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Cathedral Spire

by GoodieGoat


Cathedral Spire

I'm riding against the hard edge of the sundown,

Before the whispering chorus takes me away without even a sound

I'm wayfaring southbound by the road of princes so old,

And the warhorse of Michael is out of season and foaled

***

I stare down the hill at the last fringe of the sunlight,

At the cathedral spire driven hard into the birthright

With harlequin happiness the people are gathered,

And the breath of the King's sired is labored and staggered

***

I hasten down off of the saddle, to entreat with her thresholds,

There they are standing arms free and open, many, and many, and many tenfolds

But there'll be no fellowship for you my one truly begotten,

Forever to be fatherless, friendless, and forgotten

***

The lightning cracks, and that spire tumbles low to the Earth's floor,

And from aging with that jubilant assembly I'm barred again once more

And that's what you'll get, chasing fancies from the outside,

As Jephthah's daughter forever yoked to God's bedside

***

So drive on, drive on, my wayward son on keep riding,

And in your search for a place to fall keep on abiding,

So that the portrait that we paint can finally be made so,

Wherefore never to be told where we can and can't go… 

***


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105 Reviews

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Sun Mar 26, 2023 11:34 pm
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fatherfig wrote a review...



This is gem writing you a review!

This piece is very thought provoking it is also very structured and full of images that seem to also be metaphors! I definitely felt that this poem was written in a very heavy voice like it is a bitter reminiscence and that in itself was very thought garnering! I think though that one of the downfalls of this piece was the rhyme because though the last verse was a heavy one the rhymes made it seem almost satirical.

"So drive on, drive on, my wayward son on keep riding,

And in your search for a place to fall keep on abiding,

So that the portrait we paint can finally be made so,

Wherefore never to be told where we can and can't go… "

Especially with the repetition of drive on it made it seem very melodramatic -> if you workshopped this piece, I would definitely love to see you give free verse a go with these ideas! Great job overall though!

Keep writing!

This is gem signing off!

gem- he/him




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Sun Mar 26, 2023 11:16 pm
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Spearmint wrote a review...



Hiya GoodieGoat, mint here with a review! :] Overall, this poem gives me the vibes of a painting in a museum, perhaps one with soft brushstrokes depicting a rider and a horse gazing down into a valley at sunset. I found the references to the cathedral spire interesting as well (it seems related to how the narrator is unable to find fellowship?). The rhymes and rhythm were also fun to read, and overall, I enjoyed this poem!

Okay, jumping into specifics...

I'm riding against the hard edge of the sundown,

Love this line. To me, it evokes a mental image of a person riding on horseback along the horizon, silhouetted against the setting sun.

I'm wayfairing southbound by the road of princes so old,

I'm pretty sure it's spelled "wayfaring"? Also, it's really neat how this combines with the first line (about riding) to give a sense of the narrator as a wanderer. The way I interpret it, the second and fourth lines of this stanza represent how the narrator's mind wanders as well, from thoughts of a "whispering chorus" to the "warhorse of Michael." Like Lim, I'm not sure what the warhorse of Michael is referring to, but I searched it up and found something about a British war novel. Perhaps that line means there was war in the past, but not in the present?

So that the portrait the we paint can finally be made so,

Super minor thing, but there's a typo here. I believe "the" should be "that."

And some more observations and speculations...
It's really interesting how crowds seem to be depicted in a negative light. The whispering chorus seems sinister, based on how they can silently take away the narrator. And then there's those lines about the "harlequin happiness" of the people (lots of great words in this poem, by the way), and the narrator forever being "friendless." So I get the sense of a person vs. society conflict, or perhaps just a feeling of loneliness from this poem.

I feel like the cathedral was used as a gathering place for the people in this poem? So perhaps it represents community. Then the spire cracking could represent the breaking of the narrator's ties to community. The way cathedrals are used as places of worship could also hint to a breaking of the narrator's faith. I just searched up Jephthah's daughter, and her story seems rather tragic... she becomes a sacrifice just because of something her father promised? Perhaps the narrator in this case is also doomed to be friendless and forgotten because of something one of their parents did. I wonder if the one saying "my wayward son" is the narrator's mother? Or perhaps the narrator is a parent, and entreats the crowd to take in their child. So many ways to interpret this. xD Anyways, I hope some of my rambly thoughts were interesting to you... I'm curious what the actual inspirations behind this poem were! ^^

Thanks for sharing this wonderful poem, and I hope you have a great day/night! =D




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Wed Mar 15, 2023 8:21 am
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Liminality wrote a review...



Hi there GoodieGoat! Lim here with a short review.

General Impressions

One impression I get from the poem is this feeling of being lost or searching for something. The speaker is riding on a horse to a particular destination for a few stanzas, but doesn’t seem to find what they were looking for and then they take off again. The language conveys this intense tone, with phrases like “stare down” and images like “hard edge”. The regular AABB rhyme scheme was also one of the first things I noticed, as well as all the stanzas being of the same length. I appreciate that the stanzas have been formatted the way they are, as that regularity helps to carry the rhythm while giving the events of each individual stanza some room to breathe. At times I found the language a bit cryptic.

My interpretation of this poem is that it is a narrative being told by the speaker, though it could possibly be allegorical or the narrative may be a device to convey a particular emotion. But it comes across as narrative to me because the events seem chronological: someone rides out to a cathedral in a kingdom where a new king is being crowned. (That’s what I interpreted from the gathering of people + the king’s “sire” apparently dying). But the new king is unhappy. Something I wonder about is the identity of the speaker – the last stanza makes it sound like they might be the new king’s mother? (Since the father is described in the third person.)

It also seems like there’s some kind of magical curse stopping the speaker from being in that kingdom, hence the church spire falling. The last line resonates with that idea also.

Glows – what I liked

I thought the pacing of events in the poem was good. The first line takes me right into a time, a place and an action, namely riding. It sets this purposeful, intense tone, showing that the speaker is moving intently towards something important. I also like that we don’t linger too long on the riding and that the second stanza moves into showing the important thing the speaker was there to see. In general, it feels like there’s a new development each stanza, which is good.

There they are standing arms free and open, many, and many, and many tenfolds
But there'll be no fellowship for you my one truly begotten,
Forever to be fatherless, friendless, and forgotten

I like these lines in particular because of the contrast between the image of the seemingly welcoming crowd and the speaker’s comments on how lonely the king will be. It feels ominous especially because the negative events are implied (rather than explicitly saying ‘oh, everyone will hate you because of X, Y and Z’) through the speaker’s words + the atmosphere in other parts of the poem, like the cathedral spire falling down.

I also like the image “the hard edge of the sundown”, because it conveys quite a lot in a small amount of space: to me it conveys the darker tone depicting sunset as a “hard edge” rather than soft, and it also conveys the time when the events in the poem takes place. “the road of princes” also creates that high fantasy medieval setting.

Grows – ideas to consider

For some images and lines, I didn’t find it super clear how they were relevant to the poem as a whole. I’m not sure what the “whispering chorus” in stanza one is, though my guess on a the third or fourth read is that it’s there to establish magic in this setting and also perhaps they are the beings that cause the cathedral spire to fall? “the warhorse of Michael” seems to be an allusion, but I couldn’t figure out which Michael it was an allusion to. I was also unsure what the “birthright” referred to such that the cathedral spire could be driven into it whether metaphorically or literally.

I make haste from the saddle, to entreat with her thresholds,

^In this line, I suppose “her” possibly refers to the city or the “whispering chorus”? That’s a bit of a big guess from me though. One idea I’d have if you’d like to make the relevance of these more transparent would be to have more lines about each image, e.g. what does the whispering chorus look like, if anything, and how does it behave as the speaker approaches the city? Does it come back in the final stanza? Alternatively, cutting out images and allusions that aren’t super important to the story or theme you want to convey can also help make the core idea more easily understood.

Overall

I like that I can read a mood and feeling out of this poem, even though I didn’t understand all the allusions, and also I enjoyed the progression of the poem from stanza to stanza. My main suggestions for revision would be to consider which images and ideas are most important to the poem and expand on those.

Hope this helps, and let me know if you’d like more feedback on something specific!
-Lim
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"I wish we could all get along like we used to in middle school... I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy..."
— Unnamed Girl from "Mean Girls"