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inconsistent temperature

by Hijinks

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1231 Reviews

Points: 144350
Reviews: 1231

Tue Jan 19, 2021 6:50 am
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alliyah wrote a review...

Whatcha! I would love to hear your interpretation of this poem, since it looks like readers are taking it in a few different directions. :)

I interpreted the poem to be about someone struggling with emotional extremes, perhaps bipolar disorder, or anxiety, or just events continually coming at them unexpectedly. The emotions I get from it are a lot of trepidation at the beginning especially when the speaker is cautiously, cautiously dipping their hand into the water - only to realize it's boiling!

{ It reminds me of my grandma who used to be able to reach into a pot of boiling water to pull out tomatoes that she was boiling... she said that was the best way to keep them whole for canning. }

But definitely not a good sensation! And as a reader I can definitely get kind of a sense of that heart-racing feeling of "what's going to happen". I like that you also subvert expectations with instead of the speaker having a big reaction when they've encountered something they didn't expect, they just make a little note in their notebook -- it seems odd and removed and very unemotional compared to maybe how we'd expect them to react.

Interestingly I see some of the themes from your previous poems in this too! The alienation from the body (with the "numb appendage" and "five-pronged ice cube mold") and the theme of kind of second guessing one's self, and then also the scientific flair with the little technical notes about the water's freezing and the temperature being inconsistent / consistent.

For the last chunk of the poem I'm not sure the narrator is finding peace in realizing that things aren't what they expected, or coming to terms with the inconsistency, or if the end is them sort of giving up on the experiment altogether.

One tiny form suggestion -> is you could add a strike-through to "consistent temperature" to mimic what the speaker is doing with the words.

I liked the different letters / sizing you used for VERY HOT and very cold, to further illustrate the extremes between the two. And I'm impressed by how much emotion you were able to get into a poem that has a lot of sciencey language which isn't necessarally naturally emotive. Overall the imagery is easy to see / imagine and really slows down the moment being described too, heightening the drama - and I think that's a big strength of the piece.

I think the ending could be clarified a little bit on what the speaker's emotional conclusion in, but this is another good poem! :)

~ alliyah

Hijinks says...

Thank you for another awesome review alliyah! (You don't know how excited I was when I logged in this morning to see three reviews from alliyah and and review from Lim haha)

Ooh I love the suggestion to actually cross out the final line! The ending is supposed to be giving up / kind of despairing, so it's helpful to know that's not coming across fully! I'll definitely look at how to make it more clear.

Thanks once more for the review :D

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542 Reviews

Points: 41664
Reviews: 542

Tue Jan 19, 2021 6:00 am
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Liminality wrote a review...

Hi there, whatcha!

I interpreted this fascinating piece of yours along the lines of emotions. It's almost as though the speaker's feelings are inconsistent, and they are fumbling to adjust to their changing moods. This is highlighted by the apparent detachment of a science experiment and their observations about the temperature.

I'd say the biggest strength of the poem is the narrative and how you've unified the images around it to contrast the 'hot' and the 'cold'.


I love how you've packed your descriptions with strong verbs like "trace" and "darts" and "heave". They make the imagery vivid, especially in lines like:

dragging the bucket
to the stove,
pulling at its molten rim . . .

They give a sense of the struggle the speaker is having.

molten rim [. . . ] frosty sides

The juxtaposition between how you describe the 'cold' bucket versus the 'hot' bucket is striking because it's so extreme. On one side, the bucket is reminiscent of lava and on the other, as though it had been doused in liquid nitrogen. This sort of imagery adds to that sort of surreal, disjointed atmosphere the poem has.

Ending with crossing out "consistent temperature" made me think the narrative ends with the speaker sort of giving up. I think this line uses anti-climax in a good way, because it seems to serve a purpose, conveying a feeling of hopelessness, especially with the speaker being in a "pile" on the floor.


surface taut with tension

surface tumultuous
with tangled tides

I love how the second image echoes and contrasts the first, and yet the alliterative effect of 't's gives them that connection. Generally, there's a lot of nice sound devices in this poem that emphasise images, including "scalding sensation". Sibilance is really good for describing hot things too, I find, because it has connoations with sizzling and steam, so I liked that one in particular.

there's ice in there
i put some there

The repetition here is interesting, making the speaker seem disorientated in thought. Did they forget they put the ice there and had to remind themselves? Either way it creates an eerie sense of fragmentation.


The background texture looks really interesting. Is it a film of ice? Or is it smudgy fingerprints? I can't quite tell, but I like it!

I also liked the change in font for the insertions "very hot" and "very cold". It draws a sharp visual distinction between what is happening in the poem and the foreshadowing that the speaker seems to be writing all of this down, as in a lab report.

That's all

Overall, this was a great introspective psychological poem about hurtling between two extremes. I totally meant to review this earlier, whatcha, but my brain kept getting stuck.

Hopefully you found these comments helpful nevertheless- and keep writing!


Hijinks says...

Thank you for this wonderful review Lim! The comments were definitely helpful, and I always love hearing your thoughts on my poems <3

(I'm honestly not sure what the background is haha - I found it on Unsplash and it reminded me of ripples in water, and I thought that the black suited the mood of the poem. But I also kind of like the ambiguity of it!)

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56 Reviews

Points: 47
Reviews: 56

Wed Jan 13, 2021 3:22 pm
izzywidgeon wrote a review...

I'm not sure what this poem is meant to talk about, but hey, I'll try my best, yeah?
I think this is meant to talk about the tumultous mess that 2020 was, which sort of links with the frantic tone I was sensing. Finding a balance between hot and cold temperatures to find a medium is a perfect allegory for what this year was.

I hope this helped a little bit.
Here's to 2021, I guess ^w^
Also, I loved the format this was put in! It was gorgeous!



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38 Reviews

Points: 91
Reviews: 38

Tue Jan 12, 2021 11:38 pm
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cidrianwritersguild wrote a review...

We at the guild appreciate the light-hearted tone of this poem. You don't often see something like that in 2021 (course it's only been twelve days). This pail intrigues us. Our world is filled with sword and sorcery acts, however, it does not feel like that is how your world operates. We believe the pail to be some sort of metaphor for something, or perhaps, such as the case is with other poems we've reviewed, it is meant to simply be ridiculous (another thing we greatly appreciate).

"my pointer finger darts in before quickly retreating"

We like the personification, as well as vocabulary, of this sentence. It conveys the movement of our narrator's hand very well. We can see them in the mind's eye, tentatively jabbing a hand at this mysterious bucket. Very well written.

We also appreciate the alliteration of the "polar plunge" line in the very first verse. It rolls off the reader's tongue very well, giving a bouncy, jaunty feel to poem, lifting the overall tone of it.

As a whole, we like the feel of the poem, while at the same time being slightly confused by it. Everything a poem should do!


The Cidrian Writer's Guild

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