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What lies beyond? / A journey beyond

by JSadler

What lies beyond?

I have a morbid curiosity,
for what lies beyond.
I can feel the barrier,
a sturdy brick wall,
a dam, blocking the river.
I trace my finger
along the rough bricks
What lies beyond?
I'm dying to know.
I yearn for an answer,
to the greatest mystery of mankind.
The question which has shaped humanity
for eternity,
the endless back and forth debate
like the pull of the tide.
What lies beyond?
It hurts to know,
likely, I will never find the answer.
Even in death, there may be nothing,
an emptiness, a void

which we cannot understand,
and never will.
An unanswerable mystery,
I have wasted my life over.

A journey beyond

I travel down a river,
black waters rushing malevolently
as the undercurrent pushes me on,
forwards, onwards, unending.
There is a cold stench in the air.

I think back,
it feels like an eternity ago, 
those sterile, crisp white hospital sheets 
pressing down, crushing me.
The final sensation,
before the inevitable plunge
into an ominous darkness.

A never-ending winter,
a freezing limbo I am stuck in
meandering down this dark river,
water deeper than my soul.
The wind is a tidal wave,
a great force I fight against unwaveringly.

Somehow, I blink
in this ethereal body
and there, burning through
this transitory plane
is a light.
The bleak white hospital lights?
No. It's warm.
Like blissful music.
The river melts away
into the pulling tide,
of the sea of glowing incandescence.

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21 Reviews

Points: 739
Reviews: 21

Thu Feb 15, 2024 5:19 pm
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Lullaby wrote a review...

Hello! I read your poem and really wanted to write my thoughts on the piece. First, I want to thank you for having the courage to share your poetry online, it takes a lot to share that part of your mind with strangers who can pick it apart. I will begin with things I found favorable in my eyes before moving on to any suggestions (if I have any). Let’s begin!

→ I want to begin by saying I felt really drawn to review and give thoughts on this poem. The two stories, and perhaps poems themselves, combined into a singular work means that these two must connect somehow. The titles seemed to go together, I was intrigued to know more.
→ Upon reading the first.. Poem? Part? Section? Forgive me. “What lies beyond?” displays a curious narrator who tends to go too far in questioning and wondering more about the world, or in this case, the brick. The imagery is very well done, as well as the language that displays how the narrator feels (with words like “dying” and “yearning”). The story leads the audience down a road and it almost feels like a movie! The ending of this section shows a hopelessness, to which the narrator struggles with the possibility that what lies beyond is nothing.
→ In “A journey beyond” the story/narration picks back up in a different way. While the first stanza seems to be a flow of thoughts and feelings, which can be shown by the lack of stanzas, this one feels more organized and structured, which shows a shift in emotion of the poem and even narrator themself. This section is jam-packed with imagery as the story becomes more fleshed out! It immediately jumps into action, which strengthens the curiosity performed in the first section.
→ The second section is really well-written. With clear images, strong structure, and smart grammar use (also done in section one). The language in this section is truly captivating, with words like “malevolently” “ominous” “ethereal” and even the ending word “incandescence”. It gives a poem an almost fantastical vibe. Sometimes writers tend to stuff their words with synonyms and big words in attempts to seem very professional and intelligent, and in many of these instances, it brings the writer out of the poem because they have to look up the language used. However, in this poem you used beautiful words that fit well within the poem and did not disrupt the flow or confuse the reader.
→ Overall, I think these two poems together work really well to show feeling + story. It feels very fleshed out and well done and I honestly have no suggestions or critiques!

As always, keep writing and never give up on the things you feel passionate about.
- Lullaby *ੈ✩‧₊˚

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15 Reviews

Points: 252
Reviews: 15

Wed Feb 14, 2024 11:29 pm
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Cozmo2024 wrote a review...

Hi! Cozmo here to give a short and sweet review!

To start off: I really enjoyed these poems. I think the first poem perfectly captures what I question about the afterlife. Another element that I enjoyed a lot in this poem is the imagery! I can especially see this in the lines: "I can feel the barrier,
a sturdy brick wall,
a dam, blocking the river.
I trace my finger
along the rough bricks
What lies beyond?
I'm dying to know.
I yearn for an answer,
to the greatest mystery of mankind."

These lines really stuck out to me. The speaker is desperately wanting to know what death means, and they are constantly asking that question.

Overall these two poems are very awesome and they go perfectly with each other, it's like a story of the speaker going through that exact journey that they kept questioning.

Awesome work! Keep writing!
- Cozmo :)

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Points: 125
Reviews: 1

Tue Feb 13, 2024 12:07 pm
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WillowBrooke wrote a review...

Oh my, what a doozy of a poem!
Your rich imagery weaves a gorgeous tapestry of rich, vivid detail and makes the poem unbelievably refined and indelible. The way you puncture each image with oozing emotion... it's like dotting a rich, colourful sky with glimmering, golden stars! I love that the imagery being tied to a core emotion doesn't disrupt the overall image or confuse readers; it adds a unique and different dimension to your words. The spirituality and passion of your words is something that resonates with readers and truly akes your poem something to remember.

I don't really have anything negative to say. One small thing I noticed is that the breaks you put in between your lines sometimes disrupt the rhythmic flow of your poetry. This does not necessarily ruin a poem-- I personally think that this poem is so beautiful that no flaw could ever truly ruin it-- bu it may be a point you'd like to keep in mind. It is only a gentle nudge, my friend, and you may choose to disregard it in its entirety.

Your poem is wonderful, rich, descriptive and emotional. If anyone were to ask me for an example of masterful execution of the art of poetry, I'd be tempted to show them your poem as an answer. Keep up the great work, my friend! Hope to see more of you around here.

JSadler says...

Thank you so much!!! <3
I'm very grateful for your feedback.
I have always struggled with line breaks though - do you have any advice?

WillowBrooke says...

I get it tbh, line breaks have always been a confusing point for me too.
One way to correct it is to read your lines out loud, pausing at each line break to see if it's natural. I've found so many mistakes in my rhythm this way. It really helps.
It also helps to have another person read it once.

"You may deem me romantic, my dear sister, but I bitterly feel the want of a friend."
— Mary Shelley, Frankenstein