joslin for one, and the Argentinian-American poet Carmen Ruggero.

If there is a finer or better maintained on-line writing community than here I have yet to find it. Look forward to reading more of your work.

Best wishes.


Tom, thank you for sharing your thoughtful insights. As I like to say, I’m always learning something. And that’s precisely what Bewildering Stories is all about. You’ve come to the right place, Tom.

John, thank you for your kind words! Our Quarterly Reviews alone prove how much you’ve helped make Bewildering Stories what it is.

Don Webb
Managing Editor
Bewildering Stories

Copyright © 2011 by Tom Wylie
and John Stocks
and Bewildering Stories

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