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Below you will see ALL of the Critiques that Elaine Marie Phalen has given on The Poetic Link.
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Displaying Critiques 1 to 50 out of 241 Total Critiques.
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Poem TitlePoet NameCritique Given by Elaine Marie PhalenCritique Date
Chatswood honeyMark Andrew Hislop‘If you knew how I got stuck in Chatswood, honey, would you be here?’ There's something bluesy about this, as if it's meant to be slow-sung against a background of dark saxophone. Kind of an undertone of cynicism, too. I suspect the speaker knows the answer. ‘I’m gone, don’t laugh, you’re next,’ a kind of self-pesticiding beehive, - love this metaphor! Self=pesticiding, whew!! perverse frontier of modern imagination viz. something’s got to die - the illusion and the reality. It bites sometimes, doesn't it?? for my sake or I’m going nowhere kind of thing. - Casual, conversational style, and still very much a Blues kind of effect. if you wait time enough for love, then like the slow presto of an ice cube, musty undergarments pop up to the top just as her A-330 taxis to a take-off "Time Enough for Love" was also the title of a Heinlein novel and I've read 'em all ... I don't think you put anything in here that's accidental, despite the freewheeling style. "Slow presto of an ice cube" - very, very nice! Those musty undergarments give a shuddery pause. This is a relationship outlived. Now in this context, one of those aliens who are usually happy to evaporate immediately pre-contact ... steps up with your son’s mother in his eyes, singing ‘so it’s goodbye Chatswood honey, now’ beating the tattoo of 12 year old sarcasm - excellent!! that brackets the credit card language of shopping malls playstations eminems & the swell desire - "swell" is an interesting and sybtle choice here not to be a boy anymore I did find that the alien detail weighed down this superb passage a tad more than might have been necessary. But you do need to get the son in there, and how he's usually not willing to hang around when the Dad (or stepdad, or Mom's boyfriend) is present. He's like his mother, so mercenary, so numb to everything but that brilliant phrased "credit card language of shopping". I sense a vast gap between the speaker's lifestyle and aspirations, and the manner-to-which-they-are-accustomed of the mother and offspring. This child thinks that being adult means consuming product. ‘I’ve got a bad feeling about this’ simply rubs your nose in the force of all the good ideas, cheap, renewable, but too much like cod liver oil ... Yep, here's another contradiction. Speaker can live simply and find healthful, personally satisfying alternatives to all that conspicuous consumption. Significant other and son can't accept the terrible plainness of such options. But when all esle fails, sometimes you have to use your legs and walk out of there. I love the failed engine and the piled baggage! What a metaphor for the marriage/relationship itself! She's left with all this ... stuff!! ... and it's no good to her at the moment. The speaker can chuckle and walk off into his own sunset, unencumbered. He's good to go. Maybe not rich, but at least OK with it. In the end, there's another tinge of cynicism, attributed to the woman who's now swamped with non-essentials and has to face her own acquisitiveness, her own inconsequence. The speaker seems unlikely to help her much. He's bleakly entertained by the whole scenario. She's getting hers. Does it feel totally satisying to watch her? Hmmmm, there's the rub. Possibly not. Mark, this is impressive, quirky, original work. I like it a lot, actually. I'm not an ampersand fan but that's a personal idiosyncrasy and not worth worrying about. You're gifted with a strong, contemporary voice and seem to be on a roll with it. Good on ya! Brenda 2005-12-04 19:37:34
A Dream RealizedTurner Lee WilliamsSometimes we must give up one aspect of our lives in order to sustain something even more important. This cinquain speaks of a person who's temporarily chosen to give up the sea and work-live-plan on land. L2, however, suggests that the spouse or companion shares the speaker's love of sailing and that, were circumstances otherwise, both would remain on the water. This gives a certain hope for the future. But current concerns have clearly intervened and the sea, now a faint hum in the ear, will return only when there's time for her call to be heeded. "Unity of family" forces us to make tough choices sometimes, doesn't it? I can relate to this one, Turner. I've deferred some dreams, too. A few I managed to recapture and others, well, I guess they're gone for good. An honest poem, and it's easy to empathize with the speaker. Take Care, Brenda 2005-12-04 10:36:15
Autumn Sundae (Cinquain)Mary J CoffmanHi Mary, What a delectable poem!!! Not only do you adhere perfectly to the form, but the imagery is so well developed that we progress from the flame (reminds me of a baked Alaska type of treat!) to the cinnamon, the berries, the whipped cream ... those luscious "vanilla veiled peaks" sound yummy, and they look it. You combine visuals with the unforgettable taste of the fruit, sweetness and spice. This is such a fresh metaphor for the season. It's not easy to find originality in describing autumn, but you've succeeded here. Much enjoyed. Brenda2005-12-03 21:49:36
In Remembrance Of 62stephen g skipperStephen, I always enjoy a strongly-written narrative poem with an historical basis. The story of Boudicca (or Bodicea) has considerable appeal for me, as she was a fearless woman who didn't back down from her stance, even when faced with certain defeat. You've incoporated the essential details without making the story too unclear or unbelievable. And it is, indeed, a remarkable tale of courage and pride. I like the use of internal rhyme and occasional end rhyme that isn't always full, but often slant (e.g. borne, sword, forge). Use of assonant vowels makes this a pleasure to read aloud. It follows the oral tradition which would originally have passed this tale from place to place. Likewise, the imagery also works to make the reader/listener imagine the blood and terror of this particular kind of warfare. The mention of the wicker basket burnings is a nice touch -- I can think of no more gruesome way to die than to be roasted alive like that!! In the end, the brave queen of the Iceni did the only thing she could and avoided capture trhough death by personal choice. You nicely suggest this without giving every gory detail. She and her band of warriors left their imprint on the annals of legend. Over time, the story has grown in the telling, I'm sure, but the basic facts are undeniable. You do them justice. Have you ever read the historical novel by Kathleen Woodiwiss, "The Eagle and the Raven"? It's an excellent narrative of the Boudicca saga. The extraordinary heroes and heroines of any age live to defend the ordinary folk from oppression. You've raised this point in the last line. Good work - very interesting to read. Brenda2005-11-27 20:42:58
At The 318 WhereThomas Edward WrightTom, what a rare and remarkable thing this is! The writing itself is sinuous as a sax melody. Even the shape works to further this effect. It hauls me into a smoky club and sits me down among the other denizens ... and we reminisce. I love the way you blend imagery, so there's a synthesis of aural and olfactory, for instance, in L1. "Cripples eccentric patrons" -- nice! Memory is a powerful soporific. So is music, especially blues and jazz. The wordplay is delightful, too. This goddess of sound and nightwear could be a real singer, or even a hospital patient imagining herself as a torch chanteuse. 318 could be club name, or hospital room number. "Cripples" is a clue. "Visceral temptress, quasi-medicinal" offers a lot of possibilities. Is she, in fact, a metaphor for something else? Even a death-figur(ine)? "Lit up for (Jes)us" also suggests a wider interpretation. Meanwhile, the rhythm sways and the armchair winos -- immobile, hypnotized -- absorb it all. They've been there; they've heard this before, cruised these bleak midnight streets. They've come back to this place, these alleys, this singer. She's as true as they want to make her. There are so many images! "Merlot's dark throat" is one of my fasvorites - the wine restates the song. Her "night-wear-clad eu-genies" ... now, this one is definitely multi-layered!! The night-wear implies, again, those who are ill. "Eu-genies" could be a survival metaphor, or the genie/genius who arises from within, from "you", the reader. We are all brilliant, in sickness and in health, dreaming or listening or creating. Armchairs turn to wheelchairs and still we erect those noble monuments to music, regret, lust and hope. We uncork the genie. The closing couplet is a killer. We need little encouragement to bind ourselves, sometimes, to whatever has most attracted us. Do we wish to spend our lives in the thrall of slow and grey harmonics? Or to die for love? Or to travel the haunted highways forever? The speaker veers awfully close to some irrevocable choice. By not making it, he's actually made another, equally final. This puts me into an alternate universe where anything's not only possible but likely. It could and should be read to a background of Coltrane or Muddy Waters or BB King. It's beyond analysis, really. What a poem! Brenda 2005-11-27 08:12:40
OasisMark Andrew HislopIs a camel in the eye worse than a beam (sorry; it strikes me as being kind of funny)? If the brother can't see, he will have a hard time finding the place, although I understand that some desert people can literally smell water. Or the cloud-camel can smell it for him. The speaker definitely wants this friend (I'm taking "brother" to be a bit metaphorical) to join him, share his perspective, maybe gain something from these deep waters (of poetry, perhaps? of imagination? of inspiration? of faith?) There is sand, so sore, out there - nice cadence, like a mantra or chant too abundant, out there, where the rain is wasted ‘til the day - we can be offered, but if we don't take the gift it's useless it greets us, under these palms... ...over here is the deep oasis, come berth your ship, and step inside. - "ship" is unexpected; then again, camels are ships of the desert and ships are often metaphors for ways of exploring our own souls We’ve watered the earth’s poorest souls - the year is significant: end of WWII and, perhaps, a birthdate? since nineteen forty(-)five. That's the beauty of this oasis, all the things you can see, and clear: - the artistic vision, methinks. Those without it are barren. the desert, under the desert moon, - why repeat "desert' in the same line? is finally beautiful here... ...still, I nightly call to my brother - those who have been enlightened wish to share it with the camel that clouds his eye: ‘Come in to the deep oasis, come.- "deep" implies that good writing, too, needs depth Come in, and you’ll be fine.’ - Is this true? Or is the speaker merely offering a false invitation to lure the brother? I'll take it as sincere. This is a poem with more than one level. If the desert is representative of writer's block, or lack of inspiration, then the oasis is clearly the opposite. But can we motivate others? I'd say that mutual critiques can do this. The desert is a familiar place for most of us at some point. Thought-provoking read! Brenda 2005-11-21 11:42:23
Thirty Days Has SeptemberMell W. MorrisMell, although it seems impossible for you to outdo your previous efforts ... you've just managed! And I so loved last month's poem. But this one is very special. You have me from the get-go with that euphonious pairing - cachet/panache - and I recognize the character type also. My mother once knew a local businessman who used to swear he wanted to die a million dollars in debt, I suppose because it would prove he knew how to live in style (whether he did die insolvent, I never found out). Your Mr. Big Guy reminds me of my mother's old friend. You fool us because at first, we figure the poem is going to be about him, but then it shifts to the "fey wife" and so do our sympathies. "Many people seemed to know him well" suggests, at first, a poor misunderstood husband. But ah, wait! We soon learn that the wife endures much, out of her own generosity of spirit: "blind to his faults: any conceit was sweet, his/poor taste erased." The internal rhyme has zing, and the woman herself sounds almost sappy with adoration (but only in the beginning). We soon figure out it's becoming exactly the opposite. " They seldom went out together/and their differences grew slowly, leech-like." Comparison to a leech refers to both the subtle progress of their division, and, IMO, to the draining effect of the hubby's selfishness. NOT flattering to him; I mean, what's another word for leech? Sucker!! "He/became more remote and set her aside like a cup/of cold coffee" -- wow, what a biting commentary on his failings!! The harshness of hard-c snaps at the reader's ear. This is not a pleasant sort of personality, after all. We now move toward the wife's corner. She gets squeezed out of physical space and boxed into a smaller area, but at least the important things go with her, and they represent imagination, thought, creativity, rather than wealth. Her spouse surrounds himself materially; she prefers the company of books and music. Her link to humanity isn't the love of a good man, but the pages of literature, and a computer which helps her reach out to those who will treasure what she has to offer. Enchanted, she found comfort in the swath and sweep of stars which she watched endlessly. She imagined whirling it around her shoulders like a cape then swirling its magic as a brave matador might. This is my favorite passage, although the whole poem is a delight. Wonderful sonic elements - swath and sweep of stars is "to die for" - combine with the arresting image of that whirling stellar cape, to provide a superlative portrayal of this gifted lady. I'm also stuck with the odd idea (or maybe not so odd) that this has personal relevance to the author. It sure does for me, at any rate! He moved out two days later and she attributed his retreat to her matador stance: a fierce fighter, an Amazon who already had cried him a river. The wordplay on Amazon/cried him a river is just too funny!!! The poet reveals a quick wit; the woman being described is clearly blessed with a keen (and cynical) sense of humor, too. The "bull-y" has been bested by the matador(ette) and her whirl of stars. It's worth noting that, although she is the one who takes her stuff to the patio, he's the party who moves away entirely. She has given him room to breathe but he wants more than this. So he gets enough rope to hang himself, so to speak. In the end, this is HIS choice. She isn't forcing him out. She isn't even certain she'll be happy back in the house. She felt twitchy and on edge when she left her patio...akin to living in a small garden of flowers. Her lilacs by the back gate were lush this year and she felt happy and at peace and [as] "peace comes dropping [maybe change that one "and" to "as"?] slow...midnight's all a glimmer and noon a purple glow." Wonderful use of the Yeats allusion! The real lilacs so easily connect to Yeats's Innisfree isle and, indeed, here is a woman in her own sort of island, set apart from an unresponsive mate and a world that has somehow failed to recognize her. Purple is her color, as it belongs to so many with the Muse in their souls, and lyricism in their auras. It is also the hue of lilacs and certain irises, mauve and VanGogh blue. I bet she would also cultivate those flowers in a later season! She smiled and bowed to the cries and shouts from the crowd...Brava!Ole! and Mr. IOU never knew what he was missing! The ending is quietly humorous. The applause of the masses (whether or not they're actually present) implies that she is now in control of her own fate, and feels encouraged by her new freedom. "Mr. IOU" exits still owing -- but he is in debt to others, those who couldn't care less about him, whereas the only one who really loved him is obligation-free at last. He can't miss her because he's never really valued her. So he loses twice -- in retrospect, and in his present/future life. So "what he was missing" is the greatest irony of all. Aaaanyhow, I think this is splendid and, heh, please note that I actually got to critique it EARLY!!! Of course, that's because it's new and freshly-posted on my list. How lucky is that??! I hope you're well and will be writing more for us to enjoy. Your poems are like picking out the dark-chocolate truffles to savor, both for their rarity and their delectable taste. This one is especially delicious. Take Care, Brenda 2005-11-18 18:39:54
The Last OctoberMell W. MorrisMel, I'm on the edge of getting sicker ... don't know what's hit me (flu or hyacinth-bulb poisoning?)! So I can't critique in much dept, although at least I'm managing to do it a bit earlier than usual. This is a spectacular poem, both in terms of its imagery - we see it, taste it, inhale it like a rare warm cider - and the theme woven throughout. Autumn brings a certain resignation but you make of regret a beautiful sorrow. I like the way you link the subterranean granite with the chips in the heart; we are connected, flesh to stone. Even the wind is humanized, becoming "rales" like someone ill and gasping. Like the year and the season, the ending and culmination. But there is also a fulfilment - all efforts lead here, to this mowing-down of things planted in earlier hope. It's sad to see the landscape stripped of energy but it is also fitting. This is the plan and purpose, after all. It appplies to human beings as much as to cornfields. There must be that harvest, whether of vegetables or of souls. Harvest done and we feel a grand return for our efforts, never noting the daily bounties He sends. Aha! Point well taken here. We may believe we're in control but the truth is that we draw power from Elsewhere. "Grand return" speaks of grandiose self-praise. This is, of course, our mortal folly. In the last analysis, the brilliance of your burnished-nova metaphor is what lingers. "So you may see me again" relates both to speaker and season. Here is faith in the continuity of life, and the resurrection of that which has served its purpose. New crops will arise from these old fields; from the weakened shells of all beings, another creature may yet be born. Poignant, yes. But in a sense, also immensely comforting. You've given us the total package here: very well written, moving in content, fresh in metaphor, delightful to the ear. It sits where it ought to sit - top spot - on the finalists' list right now. Take Care, Brenda 2005-11-07 12:21:53
PrecedenceDellena RovitoDellena: This is a satiric treat. I witness youthful consumerism in action every time I teach a class of teens. The first stanza shows us how we manage to instil in our young the unstoppable desire to "do the right thing" according to their predecessors, said right thing usually involving the accumulation of possessions and the acquisition of a reputation. As has been famously stated by some anonymous wit, "He who dies with the most toys wins". Love "the crawl space of existence" -- an attic in which precedents are stored. In the end, the young rebel turns out to be pretty much like his parents. He'll have as many toys as they did, and abandon as many principles. The first stanza is also more tightly-structured and intense in tone than the second one. The style is more didactic and reflective as befits a quick history lesson. But in S2, the modern update, your sense of playfulness gets free rein. There's a lot of internal rhyme, and playing with sound. Plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor that still delivers its barbs - more fun to read, yet not at all trivial. ... desirables to buy, buy, buy, a piece of the pie pie pie and you'll be hap hap happy. Papers of news say the same, inane. The rules of style's the smile of fashion and music sings devotion to emotion. I like the whole poem but this passage is probably my favorite part. Yes, this is what kids believe, and do. Liberation from habit? Nah, not a chance! Yet ... you end in ambiguity. Who knows whether this will be the generation that actually breaks its parental mold, or merely another clone marching lockstep into the future? We really can't say, not yet. Each of us has his or her own thoughts on the possibilites; hence, we get to choose for ourselves what the conclusion should be. Witty, with a bite: my kind of poem! Brenda 2005-11-03 20:41:32
haiku (first light)Joanne M UppendahlHi Joanne, What a pleasure to read this haiku sequence. It has the nature imagery one would expect but also incorporates something of the speaker's own spiritual approach to her surroundings. In chill overcast, I walk ahead of first light under silent trees. "Ahead of first light" suggests anticipation, possibly even a metaphor that applies to our search for something to illuminate our various shadows. There is no sound; the speaker has no way of knowing what's ahead. Sometimes we have to walk alone and see what comes. Ducks roost on branches: I call up their good mornings, few of them reply. Ah, still more silence. "Few of them reply", indeed. We ask, but sometimes don't get the hoped-for response. They're above us, detached from our concerns, and therefore have little vested interest in acknowledging our presence. Still, there ARE some who will do so. The word is "few" but not "none". I think of how prayer can seem to be ineffective at times, as if God has temporarily removed Himself beyond our reach ... like those ducks, generally unmotivated to reply. But possibly that's in itself a form of reaction. We have to focus on something we can actually relate to, influence or control. We can't always be asking for attention. We also must content ourselves with the occasional boon, the infrequent evidence that communion with the alien and mysterious is possible. It's like lifting the proverbial veil for a few seconds' view of what's beyond it. We can't expect this to happen every day. When their v-streamed wings stretch above the cobalt lake, I smell feather dust. Love "v-streamed wings" and "feather dust". It's as if their departure is a message ... they want you to know where you stand. The dust is what remains but it also reminds us of enchantment, something conferred by beings that we can never become, but can still admire (and even envy). Mentally, we try to follow their lead and imagine what they feel, how they view the universe. We're not totally unlike them, though. Dust is what we all are fated to become, birds and humans alike. And feathers are common to both ducks and angels. They greet the new day though there’s no sunrise to see, only shades of gray. Here's the ultimate in optimism -- saluting dawn when it hasn't even happened yet. They are as certain of sunrise as we should be of our own awakening. Here's the reason we retain our belief in light and hope: because we've always known them, have always emerged from dark into sunrise. This is the way everything works, whether on a physical, temporal or spiritual level. It's worth noting that the ducks do greet the day itself, even if they ignore the speaker. Maybe, to them, the impending Light is more important than interruptions along the way. It matters to them, because it is the shape of time and seasons that dictates how they must live. A human voice lacks the capacity to change anything. So does God - any more than a flock of ducks - give much heed to individuals? Is He moved to permit a few go-betweens, like those odd ducks that do reply to the call ... just so we don't abandon the effort entirely? And does it make much difference, as long as we're still offered the enlightenment that transforms us from flesh to energy, shadow to brightness? This is poem about the natural world, and the speaker's simple act of walking into the coming dawn. It can be taken at face value, without braoder implications. But I look for these because you normally include them, somehow. I think they are here, too. To Light! Brenda 2005-10-29 21:54:53
Fishing for Marks, and an HerbThomas Edward WrightThe wordplay alone is worth a dozen rereads!! Baseball imagery, fishing, worms and drums. A left ... (off the ) ... hook, a parted (holy?) See and even a Tiger who could either play golf or burn bright at the end of the course. Reading this is like listening to Dali -- while talking to Santiago -- in a dream. The Fisherman waggles his bait and enjoys the green silence. He's really just marking thyme, uh, time. Or Mark in time. I don't think I can interpret this accurately without a drink but hey, the words flow delightfully with a glottal rumble that tickles my palate. You're a class act, Tom. Brenda 2005-10-07 10:31:39
With Leaves StirringMell W. Morris Mell, this hasn't shown up on my list, ever, so I finally said the heck with it and hauled it off the Standings, where it justifiably occupies a high position. The theme greatly appeals to me, especially with the "high-stepping mare" as my hook in L1. Internal rhyme of "glory/story" reveals your usual attention to sonics. The line break after "sink" implies endings as well as the larger wonder of a sunset -- but the major impression is sensory. If the scene "eludes and artist's brush", it can't be reproduced visually; poets, however, lack the constraint of a palette and paint. We work within the imagination; our eyes are within, and can generate internal landscapes. I'd say that yours has been effectively conveyed and shared. The artist may fail; the poet does not. A panorama of southwestern colors that change fom cumin, orange, then euclase. Isn't "euclase" the most amazing word? There's a type of rock called "orthoclase" and I've always loved that one, too. The "u" assonance with "cumin" is delectable. Sage with its purple-blue tints arriving with hints of earth tones, shades ... More assonance -- long a (euclase/sage/shades) -- and further layering of the vivid colors. The "hints of earth tones" inject a deeper background, the mortal shadow within the brilliant light. If there is sky, there must also be desert, earth's bare skin. The majestic wind, rising from no specific place, uplifts the faces of alder trees with labile leaves. Here we have another long-a combination (to be continued with "wave") and internal rhyme with place/faces. The wonderful sound of "alder/labile leaves" and the very word "labile" is what makes poetry into art!! The uplifted leaf-faces seem almost animistic, as if they have an indwelling consciousness that seeks a higher purpose. We don't have alder trees here; the name is reserved for a "garbage bush" that takes over cleared land and frustrates attempts to remove it. I would love to see these trees as I understand they're much more beautiful. ... A profusion of grasses waves, trembling by the surprise Of their unmaking. Intriguing metaphor here; "unmaking" possesses a connotation of being cut down, harvested. Like all things living, in fact. "Trembling" restates the leaves' movement, and even the human approach to darkness. "Surprise" would be our immediate response, as well. We know we're fragile, grass and dust, yet we bravely endure and greet each pass of the sun because we accept our places in the cycle. These scenes rarely waver from stillness, stones which know a life without desires, dwelling in its own distance from nowhere. "Waver" echoes the trembling idea, and the dissipating heat of the day. Yet the effect is the opposite, a sort of sealing-up-all-in-rest process. The speaker seems to long for that "life without desires", quiet as the distant prairie where she rides unseen. At the heart of enlightenment is that very stillness. I love your paradoxical "its own distance from nowhere". This could apply to the soul, IMO, and even to its ultimate destiny. There is no chart for that secret country of the spirit. .. Then utterly Focussed, scattering chips of granite to praise these views of time and place. Here, the stones appear to become disturbed and forced to move; we know it's really the mare's hooves that dislodge the granite chips, but it's as if matter has been transformed to energy, inertia to sudden action. Out of the focussed contemplation arises animation. Is this a metaphor for the awakening of something more human? The inclusion of "praise" suggests awareness, and exaltation. The very stones cry out their alleluias. There's a structural element of the poem that would lend itself very well to sonnet form if you were ever to feel experimental about it. I do this sometimes (work with free verse and form and end up with two versions of a single piece) when I write something that offers a variety of strong images. This is superbly written and a banquet for the heart and the senses. Beneath the imagery lies another dimension, there for our uncovering. This makes it particularly special for the reader who looks for more than surface appeal; it enlarges the poem's impact and makes it one that will last. You're in my thoughts and prayers. Brenda2005-10-07 06:45:42
New Orleans, Long After KatrinaKaren Ann JacobsHi Karen!! Long time, no see. This poem has punch and I like the exact detail; it takes me right into the city itself, with the familiarity of someone who knows it well. There's even a bleak sense of humor, as in L4. Without that, nobody would be able to face the return and rebuilding. After the bailing and the mourning will come, inevitably, the reunions and recollections. These, I'm certain, are therapeutic and also necessary rites before moving forward. How can grief be assuaged if it's not allowed to be expressed, examined and then buried? How about we go right to The Fatted Calf on St. Peter’s street? We’ll embrace Art and his family, catch up on events, hear about their exile, and we’ll all agree that it’s good to be home. The diction is simple, conversational ... like the people it represents. The speaker is Everyman, Everywoman, resident of New Orleans and currently down on his or her luck but not broken. "It's/good to be home" is a bit ironic in that "home" may well have disappeared, but it's a concept more than an address. "Katrina's blow was only glancing" seems somewhat incongruous in that it appears to have been a more direct hit than that, but to a survivor, memory can become selective and it's easy to rationalize. One must make sense of the whole thing, after all. Luckily, Rita didn't strike head-on -- what a horrifying aftermath she might have made! The ghosts in your conclusion are an appropriate reminder of both the recent dead and of the city's long and colorful past. I once read the most wonderful story, "On the Downhill Side" by Harlan Ellison. Its theme is love between two ghosts in N.O. and if you've never read it, I recommend finding a copy (1972 --- not all that easy). Your poem makes me think back to that piece. A moving and compassionate read. I haven't read too many effective poems dealing with this disaster, but this is one that I definitely do like! Brenda 2005-10-06 20:55:03
Unscheduled returnMark Andrew HislopOh my, another memorable puece. You're decidedly original in metaphors, diction and theme. So here we are, confronted with a poem about a yearning would-be lover who can only admire but not connect. My eyes are dry sponges, instantly absorbent. They are not called upon to speak. My tongue, however, licks the floor with my footsteps. Tactile and, yes, desolate. He is subservient, following her, salivating hopelessly and crying for a mere taste of her essence. Through the tongue, he conveys his feelings and attempts to receive something in return. What will you demand of me? A flower? I can already taste the dirt. What a great ending!! This is an acidic, darkly humorous twist on the unrequited lover's quest for acknowledgement. Gives a whole new meaning to the concept of "talking dirty"!!! LOL!! What a treat ... Brenda2005-10-06 08:44:09
betrayalcharles r pittsWow, this is a raw and powerful cinquain! It's hard to condense such intense and bitter emotion into so brief a form, as you've done here. L4 is key; the speaker's belief in hope for the future allows him to offer himself as sacrifice. Does he expect to be destroyed? Perhaps -- but he still permits himself to be both optimistic and vulnerable. In the end, the lower-case "i" suggests that he has lost both personal will and sense of ego, subjugated to his desire. Yet he does "bleed"; the blade is used. Hope is merely a promise not kept. Is this a test or the final blow, the coup de grace? Will the throat be opened and the victim allowed to perish in a flood of unfulfilled passion? Or will the blade-bearer relent and be content with a surface nick, by way of warning? This is a chilling read, but anyone who's ever endured the nastier aspects of love can easily relate to it. Nicely done. Brenda2005-10-06 06:57:06
A Night At The Balletstephen g skipper Hi Stephen, I love the format you've created here! The interlocking haiku are very well done, and the play back and forth, between the two voices, would sound very effective when spoken aloud. There's a dance-like effect to this. I do note that the female "side" has fewer words; it's as if the male is the one experiencing an awakening and the female (who may already love the ballet) feels less need to wax eloquent about it. The woman utters a single haiku; her spouse uses three and includes much more energetic diction. "Physics and passion" probably possess great appeal for him (and be somewhat unexpected). I enjoyed the shift in perspective from the opening haiku to the final one. The couple at first is looking forward to an evening away from the demands of family and home; by the end, they regret not having brought their children. Gone are the days when ballet embodied somewhat androgynous performances, embellished with frills and theatrical excess. Today's dance is more direct, more athletic, and more intellectually-oriented. Yet it still affects our emotions and elicits the familiar response of excitement and greater insight into human possibilities. What a delightful poem! I feel almost as if I've witnessed this production and vicariously shared in your reactions. Brenda 2005-10-06 06:35:31
In a PoemJordan Brendez BandojoHi Jordan, The extended metaphor of lily and bee is very well done. This is a sensual poem, full of rich imagery -- especially in S3. But first we get the speaker's anguish as he's buffeted by the storms of unrequited love. In S2, the rhetorical questions work nicely to reflect his frustration, and of course they have no answers. So I fluttered backward and wended through the mist of hesitation, Afraid that the Lily would just scowl her anther and wilt If I see her honey-effusing nectar. This is an intense description with a certain sexual implication. The lover feels physical as well as emotional desire. But I believe "anther" is the male part of the flower's reproductive system; the stigma (pistil) is the female part. So it's as if there is a rival for her love, and the scowling anther suggests his attitude. I don't think you need the last two lines, because you've already done this -- said "I love you" -- and we know it from having read the results. So the effect is rather telly, a direct statement. I'd recommend closing with a return to the Bee metaphor. The poet, exploring the poetic realm, is like that same Bee in the flower's heart. Perhaps there's a way to link the idea of lover-bee and poet-bee. I very much like the vividness of your language in this piece. It's a marvelous poem of passion! My best, Brenda2005-10-06 06:23:36
Upon the Back of DragonflyMary J CoffmanHi Mary, This is an exquisite blending of the prayerful --- the speaker's rhythmic but unrhymed address to the Dragonfly --- with the explanatory, as she expresses in rhyme her reasons for wanting to take this fantasy flight and then shows us what she sees. The images are vivid, in terms of color, brightness, texture and shape. We can easily visualize the landscape below, and soar with the speaker in our imaginations. Grasses waltz in celebration Flowers bow in admiration Cloud creatures dance above the fields To summer sun, the meadow yields Glinting brightly, kissed with dew A carpet wove of vibrant hue Is stretched across the rolling ground The above passages are especially striking. I love the personification of these natural things, and the gentleness of the scenery. There are no harsh words here. The symbolic implications of the Dragonfly suggest a Christ-figure, asked to "minister to me" and, in the end, "deliver me". There's a sacredness about this portrayal. Tutor me Oh Dragonfly to triumph over life’s tumult Nice use of alliteration here! The idea that the creature will instruct his passenger supports the idea that he is, somehow, an embodiment of divinity. Through the rising above adversity (presumably through faith) will come deliverance. The Dragonfly is the means to this end, even if the watchers below think that the speaker has lost her mind. Whether this acutally describes a religious experience, or some other seeking of an alternate reality, the escapist theme is clear and well presented. I've definitely enjoyed reading this! Brenda 2005-10-05 18:28:47
Senyru 157Michael J. CluffYeow ... the death-dealing oleander is somehow juxtaposed with an unsuspecting and luckless Donna (whose very name, ironically, comes from the Greek for "gift"). But she's being given something not to her benefit at all! The "shift" of the flowers must have been deliberately accomplished. Plants don't move themselves except in high wind (but then Donna wouldn't be dining al fresco, would she?). It's also possible that the killer isn't using the oleander as a source of poison but, rather, as a place of concealment. The true elixir might be strychnine, perhaps, or some other noxious thing. I just find the deadliness of the plant makes a neat touch here. A very solid, thought-provoking senryu, complete with the obligatory humor and tongue firmly in cheek. I also like the near-rhyme of "shift" and "dish" since for senryu, full rhyme's not expected. This is way more subtle. Good one, Mike! Brenda 2005-10-03 20:08:43
EncyclicalMark Andrew HislopMark, this is an amazing piece. The narrator "could" (I suppose) be a fellow angelic being, or God Himself. It could also -- more likely -- be a mortal man, in whom the war between good and evil still rages, as it does in us all. But we recognize (even though we hate to do so) that there will also be that dark force, that phoenix Brother risen from his own ashes, and willing us to burn with him. We fear his recurrence, but understand that it must happen, as we're imperfect. The catch is, we can't lie to ourselves about this. Your speaker would dearly love to resist but the "Incendiary Lamb" (wow) will burn his way into the flesh and spirit. He is the antithesis of Christ but does not lack for followers. The title reminds me of a papal encyclical. In that sense, we see that even the holiest among us is not immune to self-doubt, the fear of the inner demons, to realization that he has sinned. Given the troubled days of the Catholic Church, no Holy Father could possibly be without such awareness of our (and his own) frailty. When you come, Under your lens you smoke me Into the ash appalling, Filling my own throat from the urn Of my cremation. So thus do you create, Incendiary Lamb, Flesh of my burning flesh, All the room you want. Such wonderful writing. I hope you're planning to publish soon! Brenda2005-10-02 05:17:31
With Gracemarilyn terwillegerHi Marilyn, Is this about Joanne Morgan by any chance? The theme of a smile "shining down" -- like a moon, even through mist -- makes me think of her, so it's a poem suggesting more than a literal night and mist. But there's something intangible about mistiness, and the personification of cloaked night could also allude to death and its mystery. Concouidng with "grace" is also a clue, as grace is a spiritual blessing as well as a quality of movement. It's fitting that the cinquain opens with darkness and ends with enlightenment. I love your use of "ween", which is such an archaic word one hardly sees it these days (this complements "mayhap" which is also a very old expression). Since it means "suppose". it could be taken to imply "imagine", as if the speaker presumes that smile will be present even if unseen. The diction is also quite formal, as befits a tribute poem. Lovely! Brenda 2005-09-30 18:59:43
Senyru (train watcher)Joanne M UppendahlJoanne: This sequence evokes mixed emotions in me. It's the ambiguity -- there's either eager curiosity, or unendurable despair. It all boils down to what's meant by "between tracks" and whether those "new trains" around the next curve will merely whoosh past the watcher, or actually run over her. I'm assuming the former, of course. I suspect if it were the latter the expression would be "between rails". But there's still that niggling unease. And also, I don't tend to always view speaker and poet as the same person. I walk between tracks on gray gravel, leaden clouds ... gray, leaden: effective color/texture combinations return freight train’s roar ... a shadow of sound, almost ominous in its implied closeness This could as easily be haiku as senryu -- lately I've read that among "true" Japanese haiku aficionadoes (of which I'm not really one, since I lack expertise) the term "senryu" is always associated with humor. But we have taken the definition several steps away from that and now the human element is enough. I found that interesting. Apparently, many of the earlier senryu were written by Japanese men in their private clubs as a form of recreation, and featured bawdy themes and anti-female biases. I also found this really great page about a major senryu award, with many examples, and thought I'd pass it on: http://www.worldhaikureview.org/3-2/contests_rhblyth03senryu.shtml It's also worth noting that few on the site follow the 5-7-5 pattern (though I always do). I think that this form would be delightful to study! But I digress ... Death-dealing rumbles, ... both noise and a subtle undertone of conflict (like a gang "rumble" or war) dangerous as steel stallions ... lovely image and the alliteration works to suggest speed who run in darkness ... again, a sense of menace; we can't see the enemy at night Yes, here is the threat made more tangible. The speaker seems almost to be daring Fate here; the trains' passages could conceivably suck her into their orbits. I've heard of bystanders being pulled beneath a train's wheels by the force of the air drawing them in. I curb my letdown, ... "curb": cool pun on the bit used to control one of the above stallions! Also, place of safety where the watcher can stand instead of along the rails. perhaps around the next curve ... Nice resonance with "curb/curve" new trains will greet me ... And here is the kicker: greet HOW? If I might make one suggestion, it's to rethink the verb "greet", which is a touchy-feely sort of word and doesn't quite follow from the dangerous-stallion idea in the preceding strophe. "Face" me, maybe? Or just "challenge" without the "me"? (Stallions will challenge all comers, if they're of a mind to do so). "Test me"? "Dare me"? Anyway, it's not a big concern but I thought I'd toss the idea in your direction. I really love the idea of imminent danger and wouldn't have minded seeing it continued to the very end. The poem appeals to me on more than one level - as both a psychological metaphor and a description of a physical and tangible event. Trains do make me nervous if I'm too close to them and the way you've written this piece, it conjures up those old memories of my childhood anxiety. There hasn't been a train around here for fifteen years or so; I miss them now. Brenda 2005-09-24 20:43:01
Senyru 818Michael J. CluffAh, the irony. Here he is: perfectly groomed and attired, the ideal employee to all appearances -- but he's fresh out of a job! I also like the subtle wordplay of "pink slip", since a slip can also be an article of clothing (although it obviosuly isn't, here). Indeed, clothes are the metaphor for the man. There's no room for explanations in a senryu. He may have been so conscious of his visual image that he lacked competence elsewhere; he may simply have been a victim of downsizing. What's not being told is intriguing. It's worth noting that each line begins with a color. olive-grey-pink. The drabber hues actually signal success; the brightest represents failure. Not what one might expect! It's always nice to see you posting, Mike. It's been awhile since I've read your work; I hope summer was good to you. Brenda2005-09-09 10:49:36
Green Grassmarilyn terwillegerMarilyn, this is a lovely poem! The imagery sings and the closing line of each stanza restates the location, so we never forget what's being described and - ultimately - compared. "Sky's lid", "pointed pellets of water", "pelagic liquid", "lambent embers", "flickering lamps" ... these are vivid and easy to picture. They also lend a dreamlike quality, since this is after all a sort of spiritual vision/awakening. The speaker may have literally traveled to these places, but now she is revisitng them in her imagination, I think, and offering thanks for having turned toward home. We may believe that familiar things yield little by way of inspiration, but it's not uncommon to realize how important these are in the larger scheme of the universe. "Home" by any definition is the most powerful word of all. "Homelss" is the saddest. You've bound up all the connotations of hominess in your closing line, which is an oft-repeated idea, but for good reason. There are always fresh wonders to be found there, even when we think we know every single blade of grass. This is a rich poem with appealing language and such an honest voice. Well done! Brenda 2005-09-06 09:27:29
The Farmermarilyn terwillegerMarilyn, the details you provide are so specific that I feel as if I'm walking in the furrow right behind the farmer's tractor. I like the way you separate each stanza (and phase in the man's despair) with a comment on which row is being turned, and how often it's been done. It's interesting that the rows are being "turned" twice, yet nothing is happening. It is as if he has plowed but not planted, or plowed unsuccessfully and replanted ... not a shoot grows in this wasteland. As with many other situations in life (for this poem could also be taken as a metaphor for perseverence and faith in adversity), effort doesn't always lead to results. Only through a power greater than, and beyond, ourselves can we manage to hold fast and conquer. Meter interests me with this one because it's consistently tetrameter through the first four stanzas, that discuss the effects of the dry period, and then it shifts to a pentameter - although not totally regular - the the final stanza when the rains have come. So the meter tends to change when the story changes, which s a neat trick, really. The other thing I notice is that you start in present tense, then go to past tense in S2 and remain with that. IMO, present is normally stronger and would have more impact, yet this tale seems to have been set in years gone by, so it's your call to make. I like the atmoshpere you've created, which speaks of older times and simpler lifestyle. "Dolent is earth" makes good use of an obsolete word which, with the inverted syntax, suggests once more the past time period. This could be any century, since you make no reference to modern machinery such as a tractor or disc harrow. "He slowed his plow" - rather than "he slowed his tractor" - suggests that it's being moved either by hand or draft animal. Thus the work would be even more backbreaking. Funny how we both posted "drought" poems this month! In the aftermath of Katrina, I guess dry weather is the last thing anybody's worrying about. This is a good one, and certainly awakens sympathy for the poor farmer. We also share his relief when the rain arrives! The poem then becomes a parable about acceptance of the divine intent. We need a few more bended knees these days! Hope the jaw is a bit better tonight. Take care!! Brenda 2005-09-03 20:14:41
Of Frogs, Crickets and VespersPaul R LindenmeyerA chorale to make Bach blush I love the idea of a blushing Bach!! His music always sounds so pristine, so asexual. I listen to Bach and hear a perfection that somehow sounds hardly mortal. But the creatures who raise their voices here are exulting in their physicality, their reproductive power, the throbbing beat of their blood. It's an energetic and almost lustful chorale. So, yes, the blush is probably warranted. (Bach had a huge family, though!). Unscored resonance Staccatoed continuums Very nice sonics here. Lots of hard-c's, o's, s's. It blends the harsh with the soft, the croak with the hum. "Unscored" emphasizes that this is natural, unrehearsed, without limitations of key or note. It's always improv. Vibratos too passionate Largemente Te Deums Ah yes, "too passionate" -- back to the blush. The grand praise of God is a song quivering with joy. Nobody who's ever heard this evening chorus could deny its exuberance! I think they sing because they revel in the sound itself, not just as a means to an end, mating or territorial aggression or whatever. enjoining the setting sun in consecration of will to a crimsoned Creation. The hard-c sounds are prominent here as well. You enhance this with use of the visual "crimsoned" so we not only hear, we see. The red reminds me of blood, vitality and emotional excess. It has its own vivid wildness. "Consecration of will" is both sacred and secular, for the will itself is the urge to conduct life's many rituals and exercises, but the consecration ties all creatures to the God Who created them. Paul, this is a treat to read and imagine. Cricket song always makes me a bit sad because it signals summer's end, but I can't help rejoicing nonetheless. This is the truest of all vesper hymns. Well done! Brenda www.brendatate.com 2005-09-01 20:24:19
Your Facemarilyn terwillegerHi Marilyn, This is a cinquain with such an unexpected finish! I suspect it may be about your late husband? It's incredibly poignant, with that frozen face the final image, to linger forever. A whole lifetime is embraced by these five short lines. You don't try to play on emotion, though; there's no risk of getting maudlin and sentimental, which is a real plus for the reader. We share sympathy but aren't made uncomfortable. The loss is implied rather than described. In L4, the pause after "Me" is like a halt in the progress of life itself. You do a great job with these short poetic forms, especially the conquains. It's a gift, one I lack. I do tackle haiku once in awhile but tend to run off at the mouth too often!! Well done. Brenda 2005-08-31 18:46:26
Self-portrait of someone elseMark Andrew HislopWhat a fine, terrifying exploration of the art of creation! Your title implies that it is the wroter's job to enter into another persona as speaker/narrator, and that this entity is separate from the author him- or herself. The poet, as a god, must shape and solidify an entire new world through his or her words, then unleash that alien thing and hope someone else will comprehend it. The segue to Poseidon, sea-god and symbol, is apropos and pleasantly surprising. The creator and created can become one and the same, for what is one without the other? "At once ... your ocean and your diver", yes -- the explorer, and that which is being explored, must coexist here. In poetry, the theme and s/he who examines this theme canot survive independently. It's the old singer-or-song conundrum. Do your roaring hurricanes and tides Never relieve your ancient pain? From the above lines to those immediately following, we progress from lower-case "you" to upper-case "You", a fine distinction, I think. Poseidon the ancient god-among-many, becomes Yaweh, the modern and monotheistic God. The latter then is inextricably juxtaposed with His created beings, including poets and all other mad and agonized creatures. If God is within us, then He also is probably learning more than He expected to discover! Not all of it is reassuring. Even emotional release can't cure what ails Him (or us). My God, does it hurt so much To expand into who You are? This seems paradoxical, of course; it also fitly describes the act of poetic inspiration, the birth of glory through pain. It seems that contented and happy poets don't often write much of power. We tend to judge poetic worth by the angst its speaker possesses. You are everywhere and everything And eternity wakes in you The fear of eternity Every mortal morning. Now the "you" is both God, Muse and man. That "fear of eternity" equates to the writer's fear of committing his words to paper, conferring upon himself a form of immortality. Will it be a good remembrance or a bad one? Will all those "others" truly care? Will the poet-God prove worthy of reverence, or merit only disrespect? Each attempt at translating desire into reality, imagination into fact, is fraught with dangers. The incompetent writer will fail and fade, but what of the incompetent deity? Is there such a Being? Does He fear what He might bring to birth? (After all, events in Eden probably provided a rather nasty wake-up call). Your poetry is so intelligently crafted! I'm enjoying it very much. Brenda 2005-08-29 20:30:09
Wow poet this is powerfulMark Andrew HislopMark, this is very neatly developed, with its shift from what seems to be a satire on the triteness of most critiquing (not much originality, is there?) into a parallel between the poetic realm and the way we lead our everyday lives. They, too, demand structure and order, which can be impossible to attain at times! Like a badly-written poem, one's existence is often an embarrassment to the person living it. And, yes, even when events repeat themselves, we do "come away with / different feelings / each time". Growth and maturity lend altered perspectives, just as rereading challenging poetry can enhance one's understanding of it. I do cringe just a little when I recognize those overused expressions we tend to trot out whenever we can't think of anything else. "Good structure, word flow" - what in heck is that, anyhow? Are we talking metrical verse? Rhyme? Stanzaic pattern? As in real life, what people tell us often lacks useful specifics. "Good job," we say when somebody succeeds at a task ... but we say it regardless of whether the end product is exceptional or merely adequate. We damn with faint praise, in truth. There's no allowance for brilliance, any more than for mediocrity. You have a sardonic touch here, but there's also something wistful about it as soon as you introduce the analogy to personal affairs. For me, that's the poem's salient point and its strength. I didn't expect such a conclusion, and it works very well! Brenda 2005-08-29 19:49:59
Give Me Sheltermichaela z seflerMichaela, this piece has the most wonderful, psalm-like cadence. The brevity of the lines suits it well because the reader is forced to pause in exactly the right places to maintain rhythm. Then, at midpoint, those three longer lines form a sort of pivotal tercet, around which the poem is built. "When will you recognize?" speaks volumes about the speaker's feelings toward the other person's apparent indifference. "Give me an answer"; "look my way" have led up to this plea. I sense imbalance -- which may be irreconcilable, for the poet does not tell us or even hint at answers. In the second half, the speaker focuses on what the other person might wish. "The one you can afford;/what can you tolerate?" She has switched from her perspective to this second indivdual ... a neglectful spouse or hoped-for lover. The journey from "I" to "you" can be rewarding, but here it seems fraught with longing and pain. I feel sorry for the speaker; yet at the same time, I want to shake her and tell her "Look, there's humility and then there's abasement!! Don't fall into the latter trap; you're worth way more than that." I've been there, you see. "You tell me" is both ironic (I suspect) and, at another level, self-negating. When shelter turns into totality of control - rather like standing in the shadow of an eclipse - it can be smothering. So the poem elicits my gut reaction, which is fantastic because it has to do this, in order to work. And work it does. With chilling effectiveness, in fact. My Best, Brenda2005-08-26 08:01:31
Through My Dark CrystalJana Buck HanksJana, this whole piece speaks of disillusionment, uselessness and decay. We are doomed by what others determine we must be, because we find it hard to live up to someone else's standards. Whatever happened in that big city, it has caused the speaker a tremendous amount of guilt and pain. Memory follows her like that ... ... caustic slug (wow, what an image!) slime footsteps to predisposed fumbling, (great line break on "fumbling" which sets us up for the wrong idea ... then shifts) down narrow-minded alleys, blind to chastity- belt points-of-worldly-view. (this is an unforgettable hyphenated sequence!!) We are condemend by what others do to us and say about us. This is a poem that attacks judgmental attitudes and social restrictions, which in the end are barriers to spiritual growth and freedom. "Man's inhumanity to self" suggests a certain amount of personal guilt that goes with the judgment idea. If we're criticized often enough, we absorb this negativity and start to believe it about ourselves. Nobody who hates himself/herself can possibly view the rest of the world with affection! Powerful, bitter and almost brutal writing! The caustic slug trail gives me the creeps, which means it's working. The speaker is not hopeful, nor is the reader after having read this to the end. Memorable work, indeed! Brenda www.brendatate.com 2005-08-24 21:13:03
Demon Night (Thou shalt not kill)Donna Carter SolesDonna, this is compelling even as it builds horror upon horror. It well suits the gothic genre but I can easily read more into it. The contemporary political scene seems to have spawned several demonic characters who violate the edict against killing because of their own lust for control, wealth and nationalstic acclaim. With nostrils flared, he smells the blood of many. This blood he needs for his lascivious life. "He" could be a vampire sort of individual, or he could be a terrorist in human form, still driven by the urge to draw blood. Later, he is described as "blasphemous" which also seems in character with a possible allegorical interpretation. I find it very interesting, too, that you portray destiny as female. This sets up an oppositional force between the demon and what lures him forward. There is a silent chill throughout the city--an unknown terror of a blood-thirsty, meticulous devil. His mind begins racing, burning and churning as the wind brings him a message of his treacherous ways: Hmmm, "meticulous" suggests a carefully-designed plan of action. Use of the word "terror" again might connect to a topical treatment of this theme. And in the end, we get the news on "the wind", which might gratify such a sadistic type. Much as the media can serve to glamorize and glorify those who kill for some sort of "public good", which causes them to invade other countries and lose their own allies in the process. Or it could be solely a story of diabolical evil and, as such, is equally gripping. Good to read your work again. It's been awhile! Take Care, Brenda www.brendatate.com2005-08-24 20:37:00
Texas ToastJana Buck HanksWhat a fabulously tactile poem, Jana! The imagery zings and sings. Everything combines into a rich canvas of textures, colors, shapes and sensations. From the rain to the dried petals and dessicated pods or fruit, it all spells "hot hot hot". I can't imagine living in Texas, although oddly enough, a close childhood friend just called me today from her home there. So I must have been meant to discover your poem before the contest ends. "A union of sun and earth". Indeed, and while the sun seems antagonistic to growth and even comfort, it is also the bringer of life and the master of the landscape. I love the wordplay, like "romancing the stones", for instance. Not to mention the title itself; we have loaves of bread up here that go by the name Texas Toast even though they've never been out of NS. I guess it's possible to be baked up here, too; lately we've had temperatures well into the 80s every day. And your imagery is SO incredibly descriptive, you haul me right into the scene. Sunflower petals hurled darkly to the winds, one mammoth head left to hang in crackling shame. The personification of a sunflower head is really well done. It has been defeated by weather, and reluctantly admits this. What a delightful passage! Other images I especially enjoyed would include "French fried strawberries", "impeded bird bitten new life", "squash/mutate into imposter cucumbers", "funeral trellis to withered Moon". Really, I love 'em all! Then there's the sonic detail, like "Marigolds bake in a circular brick bed by sky rocketed ..." with all those crunchy "k" sounds. How appropriate to the theme. This is a poem written by someone who understands the fell blow of such intense and dramatic heat, yet still treats it with a certain awed affection. It celebrates the summer and accepts that with the gift of sun will also come the wilting of earth's green and gentle things. It's not a bad trade, though. And from the situation so evocatively depicted, we get a real treat to read. No wonder this piece has been doing so well in the standings, Jana. It rocks! Brenda 2005-08-07 20:48:13
The Lost Poems of San FranciscoGene DixonWhat a fresh and compelling read! We spend so much time in analysis that we miss the joy, the pleasure, the fun of it all. We're so set on the "right" style, the perfect borrowing, the most brilliant expression of our own Muse, that we fail to appreciate how it might be done, and the way others have handled the challenges that we believe are ours alone. We tend to "admire the problem" but never arrive at a solution that will work for us. It can be easier to discuss than to do. "A fit of free verse " (yes, and it can definitely be that at times); a "swirl of imagery" (sometimes overdone and cloying, right?); "the stream of consciousness" (or some other style-of-the-moment, equally incomprehensible) --- we feel that these must be our tools, because others have used them and been praised for doing so. We therefore jettison what may be our greatest strengths in pursuit of what's trendy. We want to borrow from everyone and become no one. We defy self-classification and fear to be out of step. I love the assortment of names you include here! These are inspiring people with jagged perspectives; the Beat poets were nothing if not original and brave for their times. But unless we read, and read wisely with attention to what the poets are actually writing, we can run the risk of taking away not an iota of imagination or understanding. Then we do, indeed, miss the poetry for the poetics, the message for the medium. We become so obsessed with how we should write that we can't actually DO it. I think those "lost" poems are not only those of poets unrecognized, but also fragments of the speaker's own, unborn creations --- never realized, because he had no clue they were even gestating. Too late, he senses missed opportunities. Gene, I always enjoy your work and this one is no exception. In fact, I liked it well enough to grab it off the finalists' list and respond to it. I hope all's going your way and that summer is treating you kindly. Brenda 2005-08-07 19:21:57
Smilemarilyn terwillegerLovely cinquain, Marilyn! The smile widens into delightful natural imagery; the sun and light suggest how warm and powerful love is -- as represented by a grin that we can't resist returning. It need not be romantic love; it can be the bond between siblings, friends, parents and children. "You" can be anyone whom we cherish. This poem also proves that to receive friendship and affection, we must give them, and vice versa. The winds that blow from one to another are also spiritual energies flowing back and forth, joining us together. Nice use of alliteration, BTW, especially "g" and "w", the strong and the soft. I really like this one. It's gentle, unpretentious and heartwarming. Brenda2005-08-07 18:34:34
The Back Side of the MoonMell W. MorrisMell: Having just read this, I now understand Tom's wonderful poem ... which I must confess was a bit of a puzzle to me (and my critique will bear that out!). Needless to say, I've been away for quite some time. Your ongoing battles may challenge your body but they haven't diminished your vision or your courage; here's a testament to prove it. I long to Gash the daylight Grab the evening star ... effective alliteration with gash/grab, and a lovely image Caress opaline sky ... softly sibilant, gentle sounds and beautiful idea Dash with terns ... love the quick energy here! And Perch with birds like notes on a staff. ... wonderful comparison!! It's interesting that you've chosen "gash" because of all transitive verbs, it's one of my favorites. GM Hopkins uses it so effectively in "The Windhover" -- and t has those connotations of being both wound and spark. "Dash" (nice internal rhyme here!) is similar; it can signify an impact, or a speedy flight. This implies that our lives are made up of this duality: the pain and the joy are both stamped into whatever coinage God has decided to offer us. I have to Sway with seaweed Crawl inside azure ... s/z consonance is soothing, contemplative Fling back waves ... another energetic turn of phrase Feel mizzling rain above ... "mizzling" is the most remarkable word! And Fly high with paired doves to the sea. ... this line suggests a sort of holiness, a hint of glory Careful verb choice is once again evident: sway, crawl, fling, fly. Movement ranges from the quietest of actions to the most broad and vigorous. The opening images seem to relate to confinement, the immersion of self within limits. Yet the imagination recreates all past experiences and the soul escapes its bondage through the speaker's own strength of will. Those paired doves seem highly symbolic; there's a completeness to them, and a sacredness. One half of the pair is human, the other divine. Together, the seek the sea which is their mother, the salt from which we are all originally born. A bright yolk of light in my window ... love this!! And the egg idea speaks of birth/rebirth. Brings me back to muse on word flow. ... "muse" is an effective pun; "flow" restates the sea image Neither time nor tide has mended my wing ... allusion to the doves and also the speaker's own illness Rendered unspeaking by pain of the thing. ... Yet, ironically, this speaker is not at all "unspeaking"; she may be unable to voice her agonies, but she is very much able to discuss her situation through her written word And yet I recall the feel of soaring Shall not yield till healed, pouring ... good line break, which allows for rhyme here Reels of word rays, ... lovely use of alliteration that rolls across the tongue Psalters of praise. ... another strong combination, and such an upbeat way to conclude this poem! It's interesting that you shift from free verse to a more formalized structure, complete with end rhyme, in S3. This, to me, addresses the issue of freedom that is curtailed and restricted into a set dimension; you impose conditions on the verse, as they are likewise imposed upon your own existence. But beyond these boundaries, anything can happen. You can project yourself into whatever scenario most appeals, and focus on the truly significant thing -- the only thing -- which is immaterial and invisible. Cells are transient but the spirit endures past and above and beyond them. This is a poem of much hope and uncompromising faith in the rightness of the universe. I had to skip far down my list to find it, and I'm so glad I've done so! Despite my awareness of your condition and the circumstances behind the writing of these words, I can still feel elevated and inspired. I admire you tremendously, Mell. Your work is wonderful and your footsteps echo through every passage. Hugs from NS ... Brenda 2005-08-07 14:02:12
From Down Umbra, InflectingThomas Edward WrightOK, Thomas Edward ol' pal, this poem has me baffled and fascinated. I'm probably waaaay out to lunch at the worst greasy spoon in town, but it seems to me it's about a metaphorical communion between artist and audience-cum-critic. And the peek (with two e's) beneath the bridal and/or communion veil reveals a shadow that bodes not entirely well for the woman who wears it. She's probably feeling a bit down, in truth; it's such a commitment, this donning of the mantle of purity. We make certain assumptions about brides, nuns, women in white dresses standing over sidewalk grilles, and maidens just beginning to realize what it means to be female. We can't forget the yin/yang, the black and the white wheel spinning around in there, taunting everyone. Your whirling "she", like electrons around a nucleus. "Why not sing to the dark side?" Good point. Since we already contain it, why not write about it, perform it, wrestle with it or even just recognize it? This veiled lady/girl may not have grasped everything that the speaker actually meant to say. He did tell her what he could, but kept back a few "other, more important things" that "drip and drift" (wonderful image, that -- like a candle whose flame is about to make an exit). Does he wish he'd expressed them. verbalized them so she'd know? I assume so, since he's talking about this now. The poem seems about departure from brightness into something else, something more ominous. The many references to shade, from the delightful "down umbra" in the title to the nocturnal idea, to the intermittent absence of inner sunshine, we gather that here is a struggler-against-overwhelming-light, a struggler who may choose instead to walk away from all that brightness. She may have been aware of that inner dark but tried to keep it quiet, hoping nobody would notice. Now she's getting some feedback from somebody who HAS noticed and urges her not only to appeciate it but to embrace and make use of it. This speaker bites his tongue, and shrugs in the end. He affirms that, yes, he's been thinking more than he's been saying. So is this really a metaphor? Is he her symbolic groom? Literary critic? Fan? MM could mean anyone from Marilyn Monroe to Mell Morris. If I knew her identity, then I'd probably comprehend more of the poem. But that's not to say I don't like it; that's not to imply that I resist mystery. You've dangled the hook and I've taken it, without bothering to name its bait. It won't let me go, either. Brenda2005-08-07 13:03:38
With Banners FlyingKenneth R. PattonI LOVE that surprise dual perspective here! The two sides of the relationship are deftly combined, with the knight and his lady ... inside, perhaps, garbed in armor and regal robes but externally, dressed in jeans and t-shirts like most other modern lovers. Each stanza is a reflection of the corresponding one in the "other half's poem". Kind of like mirror imagery, except that you do use variants; so, for instance, we get: But I could see doubt clouding your eyes dulling the sheen of my armor and But I could see distance clouding your eyes Dulling the brilliant colors The verbs and descriptors are the same but both doubt and distance are bridged through mutual desire, and the dulling of each person's colors is more apparent than real. When fantasy dissolves, reality steps in and can be even better than the dream! This is very creative, Ken. The diction isn't difficult, the structure is also uncluttered, but the double narration really arrests attention. Good work indeed! Brenda2005-08-06 20:33:52
Poetry DistilledPaul R LindenmeyerHi Paul, This tiny poem leaves much for us to ponder. The opposition of "one" to "all" stands out for me, because as poets, we seek the universal and yet must deliver it through a solo perspective. No backup vocals, no band, no applauding audience in an amphitheater. Just mind and hand, hoping to connect with some faceless other out there, and in turn to yet another, on and on. We're not happy unless we feel we can link to the whole of humanity (which is, of course, impossible but we do try). The fact that you've gone with all capitals tells me this is a title of sorts, an identifying description or definition. I suspect the speaker then goes on to further elaborate -- at least, we can imagine so -- and am curious as to what he says. Has the larger work ever been posted here? Take care. Brenda2005-08-05 16:17:49
Healing the BreachLatorial D. FaisonHi Latorial, In times such as these, it gets difficult to separate friend from foe. The evil that men do is easily detectable on both sides, I think. "Giving life, taking life" ... yes, to some these are merely maneuvers of game pieces, the outcome irrelevant as long as the larger game continues. You open with the hopefulness of "disarmed" and "destryoed" but by spacing these two words to call our attention to them, there's an implied cynicism, and we ask ourselves "Ar they really gone?" The couplet re: Iraqi egos applies equally to the leaders and the citizens; if one is destroyed, the others are likewise affected. Ego isn't inherently a bad thing unless it's perverted -- as here -- for the purpose of controlling and abusing people. With the loss of Saddam's heinous "doctrine", so too we see the country's central core removed. As in the poem "Dover Beach", now the "ignorant armies clash by night" and the casualties are as likely to be their own people as the occupying forces. You close with the paradoxical "war in the name of peace", which our leaders assert is the truth and which has always sounded like a crock to me. "Verbal lies" offer false healing, scabs only, beneath which the wounds fester and prepare to erupt in poison. Your diction is straightforward here, the incisive and unclouded observations of the average Westerner who can see and understand what's happening, condemn it, yet know that what we try to say really won't matter to the boys in charge. You write with anger-tinged commentary which IMO works well to communicate frustration at the status quo. Nicely done! Brenda 2005-08-03 09:57:54
haiku (snowplow)Joanne M Uppendahl road-clearing snowplow -- fairly literal identification of the topic feels flurry’s waste of kisses -- now it's personified, brought to life by the touch of snow! white on white on white -- rhyhmic sort of sensation, like the endless fall os the flakes Hi Joanne. I chose to open with the poem itself and then respond afterwards. What I most appreciate is that the "waste of kisses" seems to animate the dull machine into something aware, something sentient. Yet you don't explicitly say this. The word "feels" and the connotations of wasted kisses are the only clues. The rest is up to the reader. So the plow becomes a potential Prince Charming, to be awakened by the purity of the white-white-white kiss. Kind of a Snow White reversal going on here. Or, taken another way, we have a workingman/plow who has never really thought much about the beautiful things of the earth until he is suddenly reminded of them, by direct encounter. I wonder if he will stop to admire the woods filling up with snow, like Frost's driver and little horses. I wonder if he will ever again be content with merely clearing the burdens that impede us. So many questions for so short a poem! Delightful. And here we are in July! Of course, it's cool and rainy here, as it seems to be 70% of the time; but tomorrow might be hotter and I will recall your stalwart plow with affection. Hope you're having a great summer! Brenda 2005-07-07 07:00:18
Memorial of InnocenceMandie J OverockerMandie ... This is absolutely compelling! I'm not sure what has happened in terms of the "real story", but the imagery is horrifying and the mother's anguish screams across the space between poet and reader. How can I truly critique this? I can't -- it stands without any need for detailed commentary, revision or "approval" of form and poetic language. It is written in similar style to a folk ballad, but there's much more here than an imaginary tale. I'm assuming that somehow, this baby - together with his twin - was used in a sacrificial rite of some kind. That boggles my mind, of course. Whether literal or metaphorical, I can't say, but the cruelty is unimaginable. Is this a metaphor for adoption against the mother's will? Or for an actual slaughter of innocents, as the title implies ... a Biblical-sounding destruction of the newborn? Although there is nothing Christian about such a terrible act. OMG, I'm shuddering here. I don't believe this is metaphorical at all. It was a dark day In the springtime A holy day for the world But as the world Mourned a heavenly king My heart was sad as I mourned Another boy Torn from within my womb Speared in the heart And burned Upon a cross Inverted there As flames leapt up I watched The speaker temporarily assumes a persona much like that of Mary, who understood that her child's destiny was fixed and unstoppable. So it is Easter, and the crucifixion is both remembered and replayed. Instead of a holy turning-point, there's a satanic element - a cult-like perversion of the original. Destruction instead of salvation, agony without redemption. Have you written about this in prose form? What a shocking narrative! If it is true, as I suspect, then it's calling out to be told. The anguish could be channeled into an utterly riveting story. Words fail me. Brenda 2005-07-07 06:50:38
The Mindless WandererThomas H. SmihulaHi Thomas, The inherent irony in this piece is that anyone who can write like this, and communicate so clearly the sense of anomie - of rootlessness - is far from "mindless"! I have often shared such feelings and to an extent, have them now, so I can easily relate to this piece. Your diction is beautifully chosen to reflect the drifting sensation: broken, jig sawed, helpless, not retrievable, molded, modified, changing, deviates, etc. This is a poem about flux and reassembly (which, I think, the poet undergoes often). We try to fix a form and then it dissipates, so we struggle to create something else we can accept, or believe, or even follow. We're an experimental lot but sometimes, we tend to forget who or even where we are. But yet we're anxious to find the right fit, to belong. Your speaker reminds us that nothing is permanent. If we feel we've arrived, then the destination will move away or shift. "Keys, wallets, pens" = freedom, material possessions, and communication. These are the wheels that direct us on the journey. That final stanza is filled with confusion and despair. How do we unlock the barriers? What payment is expected of us and how do we make it? Will we be forever trapped within ourselves, unable even to seek help or convey our distress? It is no accident that your final image is of "blocked walls". This is stark, honest writing. It addresses a problem that, a century ago, fewer people probably had to wrestle with - they knew what was expected of them, where their places were, how to proceed. Now we have so many options (maybe too many?) and the possibilities can get overwhelming. A worthy treatment of the modern age. You speak with the voice of Everyman and most of us can answer with, "Ah yes, I understand!" Brenda2005-07-07 06:37:35
Pablo’s daughterMark Andrew HislopThis is stunning! Visual arts or the written word? Which truly inspires us most? The speaker is torn between his love for both and his desire for excellence and/or deep appreciation of eaither. The two Pablos - Picasso and Neruda - stand at the opposite poles, yet meld in the cneter to fabricate this Muse-daughter. I can’t decide. The word-man would make her From the inside out, migrating in his soul— Devoted like a swan— To hers, as if he had known her before And somehow could show the world His only other. The image-man would make her From the outside in, a treacherous journey Walking blind in a darkened land Where she is everyone’s other Yet somehow only his, stolen and Forced to lie forever splayed upon his canvas. Here are the two approaches - the writer begins with the brain and builds on it; the painter starts externally and adds depth as he proceeds. To the one,, the process is rather like reincarnation, and there's a subtle Leda allusion, as if to write about something is to commit it to paper by force. Yet this is not the message; the devotion of poet to his work is a marriage of mind and substance. Through it, we who write are driven to reveal ourselves in all our fragility, our 'only other". We are loyal to our inner daughter because she is a part of our own soul. To the painter, the tangible product on canvas is eventually lost to him, displayed (I love your choice of "splayed" - a rape image) for eyes which may not even understand it. It is both tribute and betrayal, this act of creating a fixed image. There are those unworthy to share in it (but they will do so, anyway). There are those who will seek to criticize or punish us for having dared to reveal ourselves so blatantly. There is small comfort in having given up our children in the service of the public taste. But we may havelittle to say about it; the Muse herself must determine what form she will take. And the reader-viewer-creator must accept her for what she is, the shape she chooses, or choose to guard his/her own response to the work. If the speaker is also the writer-artist, s/he has an option -- create or conceal. One celebrates with risks, the other protects with denial. I really can’t decide, and That’s best for my heart, It would go to pieces either way To see her mystery broken and trapped, Splintered in a list of artists’ qualities ... Yes, the choice is bitter and difficult. If we impose our own will on the act of creation, we imprison it. "Splintered in a list" is a remarkable metaphor. It argues against restricting the work to narrow confines that deaden any spark of originality; no, we cannot ask for this. We cannot break the daughter's spirit. That final oxymoron, the "open secret", stands as true artist's treasure - the gift we keep even as we offer it to the masses. I hope this piece, which is a brilliant poem, is applauded as it should be. I think it's my favourite of all your work that I've read thus far - you're on a roll! Bravo. Brenda 2005-07-07 06:24:19
The idea-houndMark Andrew HislopWow, Mark, I really like what you've done here. That "hourglass's hermitage" reminds us that inspiration can't be confined to a time or place, and is also fleeting. But the poet is ever conscious of mortality and time. The visit of the hound is beautifully depicted ... what striking imagery! Chill, sensitively as the lightless ice-fall, A hound’s snout brushes stem, bud; Its nostrils enable an advance, that this instant And again this, and this, and this Stamps tidy impressions upon the ice Amongst the bushes, and guardedly a limping Silhouette slips past tree-trunk and cave "Lightless ice-fall" is a treat for the ear. The stem and bud suggest developing growth, an awakening of the mind. The images of gloom, cavern, cave, hermitage could be taken as metaphors for the skull's interior where the brain crouches, waiting. Through its window-eyes, the stars swim past when we're fortunate enough to perceive them. If not, we write of darkness. Hughes, I think, knew more than his share of shadows. Who knows what beast may slouch out of the woods and pursue the poet's imagination? Sometimes, we may fear to face such a one. This is superb writing; you've done Hughes proud. Kudos! Brenda 2005-07-07 06:05:58
The DreamMandie J OverockerHello again! This is a more cryptic piece than the one I just read. The "two souls/connected" could well allude to a pair of newlyweds, but it's not obvious. This "friend you became" might also be a family member whose friendship is a recent thing, and much welcomed. But then again, in the dream worlds, everything is possible and pure logic doesn't always operate. I like the fact that you don't specifically identify the nature of the relationship, or even the identities of the parties involved. It leaves more room for speculation. "Because we share the name" could even be a reference to a spiritual guide, someone who was once part of this family group but who has now moved onward. In dreams, we are said to be able to contact the departed, and meet with them in that odd borderland where time and substance mean nothing. I have also been told that often, our spiritual guides are those who have known and loved us while living. I note the shift from "weep for me" in L2 to "weep for us" in L11. The other half of the pair is clearly no longer in the mortal realm, and is reachable only in spirit, not flesh. I sense this dream is a turning point, the moment at which grief begins to subside and the speaker is able to start healing. The willow itself makes an appropriate symbol for this process. With the cessation of tears, the mourning period itself is over. Another metaphysical piece - different in length and style but no less appealing. Perhaps you are also exploring this unknowable and vast universe that our souls inhabit. If so, I share this sense of wonder! Brenda2005-07-01 12:12:26
The HealingMandie J OverockerHi Mandie, What an intriguing poem! Not only is the story of great interest to me - being the seeker that I am - but the harmonious use of sonic combinations really enhances the read. I love "sun spun soul", for instance, with all the sibilant alliteration. And again, here: "wafts of smoke tickle the spirits/embracing for eternity" - more soft consonants, and the unexpectedness of "tickle" to add energy. The speaker and her companion are appropriately viewed as karmic sisters, balancing the daughter's own presence but not pulling against it. They are the two poles between which this woman's spirit must move for its journey. who hold her close in warm embrace ... more lovely soft-c and s sounds; this speaks of gentleness and peace an other worldly fragile bow ... I love the potential for several meanings of "bow"! move her to tomorrow’s shoals ... wonderful use of the "o" assonance, and the shoals offer a haven where salty tears from oceans flow ... interesting that the oceans themselves are seen to cry, rather than being composed of the tears collected from a living source; this is the water element from which we all arise The "bow" line is extremely subtle. If it's the "ribbon" it implies a knot, like the symbol for eternity itself, but fragile because at anymoment the strand can break. If it is the "bow" of a ship, as rhymes with "now" or "prow", then it suggest a barque which bears the soul across the final river - the Styx, perhaps - to the realms of the blessed. It could also be the sort of bow that means a salutation, a gesture of respect performed by the two women who have released her. I like the tercet form you've used, and the rhyme is nicely unpredictable - not always in the same pattern - which parallels the surprising events of the experience itself. Is this something you've done before? I don't mean necessarily this particular type of communication, but the attempt itself? I've been exploring many concepts of the afterworld since my mother's death in November, as I would dearly love reassurance that we do go on and that she is all right in her new form. But so far, nothing seems to come except odd coincidences that might or might not mean anything. You have performed a service, I think, that will count much in the overall scale of things. I feel as if I've been meant to read this piece. I have been offline much of the time recently, owing to personal circumstances, so it's perhaps another one of those coincidences that upon my return, this piece tops my to-critique list. Thank you! Brenda2005-07-01 11:59:42
unittledRachel F. SpinozaHi Rachel, Hmmmm (deep, contemplative sigh). The imagery is vividly natural - color of flowers and mud. I LOVE the very word "jacaranda" amd wish we had them here, just so I could speak it out loud!! But what interests me most is that broader but subtle implication that less pleasant realities can be concealed beneath something that looks lovely, and the viewer will be so enchanted by the floral display that the unattractive muck is usually overlooked. Is that, in fact, an element of living in California? I've not been there, of course, so I can't actually KNOW. But I read the tabloids once in awhile; I sense that beneath the glittery facade of many supposedly "beautiful people" is a much less palatable underlayer. Hollywood is a mix of blossom and banality; the California Dream can gloss over a nightmare for those less fortunate. Then there's the mud of literal mudslides, about which I've read with horror. Your "title" is probably misspelled via letter reversal but it's eye-catching so what the heck, I'd leave it as is! I certainly do like this haiku. Brenda2005-06-08 15:39:55
Prideau Malraux on 65th StreetMichael J. CluffMike, how good to read your work again!! There's an instant guffaw at the abrupt shift from those "neutered" pinpoints to the decidedly un-neutered open zipper. Thus do ideas gestate, seemingly out of nowhere. A fortuitous accident and, bingo!! Who knows what might ensue? The man's name seems to be a combo of Tom Prideaux and Andrea Malraux - one an artist's biograher/critic, the other an art historian. Hence the precise detail regarding the color and texture of his tie and shirt, and the brown contours of his pleated pants. He is, in fact, a walking piece of realist art, the embodiment of the anonymously lustful male with concealed weapon at the ready. A good artists will always suggest broader possibilities than his canvas can depict within the limits of a single frame; a capable writer will do the same with his prose or poetry. So is the broken zipper a metaphor for the liberation of one's imagination? The act of creation, perhaps ... about to be undertaken? That "white shirt" reminds me of an untouched canvas. The hidden lust underlies much of what painters piant, or writers write. It is a force that drives us to strange and wondrous heights. But we may have to break with convention in order to unleash that power. Then there are so many possibilities, indeed. Or maybe this is just a tiny sliver of life, with the lens capturing one man's moment of truth (or dare). Anyhow, I enjoyed reading it on both the direct, visual level and the metaphorical plane. Brenda2005-06-08 13:59:22
senryuRachel F. SpinozaYeeoooww!! Good parody of the "band of brothers" speech from Henry V ... quite a change in tone, though. They're no longer "we happy few", for sure. England is depicted as the mercenary power sans conscience, and the "penal coplex" implies that even freedom is at risk. But "scapegoated" assigns some of the blame elsewhere; the sins of others have been affixed to the English horns. There is no way to soften the harsh glare of world opinion here. The best one can do is feel compassion for the troops who must go where they're sent and do as they are bid, prisoners of an ideology that has been imposed by those in higher places. Did they anticipate this when they joined the military? I suspect not. But the beat goes on, doesn't it? Chilling and memorable piece! Brenda 2005-06-07 19:43:08
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