Dear reader, I’m curious: of the versions below, which do you prefer (if either), and why?
They built a grand monument to the dead
And the place where the stone was quarried
Soon filled up with rainwater
And the young couples would meet there.
Built to commemorate the dead
This palace stands, untenanted.
By the still pool in the quarry pit
The lovers sometimes come to sit.
Image: Quarry Reflection by Flickr user John-Paul Verkamp, published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0) license.
I like the second version better but wonder why the lines breaks are so different.
The first makes an explicit link between memorial and quarry, implicitly between the dead and the living. The second makes you work harder, and you either make the right links or the ‘wrong’ ones (except we’d never know). For me the first one works better — no rhymes but a less contrived air, more direct. But I do like the line “This palace stands, untenanted”.
I prefer the second. It’s more succinct and poignant to me.