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Some poetry

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Inquisitor7, Oct 2, 2005. | Replies: 10 | Views: 1865

  1. Inquisitor7

    Inquisitor7 IncGamers Member

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    Some poetry

    “What is Unforgivableâ€

    From under the steeple’s holy shadow
    Flight from the confessional fills my mind.
    Once more forgiveness I seek, even though
    My soul is in a fearful, hopeless bind.
    When given the choice between light and dark,
    Desperately, I chose with anxiety
    My urges, endless and profane, a stark
    Contrast to my spirit’s ebbing piety.
    Now I can see whither I go alone
    Though trembling with every terrible step.
    Down this pathway my heart hardens to stone,
    Hollowly embracing deception’s depth.
    Forsaking truth, believing lies, I brought
    Damnation upon myself all for naught.

    “The Hubris to Questionâ€

    The scholars of the Holy Book proclaim,
    To all who will hear, that the Almighty
    Is perfect. He will destroy misery.
    But is there any pure being we can name
    When evil men gather to themselves fame,
    And endlessly scorn all divinity?
    Truly, what remains of man’s dignity
    And, if all are vile, who deserves the blame?
    However, if pride gives us cause to ask
    For holy justice, then do we possess
    The courage to seek in our empty souls
    The meaning for every menial task?
    Are we, under the earth’s heavy duress,
    Doomed to never achieve eternal goals?

    “Dare to Hopeâ€

    Lofty ideals are indeed beautiful
    In the mind, but when to reality
    Applied, we boldly tempt calamity.
    The truth to be found among the woeful
    Wreckage reminds us of the sorrowful
    State in which we exist: our destiny
    Is found to be of utmost cruelty,
    And none benefit save the powerful.
    Yet, we abandon not the happy dream,
    And we marshal our strength against despair
    Refusing to surrender our fleeting
    Strength until we feel death’s silent scream
    Echo in our hearts’ last, profound beating,
    And we depart a globe beyond compare.
  2. RevenantsKnight

    RevenantsKnight IncGamers Member

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    Hrm...well, first off, I should mention that my own poetry experience is somewhat limited, and that I haven’t seriously tried to write one since I joined this system. With that in mind, some thoughts on the first poem: I thought that it was pretty good, if a little grim. Some specifics:

    The second line seems a bit rushed in the middle in terms of the meter, which is something that comes up in the fourth as well. I’m not sure what you could do with this, though, other than change the subject matter slightly; “confessional†doesn’t seem strictly necessary here, though the image does seem to fit.

    “Pathway†seems a bit odd with how I’m hearing the stressed syllables in my head. “I walk this path, and my heart turns to stone†is simpler, and conveys a slightly different idea, but personally, I sort of like the more active image it suggests with the different opening. Not exactly sure what you're looking for, but hopefully that's food for thought.

    Sums up the poem nicely, I’d say...a pretty good read, if dark. I’d suggest putting a comma after “myself,†though; while you could keep it out with poetic license, the last line seems like a bit much to say in one breath. I also think that the emphasis on the end there might be more in keeping with the theme.

    Overall, the first poem looked pretty good to me. I’ll get to the others once assorted other obligations and stories on the forum are addressed. Thanks for posting!
  3. 0xDEADCAFE

    0xDEADCAFE IncGamers Member

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    Well, Inquisitor7, let me start by saying that I enjoyed all these poems. Each addresses a serious, even profound, issue, and I found them both thoughtful and thought provoking. I hope to comment on all three eventually, but for now I'l" start with the first.

    It's a nice setup. A deep subject, whether to ask for forgiveness or not, and a reference to the author's state of mind. Right away we know the subject and the question "What will she do?" comes to mind.

    Here we read that the author sees the choice in stark terms, and the idea that the poem is about a choice is reinforced. So far so good.

    Here is where things start to go awry. There is certainly no rule that says a poem must state things in a straightforward and clear manner, quite the contrary, some of the best poetic moments are those that leave the outcome to the reader. But here you begin a thread of ambiguity that is never resolved. We are informed of an unidentified choice. "Ebbing piety" would seem to suggest a leaning away from the confessional but it is also an indication that such piety has not completely ebbed yet.

    This section really adds nothing to what you have already written, except to say that in the aftermath of the unidentified choice, the feeling of fear and dread continue. But which way do the steps lead? Toward the confessional, or away? If you intended to give a clue as the direction, this would have been the place to do it.


    I'm thinking that here is where you feel you may answer the question of what choice was made, but to me it is still completely unclear. Where is the deception and lies, in the confessional, or in yourself? How does the author believe that one brings down damnation? By admitting sin in the confessional, or by denying it?

    One can infer a choice by attaching a particular religious viewpoint, for example a Christian one. In that case I would say that the outcome that best fits the poem is that she left the church without confessing, hardening her heart against God's grace, embracing the lie of her profane urges, and bringing damnation upon herself for abandoning God. But that is an outcome that depends on bringing an outside theory of spirituality and God.

    What is the author's religious tradition? What is the author's interpretation of these feelings with respect to the given choice between light and dark? Even as basic a question as which side is the light, and which the dark is left unclear.

    The poem raises thoughtful questions, but I think it would be better if you made it clearer what choice was made and why. If you did that it would make an independent statement about spirituality and religious conviction. As it is, we only have a glimpse into the intense emotions that such a choice can invoke.

    Perhaps that all you intended, in which case, well done, but I can't help feeling that there is something more hidden here which doesn't quite come across.
  4. Inquisitor7

    Inquisitor7 IncGamers Member

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    Yeah, I am not experienced in writing poetry myself; these poems are my first serious attempt.

    I have been having some problems in utilizing meter properly, and so your advice is well taken. The mention of the confessional is of great importance, so I cannot remove it.

    Your suggestion works.

    Sound advice as always Rev. Thanks for reading and replying.

    To be blunt, I disagree. I thought of those three lines as explanations of past decisions and why the speaker is having so much trouble in deciding what to do. The "hopeless bind" mentioned earlier is of significance here: one could interpret it as being about indecision (a quandary), or as the state of being bound. Given the fact that the speaker says he chose his "urges" think that the latter definition is more appropriate (sorry for being unclear, but I was searching for a word that fit the meter and rhyme scheme).

    For this I must apologize. When I wrote the poem it was pretty clear to me what those lines entailed. This piece is pretty heavy on Catholic ideas: the confessional, the church its in (recall the steeple), and the description of urges as profane. For me, I thought it would be obvious that the speaker was here revealing his decision not to confess his sins; he has given into despair. I am sorry; I guess I didn't put much thought into how other people would react to these things.

    I have to plead guilty to these charges. I was far from explicit in revealing my own beliefs and providing thorough explanations of what was going on. Again, this goes back to my failure to consider how those outside of my religious tradition would interpret the poem. I suppose I could make your analysis easier by saying that I am a Catholic, but that doesn't solve the textual problems.

    I am thankful for the feedback, and can only refer you to my earlier statements.

    Many thanks for the feedback.
  5. Inquisitor7

    Inquisitor7 IncGamers Member

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    I decided to try out a different form of poetry. The first is a villanelle, which was tricky to do because of its rather limitted rhyme scheme. I still tried to go for iambic pentameter, even though no metrical confine is part of the form. I am think it turned out ok, but I am still trying to master iambic pentameter (part of good poetry is meter that gives proper emphasis to things, needless to say, my inexperience with poetry means I am still learning). So, after the first poem are a couple of more typical poems.

    All comments are welcome of course.


    “A Soldier’s Reminderâ€

    Warrior, stand strong! Hold firm your great lance,
    Though before battle you hear the low verse:
    “Fear and tremble before death’s crimson glance.â€

    Prepare to plunge into rank gore, advance
    Bravely, and use these words against that curse.
    Warrior stand strong! Hold firm your great lance.

    Alas, for some, beaten by ignorance,
    A cowardly line their weak lips disperse:
    “Fear and tremble before death’s crimson glance.â€

    Defeat arises from that utterance,
    But you must obey these next words, though terse:
    Warrior stand strong! Hold firm your great lance.

    A dead friend might possess a morbid trance,
    And a thought may come, with weakness its source:
    “Fear and tremble before death’s crimson glance.â€

    But duty demands your perseverance
    Though to your ears dissonant songs traverse:
    “Fear and tremble before death’s crimson glance,â€
    Warrior stand strong! Hold firm your great lance.

    “On New Experiencesâ€

    Sometimes when I think of the far off place,
    Where my family lives, where I was born,
    Old images fill my mind, ev’ry face
    That happily smiled in those lands- scorn
    I then feel for this state, uncouth and base.

    A perplexing choice I seem to have made
    To go far away from the familiar
    And to vainly try to myself persuade
    That to long for the old is insular.
    But to find the new, a price I have paid.

    The truth of the sacrifice is laid bare:
    To stand on my own, to become a real man,
    I must put aside the past’s pleasing stare,
    Nostalgic and sweet, but in the end, wan.
    Looking ahead, I can defeat despair.

    Still, in my heart, halcion days long past
    Ever replay, and in my eye a tear
    Clouds my weary eye, but if I stand fast
    It might vanish, and from my lips a mere
    Sigh comes forth, though it is far from the last.


    “Not Simply Beautifulâ€

    Oh do you hear that song, arching over
    The horizon, the silent, luscious tune
    Of the sun’s blazing rays, as they transfer
    Warmth and light to the people who will soon
    Awaken from sweet sleep, their drowsy eyes
    Straining to meet the light that has ripped
    Them from dreams to a land of tragic sighs,
    Where fleeting joy is too often missed?
    But what of the sublime beauty of dawn?
    It’s golden hue excites our tired minds,
    But when life’s tediousness resumes, gone
    Is the caress the distant sun provides,
    For we labor until it again sets,
    And we receive the graces sleep begets.
  6. RevenantsKnight

    RevenantsKnight IncGamers Member

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    On the second poem you posted: continuing on with the weighty subjects, I see. This one didn’t quite have the same impact as the first did on me, perhaps because it was more of a broad reflection that didn’t have as much of a tangible focal point, and it seemed to ask a question and then move on to another very quickly. It was still a decent read, though. Some specific thoughts:

    I don’t think you need the comma at the end of the line here.

    Hrm...well, the emphasis on “Is perfect†from the hard stop in the middle of the line is a nice touch, but for me, it just felt like you’d dropped a bag of bricks during a speech. The poem’s going along, all well and good, and then *BAM* it just stops. That threw me out of the piece for a second, and it took a little effort to pick it up again. Maybe that’s just me, though...I have seen this before, and apparently some people think it’s a good technique. I just don’t like being jolted out of what I’m reading.

    I didn’t quite see the connection between the actions of an evil few (or even a majority of evil) focusing on how they approach religion and the loss of “man’s dignity†and “if all are vile...†It seems to me that these might be somewhat different lines of thinking, and that may be why this poem seemed to wander a bit to me. Also, from the way that you just bring one up and then take out another, and then the part about “holy justice,†it didn’t feel like you were really addressing these so much as throwing out ideas for the reader to grab. That’s not a bad thing, necessarily, but I think that they’d stick more if you tossed out some sort of strongly stated views or additional imagery to go with them.

    This felt a bit disconnected from the rest of the poem to me; I don’t see a necessary link between the world’s severity and blind ambition and pride. Unless you’re arguing that people are part of the earth in a very literal way, it doesn’t make sense to me to associate decidedly human flaws to the earth. If you’re trying to say that the “duress†is these driving forces, then I’d shift it from “earth†to something that has more of a human image.

    Overall, I thought this was all right, though as I mentioned, it seems a bit like you tried to reach a few too many ideas at once with this. I’ll try to get to others as I can, and thanks for posting!
  7. Inquisitor7

    Inquisitor7 IncGamers Member

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    Roger that.

    To be perfectly honest, I wasn't too sure about it myself. I was conflicted about keeping in there or not. I wonder if a comma would suffice.

    Well, I think that the ideas presented are connected. I readily admit that I did not do an especially good job being explicit about how they are connected, but I found myself incapable of knitting them together given the restraints of meter and rhyme. Still, I owe it to you to explain how, in my mind they are related. The large question raised by the poem is if God is all good; the implicit question is if God exists. Now, it is written in the scriptures that man was made in God's image and likeness. Now despite that man already turned to evil ways. So, logically, if God is not all good, then those created in his likeness would have less inherent goodness. But, the implicit question here presents a more pursuasive case: instead of clinging to the theology of the latter explanation, if God doesn't exist at all then human dignity is just a construct and our intrinsic worth is essentially nonexistent. That is to say, if we do not have divine or quasi-divine origins, then our ultimate source is dirt. So, in my mind, if the latter holds true, then humanity is pretty much vile in general. In summation: man's dignity derives from his origins.

    As far as the "holy justice" plays into this whole thing, here is how: often people question how just God is because things do not go their way. In my estimation, to question the plans of the Almighty smacks of pride, perhaps even a degree of hubris. However, take note that this is part of change in the "argument" presented by the poem. The reason for this is because in sonnets, at the 9th line a change of tone and argument is considered standard. In my first poem I was ignorant of that, but here in the second I attempted to utilize it. That is why the poem changes at line nine.

    I am not convinced by what you say. As I said earlier, the implicit question presented by the poem is whether or not God exists. The last five lines of this sonnet concern the question of whether or not there is any meaning in human life if God does not exist. So the concluding couplet, as far as I can tell, fits into the poem rather well. After all, if God does not exist, then certainly humanity cannot achieve anything eternal.

    I am not ignorant, of course, that the fact that I had to do this much explaining to make the poem's meaning clear, indicates a failure on my part to make the poem properly.

    As always Rev, I appreciate the feedback.
  8. Inquisitor7

    Inquisitor7 IncGamers Member

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    “An Impudent Youthâ€

    A question I once posed to an aged
    Wielder of the arcane, saying to him:
    “Tell me, why is it that you now cower
    From the glory of quest and adventure?
    How much worth are your studies if unto
    Eternity they go unrealized?â€
    And then he looked up from his massive tome
    With eyes of stone, and woe to the one that
    Forgets these lurid words, in terror forged:

    “I once saw a man fall from sanity’s heights
    In pursuit of power unbound.
    His mind was captured by paranoid frights,
    Against me he struck, a cruel sound
    Leaping from his palm. Then mystical lights
    Filled the dark air, but soon I found
    My friend was darker than a thouasand nights:
    A pile of ashes on the ground-
    All that was left- but my soul he still blights.

    For, no matter what spell I cast, I hear
    His final scream, see him burning away,
    And old memories hold back my power.
    So I am reduced to a scribe, who delves
    Into books to escape an old devil.â€

    I made no reply, and left his presence,
    Fearing to hear anymore of his tales.


    A friend of mine requested I try to write a sestina and so I gave it a shot. It is not required that one use a set form of meter, but I gave it a shot anyway (huzzah for iambic pentameter).


    “Rebellion’s Costsâ€

    Beneath the roof of a mountain, ancient
    And grand, there dwelt a clan, a fallen brood
    Of dragons cruel, whose hills of precious gold
    Glittered under the coils of the elder
    Drake who from his wealth never turned his eyes.
    None dared to stand against his crimson fire.

    Yet in the orbs of one welp grew a fire,
    And he burned to overthrow the ancient
    Lord, and to be rid of his terrible eyes.
    Then a new master would control the brood,
    And it would succeed where the vile elder
    Had failed, and heap up new piles of bright gold.

    He yearned for ev’ry sparkling piece of gold,
    But his tiny size and pathetic fire
    Could never overcome the dread elder.
    So he surveyed the the clan’s ranks, ancient
    And restless; now hardly a mighty brood,
    Though he saw lingering strength in their eyes.

    Ducking under shadows to avoid the eyes
    Of the drake that ruled the moutains of gold,
    The scheming welp slithered among the brood.
    He found a dragon with a hide like fire:
    A thick armor of scales red and ancient,
    Second only to the mighty elder.

    “For how long will the reign of the elder
    Stand and oppress us with his evil eyes?
    But I guess no more courage, that ancient
    Quality, remains.†Lusting for the gold
    The welp thus spoke, and a stir in the brood
    Rose when the red drake spoke with words of fire:

    “Brothers! let us strike down with awesome fire
    That greedy tyrant we call the elder!
    We must restore the glory of our brood!â€
    Taken in by the brilliance of his eyes,
    The whole host rushed towards the peaks of gold,
    And blasts of flame filled the caverns ancient.

    But where the elder had sat on the gold
    No ancient dragon looked over the brood.
    They lost their eyes and lives in their own fire


    This next poem is inspired by my frequent readings of Dante's Inferno. I wrote it in the form of an English sonnet, but it seems to demand more- so at the moment I am not sure what to do with it besides post it and see what people think.

    “A Vision of the Afterlifeâ€

    When the end of the path came into sight
    My heart leapt with joy to be at last done
    With the dreary winds of the frigid night,
    And I hoped to again see the bright sun
    Before descending into blissless death.
    Yet at the road’s end stood an iron gate
    Of unimaginable size and breadth.
    At its dark pinnacle a sign did state:
    “Despair and pain are behind this portal,
    And for all time will the wicked regret
    Opposing the Almighty Immortal,
    And no matter how the wicked repent
    Justice will torture them with intense flame
    And they will never be rid of their shame.â€
  9. RevenantsKnight

    RevenantsKnight IncGamers Member

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    Hrm...regarding the third poem you posted, I think that the subject matter here is addressed well; the sentiment expressed did feel sincere when I first read this. However, this didn’t seem to have the same sort of smoothness that your first two pieces had in terms of the rhythm and flow. My first impression was sort of that I was being jerked along through these ideas, and I can’t say exactly why...the best guess I have right now is that most of the sentences are broken up over the lines at what seem like unnatural stopping points. Certainly, that sort of method isn’t bad, necessarily, but it felt a little like you were writing sentences first and a poem second because there were so many of them. Some thoughts:

    More thoughts on the line breakings: the ones that seem to bother me the most are ones where you have adjectives at the end and a noun at the beginning of the next line (the line 2/line 3 and line 3/line 4 breaks from above.) Emphasizing the adjectives that way doesn’t seem to work that well, and then having the nouns at the start of the next line feels like it clunks along in terms of the meter, because the stresses seem off. For example, the first syllable in “Applied†feels like it should be emphasized to me, but then doing the same with “the†on the next line doesn’t sound right. I think that part of the problem may be that you chose the “-ful†sound as your rhyming piece; this restricts you primarily to adjectives and therefore forces the sort of breaks I mentioned.

    “None benefit save the powerful†sounded overly technical/analytical to me (primarily “benefit†and “powerfulâ€.) I’d suggest trying to change the wording here some, though if you keep the rhyme scheme, that might be hard.

    I liked this line, though; it’s a nice image. For some reason, the fleeting/strength break didn't bother me too much, and I like the emphasis on "scream" at the end.

    “Globe†seems a bit awkward here; people don’t often refer to themselves as “living on a globe,†for instance. I’d use “world,†especially since it doesn’t come up in a previous point. “Profound†also sounds odd to me...it’s just not a word that seems to fit with a heartbeat, since that’s an involuntary action.

    Overall, the idea here seems strong to me, though this also felt as if it could use some restructuring in terms of how it reads. Thanks for posting!
  10. Inquisitor7

    Inquisitor7 IncGamers Member

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    “A Dreamerâ€

    Men obsess about their sweet, fleeting dreams
    And indulge in the love of illusion,
    Hoping to fill themselves with confusion.
    Instead of beauty they yearn for what seems
    To be, clinging to ev’rything the mind deems
    Pleasing: they are beyond absolution,
    Their reason suffers from dissolution,
    Idiocy runs through them like streams.
    Yet, those men are filled with tranquility,
    While I endlessly toil in bleak sorrow,
    Slumber is nothing more than emptiness.
    I yearn to be outside reality,
    But I am forced to think of tomorrow
    And dwell in the real world’s cruel hollowness.

    “Romanticismâ€

    Nature sublime, beautiful to the eye
    And to the senses quite soothing overall
    In small doses, for even the blue sky,
    If examined too long, grows very small,
    A mere blotch of azure in the vacuum.
    And to the body the wilds grow severe,
    With disease they hasten it to the tomb;
    Untame beasts rend innocents, instill fear.
    But the simple look of autumn leaves,
    Their many shades, cause my mind to forget
    What my instincts know; thus the heart perceives
    Only the illusion cities beget,
    That man can subdue the unfeeling earth
    And to an age of gentle peace give birth.
  11. RevenantsKnight

    RevenantsKnight IncGamers Member

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    On “An Impudent Youthâ€: well, I have to say that I didn’t like this one as much as some of your other pieces. A large part of that impression comes from the opening stanza, because it feels like the rhythm there is inconsistent, and the wording doesn’t read as much like a poem as it does like an excerpt from a prose story, to me. The old man’s words were definitely better in general, with a stronger poetic feel to them, which, though rather nice, served to highlight the difference between that and the first stanza...seems almost as if you wrote the second stanza and then built the rest around it. If that was the case, I might suggest you just stick with the core here; though working in the youth may have been your intent, I think putting it through his eyes hurts the poem overall. Some specific comments:

    “Wielder†definitely felt like an awkward way to start a line to me; it’s not a word that rolls off the tongue, if you know what I mean. It also sounds really weird to stress the first syllable of the word, which is what happens on other even lines in this stanza. I might replace the whole “wielder of the arcane†block with “sorcerer,†though that would require some rebuilding of the line.

    Personally, I thought that the second line here was good, but “Tell me, why is it that you now...†felt more like story dialogue than poem material. Every time I read it, I heard a voice just saying it straight, not a poem’s rhythm, and that dragged over into the rest of this excerpt. I don’t have a good suggestion here, unfortunately...this may just be a matter of throwing out a bunch more ideas and letting them bounce around for a while.

    “How much worth are...†seems like it should be “How much worth have...†since things are not “worth†per se. Also, “unrealized†felt like a bit of a clunk at the end of the line since that last “-ed†just sort of tags along after the stressed syllable. I’d see if you can’t find a different word to use here, especially since they are realized in the sense that he carries them out...it’s not entirely clear, but it seems like he’s being questioned on the fact that his work doesn’t make it very far out of his sanctum.

    The tome/stone semi-rhyming felt out of place to me, in that it’s not at a meaningful position in the lines. That drew my attention to the middle of the second line, which felt like an awkward break point to me. Also, I think “one that forgets†should be “one who forgets.†“In terror forged†was a neat phrase, though.

    I’d suggest changing “paranoid†to something less technical-sounding, since I doubt it would have been in the diction of a medieval sorcerer. Also, I’d make the comma after “frights†a semicolon.

    “But my soul he still blights†felt awkward to me; I think the implied pause/shift in tone in the middle of the line was what tripped me up here. Not sure exactly what you could do about that, but it bugged me when I read it. Additionally, that should be “thousand.â€

    Overall, I liked this section of the poem. Nicely done.

    It seems to me that after the energy and visual power of the mage’s earlier words, a quick summary of his final actions may fall off a bit too much in intensity. I guess it works in terms of this as a story, but I might suggest trying to make this part more evocative, so that if he’s trying to get a lesson across, it’ll stick in the narrator’s (and the reader’s) mind more.

    Hrm...well, the ending fits, certainly, but it didn’t leave me with a good sense of finality. While you suggest earlier on that this encounter is a major influence on the narrator, there’s not really a feeling that this ended with a lasting effect. Part of that is probably because this is a bit vague; “fearing to hear...†doesn’t draw a defined emotional picture for me because it can be used in so many situations. I don’t know if that’s all of it, though...can’t put my finger on anything else. Additionally, that should be “any more.â€

    Overall, it seems like you have a good core for something here, but the beginning and end don’t feel at the same level. I think this could be better with some more attention to the edges of the poem, or perhaps even by trimming them down to a minimum to focus the reader’s attention. Thanks for posting!

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