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Great Prose and Poetry by leyghan

Literary Candy by Alex0Jericho


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Submitted on
March 17, 2011
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not the words themselves, but how
they wind around each other
like grapevines along a chain-link fence.
I know how it's done: the curt, argus-eyed
hellos to passersby, the courtesy questions
over the phone to keep the conversation
moving, like turning the page of a bad book.
I understand practicality. I understand
the emollient coos, infant-speech;
the harsh backhand bark against
your acerbity; the weeping tongue.
As does the world--even a child
can shed his natural-born cruelty
for a moment of understanding, the precursor
of compassion that can build men.

But it is this I have forgotten:
its ascension not unlike a god,
how to ease them together
into such an immaculateness that one word,
one feather removed would mean
the hard, dark earth, or the cold, bitter slap
of the sea. It is a sort of death
that goes quietly, a third-world death.
To think I had something amidst my grip,
that I could reach into the good light
of each morning, my footfalls
avoiding the crow-footed cracks
of the sidewalk, and down to the neighbor's
fenced off yard, snag an eye-sized grape,

and know its sweet juice would inspire.
La de da de da.
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:iconliliwrites:
LiliWrites Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I really enjoyed this poem, but I do agree with a few of *Yvning's comments regarding the second stanza. You lost me in some of the lines, particularly that "a third-world death." That line has several different connotations to my mind and none of them are made clear in the poem.

Also, I think that I'd use a semi-colon or possibly a dash instead of a comma between the second and third lines of the second stanza. Your comma use is actually quite heavy throughout this poem and I'd go through and trim out or change some of them where you think it possible.

I am most thoroughly impressed with the last four lines of the first stanza though. That idea will stay with me for a long time, and I think it may be one of the most profound things I've read from you yet. :+favlove:
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:icontwistedalyx:
TwistedAlyx Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I especially love the opening. :heart:
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:iconb1gfan:
b1gfan Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2011  Student Writer
I too have forgotten, and remembered, and forgotten...and everything about this poem makes me want to remember again :) And that is a lot more than a la de da!
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:iconfllnthblnk:
fllnthblnk Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I miss your poetry gracing my screen. Hop to it, man! :)
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:iconrockerbybaby:
RockerByBaby Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2011
This is one of those I want to fave before hitting the core of the piece. Keep this up=)
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:iconoritpetra:
OritPetra Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2011   Writer
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:iconfllnthblnk:
fllnthblnk Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Much appreciated! :cookie:
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:iconoritpetra:
OritPetra Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2011   Writer
I'd love to give you something substantial on this, but I really think it hits me in a place that just isn't going to let me do that. Powerful. :heart:
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:iconwolf-kin:
Wolf-kin Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
I love that I can follow the line of your poem and get lost in the pictures at the same time . . . I really do.

It all feels familiar and aching to me.
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:iconfllnthblnk:
fllnthblnk Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Hey, thanks! Familiar and aching, eh? What makes you say that?
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:iconwolf-kin:
Wolf-kin Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
It's a feeling I get, when I read a poem, and the feeling I get from it is something I've felt before -- and, given the subject of this poem, I'm not surprised, since I think I've been in that place.
And it's a painful thing to move through, that kind of mind space, and I remember it clearly...
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:iconmsklystron:
msklystron Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Love this from beginning to end. The first stanza deals with seeming complexity all can understand and the second describes the emotions in a concrete way. The title and first line flowing together drew me in. The lines everyone below has pointed out, "the hard, dark earth, or the cold, bitter slap of the sea. It is a sort of death
that goes quietly, a third-world death", particularly the last bit are very powerful. The poem coming full circle with the grape/fence imagery is pleasing too.
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:iconfllnthblnk:
fllnthblnk Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Hey, I'm glad you like. About the particular parts you quoted, another deviant said it was too loud and superfluously grandiose. What are your thoughts in regards to that exactly, as you did mention it being "very powerful." But I don't want to be overbearing, either! Any ideas would be great!
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:iconmsklystron:
msklystron Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I disagree with the other deviant. I think the mix of plain, clean language and metaphor works well and is balanced. To me, the first stanza is the set up and the second is the 'pay off'. I also disagree that the first stanza could stand-alone (or that the second is redundant). The first flows into the second and builds to the climax (that powerful set of lines) and descends to the denoument of the last lines, much like a story arc. Another nice thing about the lines I quoted from your poem is the absence of $10 or thesaurus-inspired words. You create the metaphors with everyday language, which is neither superfluous nor gradiose in my opinion.
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:iconfllnthblnk:
fllnthblnk Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Yeah, that was exactly what I was striving for: the first stanza set-up and the second stanza "pay off." So when *Yvning said that the first stanza could stand alone, I was like, Eep, eep, eep! That's not what I wanted!

There's so many cool, nifty words you can find in the thesaurus ($10 words, huh? I had no idea words could be marked with a specific value, like groceries, haha!), but sometimes you just need the basics to portray an idea. The challenge is figuring out if more "expensive" words are needed or not. I used "emollient" and "argus-eyed" in the first stanza, two new words to me I happened to stumble upon, and I'm hoping they're not distracting!

Cool, cool. Thanks for expounding on your thoughts. I very much appreciate it.
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:iconmsklystron:
msklystron Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
:nod: I like that *Yvning was honest and backed up his/her point of view. But he/she missed the point.;)

Mark Twain said writers should use the handiest word, which is true. But I'd add that we have a much broader vocabulary than we use in everyday life as well as a desire to learn more words. Sometimes you come across a word (anywhere, including a thesaurus), or find yourself feeling for a word at the back of your mind, which has the right sound, tone or implied second meaning. Knowing when to use those found words is the writer's 'ear'. I think yours is pretty good. The first stanza was the place for creative word selection and the second was the place for using the everyday Twain words.
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:iconrequiemsandreveries:
RequiemsandReveries Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2011
"or the cold, bitter slap
of the sea." Fantastic line/image here
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:iconfllnthblnk:
fllnthblnk Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Cool, cool. Glad you like that part. Actually, I fumbled over that particular part more than the others.

Thanks for reading!
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:iconrequiemsandreveries:
RequiemsandReveries Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2011
My pleasure! :D
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:iconyvning:
Yvning Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2011
Love the turn the piece takes at the end; however, the poem is the first stanza. The work you do to build up the last two lines reads like throat-clearing as opposed to imagery with a purpose.

Like I said, the first stanza was the poem. Sharp, concise, and clear language that's both elegant and simple enough. The second stanza suffers from attempting to be too clever as it attempts to tie up the conceit of epic, god-like victory.
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:iconfllnthblnk:
fllnthblnk Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I'm afraid you'll need to be more specific. Saying "the second stanza is trying to be too clever" without pointing out anything in detail doesn't really help me much. Any recommendations/examples for improvement as well?
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:iconyvning:
Yvning Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2011
In the first stanza, your language has purpose, is a tool to set up the conceit. In the second, the language becomes a means to elongate the poem and try to make the metaphor all the more impressive.

"its ascension, not unlike a god,
how to ease them together
into such an immaculateness that one word"

is wordy, and falls prey to too many abstract ideas that aren't made lucid and don't provide strong imagery or narrative push. The words themselves don't do anything to round out the poem or add anything to it.

"one feather removed would mean
the hard, dark earth, or the cold, bitter slap
of the sea. It is a sort of death
that goes quietly, a third-world death."

While the imagery here is markedly stronger, it's too loud. That is to say, that it's dramatic with cause, which leads the reader to become either a) overwhelmed or b) overly appealed to, as though you were trying hard to impress instead of make the poem meaningful without being superfluously grandiose. A side note about this section, "a death that goes quietly" is beautiful, then you go on to overwrite it, "a third-world death". Too much of a good thing does exist in poetry.


"To think I had something amidst my grip,
that I could reach into the good light
of each morning"

Again, this section suffers from being too wordy, with the sounds of words becoming cluttered, as in "I had something amidst my grip"...the way the words fit within these lines becomes heavy-handed. "that I could reach into that good light of each morning" is okay, but it, again, becomes too grand without a real sense of what its purpose is in the piece as a whole.

The last few lines of the piece actually work brilliantly to leave the reader with an image, a lingering impression of what the piece was about, how it moved, and what it ultimately achieved. The lines between the first stanza and the last three lines, like I said, just seem to be a great deal of throat-clearing. As opposed to building a great scene with the power of the first stanza and the lasting image of the last three lines or so, the poem gets heavy-handed, too grand for what it wants to achieve, too wordy, over-written and ultimately muddled.

I hope that helps to clarify what I meant. I didn't mean to leave my responses so open-ended like that, my apologies.

I don't want to tell you how to write the piece or give you examples of how the piece could be better with "such and such" lines; that's your prerogative and far be it from me to assume that I can write a poem with your distinct voice and your eye.
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:iconbeeinthebottle:
beeinthebottle Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2011   Writer
Intriguing...the lines that most draw me to the poem are a subset of the lines you quoted as being "too loud":

one feather removed would mean
the hard, dark earth, or the cold, bitter slap
of the sea.
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:iconyvning:
Yvning Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2011
I can see the drawing appeal. The imagery itself is, in fact, appealing; however, its place in this poem when accented by the simplicity and straightforwardness of the first stanza...

Meh...to each his own. What do I know?
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:iconyvning:
Yvning Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2011
Oh, forgive me. When I said some of the lines were "dramatic with cause", I meant "without cause". I didn't want to confuse.
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:iconhalcyonshores:
halcyonshores Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Powerful.
:thumbsup:
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:iconfllnthblnk:
fllnthblnk Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks! :cookie:
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:iconbeeinthebottle:
beeinthebottle Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2011   Writer
This poem packs a punch. You've done an amazing job capturing emotion in this; the imagery you use is both concrete and effective. I can very much relate, here; I almost wish that I couldn't. Great work.
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:iconfllnthblnk:
fllnthblnk Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Hey, thank you for reading and for the nice comments.

:cookie:
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:iconbeeinthebottle:
beeinthebottle Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2011   Writer
You're very welcome. My pleasure. :)
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:iconjulietcaesar:
julietcaesar Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I love how the title flows onto the first line; it's just something a little different than what I normally read. The other thing that caught my eye was how you tied in grape/fence image from the beginning and at the end, even though it's changed subtly, but it was something that really brought the whole poem together, with all its other imagery, and I definitely can relate to it. :)
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:iconfllnthblnk:
fllnthblnk Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Cool, cool. I'm glad you like!

*gives cookies*
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:iconjulietcaesar:
julietcaesar Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
*Gives more :cookie:s back in return*
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:iconcrimsonthrenody:
CrimsonThrenody Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011
I wish I didn't feel this way so often. Life really gets in the way sometimes, and it is beyond frustrating.

Beautiful, my friend. :heart:
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:iconfllnthblnk:
fllnthblnk Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
That's why it's important to take plenty of cookie breaks in life.

Thanks for reading! :cookie::cookie::cookie:
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:iconwordpainter81:
wordpainter81 Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011  Professional Photographer
Wow. I like tihs a lot.
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:iconfllnthblnk:
fllnthblnk Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Hey, thanks a bunch for reading!

:cookie:
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:iconwordpainter81:
wordpainter81 Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2011  Professional Photographer
You're welcome!
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:iconlindakatt:
lindakatt Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011
I absolutely adore it... Best I've read here in a while. I know the feeling so well!
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:iconfllnthblnk:
fllnthblnk Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
It's a terrible feeling, right?

Thanks a bunch for reading!
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:iconlindakatt:
lindakatt Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011
Yeah, it certainly is...

And no problem, think I've read it three times now :)
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