I have a poem, which I wrote a few months ago. In fact, I have two very different versions of it (and various drafts for each).
One draft sprawls all over the place. There’s a television showing news from an unnamed city on which bombs are raining down in the dark. The poem moves to an afternoon beach scene, back to the living room and TV, then to the narrator and his computer, then a panning out to a telescopic view of the living room and TV, then right into the TV and onto a scene from the bombed city not seen onscreen. The common thread is the emotional distance and helplessness of the cut-off narrator.
The other version is much simpler and thematically coherent. It starts from the telescopic view of the room, moves to the TV, moves to the image not seen by the camera lens. The theme is similar, but more obvious. The emotional distance and helplessness of the narrator is shown purely between himself and the TV screen.
This second version is much more direct, has a logical linear progression, and is much easier to understand on a single reading. It's how a textbook might tell you to write a poem. The first version makes more demands of a reader, is longer, and probably more puzzling.
I much prefer the first version. But perhaps that’s because I like being awkward and indirect. And maybe that’s not so much what readers like. Or editors.
It could also be that I am wrong and the second version is superior. Or it could be that neither version is any good!
Anyway, I’ll post both versions below, and leave them for 48 hours. Honest comments welcome.