This Poem was Submitted By: Sandra J Kelley On Date: 2003-12-15 19:48:57 . . . Click Here To Mail this Poem to a Friend!

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She stands over a barrel, the wind touching her hair, at dusk. Sparks rise in the air in front of her as one by one  she removes the pages and feeds them to the flames.  It seems Sacred, like a ritual of cleansing. Yet, it is only a diary; cheap spiral bound paper and blue ink. She reads words  in the fire before they are consumed. Never her whole life, only the fragments she is left with. She wipes tears of smoke or of memory from her eyes overseeing the burning. Miserly, she doles out the pages one by one, as each is touched by flame, starts to curl then flames to ash. Not having counted those destroyed, she has no way of knowing how few she is left with.

Copyright © December 2003 Sandra J Kelley

This Poem was Critiqued By: Jennifer j Hill On Date: 2004-01-07 09:38:04
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.94872
Hi Sandra, I missed your critiquing presence here this past month and hope it was just the business of the season that kept you away. One thing I like about your poetry: I never know what to expect. Each poem is very different. You're creative, not afraid to try anything and this piece is no exception. The concept of cleansing in this way is an intriguing idea, So, right from the getgo you grab this readers attention. The pictoral imagry creates a stir in the readers heart as this woman's form is framed by the evening light and fire and I am wondering what has happened to her to make her use such resolve. I prefer to think of her as putting the past behind her in an effort to move forward, yet it is hard for her to let it go without at least acknowledging what was there. Your use of imagry continues with her tears and I especially enjoy the way you vividly describe the pages burning in the fire. This reminds me of what is experienced when one is "saved", how they acknoledge sin and put it behind them as they confess and accept forgiveness for each separate sin in an effort to cleanse the soul. I am left wanting more at the end and not really sure where she is headed from here. As I said before, this piece is intriguing. Blessings, Jennifer

This Poem was Critiqued By: Rachel F. Spinoza On Date: 2004-01-04 10:37:39
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.50000
Really interesting theme and lovely use of language carries us through this piece with intense interest. cleansing [good descriptive title] She stands over a barrel, the wind touching her hair, [we don't need comma here] at dusk. Sparks rise in the air in front of her as one by one she removes Sandra..although "remove" is a lovely word here it is a little distracting as it seems that the pages are not attached - perhaps something meaning "to tear or rip?" the pages and feeds them to the flames. It [is] This would be even more powerful if you go rid of "seems and "like" and made it stand on its own Sacred []- a ritual of cleansing. Yet, it is only a diary; cheap spiral bound paper and blue ink. She reads words in the fire before they are consumed. WONDERFUL Never her whole life, only the fragments she is left with. perhaps something like: she is left with only fragments or only the fragments left her [to solve ending a thought with a preposition] She wipes tears of smoke or of memory from her eyes overseeing the burning. lovely! Miserly, [great word choice]she doles out the pages one by one, as each is touched by flame, starts to curl then flames [flame/s is used twice here - perhaps another word?} to ash. Not having counted those destroyed, she has no way of knowing how few [are left]. Excellent poem which reaches deep into us with fresh language and dramatic mystery. please excuse my nit picking Best, Rachel
This Poem was Critiqued By: marilyn terwilleger On Date: 2004-01-02 10:52:58
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.72500
Hi Sandra, This is such a melancholy piece and I can easily feel the pathos written by your poetic pen. When I first joined TPL and my work was critiqued I learned that the "the, of, and" are some words that can be deleted with out hurting the integrity of the poem. In reading this piece I see you can do this and still have a lovely poem full of passion. For example...."she stands over a barrel (the) wind touching her hair"...anyway this was a valuable lesson for it tightens up the poem a bit. I really like the way you have used fire as a means of cleansing the soul...for it is the ultimate cleanser after which a new life can begin. This sad lady allows herself to read her own written words one last time before she feeds them to the fire...this is very touching...she does not want to burn the memories of sorrow but knows she must..."She wipes tears or (of) memory from her eyes"...very good phrase here that enhances the sadness of loss. I like the way you have ended this piece with this lady not knowing if she has burned all her sad memories or not....very poingant. Keep writing! Blessings...Marilyn
This Poem was Critiqued By: Gerard A Geiger On Date: 2003-12-19 16:14:26
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
Dear Sandra; This is a very poignant, soul searching, introspective piece about a nameless woman feeding the pages of her diary one by one into a fire. Not all of the pages we are told, perhaps only those dealing with a sour relationship...or a loved one who has died, or just the events of a past which needs to be forgotten... in either case it is hauntingly familiar to all of everyone has memories they wish to bury/burn so that they can move on unobstructed....I like it...I have no improvements. Thanks for this thoughtful piece. Gerard
This Poem was Critiqued By: April Rose Ochinang Claessens On Date: 2003-12-19 04:28:33
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.37500
sandra, this is like the 5th poem that ive read that is filled with have beautifully structured the sadness such that ive felt it to my heart. thanks for sharing it.april
This Poem was Critiqued By: Sherri L Smith On Date: 2003-12-17 12:30:36
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.60870
Dear Sandra, This tells me of a lost love maybe or a lost lifestyle, or maybe just the loss of a dream that was being held dear. Maybe it could be the diary of a bad relationship, it is nice to be able to put our won thoughts and feelings into this, and make it mean something to me! I especially liked the line: She wipes tears of smoke or of memory from her eyes overseeing the burning. That speaks volumes and I can picture myself doing something like that and crying as I did it. Thanks for sharing, have a wonderful Holiday! Sherri
This Poem was Critiqued By: Jordan Brendez Bandojo On Date: 2003-12-16 11:25:29
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Hi Sandra, First and foremost, I am glad to see your submission this month. December is already ending and I am always looking forward to your submission. This one is another fine piece with the very poignant emotion. I can see your present submissions were sad just like "Fragments". Are you kinda sad today? I hope not. It's already Christmas time! We have to be joyful and forget the sad memories for the meantime if there are any. Alright, you bring out the tone effectively by giving the concrete action the girl is doing. I assume that this girl which could be you is trying to forget the sad memories. There is a concrete visual throughout the piem that the readers could really SEE and feel the emotion. My suggestion maybe is that you can take out some words like the articles to adbridge and somehow simplified. Although, it's not a big deal. SMILE. For example, She stands over a barrel, the wind touching her hair, ---[take out "the"] at dusk. Sparks rise in the air in front of her as one by one she removes the pages and feeds them to the flames. It seems ---[remove "the"] Sacred, like a ritual of cleansing. [delete "of"] The line "as one by one she removes the pages and feeds them to the flames." ----this created the tone, very poignant, creating an emphatic phrase The ending is very poignant also. As I've said the tone is effectively carried out throughout the poem that this reader is satisfied, not left hanging. Thanks for sharing, Sandra. I hope you have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year ahead. Jordan
This Poem was Critiqued By: Claire H. Currier On Date: 2003-12-16 06:38:02
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.77778
Good morning poet......Very seldom do I make suggestions but I think this one needs a bit of tightening at the seams...... She stands near a barrel, the wind touching her hair. Sparks rise in front of her as she feeds the pages, one by one into the flames. Sacred, like a ritual of cleansing she begins at dusk. I am sure you, as the author, know what you are saying to us within the lines it was just a thought. My Godmother kept diaries....her entire life.....seems like she started when she was very young and not just one.....dozens.......and then comes the day she sits, reads, and shreds.......she might call you and say....remember when and then goes into great detail about this or that in your own life but before you might say please let me have it its gone...... Seems to me the person thought of in the lines within your poem is very sad with so much of her life otherwise she would not be burning her pages now.......perhaps she is going through a divorce or the parting of a relationship........does not matter for you did allow for many emotions to be felt.....along with images. Thanks for posting, be safe and a happy holiday to you and yours, God Bless, Claire
This Poem was Critiqued By: madge B zaiko On Date: 2003-12-16 01:14:14
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 8.83333
It sounds as though it was you who did these things... So, detailed...Each moment is caught with your words and imagery...I am curious as to why she was ripping out pages... What needed to be cleansed... It leaves me very curious... Definately an interesting poem! I enjoyed reading it! Thank you. Blessings -Madge
This Poem was Critiqued By: Thomas Edward Wright On Date: 2003-12-15 21:01:21
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.66667
Just a few comments: Wordiness is an anathema in poetry. While the train of thought chugs along, it is easy to lose sight of a destination. Say what you mean in as few words as possible. Some examples from your text: She stands over a barrel, the [wind touching her hair, ...night wind in hair at dusk]. Sparks rise [in the air in front of her as one by one] she removes [the] pages [and] feeds them to [the] flames. [It seems] Sacred[, like a] ritual [of] cleansing. [Yet, it is only] a diary; cheap spiral bound paper and blue ink. She reads words in the fire [before they are consumed]. Never her whole life, only the fragments [she is left with]. She wipes [tears of] smoke [or of] memory from [her] eyes overseeing the burning. Miserly, she doles out [the] pages [one by one, as each is] touched by flame[, starts to] curl then flames to ash. Not having counted those destroyed, she has no way of knowing how few she [is left with] has remaining. I wonder what it sounds like trimmed down and in the first person. Try it! tom
This Poem was Critiqued By: Michele Rae Mann On Date: 2003-12-15 20:14:38
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Wow, I hope this is only a story for it would be a shame to be hurt so deeply that you distroy your past. Your past is what makes your future. This poem sucked me in. I wanted to read it to the end. Then the end came, I wish it was not such of an end. Maybe a little more mystery at the end instead of finalization. Michele
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