This Poem was Submitted By: Sean Donaghy On Date: 2005-03-08 15:43:10 . . . Click Here To Mail this Poem to a Friend!

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For Heroes Who Now Lie Asleep

Appolonia, do not weep. Let not your heart become undone because your love now lies asleep beneath a far-off setting sun. His sky now blooms with sacred light and when the dew shall disappear, his soul, released, will take true flight toward the love that draws him near. Appolonia, seek him where all his promises were made. Surely you will find him there when Springing comes upon the glade. Forever he will take his rest a vision fair within your eyes, within your heart, within your breast. A vision grief cannot disguise. Appolonia, your sad sigh bespeaks this maddest contradiction: The king will send the prince to die for peace, in war - a foul affliction. Then carve these heroes' epitaphs for all the timeless days from hence on stones borne by God's own seraphs: "Their dying brought no recompense." 

Copyright © March 2005 Sean Donaghy

This Poem was Critiqued By: Elaine Marie Phalen On Date: 2005-04-02 19:49:38
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Sean, this is beautifully written, I'm a formalist by inclination and love to read something so skilfully crafted, with content that well suits its stylistic strength. Tetrameter works very nicely and is consitently employed. The headless iamb (L1) opens with force, as the speaker urges Appolonia to guard against emotional excess. She is asked to remember her departed lover as having moved into a happier realm than the futile battlefield. Though he has died for a cause no man can win, he will find the truest love of all in the heavenly sphere which now opens to admit him. The poem speaks to the irony of war, and the unfairness of it, especially as it applies to the troops who are sent to fight and perish, by powerful leaders who sput rhetoric about achievement of peace, yet won't lay down their own lives for it. These ordinary heroes are, indeed, given no suitable honors on earth. Appolonia, your sad sigh bespeaks this maddest contradiction: The king will send the prince to die for peace, in war - a foul affliction. I appalud your use of feminine rhyme, which I always enjoy reading. Ending L2/4 on an amphibrach is a pleasant variation. It also calls attention to this strophe -- which delivers the "political" aspect of your theme. It could be an allusion to Bush, or any other powerful leader who sends men (and women) to their deaths on pretext of some noble cause. The idea of a prince who dies for peace is also rather Christ-like, a sacrifice made for the greater good, although few understand its significance at the time. The father orchestrates the death of the son. This has happened historically in various European wars. Indeed, Apollonia (spelling is different) was also an ancient Greek city-state through which Saint Paul travelled on his way to Thessalonika, again subtly underscoring the Christ-figure aspect of the dead hero. Finally, Saint Apollonia was asked to renounce Christ and tortured when she refused; I do not think you've chosen your subject's name at random! In the end, recognition of the unsung warrior's courage is given at the highest level - the carved tablets are carried by "God's own seraphs" (wonderful rhyme there, BTW) - and the heroic epitaphs are evidence that bravery is rewarded by those who are in charge of our souls. But poor Appolonia mourns the flesh-and-bone lover, the man who is gone and, presumably, buried in an unknown plot. Such is the lot of ten million war widows throughout the course of human affairs. The final line is a poignant reminder of how little we offer our war dead and their families. Veterans' pensions are often paltry (my father who was fully employed as an officer in the naval reserve for 20 years and fought in WWI, got nothing at all). The wounded in soul and body often come home to indifferent treatment or, worse, actual condemnation and abuse. Others are crippled by the legacy of chemicals such as Agent Orange, poison gas or other horrific mixtures. So Appolonia could also be a symbolic figure, standing for the nation itself, the motherland mourning her dead. Superb work in every way. Off I go to add it to my voting list! brenda

This Poem was Critiqued By: Joanne Duval Morgan On Date: 2005-03-22 23:16:26
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.80000
Hello Sean....wonderful, the rhyme you achieve in each corresponding line is beyond belief, it moves so sommothly, the cadence is sure and deliberate, you have achieved a wonderful oem, that soothes me, and makes me glad I read about Appolonia's grief for her loved one, but speaks of all young souls lost, in war unhearalded, regardless of the Kings Presidents and rulers)vow. I believe this poem maintains its intent so very well, and I applaud your poetic ability. It's a lovely poem...I commend this effort to probably be one of the poems that has achieved its poetic approach, 100% fold....Congratulation, what rhythm beyond belief, for the soul of man. Best regards...JoMorgan
This Poem was Critiqued By: Joanne M Uppendahl On Date: 2005-03-14 16:10:08
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Sean: This poem gives ample demonstration of poetry-as-art vs poetry as personal expression. This is finely-crafted, with its elegiac quatrains and iambic tetrameter. Beyond that, its formal presentation allows the reader to experience the speaker's extension of comfort to the bereaved Appolonia, and contemplate the nature of war and heroism. And accomplished without undue sentimentality. There is a timeless quality to this piece, as it has a universal application. The lines "The king will send the prince to die, for peace, in war - a foul affliction" apply as appositely now as in the 1600's. The injunction to Appolonia, "do not weep" implies that she weeps for her love who has died in a "far-off" land, and "lies asleep" in death, beneath a "setting sun." A setting sun recalls to us that borderland between life and death. A symbol of light and warmth, it stands for life itself. There is also the association with the "Son" at least in this reader's estimation. His sky now blooms with sacred light and when the dew shall disappear, his soul, released, will take true flight toward the love that draws him near. This highly spiritual stanza above lifts us above Appolonia's despair -- and our own. Appolonia, seek him where all his promises were made. Surely you will find him there "when Springing comes upon the glade." Strong Irish imagery for this reader! (Fitting with your name, Sean.) Perhaps there is an analogy here to the Easter story, of burial and resurrection. Also, "Appolonia" seems to refer to the Greek sun god, Apollo. It may be an irony that, as Apollo was known as a protector of young men, that Appolonia grieves for such an one, who has died a hero "who now lies asleep." Forever he will take his rest a vision fair within your eyes, within your heart, within your breast. A vision grief cannot disguise. --how very, very true in every sense Appolonia, your sad sigh bespeaks this maddest contradiction: The king will send the prince to die for peace, in war - a foul affliction. The stanza above closes with these fittingly most powerful lines reminding us that dying "for peace, in war" remains an irony, a sadness -- for the loss of those whose cause most often does not become realized. Then carve these heroes' epitaphs for all the timeless days from hence on stones borne by God's own seraphs: "Their dying brought no recompense." Exquisitely-rendered poem of great merit, Sean. This is one of the finest that it has been my pleasure to encounter in many a month here. Sadly, I cannot disagree with the concluding line. More sadly still, many generations' names will continue to be carved "on stones" and carried by "God's own seraphs." Bravo! Congratulations on this superb offering. Best to you, Joanne
This Poem was Critiqued By: marilyn terwilleger On Date: 2005-03-10 11:46:51
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Hi Sean, First let me welcome you to TPL..hope you will stay! This poem is so sad becuse we have lost so many young brave men and women in this war and it seems like such a waste. 'let not your heart become undone (beautiful) because your love now lies asleep beneath a far off setting sun' My husband was in the Korean war and was wounded there...every line you have written I can easily relate to even though my husband did come home it was a terrible time for both of us...'his sky now blooms with sacred light and when the dew shall disappear' these lines brought tears to my eyes they are soft and lovely but not morose as they show this reader that death is not final that our soldier continues in another place and time...but not lost....'surely you will find him there when springing comes upon the glade'..I love how you write such fine poetic phrases...very well done...'a vision fair...a vision grief cannot disguise' My husband passed away some years ago but the vision of him still remains within me. Your last line.. "Their dying brought no recompense." is a perfect summation for this beautiful piece of poetry. Well written...I am thrilled to have a new poet on TPL with such talent...keep writing! Peace....Marilyn
This Poem was Critiqued By: Claire H. Currier On Date: 2005-03-09 08:00:44
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
Powerful poem my friend........a nicely structured piece with word flow that brings forth many images of love, of meeting of the souls, of a reunion of sorts between two who parted as one went off to war....... a very powerful piece so very well presented. Thank you for posting, and for sharing with us......God Bless, Claire
This Poem was Critiqued By: Regis L Chapman On Date: 2005-03-08 20:53:27
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
This brought up for me the fact of war and also the fact of transactional thinking. What I mean is the idea that a life is supposed to have bought the writer or reader or citizen something. This was in fact a choice that individual made, with the knowledge of what they were doing. Sure, they are brainwashed- but we all are. Some of this means death, but this was a life and death they chose. I have respect for that, if nothing else, of that madness- which you very aptly named here. It's good to remember their lives, if only to make a difference for ourselves and the ones we know. Thanks, REEG!
This Poem was Critiqued By: Nancy Ann Hemsworth On Date: 2005-03-08 19:37:29
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
I enjoyed your poem very much. I found that the first 4 stanzas were so spiritually positive and full of love and even hope for the re-union of her lover within their souls, (romantisized) and then it twists into a more negative appoach (realistic)and talks of the madness of it all and the irony. Very powerful piece on both levels. I especially thought the last stanza was powerful and very effective indeed.
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