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Oh my soul! My battered soul!

by Radrook

Oh my soul, that once was bold, how battered you must be

from bitter toil and vile turmoil that has beleaguered me.

From withering words once deemed absurd, now fiercer than a bite.

From sneering lips that sliced and ripped, inflicting dreadful fright.


Oh my soul! My battered soul! How grieved you must appear,

encased within this carnal sin, assailed by constant jeers,

how horrified of seeing me who dissipates with time,

while you await to greet a fate, eternal life sublime.


Oh my soul, my battered soul! How many are your screams?

How often have you groaned and moaned  from painful wounds that stream

with bright-red blood, this crimson flood, this burden of a bond,

until this blight that causes fright, with death is finally gone? 

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17 Reviews

Points: 115
Reviews: 17

Mon Jul 16, 2018 5:17 am
lilithyoung wrote a review...

If Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe collaborated, this poem would be their greatest piece.

I love the premise of a speaker addressing their own soul. I think that idea makes the poem extremely unique. I also really love the rhyming. To me, rhyming in poetry is a pain in the ass. To you, it seems to come naturally and doesn't at all derail from the poem's meaning. In fact, I think it adds to it.

I think it's interesting how I don't quite understand what caused the author's soul to be so "battered," yet somehow I relate to the agony and pain left behind from the torture. I also feel really bad for the protagonist. Very well done.

Keep writing like this. We need more Poes and Shakespeares in the world. I'm sort of tired of reading Milk and Honey types haha

Thank you so much for sharing.

All my love


Radrook says...

Thanks for the review and encouraging words. All my love as well. Radrook

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Points: 245
Reviews: 1

Mon Jul 16, 2018 2:54 am
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wbeckermusic wrote a review...

I really enjoy the kind of imagery and tone you are presenting here. Its very dark and almost gives me an Edgar Allan Poe vibe?? Idk maybe that's just because I've been getting more into him lately.

Anyway, I really like how haunting your words are. "until this blight that causes fright, with death is finally gone" is a phrase that is sure to shake any reader to the core.

I am a sucker for anything about the nature of the soul so I love this take on the idea as the soul being its own entity almost foreign to the owner of it.

All in all, I really enjoyed your piece Radrook!

Radrook says...

Thanks for the feedback. Glad to know you enjoyed the poem. I also enjoy reading Poe's poetry. Other writers I have enjoyed reading are Emily Dickinson, Keats, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Robert Frost, and Milton.

lilithyoung says...

I love love love Robert Frost

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771 Reviews

Points: 25496
Reviews: 771

Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:06 am
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alliyah wrote a review...

I enjoy this poem Radrook - I interpreted it in part to be an exploration of the mind/body divide and the pain that a soul carries with it. The speaker desires release from their body and/or the pain of their soul.

Your rhyming and (internally in the lines & in end-rhymes) was smooth without being sing-songy. And the language read like a Psalm.

The biting imagery in stanza one was nice, I wish that image continued to go through the poem, but there are nice lines throughout.

My main critique is this: I'd like a bit more specificity and concreteness in the conflict. What precisely is causing the soul of this speaker pain? Words? Sin? Bondage? You hint at different sources of conflict, but I think it'd be more powerful to really spell it out. It'd give me as a reader something more to connect to too.

On a similar point, while I disagree with Lumi that this poem is simplistic and unappealing - I do agree that a more obvious narrative with character development from the speaker would be a strong addition to drawing readers in from a wider audience.

Though I'll also say, I don't think you have to write your poetry to appeal to everyone either... the hebrew psalms are poetic masterpieces, relevant to the entire world, but probably only "appeal" to a small segment of the population. Religious writing is by nature Not going to appeal to everyone - thats the point of not being "lukewarm". I hope that aside is some encouragement to you.

I admire that you commit to a poetic style Radrook, though I think it'd be neat to see you write some more experimental pieces as well. Best of luck in your continued writing! Let me know if you have questions regarding my review - the critiques are intended to build up & are just suggestions!

- alliyah

Radrook says...

Thanks for the review and encouraging words. I modified the poem based on a previous review. Please note that poetry strives to elicit a feeling in the reader. If the reader feels what was intended then the poem has succeeded. Such feeling can be admiration, hatred, pride, jealousy, envy, righteous indignation, reverence, disgust, fear, horror, dread, hope, faith, humor, joy, sadness, nostalgia, resignation, discouragement, courage, patriotism, fanatical zeal, determination, empathy, boredom, intense interest, appreciation, consternation, apathy, fascination, lust, craving, repentance, remorse, etc. If the writer feels this and elicits the same response from a reader the poem succeeded regardless of its length or the number of details. That's why there are many very short poems that are considered complete and are also considered masterpieces. In short, the essence of art is transmission or infection of the viewer or the reader with the same emotion that the author felt or intended he feel.
This is clearly explained in the book

Philosophical Issues in Art
by Patricia H. Werhane
of the Loyola University of Chicago ... 0136622887

and is referred to as mimesis.

For example, consider please the poem walking by the Woods on a Cold winter day by Robert Frost.

Was it necessary for him to go into minute detail about the responsibilities awaiting the protagonist who had miles to go before he slept? Did he have to explain us who the owner of the field was? Did he have to reveal the exact destination that the protagonist was heading for or even the exact location of those woods. Or even the exact month of the year? Did he have to describe the exact appearance of the horse or the type of bells attached to his harness/ Did he have to say anything other than that he stopped by the woods on a cold day? Of course not. Why? Because Frost was trying to convey a MOOD and nothing more. Did he convey it? Well, it is considered a masterpiece and not one of the critics has insisted that the poem is truncated or needs more.

The same applies to thousands of other short poems. The critics judge it by whether it has transmitted what it set out to have transmitted in the reader. To ask for more is to ask for excess and unnecessary elaboration.

About my writing in other styles. Yes. I have poems which I have written in free verse. Most have been considered well-written. Others have been met with complaints that they are just short stories and not poems at all. These are the same folks who are all praises for poems that are purely prose enclosed in stanzas. Yet when they see mine which are not prose they call mine prose. So to evade that kind of double standard chicanery I opted to remain in the rhyming mode. But I will give it one last try.

alliyah says...

Poetry's purpose can be to elicit a mood or emotion certainly, though I think when it does so through use of narrative tools (ie. plot, conflict, character development) it makes it easier to grasp on to that mood. I love that Robert Frost poem - Frost is expert at communicating both a mood and a story, and he does so in that poem.

Your poem stands nicely on it's own. My critique was not to sacrifice mood as a purpose, but that adding some more concrete details of conflict - might make the poem (and the mood) "stick" more. :) Hopefully that makes sense - again this is just food for thought/suggestion. I admit this is more of a personal preference of mine, and I actually wrote a YWS article regarding it if you care to read it: Specificity in Poetry

I look forward to reading your next piece - thanks for the interesting poetry discussion!

Radrook says...

Thanks for the advice. Much appreciate your encouraging words as well. :)

True, mood can be intensified via addition of more detail. Of course Frost's short poem could have been expanded. The real trick is to know when one has said enough or wen more is needed. Has the emotion been intense enough? The poet feels it intensely enough but Has he conveyed it strongly enough for all readers? Please note that readers come with a lot of baggage which can include prejudice towards certain subjects, preferences of style, What moves one reader might leave another totally unaffected. What fascinates one might leave another bored or even annoyed or angry or perhaps disgusted. For example. a reader who is averse to religion. or is anti Christian cannot be expected to share in a poem designed to encourage Christian faith. A poem that expresses admiration on how mankind arose via abiogenesis and a totally godless evolution cannot be expected to elicit admiration from a Christian who believes the Genesis account as written..

A poem that exalts how men admire women will not be perceived the same way by all women. Especially those who have suffered abuse at the hands of their husbands or who have concluded that men cannot be trusted.

A political poem expressing the desire of a persecuted immigrant to escape to the USA for a better life will not elicit compassion from those in favor of building a wall to keep such immigrants out. They will become angry at the concept and at the poet instead because they might feel that the poet is using poetry as political propaganda. So when in write a poem I am aware that it cannot appeal to EVERYONE.

Just recently I wrote a short story where I had an extraterrestrial telling his son about all the ways that we are ruining the Earth and how mankind tends to be illogical. To my surprise one reader got the impression that I was using it as propaganda to attack people such as dentists, police officers, and activities that I disagree with such as pollution of the oceans and atmosphere and the burning of the Amazon Jungle when my only purpose had been to entertain. So one never knows.

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107 Reviews

Points: 58
Reviews: 107

Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:14 pm
Katnes wrote a review...

Please feel free to ignore my advice it is not meant to offend you or demean you or the story, that said brace yourself

1. Word usage & and more

Okay so I noticed you used the word shell twice, I wonder if you could think of another word?
I don't have anything against the usage of the word shell, but it seems out dated. But I guess it fits the best. You decide.
Also maybe this line could use some work

from all the toil and evil thrusts that always savage me.

I don't think that thrust sounds powerful enough. Also maybe after toil you could add turmoil.
Other then that I think this doesn't need any work.

Radrook says...

Thanks for the advice. Much appreciated. I will try to apply what you say. I don't like word-repetition either unless it is for emphasis.

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745 Reviews

Points: 1626
Reviews: 745

Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:36 am
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Lumi wrote a review...

This is far too simple in ideation and construction to elicit interest from many readers in the market for provocative poetry, and too roundabout to appeal to readers who want simplistic, memorable, quotable lines in their consumable poetry. Essentially, this poem does not have a market beyond the pandered Christians who just want to be reminded of the story of Calvary.

Your adherence to rhyme and meter rob the piece of potential content that would've evoked a response; your message is weak and theme shaky. I want more effort.

Deconstruct each stanza and find the narrative that you try to tell: "Oh my battered soul...something...something again...something Jesus." If there's no narrative on or between the lines, then you have nothing. I'd like to see the trials that this person undergoes that makes him feel battered and beaten. I want to know why he finds solace in Jesus. Give me that. Give me a solid narrative with either complex emotions or quotable phrases--and that will be praise-worthy poetry.

Keep at it.

Radrook says...

I consider all your advice completely irrelevant not only to my poem but to literature in general. You include too many misconceptions.

Lumi says...

My concepts of literature are based out of publishing, editing, marketing, and consuming. You need to remember that just because advice rubs you the wrong way doesn't mean it's invalid. I've seen you take plenty of reviews without grace and I didn't expect any different from this, but know that it won't change one fact or the other.

Radrook says...

I figured you were reacting to some observation of my reactions that were rubbing YOU the wrong way. My reaction to your advice is based on my knowledge of what literature is all about and has absolutely NOTHING to do with any personal bias.


Your demands concerning the poem are irrational. Your criticism and demands are irrational. That is why they RUB the wrong way. No other reason.

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12 Reviews

Points: 65
Reviews: 12

Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:28 pm
Taleof6kids says...

This is really good! Thank you for sharing, and keep writing!

Radrook says...

Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated.

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6 Reviews

Points: 496
Reviews: 6

Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:41 pm
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Chase7 says...

Hey Radrook.

This is a really great poem. I love the vocab you used to convey the mood of the poem as well as the pretty basic and easy rhyme scheme. I don't think you can improve this because it's already great. Pleas keep posting this good work because it's a delight to read.

Radrook says...

Thanks for the feedback and encouraging words! Much appreciated.

My tongue must tell the anger of my heart, or else my heart, concealing it, will break...
— Katherine, The Taming of the Shrew