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nineteen

by Jaybird


nineteen candles perfectly arranged

on a chocolate cake

(gluten-free, of course -

dad hasn't eaten gluten for years)

and put on display

in a room with an empty chair.

-

adulthood is being

too old for birthday parties

with friends,

but still celebrating with family

because you'll always be

their little girl.

-

yet nineteen years

is the age of sacrifice.

eighteen was, too,

when you said

your little brother

go on his first

overnight school trip

on may fifteenth.

-

now he's going on a trip

to another country the

year after this one.

he won't be missing your

twentieth birthday, then.

-

but you keep selfishly thinking

about how your nineteenth birthday

is going to be missing

one of the people

that matters to you most.

-

(at least he'll get

the experience he's been craving

his entire high school career.)


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517 Reviews


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Thu Jan 02, 2020 6:18 pm
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Tenyo says...



This is a good poem. Personally I tend to find I enjoy a broad variety of styles, but what draws me in is the substance behind it. Here the substance feels so wonderfully fragile. I love how it took four verses, each with a different feeling, to even graze what that underlying sentiment of wanting to keep hold of something precious, and of growing up and allowing others to grow up too.

I really like it. Thank you for posting =]




Jaybird says...


Aw, thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed my poem. <3



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Tue Dec 31, 2019 2:08 am
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tgham99 wrote a review...



This is a very lovely poem that actually evoked a few memories from when I was nineteen myself, so I applaud you for successfully drawing out emotion from your audience!

That being said, as Elinor mentioned, I would have liked to see a bit more in terms of specifics regarding the relationship between the narrator and her brother. I can understand why you may have intentionally left the poem vague; however, I do think that, if you were interested in perhaps providing a bit more imagery or even lengthening the poem, delving deeper into the connection shared between the narrator and her brother would have served a great purpose.

I do like that you were able to convey the feeling of nostalgia and humble reflection on behalf of the narrator; it's almost as though I myself was put into her shoes; I feel like this can be credited to your usage of personal figurative language (using "you"/second person is a good way to accomplish this). Overall it's a great poem!




Jaybird says...


Thank you so much for your review!

(By the way, your avatar is absolutely adorable.)



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Mon Dec 30, 2019 10:05 pm
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Elinor wrote a review...



Hi lovely!

I loved reading this poem. Your writing, both prose and poetry, have a very easy, accessible quality about it that I very much enjoy. I liked this poem thematically, and how it touches on technically being an adult but the narrator still wants to hold on to the innocence that she feels slipping away, and feels that her family aren't there to share in her accomplishments.

I loved the imagery at the beginning about nineteen candles, but I wanted more specific moments. Are the narrator and her brother having a conversation about he's not going to be there for her birthday? Are there things that they used to do when they were younger that they don't do any more? How does the narrator make peace with the fact that she's not a child anymore? I think this poem is a good start, but it could definitely be fleshed out with more specific anecdotes and imagery.

I hope this helps! Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. Keep it up!

Love,
Ellie




Jaybird says...


Thank you so much for the review!

I'm glad you like my poem's accessibility - it's one of the things I strive for in my writing, and it looks like I succeeded with this poem. The poem was actually inspired by my upcoming nineteenth birthday in May, and I really wanted to make it about how my brother isn't going to be there/the guilt I have for thinking about it so much. If I focused more on the birthday, and maybe changed the name to something a little more specific, do you think that would work better?




You're given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you.
— Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time