This Poem was Submitted By: April Rose Ochinang Claessens On Date: 2003-12-12 03:52:09 . . . Click Here To Mail this Poem to a Friend!

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She came home with her dress no different from the kitchen rags; blood flowed from her innocence as tears that obscured her confused eyes trickled down her cheeks. The doll in her hand was crying as she let it fall to the ground, then she herself fell down, probably from exhaustion. Or from hopelessness, perhaps? Dear God, she was too young to understand. When she grew up she played with toy guns and despised talking dolls - the faces of these dolls were smeared with mud which only she  could see. And she played with no one else but her shadow who did all that she pleased. When she read books she befriended Artemis but she refused to shake hands with Eros; she was the only one whose knees did not tremble for Adonis but instead she adored Venus and worshipped Galatea. It was Apollo who gave her the Pen but it was the Muses she called for to inspire her in writing poetry which crowned her with laurels. Her veil turned gray having busied herself with pen and ink. Then it was time to wear the shroud. To say her final adieu; and her brown box was lowered to the earth's dermis. "Here lies she who drank contempt for Dionysus' disciples."

Copyright © December 2003 April Rose Ochinang Claessens

This Poem was Critiqued By: Elaine Marie Phalen On Date: 2004-01-07 22:56:25
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Hi April, It's late here, and I'm just trying to respond to a few poems that touch me for one reason or another. I think this style suits you very well. It moves very quickly, has many densely-packed images, and used enjambment - as in L4/5 - to excellent effect. In S1, much is shown and much more is implied, so we arent sure what happens to this little girl, only that poverty is her lot and that she is being abused and left in tatters both emotionally and physically. The dropped and crying doll is a powerful metaphor for the girl herself. The grown-up woman resembles a lone warrior, with her disdain for anything resembling the typically "feminine" woman, the talking doll. Her past has destroted her appreciation for that ideal. Your use of the mud-smeared faces works well to recall that terrible period in her earlier life. When she read books she befriended Artemis but she refused to shake hands with Eros; she was the only one whose knees did not tremble for Adonis but instead she adored Venus and worshipped Galatea. The classical allusions are unexpected here, and succeed because they extend the woman's personality, with her rejection of the "softer" pathway and the "expected" romantic attachments. Heterosexual love seems not to interest her. She relates only to females, spiritually and perhaps even physically (you seem to imply this but don't say it outright). Then her writing takes over and offers her release from pain and intellectual confinement. She has taken the veil, although I sense this is not so much religious as artistic. Her dedication is to her art, in any case. This is a poem about great anguish, and the choices one makes in order to escape from it and move forward on the soul's journey. "Earth's dermis" (wonderful sounds and image!) suggests something embracing, the warm skin denied her as a child, when a loving hug would have meant so much. For some reason, when I read this I thought of Anne Sexton, whose tormented life was nonetheless crowned with honors and produced wondrous poetry. However, this woman could be representative of many in her situation. Your poem is well-crafted and powerful, with a strong voice. Brenda

This Poem was Critiqued By: Erzahl Leo M. Espino On Date: 2004-01-04 17:55:48
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Hi April, Wow, this is a sublime and moving handiwork! From the title “MAN-HATER”, to each sequenced contents (intro, the subjects, the events, the experiences and the end-result)…you have skillfully and completely tell a story worth contemplating to. This things happen…and it is a sad sad reality yet sometimes true to a few. I like the sarcastic line “dress no different from the kitchen rags” and “blood flowed from her innocence”. The word images were appropriate…readers can easily visualize the miserable scenario. Nice choice of words! With your specific and concrete subjects like “toy guns and despised talking dolls” and “knees did not tremble for Adonis but instead she adored Venus and worshipped Galatea” it reveals a surprising behavior and yet, we don’t know whom to blame for this? “And she played with no one else but her shadow who did all that she pleased.” --- For me, this is my favorite part! Unforgettable visualizations! --- There are a lot of beautiful and worth pondering statements you have scattered in your work here but for me this is the best. Nice metaphors, readers can automatically feel the loneliness behind the lines. Kudos on your wonderful and profound work April! For me, this is a winner! Keep on showering us with this kind of poetry. I sure enjoy the read! As always, Erzahl :)
This Poem was Critiqued By: Rachel F. Spinoza On Date: 2004-01-03 14:32:22
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.33333
The title "tells" too much I think Interesting tale. She came home with her dress no different from the kitchen rags; blood flowed from her innocence as tears that obscured her confused eyes trickled down her cheeks. lots of mixed metaphors and reaching for allusion and language here It would be more effective to have just one poetic device per stanza. The doll in her hand was crying as she let it fall to the ground, then she herself fell down, probably from exhaustion. Or from hopelessness, perhaps? perhaps - but perhaps you should let us see her fall instead of speculate on her motivation Dear God, she was too young to understand. Are any of us old enough to understand? When she grew up she played with toy guns when she grew up? And she played with no one else but her shadow who did all that she pleased. why is she "playing so much as a grown up?" When she read books she befriended Artemis but she refused to shake hands with Eros; she was the only one whose knees did not tremble for Adonis but instead she adored Venus and worshipped Galatea. The only one? May people see beyond phycial stength and beauty? It was Apollo who gave her the Pen but it was the Muses she called for to inspire her in writing poetry which crowned her with laurels. How did he "give her the pen?" Then it was time to wear the shroud. To say her final adieu; and her brown box was lowered to the earth's dermis. just to the "demis?" "Here lies she who drank contempt for Dionysus' disciples." Sad ending. Tyoo bad the persona let the experience destroy her.
This Poem was Critiqued By: arnie s WACHMAN On Date: 2003-12-31 17:12:53
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.15385
As one who has dealt with abused women as a counsellor I can fully understand and appreciate what you have written. The abuse (sexually) a child is reprehensible not to say the same of any woman of any age. Your descriptive passage of the child holding the rag doll briyght forth tears and anger. My one wish for men like that is that they should be publicly flogged at the town square. Unfortunately we are supposed to be more civilized than that. But which is worse? The rape or the flogging? I am at a loss. Thanks for putting forth this poem which stirred my emotions. I can well understand your title. The rest of the poem with its references to Artemis, etc. was skillfully crafted. Thank you.
This Poem was Critiqued By: Claire H. Currier On Date: 2003-12-22 06:50:52
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.76316
Poet...such a tragedy you have created with the flare of your pen, so often you read about this in a newspaper or hear whispers about it when someone does not mention it aloud......tragedy, still the same. When a girl (young or older) has been assaulted they respond in many ways. Some may try to tell someone they trust who does not believe them and that is the worst thing that could happen .....others may find it their fault and grow promiscuous while others stay away later in life from men and sex. Your opening stanza has set the pace and tone for the entire poem and the structure is well put .....your word flow brings forth the images created with the flare of your pen along with the emotions set forth within the lines. The words you have chosen so well........loss of innocence, falling to the ground. A symbol of childhood that is lost and untold years of torment and memories. I pray the girl has found some help to ease her pain.....this might have been a most difficult piece to write and share with us but it might also have been a relief to be able to do it......Thanks for posting, there are many of us who can relate and share in this experience, perhaps not to this great extend but in some form. Be safe in yuor travels, God Bless, Claire
This Poem was Critiqued By: marilyn terwilleger On Date: 2003-12-16 20:12:53
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.61538
Dear April, Before I comment on your poem I have to tell you that I always wondered why my parents did not name me April as that is the month of my birth. Besides I liked the name so much more than my own! This poem starts out with gut wrenching words and does not let go of the reader until the last line. The first stanza tells the sad story of a girl that was abused or more probably raped. She is bleeding, crying, confused, and I read into your words that she feels the hopelessness so strong that she is overwhelmed with it. She drops her doll, that once she loved, and fell to the ground. As she grew she abandoned the dolls and took up toy guns...but who could blame her for this...the dolls were dirty to her. She even shuns the God of love and the one who makes girls knees quiver....these are not for her ever again. She has no friends but prefers to play with her shadow as she can count on it.... always knows what to horrible surprises. The one jubilant event in this poor girls life was her discovery of writing poetry... ...then she died. This is very well written and a compelling read. As you can no doubt tell I like it a lot! Blessings...Marilyn
This Poem was Critiqued By: madge B zaiko On Date: 2003-12-13 01:06:52
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.75000
April!! I truly enjoyed this poem!!!! I would take another look at the ending though... I feel like the beginning is so detailed and such a clear and powerful story... Then it abruptly changes. My suggestion would be to continue with the detail and make it a longer peice or shorten it. Or perhaps even to keep the beginning for the end of the poem... because that is the real powerhouse of the peice. Beautiful poem!!!!! Blessings -Madge
This Poem was Critiqued By: Sherri L Smith On Date: 2003-12-12 08:14:31
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.90909
This story is a horrible tragedy, but unfortunately these things do happen in this world. When a girl has been assaulted they all can respond in different ways. Some may grow promiscuous while others shun anything to do with sex at all. The first stanza sets the tone for the whole poem. It is very stark and spells it out exactly how it was. The loss of innocence, her doll falling to the ground. A symbol of childhood that is lost and untold years of torment and memories. This was beautiful april, thanks for sharing. Sherri
This Poem was Critiqued By: Jordan Brendez Bandojo On Date: 2003-12-12 05:10:32
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Hi April, Glad to hear your poem for the second time, the first you had was "Crafted in the Hands of Shaskespeare" and it was awesome for its poignant emotion of lost love. This one is another poem of quality. You portrayed a gruesome scenario mean men are doing to innocent children. And it sad to note that it is rampant nowadays, media either paper or voice told it. Your first input, "She came home with her dress no different from the kitchen rags;" ----I was thinking that this girl was a beggar abandoned by parents but it was because she was molested by this ruthless man....that's why she became a man-hater. Thus, the title is validated in fullness. Your presentation and words are poetic even though you have this issue which is a hot news in every day media. It is hard to have the influx of your words run poetically considering that your theme is such a tragic one. But from the tragic beginning, this girl became the muse of Apollo. She was given wreath of laurel in her outstanding work in poetry. It is a great achievement. This woman did not allow darkness to end her life yet she struggled and became worthy in her society. In concealment, he hate men forever in her life. She could not be blamed of that. It is just giving her the justice and her own. The ending is very effective as you put there the epitaph: "Here lies she who drank contempt for Dionysus' disciples." Very outstanding work, April. I hope this could serve as awakening to our society especially to men. Thanks for sharing this greatly significant work. This is worthy of laureal! Keep writing. Your words are gem. Jordan
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