This Poem was Submitted By: Mark D. Kilburn On Date: 2003-10-09 13:11:24 . . . Click Here To Mail this Poem to a Friend!

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Clouds and Curtains

That long back cloud or curtain that engulfs us all in fates time is resting on my horizon vulture-like, shadowing my path  and future, camouflaging my positives while basking in my doubt, sapping my strength and fogging my mind like the disease drugs I take, they work fifty percent of the time, great odds in Vegas. I donít stare at the curtain, just feel it out there lurking like some great  Hollywood storm,  erupting on cue, to scare me off my path. When courage is needed I often steal it from the elderly and tenderly young victims who so bravely face  the worst thatís out there, losing in the end but always smilingÖ I steal their omnipotent courage and get ready for my next shot. The cloud or curtain could be vultures massing  more trance than thought  to make you accepting, keep you in bed a little longer each day; we have to feel bad  before we can feel good. Sunshine still clears the mind if only a brief clarity,  still a blessing and gratitude a key. You quickly gather your positives and absorb  moments of focus like the  sunís warmth. A magnet  equaling trust which is all  we have to keep curtains of  vultures away from our horizons  as long as possible- I take my shot and pillsÖ

Copyright © October 2003 Mark D. Kilburn


This Poem was Critiqued By: Rachel F. Spinoza On Date: 2003-11-07 10:56:27
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.88889
Clouds and Curtains This is an interesting title. It leads us into the poem with a philosophical dichotomy as we are drawn to consider the differences between a cloud cover and a curtain - re questions of - mortality these are soft and subtle allusions. That long back [do you mean "black" cloud or is this a shrouded background here?} cloud or curtain that engulfs us all in fates time is resting on my horizon [a personal horizon! Fascinating!} ["It is a vulture" -sometimes metaphors are more powerful than similes] shadowing my path and future, camouflaging my positives while basking [great verb choice!}in my doubt, sapping my strength and fogging my mind like the [medicines?} I take, they work fifty percent of the time, great odds in Vegas. I donít stare at the curtain, just feel it out there lurking like some great Hollywood storm, [a fake storm..wow] erupting on cue, [ GREAT] to scare me off my path. When courage is needed I often steal it [wonderful surprising thought] from the elderly and tenderly young victims who so bravely face the worst [-thatís out there], losing in the end but always smilingÖ I steal their omnipotent courage and get ready for my next shot. Very painful and sensitive writing which tells a powerful poignant tale The cloud or curtain could be vultures massing [amazing visual] more trance than thought to make you accepting, keep you in bed a little longer each day; # [stazna break ] we have to feel bad before we can feel good. Sunshine still clears the mind if only [briefly], still a blessing and gratitude a key.[wonderful] You quickly gather your positives and absorb moments of focus like the sunís warmth. A magnet equaling trust which is all we have to keep curtains of vultures away[great visual] from our horizons as long as possible- I take my shot and pillsÖ Fine, poignant and well written piece.If it is autobiographical I wish you the best. Rachel


This Poem was Critiqued By: Jordan Brendez Bandojo On Date: 2003-11-02 08:58:13
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.86486
Hi Mark, Here comes another poem that brings essential symbolisms of life. I like the way you associated the positives and negatives of our thoughts and lives through the use of clouds and curtains. I like the pairing of these two words which interestingly buddied with the letter 'c'! The first stanza presents the how these clouds or curtains manifest in your thoughts, shadowing your path and future. These could be the obstacles that bar the your way in the struggle of life. You described that these clouds and curtains are universal which of course affect not only you but engulfing everybody. The symbolism seems to be simple yet forceful and true in nature. I like the use of horizon to represent insight and vision. It is again a wonderful symbolism. The description "vulture-like" is surprising and seems to bring an emotion of fear. Yep, it is true because of its effects like: shadowing your path and future, camouflaging your positives while, basking in your doubt, etc. A little technical thought here: Maybe you can say "on my vulture-like horizon" instead of "on my horizon vulture-like". I prefer the former. Anyway, just a thought and it is a matter of preference. The association of Vegas enhances the originality of the concept. The second stanza is expounding the symbolism of curtain. The use of simile concretize the idea, "lurking like some great Hollywood storm". Once again, just like Vegas, the mention of Hollywood is effective to enhance originality. I sometimes make use of this technique in my poetry. I like the way courage is valued to counteract these scary curtains in life. And you gave practical ways how you manage to possess courage in yourself. The last stanza is further reinforcing the idea of clouds and curtains. It also cites practical ways how to manage oneself to fight against it. It is true that sometimes it is good to have these clouds and curtains on our lives because when these come, we realize responsibility and we started to search for light. You quickly gather your positives and absorb moments of focus like the sunís warmth. I like the idea. It is hopeful and the positive action is evident. You just gave us a philosphy that is essential to apply to apply as we continue to struggle against these vultures of curtains. Thank you very much for sharing this significant piece, Mark. No wonder to have it in the winner's list. That is why I opted to give it a shot! Best regards, Jordan
This Poem was Critiqued By: Sherri L Smith On Date: 2003-11-01 09:33:01
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.38462
Dear Mark, Just a comment on this powerful poem. I also have a "black" curtain, but it is depression that I fight constantly. As the days get shorter, so does my joy. I can't identify with the shots and the pills but I can certainly identify with the feelings and emotions of the rest of the poem. Hang in there, Sherri
This Poem was Critiqued By: Joanne Duval Morgan On Date: 2003-10-15 07:01:35
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Oh Mark, as I read this poem a eruption of though engulfs me. I understand the curtain (more substance) or cloud (more mystical), for you show definate thoughts of what most universal thoughts consist in all of us. Actually my preference would be the clouds, and I refuse the curtain, my omnipotent courgae is awakening each more, and waiting for those shafts of sunlight to warm the spirit, now sometimes there isn't that tangible proof each day, but it is in the spirit, my preference the clouds for they disipate with time, and new clouds form (thoughts and action, the purpose of life I think), and only I can accomplish that glow. Why do we fight, grit our teeth, go on when adversity strikes us, simple, refusal to accept in our mind (spirit) that tangible fact, that everything comes to an end, and if and when that final curtain falls, I pray Ive suceeded in my purpose of life, and the fact I always see the life sustaining sun regardless of the aging, ill, or disability, there is always purpose in our lives all we have to do is recognize it, see my preference for clouds, airy and possible disipation, with new brilliant forms each time, the curtain seems so final, so I don't dwell on it, and for sure getting out of bed, now is the reluctance to leave the warmth and comfort to face each day, well worth the effort though, going on is the preference regardless of drawbacks. Love the thoughts the poem consists of, any of us may apply it to self, the clarity is there, the intent maintained, and wellspoken, neat thought process brought in this poem, I really enjoyed the encounter with your latest submission, good going, as usual. My best wishes, plugging ion, a little harder now, but plugging on.....Jo Morgan
This Poem was Critiqued By: Irene E Fraley On Date: 2003-10-12 11:12:30
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.57143
Hello Mark, This is very powerful writing. The poem reads well. It flows from one perspective to another smoothly, and accurately describes the flux of emotions when one is dealing with a disabeling or life threatening disease. As I read the poem I felt that the poem was about fighting cancer, and I identified with the struggle with depression and fear that you are facing. How wonderful is the human spirit that in spite of a disease that saps energy and medications that sap energy even more and cause you to feel even worse, still fight to maintain hope and the drive to live and find the sunshine. "When courage is needed I often steal it from the elderly and tenderly young victims who so bravely face the worst thatís out there, losing in the end but always smilingÖ I steal their omnipotent courage" This is so true for most all of us. We are supported by the example of others, and strive to emulate their grace. The use of "tenderly young" has impact on the reader. It is the child who leads in the world of the Shadow. The other line that impacted upon me very strongly was, "we have to feel bad before we can feel good." So many of us have heard this, hated it, loved it, hung on to it in fighting all sort of dis-eases; both physical and mental. Unfortunately, it is true. The poem is good. It shows the courage of a man fighting for his life in every way that is humany ppossible, and may help others to fight for theirs as well. It tells us in a wonderful way who is at the heart of you. Thank you for this poem and your power of example, Rene Fraley
This Poem was Critiqued By: marilyn terwilleger On Date: 2003-10-09 21:56:24
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
Hi Mark, I must tell you that this poem really speaks to me as I have traveled a similar path as you describe here. Your words are full of emotion, doubt..."vulture like, shadowing my path"..."sapping my strength... fogging my mind"...powerful words especially when read by someone who has felt these things and survived them...."I don't stare at the curtain, just feel it out there lurking..." I used a mental wall..was 31 years old at the time and told I had 3 months to live...that was more than 30 years ago. That mental wall has served me well as I still use it to insulate me from whatever 'slings and arrows' are aimed my way. You write that you steal courage from the elderly and the young who so bravely face what is out there. However, I am almost certain that they see you as the brave and strong one, relying on yourself to manage each day and the pain you face every hour...."You quickly grab your postitives and asorb moments of focus, like the sun's warmth"...these are words of strength that you reach deep down inside to find, and they will always be there for you even tho you are sure there are no more strengths to pull on. This is a wonderful poem and one I wish I had been able to read all those many years ago when I thougth my life was over. I am hoping that you have written this about someone else but it is so well crafted and done with such profound emotion that I must believe you are living the words. If so I pray for you and if not you will certainly know that I really got into each line you have written. Blessings...Marilyn
This Poem was Critiqued By: Claire H. Currier On Date: 2003-10-09 19:06:24
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.60000
Clouds and Cutains is certainly a good title for not only this piece but for the emotions and thoughts that run along with it....nicely done poet.....structured well you are able to keep your words flowing and bringing the reader along with them....not losing interest but seeking out the next corner or step to be taken.......images go along as well for have we not all seen that black cloud that sits on the horizon yet makes it way into our live when it wants to bringing forth doubt, despair, pain, sorrow whatever it wants in the process........in this case yours involves illness and pain.........the uncertainty of whether the light at the end of this tunnel of clouds will leave you here or take you home......indeed a frightening thought for many who do not believe in faith or the hereafter........yet fear not my friend there is a hereafter and only when He is ready to take you there will you go......you cannot really steal from the elderly or the little ones their own courage for they travel on their own path according to their own ways and if they cross yours in the process and share some of their trust then the smiles are well worth it and don't ever forget that.......God puts everyone where they are to be as you or I travel on our road to victory.......and yes, I have travelled that road but in a different way from yours at present.....mine found me dying and surgery was there to repair but only with the graces of God was I to survive. Now I wonder what road He wants me to travel and I seem to find it filled with more emotional baggage then I sometimes feel I can handle but still this is how I find myself.....24/7 care to two elderly mothers, both in wheelchairs, both needing constant attention, and here I am after fourteen heart attacks, open heart surgery , loss of both legs due to neuropathies, COPD, emphesema and losing eyesight......must have something else but for now I can't remember what......senior moment I guess.....hehehe....and my friend life is worth living each day......yes, I too might be staying in bed later then I once did....rather then getting up at five in the morning I might now rise at seven.....but I go to bed later too and I am more tired come morning light......I love the sound of the birds in the early morning hours, they sing their songs of praise to God above and yes, the feel of warmth from the morning sun is wonderful......and I too find myself with coffee cup in hand and twenty five pills which I take during the day......no that's the truth my friend.....just to survive......and you and I are survivors so don't forget it.....this has been a wonderful read, filled with much hope even with the dark clouds that you have filtered in for in the end they will leave once that sun begins to shine.....and you will live to feel the sunshinning upon your face for many years to come. Thank you for posting and sharing this with us. Looking forward to more of your work. Be safe and God Bless, Claire
This Poem was Critiqued By: Thomas H. Smihula On Date: 2003-10-09 14:47:23
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Mark each comment I make is what I see in groups of four lines. First four lines - not sure if this is what was meant could it be death engulfs us and that we do not know what is waiting for us? Second group - here I see hesitation, making one ponder on what the future holds. Third group - now I see disparity entering into the picture for not always is there a solution for the event the individual goes through. You might want to consider not having the Vegas comment because it detracts from the depth of the poem at least for this reader. If you ended it with 'works half the time' your point still gets across. Second stanza First group - you come back with what is behind waiting for me to encounter. Second group - fear is also shown to the reader by stealing courage. Third group - now I see a clearer picture for there are those that face it. You might want to consider at this point making a third stanza with only the last two lines somewhat a break from your poem would give pause to help focus on the event . I find these two lines really great giving the reader a sense of continuing on. In the next stanza First group Ė you show that maybe you are being drawn into it, and accepting the outcome. Second group Ė I like the simplicity here but see the pain one bears. Third group Ė clarity in clearing the mind, realizing the importance of staying with the world as we have learned through the years. Then you might want to complete it with the remainder of the poem to make Emphasis that you still go on. Just a thought and viewpoint of this reader. Really an outstanding poem hope this really isnít the case but if it is I have been there myself but for me I have less and less episodes of the pain. Another great poem Mark my only real suggestions regard the format but again that is only this readers point of view. Thanks for sharing. Tom
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