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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!!!
3/15/2019 9:31:13 AM

Victoria Lucas
Posts: 7
Soft light of the lamp
Caresses the image of two young lovers laid silent
Ill would it be to disrupt their quiet intimacy
Joined together in mutual hush,
For moments of loud passion have finished, leaving them comfortable
Knowingly loved, both halves of one whole
Silence does not scream as it used to
Light does not crisp the skin of the fragile
Pupa, swaying in the wind, cocooned in blankets undergoing
Germinating, together as one beautiful moth
Dusted wings and affinity for the light
edited by junkycosmonaut on 3/15/2019
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3/15/2019 1:09:21 PM

Jack Webster
Posts: 132
I think it might help to deconstruct the poem and look at the parts.

So the main image is the lovers in bed, wrapped together in a blanket.

The extended metaphor you've chosen is a chrysalis/coccoon.

The poetic theme you're focusing on is transformation, specifically the transformative power of intimacy, in this case expressed in a physical mode.

There are the ambient details such as lighting and silence

The only real contrast in the poem is contrasting the implied din of physical passion with the silence afterwards.

You've chosen a physical object for the metaphor of the chrysalis. It's comparing a tangible detail to another tangible detail to touch on the theme of transformation.

Another option is to NOT compare the blankets to a chrysalis directly, but describe it similarly in a circumscribed way, and use the metaphor of the chrysalis for something INTANGIBLE like the afterglow: within the shelter of the white blanket, their love grew in the chrysalis of their passion.

So it would be using the tangible detail of the blanket to keep the poem grounded (letting the blanket just be the blanket), using the tangible metaphor of the chrysalis to ground the abstract detail of passion, and using the words shelter and grow to create a thematic context tie blanket, chrysalis, and passion all together into one structure.

I would spend time meditating on what a chrysalis is, or rather what it gives, how does it feel to be inside one. one is that experience like. Words like shelter, grow, and even safety come to mind easily, but I'm sure there are others. It might also feel restrictive, claustrophobic, or it could be peaceful, relaxing knowing that nothing more be done other than be patient. The chrysalis can be just as complex and ambivalent as the human experience, or it can be romantic and sweet too. Whatever you decide to do with the chrysalis, explore ALL of its emotional dimensions, all the things it could be, as this will give you options ready at your fingertips for whatever asks to be written.

The part that I struggle with simply using the blanket to chrysalis metaphor in a tangible to tangible relationship is a real chrysalis only has one thing in it. Using the tangible to tangible metaphor sets up the expectation that the blanket will only have one tangible thing in it, but in this case there are two. A chrysalis does not make two things one. A chrysalis transforms one thing, or allows one thing to grow Using the the intangible to tangible mode allows you to designate their passion as the chrysalis, and offers the convenience of not trying to fit more than one thing in it.

In the blanket there are two things. In the passion there is one. By allowing each to be what it is, the contrast will emphasize the unity rather than belie it. The sex is a physical metaphor for the intangible unity, it allows the expression of a unity that is not physically possible (though I suppose a child is the literal actualization of the physical unity).

I would remove the lines from Light to wind about the pupa. It was so literal it jarred me out of the scene and i was no longer certain if the passion was a metaphor for a real pupa or if the pupa was intended to be the metaphor.

I would take out the description of the lamp light. I would take out Shh. I would take out "ill it would be ill".

I would open the poem with a stronger line. Maybe:

Lovers lay in the quiet


Loud passion satisfied


Loud passion satisfied,
lovers lay in the quiet

something like that. 'Loud' is a weighty syllable, a diphthong and a voiced consonant to close the syllable (a weight of 3 morae). 'Passion' begins with a plosive consonant (as in explosive), and the sa- in satisfied carries the 'a' sound, giving it staying power, and the sh sound in passion and the s sounds in satisfied do hungry things with the teeth.

If you wish to keep the description of lighting, begin simply with:

Lovers lay in the lamplight.

which has good alliteration with the 'l' sounds. It's unnecessary to say the lamplight is soft, because we feel the softness with the 'l' sounds. We know is is not the harsh corpse-like light of a streetlamp. So you could do:

Loud passion satisfied
lovers lay in the lamplight

Immediately there is contrast, the weight and force of the first line transforms into something softer in the second line. (contrasting the sound this way is thematic. It will be rare people will notice it, perhaps, but it is expressing the theme through use of sound.) The 'l' in loud is no longer overshadowed by the force of physical passion, but takes centerstage in the quiet glow, and then you are on your way into the rest of the poem.

Let things speak for themselves, and use the craft to showcase the best of what they have to say.

Don't explain; say it plain, but plain can still be beautiful.

(always read your work aloud as you write, unless you're in a workshop hahaha.)
edited by superlativedeleted on 3/15/2019
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