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Temptations of the good man

by Architect

So I keep doing this thing that really makes me question my morality. I mean the actual "wrongness" of what I do is very debatable. But I am sure now that it is wrong to do it, even if it's just because I think it's wrong (we cast and must stand by our own judgement). Sometimes I think it's okay because everyone has their moral flaws, and this is my only one, but other times it haunts me and makes me worry about what might happen to me. The most detrimental thing is that I feel like it's eating me up inside, and that another part of me secretly hates me and wants me to fail in life, and so compulses me to do things that are not a part of who I am. So I wrote this to try and combat the issue. I know it's not any great literary piece, it took me 2 minutes and 46 seconds from start to finish, but it captures some of what I feel about this issue.


"I am a good man," I tell myself as I twist and turn in the cold night.
There in my bed I do lie: my demon's dance around my face;
in and out of my ears they flail and flurry - laughing as they go.
They whisper the dark and dangerous things -
things good men do not want to hear amongst their own thoughts.
For a time I thought that the good lord did make an angel of me,
until I snapped my innocence and cast it asunder in ignorance;
as I grew, my innards screamed at me to cease -
but temptation grips like an iron vice in that mind of mine
so lonely for so long - I am my own friend and enemy.
I can feel the desire to destroy myself glowing in my veins
to shred the very fabric of what I once was...
But I feel the urge and need to defend myself from me!
Never before has there been such conflict -
I can only hope that the devil inside is not natural,
that I may change once more into a guardian
and that I am forgiven for my insurmountable compulsions
Compulsions to be what I am not where I feel I can.
I hope that the good people of this earth can look upon me
and see me as good and honest, and not for my demons.
Memories of my temptations will haunt me as I go,
I will remain sorry as I go,
but I hope I can put things in perspective.
I am young, and I am silly.
But I am good.
I must keep in mind that I am good.
I am good.
I do not lie.
I am good.
I will show the world
and I will leave my demons in the shadows
chained and beaten.

Give me a chance, and I am good.

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60 Reviews

Points: 6395
Reviews: 60

Tue Jul 22, 2014 6:12 am
queerelves wrote a review...

Hello ^-^ I'm a big fan of poems about personal struggles (that seems to be the only type of poetry I write xP), and I think you did a great job with this piece. Poems about morality can be tricky, and a lot of the time they aren't done well; this definitely wasn't the case with your piece. I think the fact that you wrote it in such a short time frame makes it more honest, and with a little polishing it could be fantastic. Also, I think it'd be interesting if you turned this into a spoken word/slam poetry type of piece. It'd translate really well.

Alright, so on to the real reviewing. I'm going to try to break down my thoughts by what element it relates to instead of dividing it up between negatives and positives. Hopefully it's more helpful this way. Here we go~

Flow- Certain parts of this flowed well, but others seemed too forced. Your first line was fantastic, but the next didn't sound right. "There in my bed I do lie" almost seems like you're purposefully trying to make it sound fancy; it makes it look like you're trying too hard.
I'll address that more specifically under word choice. All of the lines flowed together, and that's mostly what I wanted to focus on in this section. I don't have any criticisms for the transitions between lines, because it all looks good to me.

Formatting- Was this meant to be divided into stanzas? It looks like it was intentional, and I really like it. Poetry without stanzas look like the narrator is rambling, and I think that's perfect for this piece (and any emotional piece). The same thing goes for the long lines throughout most of the poem. Towards the end, you start to use shorter lines which really highlights the importance of what you're saying in those lines. It shines a spotlight on them, so make sure what you say there is very important.

I mentioned this earlier, but I think this piece would be very good as spoken word. It would need to be altered a bit to fit that format since it's slightly different, but it may be worth trying this piece in that media.

Meaning- I don't think it needs to be said that this is a strong piece. People's values are incredibly important to them. Everyone suffers from this issues, this hole in their values that they're so ashamed of; that's what makes this poem so hard hitting and effective.

I noticed that you never specifically mentioned what your moral flaw was. Or maybe you did and I missed it. But assuming I didn't skip over it, did you purposefully leave it open ended? My curiosity wants me to tell you that you should make that more clear, but from a writing standpoint it's better to leave it open ended. Saying what moral flaw you were talking about makes the poem way more specific, and so less people can relate to it. If you don't specify, almost every can relate, and so the poem has a greater reach and impact.

Mood and tone- I think you conveyed your emotions well here. The reader is clearly able to tell what emotions the narrator/you are feeling. The emotions are specific, too. It's just sadness: it's shame, grief, loathing. You did an amazing job with the tone here.

Other- It's kind odd to have an "other" section in the middle of this list, but I'm doing it in alphabetical order and O happens to be in the middle of the alphabet, so I can't really help that. Anyways... I only have one thing I really want to mention here. You have three lines that go, "I am good./I do not lie./I am good." Why did you only mention one good thing? Is it because it's of any particular importance? If not, I would recommend adding a couple other virtues.

Poetic devices- When I talk about poetic devices, I'm talking about these.I'm only going to be addressing the more common ones, though, because there are a ton on that list that I've never even heard of, haha. You have some strong examples of personification; "my innards screamed at me to cease" is the one that stuck out to me the most. It's a bit overused, but I like it. I think you used hyperbole and simile/metaphor the best, though I won't list any examples of yours (mostly because I'm lazy). Repetition was another strong suit.

So, the thing I linked listed "metonymy" as a type of metaphor. I've never heard of it before now, but I think you used it in your poem. The link defined it as this: "closely associated idea used for the idea itself." You repeatedly refer to your flaw as a demon/something similar, and I think that might be an example of metonymy.

Your weak point with this was the fact that you didn't use any the sound-related ones (alliteration, rhyming, assonance, consonance, etc.) A poem doesn't have to have those, but I think it may have added to it if you had a few lines with one of the sound-related devices. You said you wrote this in about three minutes, though, so I understand why you don't have examples of those. Those are almost always intentional, and it's a bit difficult (or impossible) to add those in in less than three minutes.

Word choice/phrasing- You did really well with all of the other aspects, and I think this was probably your only major weakness in this piece. I mentioned this briefly in the "flow" section, but a lot of your words seemed really forced. It sounded like you were trying too hard. You used way too many "complicated" words (if you want to call them that); it made it seem like you used a thesaurus to find every word. "Cast it asunder in ignorance" and "forgiven for my insurmountable compulsions" are probably the most prominent examples.

On a similar note, your phrasing in some places is odd. "There in my bed I do lie," "amongst their own thoughts," and others seem like you're purposefully trying to sound "fancy" and Victorian. The phrasing seems unnatural, forced, and a little bit cheesy.

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Architect says...

I guess I just know big words lol. I don't use a thesaurus! The "There in my bed I do lie" was originally "There in my bed as I lie", but I wanted it to better convey the double meaning, as in, I am lying in my bed, both in the sense that I am laying down and I am lying about being a good man. (Of course I'm not lying about that, but the poem is about this struggle inside my mind where I constantly contradict myself and struggle against my darker sides, the darker side writes the line "There in my bed I do lie" to contradict the previous line where I said, "I am a good man."

That's also why in the end where I kept repeating "I am a good man," I also say "I do not lie."

Thank you for the review!

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7 Reviews

Points: 286
Reviews: 7

Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:09 am
lallorona wrote a review...

I expected this to be very cliche, but it wasnt at all. I feel like I can relate to this poem in a great range of things and emotions. I feel like morality is something that everyone questions in their lives, but not everyone knows how to word how they feel about it. You worded it perfectly. Its nice to see someone put these things into words. Perfect poem, good topic.

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827 Reviews

Points: 28751
Reviews: 827

Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:50 am
Morrigan wrote a review...

Hi Architect.

I'm glad you're working through how you feel. Sometimes it's not about the poetry, but about the catharsis.

Since you said that it's for you and by you, I'll just give you my general thoughts about it and won't nitpick.

You made a big deal about the morality of this big thing that's hanging over your head, but all you do is make general statements about it while the reader is left to wonder what is so important about it. Because they don't have any idea what you're talking about. They might, but you never tell us about the problem, and barely hint about it.

The poem reads a bit like a melodramatic silent film. Archaic speech has its place, but it seemed strange to me that you would write in such an anachronistic mode if it is about an issue that is close to you, in this present day and age. Also, try to make things more concise. Some of the lines meandered, and caused me to be very confused.

The angels and demons imagery has been done to death. Try to put a new spin on it if you're going to use these figures in your piece.

Anyway, I hope that you find this review helpful, or at least something to think about. Keep writing. We all need poems that bring release in them. Happy poeting!

Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results.
— Willie Nelson