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Homer's Lament

by AndrewJamesMurray

Homer’s Lament

So, was it here upon this dusty plain
Where thousands of Achaeans died in vain?
Where Dardanians wept and cried with pain,
For never to see Ilium again?
And was it here where the gods watched on, fain,
Whence lofty Idus looks out on the main?
Where the gods made mad men, who were once sane,
All for a woman called Helen to gain?
Too oft has this scene been played out, the bane
Of all. And still the moon will wax and wane.

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1315 Reviews

Points: 23536
Reviews: 1315

Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:36 am
Hannah wrote a review...

I'm going to be taking this from the perspective of someone who has a vague idea of mythology, but hasn't studied it obsessively. And for me, that makes this poem feel very watered down. There are so many references, but when I replace them with other parts of speech, they still don't have much effect.

"Where thousands of people of the same culture died in vain?
Where people of the same culture wept and cried with pain,
for never to see assumedly their home country again?
Whence lofty dudeman looks out on the main?"

So you can see how I'm reading it. That means that, condensed down, this poem says:
"Was it here that tragedy happened? Over and over as the same moon passes by?"

For me, this is the potential of a poignant poem, but it's lost too much in name-dropping to get anywhere. Maybe I'm missing whatever scenic or tonal references that the names might have added, but yeah, coming at this from a different angle. "Was it here?" is what you've asked, and what's the next thing to ask? If it is, what does that make the speaker feel? If it's not that place, what does that make the speaker feel? Why doesn't the speaker know? Is this a modern speaker looking out over fields in Italy or Greece? Give me the reason I'm reading this poem. What does it change in me? What do I learn or learn to feel or simply feel because I read it? I want something more intense than what is already here.

On the technical side, be careful of your meter, please!
There are some places where it seems very patched together and dragging. For example:

Where the gods made mad men, who were once sane,
All for a woman called Helen to gain?

"the" takes away from a straight forward movement, and the emphasis is off in the line about Helen. Is this on purpose? To evoke a sense of discord? It would work better if you made sure each previous line was tight, then. Adding frills to every line to add to the meaning will lose the idea of form completely and then have no effect the way it does when everything else is solid, but one sticks out and is clearly an intentional change.

PM me if you have any questions, please.
Good luck and keep writing!

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662 Reviews

Points: 52441
Reviews: 662

Thu Feb 14, 2013 3:13 pm
dogs wrote a review...

Hello their Andrew! Dogs here with your review :). OKey dokey, I really loved this piece, especially because I'm such an obsessive Greek mythology fanatic. This is just a tiny side note that's entirely up to you, but I would prefer that you make this poem more of a statement saying more like: "This is where this happened... ect ect" rather than "Was it here that this happened?" ect ect. Of course that's entirely up to your decision, but it makes the voice of the poem sound stronger rather than philosophical. Anywho back to the point, you have a great writing style, it flows incredibly smoothly and none of your words seem out of place. Some of your lines run a little on the long side, but if you switch this poem to more of a statement it'll shorten those lines up by default.

"Where Dardanians wept and cried with pain,"

So because your poem has such a great writing style and everything, I really have to nit pick about the word choice. I think most the time it's great, but here is an instance that you could find a strong words than "cried with pain," perhaps try something like: "Where Dardanians wept and wailed with agony" Or maybe anguish instead of agony. I'll leave that to your own discourse.

"Where the gods made mad men, who were once sane,"

Ok, firstly I'm not sure if "gods" should be capitalized or not so just check on that. Also here is another opportunity to use great imagery through stronger vocab. You could use "designed, molded, or forged" instead of "made," just to spice it up a bit. Also, after the comma say: "who once were sane" I know tiny nit pick but when your writing is this good it's hard to find things that are wrong.

I like the ending, bringing it to the moon and how things will continue on. Way to bring closure to this piece. All and all I really loved reading this, it was strong and well written. Just have a few tiny nit picks for you to fix up and you'll be on the right track. Let me know if you ever need a review! Keep up the good work!

TuckEr EllsworTh :smt032

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