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For poets who want unrestricted constructive criticism. This is NOT a vanity workshop. If you do not want your poem seriously critiqued, do not post here. Constructive criticism only. PLEASE Only Post One Poem a Day!!!
6/9/2010 3:41:24 AM

Charlotte Aitken
Posts: 10
Staring at my reflection, but she will not look at me,
Maybe she knows something that I’m too blind to see.
That look of disappointment for the things I haven’t done,
Bitter sweet resentment for what I’ve now become.

She aspired to be better than what stares at her right now,
A world of opportunity that this reflection won’t allow.
The hopes and dreams she harboured, but now it’s all too late
Now all her secret ambitions rest in the hands of fate.

The never ending rat race seems to be just a silly game,
Doing as everyone else, so that we all end up the same.
Her naive ideas are empty because life has other plans
Her fragile future is balanced in my weak and trembling hands.

In a puff of smoke I abandon her ever scornful glare;
The pressure of expectation is all too much to bear.
Crawling along the bottom where judgment is reserved
Reality is but an illusion, so sit back and observe.

She warned me of the dangers this road would lead me to
Avoiding life itself would surely never see me through.
The prospects slowly dwindle like the fickle hands of time
The burdening responsibility I never wanted to be mine.

A conflicted soul is torn by the things it cannot see,
Jekyll and Hyde rage on down in the darkest part of me.
Assessing two perspectives that merge themselves as one
Now I’m left here wondering which soul I have become.

Trying to see my reflection, but finding nothing there
Maybe she’s given up and found her ‘self’ elsewhere.
That gentle part of me has finally given up the ghost
And now I’m stuck with me, the one that I fear most.
edited by charl_hotter on 6/9/2010
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6/9/2010 7:56:23 AM

Spade Sincuna
Posts: 28
I'm just going to get my point across.

The initial problem I see here is that you use too many words, too many lines to give out a message. As a consequence, the poem becomes boring, it obviously lack figures of speech.

First rule in poetry as well is that you should SHOW AND NOT TELL. An abundance use of words often just works on narrative or prose poetry.

Here's an example from Jeffrey McDaniel's poem that easily defeats or reciprocates your first stanza:

I remember your eyes: fifty attack dogs on a single leash.

^ Sense the use of imagery and metaphor there. And he limited what you have written in four long lines to one single short line.

I can explain further if you have any question. But if that's the style you want to keep, then fine.
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6/9/2010 9:35:14 AM

Charlotte Aitken
Posts: 10
Hi - yes I agree with what you're saying - it needs more subtlety. These are quite old poems and I've been wanting advise on how to re-work them, and of course, this is a great place to start. Cutting down the length of the lines is my first point of call. Any more advise you can give would be gratefully recieved, and thank you for taking the time to say what you have. Charlotte
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6/10/2010 4:15:50 AM

Spade Sincuna
Posts: 28
If you're really passionate in re-modeling your old poem, then may I suggest starting first with writing for yourself a detailed expression about each stanza. In that case, you'll know what you intend to say and would therefore give yourself an organized step ladder on how you want your poem to be.

If what you want to show in the first stanza is the feeling of the narrator of self-alienation that doesn't only hurt him/herself but also the loved one, then ask yourself (for the sake of improvement), how can you show that poetically? What figures of speech could you use?

example:

Just like how Lot never turned his back,
leaving his past behind with the heart of his wife
slowly turning into stone.

- just a sudden type there. Here we may see a biblical metaphor of the narrator being Lot (who was asked by an angel, together with his wife to not look behind them while the city was burning, or else they would turn into stone). In the metaphor, Lot (the narrator) did not bother looking back (at the past), but his wife (narrator's loved one) did, because its the human thing to do (to reflect at the past) - to view human suffering and feel sympathy), and in turn, Lot's wife was the one who suffered (turn into stone), well metaphorically speaking, the "she" in your first stanza suffers from what Lot (the narrator) couldn't see.

^ Now if you do use this metaphor, there would be a consequence of maybe using the same metaphor for the whole poem. But since you plan on re-modeling this old poem, I don't think you should end up writing more than 4 stanzas to get your point across.

Good luck and I'll keep commenting if you need anymore help.
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