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Rotting Tombs (Edited)

by dogs


Rotting tombs spout
black plumes that fester in the somber air.
While Ravens stand shrieking,
like a clock that is ticking,
barren branches are creaking.
Tombstones slowly are eroding away
while their dirges have withered in the grave.
 
Imprisoned within a swirling caldron
of seething dirt and rotting flesh,
decaying kings disintegrate to dust.
Worms to lords
and kings to dust.
All serving as slaves
to time’s plot.
Tick... Tick... Tock
 
Ebony mires slowly sludge
down the living’s throats.
Their decorum decaying
with a Ding,
and a Dong,
Of eternity's final song.
Filling lords with this
gloomy muck- so as
become subjects
to the Conqueror Worm.
 
In a dark and dreary murk,
Time poisons our lives.
Clawing and gnashing at our throats
until it's all but
shattered our rhyme,
and doomsday will chime.


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Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:20 pm
Rydia wrote a review...



Hi dogs, I am here to be critical! :D

Specifics

Rotting tombs spout << I think you mean sprout as spout is the part of the tea pot where you pour tea out, while sprout means to grow.
black plumes that fester in the somber air. << I love the imagery here. I think the first line may benefit from being broken into more syllables and from having a more powerful word than sprout. It's too soft and I feel you need something plosive to match the black and pumes, like:

Bursting from the tortured tombs
are blackened pumes which fester in the somber air.

This would emphasise the rhyme you've built in there and give it a bit more kick.

While Ravens stand shrieking, <<< Stand feels bulky here. I'd suggest 'While Ravens shriek' and I think you should have it conjoined with the sentence before. It feels awkward to follow a full-stop with 'while'.
like a clock that is ticking,
barren branches are creaking.
Tombstones slowly are eroding away
while their dirges have withered in the grave.

I'm not always very good at explaining what I mean so I hope you'll forgive me if I take this stanza and show you a re-write, but first I'll explain what I'm trying to do. A lot of your lines are passive and overly wordy, it feels like your flow is being dragged down by excess language or halted by too soft words. Here is what I'd cut away to make it more active:

Bursting from the tortured tombs
are blackened pumes which fester
in the somber air, while Ravens shriek
like a clock that is ticking.
The barren branches creak
and their tombstones erode
to the dirge of a withered grave.

It's a very quick cut and paste, but hopefully this give you an idea of what language is dragging the flow and how sometimes playing with the words can create interesting phrases which make less sense, but carry a greater emotion and meaning.

Imprisoned within a swirling caldron <<< cauldron
of seething dirt and rotting flesh,
decaying kings disintegrate to dust. << Lovely use of alliteration!
Worms to lords << This doesn't make sense coming directly after the previous line. You've suggested things disintegrate, not improve, so we need the kings to worms first and you need to avoid that repetition of dust coming up.
and kings to dust. << This is the one! It's too soon for repeating a word without purpose.
All serving as slaves
to time%u2019s plot.
Tick... Tick... Tock << There's a nice half rhyme there.

Ebony mires slowly sludge << The phrase ebony mires feels like it's trying too hard. Either word on its own is good, but both together is too much and their sounds don't mix smoothly.
down the living%u2019s throats.
Their decorum decaying << Another example of where a line needs to follow on from the previous. This is still part of the first two lines, so why the full-stop? I like the use of decorum.
with a Ding,
and a Dong,
Of eternity's final song. << I agree with Ben - lose the of and put a semi colon in instead. It makes the flow much stronger and the rhyme feel less intrusive.
Filling lords with this
gloomy muck- so as
become subjects
to the Conqueror Worm. << The last four lines don't feel like they're adding much. We've had the muck and worms imagery already and you're repeating rather than building on it. You need to say something new if you're going to return to it - a different spin or a turnaround.

In a dark and dreary murk, << Being specific would be better, murk is such a vague word and you're closing your lines now. You want this picture to be more concrete than ever before. Perhaps cemetery?
Time poisons our lives.
Clawing and gnashing at our throats
until it's all but
shattered our rhyme,
and doomsday will chime. << Another far too obvious rhyme, made all the more jarring by the fact you're using rhyme to rhyme. You can't do that in a poem that's serious. It would be alright in something comical or trite, but this is a dark and dirty poem and it has no place here.

Overall

This has a strong opening which really sets the scene and you've got some very powerful imagery. However, you lose it somewhat in the middle and it feels like you have this idea for a beginning and an end, but some uncertainty as to how to travel between the two.

I think maybe if you give us more of the scene - what can happen after hours at a graveyard? Does the shadow of a cat emblazoned on a tomb look like a demon? Does the moon glance off the jagged inscriptions, throwing some of the language into darkness until all that is left is a scrambled message?

Despite that, I liked this poem and I think your imagery carries it a long way. There's a few places you could clean the flow and cut some of your wordiness, but you're doing good.

The best of luck to you! And let me know if you've got any questions, I'm always happy to explain further.

Heather xxx




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Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:17 pm
BenFranks wrote a review...



Hi dogs,

You have some very powerful imagery and strong use of word choice. It's an admirable attempt and brushes off pretty well but I think you can still do some work to this to bring even more life out of it.

Your first image:

Rotting tombs spout
black plumes that fester in the somber air.

Very interesting, but the 'that' word stands out nastily. This should be something eating at me, like your word choices, but 'that' is just too formal. Why not give it all a life, a personification of sorts? See this example:
Rotting tombs spout
black plumes;
they fester in somber air.

See what I mean?
Now they have power, intrigue and the image is much stronger. I also believe by shaving the second line in two you're milking all the impact you can and it works much better.

Slight issue with grammar here:
Tombstones slowly are eroding away
while their dirges have withered in the grave.

Did you mean Tombstones slowly erode away?
...are eroding away sounds wrong to me. Think about tense.

These lines are excellent:
Imprisoned within a swirling caldron
of seething dirt and rotting flesh,
decaying kings disintegrate to dust.

Imagery is great, your structure and flow are complimentary and it all works very well.

Have an issue here, but it's just a tiny nitpick, this bit:
Their decorum decaying
with a Ding,
and a Dong,
Of eternity's final song.

Instead of the 'of', why not add impact via punctuation, so it instead reads:
Their decorum decaying
with a Ding,
and a Dong:
eternity's final song.

See what I mean? Simple change, much more impact, 'eternity's final song' now carries all the power--and that is the powerful line here, so give it justice!

The tone of this sounds a little melodramatic to the darker tone of the rest of your poem:
become subjects
to the Conqueror Worm.

I understand the image, but the 'Conqueror Worm' sounds a bit amusing--is there any other metaphor you could use?

This follows a full stop:
Clawing and gnashing at our throats
until it's all but
shattered our rhyme,
and doomsday will chime.

There is no subject because the full-stop interrupted it, so a simple change to this would clear things up:
It claws and gnashes at our throats
until it's all but
shattered our rhyme,
and doomsday will chime.

Apart from that your last stanza is the strongest, which is what it should be so well done.

Great poem, dogs, keep it up.
Hope my review helps.
-B




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Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:29 am
niteowl wrote a review...



Hi dogs! Overall, excellent stuff you got here.

That said, there's still several typos for an edited version. And I don't believe tombs has ever been spelled "tombes" as you have it in the title.

I'm not sure what the point of all the bolded words is. To me, it feels gimmicky, like you think the words aren't good enough so maybe bolding them will catch our attention. Which is silly, because the words are strong as is. I'd suggest no bolding or maybe keep some words italicized if you want emphasis.

Rotting tombs spout
black plumes that fester in the somber air.


This image seemed odd to me. I've never seen plumes coming out of tombs. I think this is supposed to refer to odor, but plume seems like an odd way to describe that.

Tombstones slowly are eroding away
while their dirges have withered in the grave.


Now to be less critical, love these lines.

Imprisoned within a swirling cauldron
of seething dirt and rotting flesh,
decaying kings disintegrate to dust.
Worms to lords
and kings to dust.
All serving as slaves
to time’s plot.
Tick... Tick... Tock


Corrections in bold. Also, the repetition of dust is annoying and a lazy way to rhyme.

Of eternity's final song.
Filling lords with this
gloomy muck- so as
become subjects
to the Conqueror Worm


I think you meant "so as to become", but I think it would be smoother as "becoming".

until its all but
shattered our rhyme


"its" should be "it's" here, since it's short for "it has" (just checked to make sure).

I'm not sure how to feel about the sudden rhyming at the end. With that line, I thought you were going for a general "decay" of the rhyme scheme, which would be really cool if done well but that sudden couplet at the end threw me off. I might just cut the last line, or maybe reword it.

Overall, good stuff, but clean it up a bit. Keep writing! :)





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