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The Mask We All Wear

by KahleneTenorio

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!

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28 Reviews

Points: 254
Reviews: 28

Tue Jun 02, 2020 5:14 pm
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GirlWithATypewriter wrote a review...

Hi, it's GirlWithATypeWriter here with a review!
First off, welcome to YWS! I hope you've found your way around(because this is a completely different, but a warm community). If you have anything you need help with, please feel free to pm me and I'll try my best in helping you out.

I absolutely loved this piece. It was short but it spoke of everything that one could not possibly put into words. No matter, how each of us views this situation, I am extremely sure that at one point or the other, we would've tried to understand or see the world through a deeper perspective and this just about summarised it.
A writer usually puts onto paper what "they" feel. But a good writer puts onto paper, feelings that "others" resonate with, so great job on that.

The lines I loved most were:

"We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile"

and especially,

"But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!"

These two lines had so many different layers: they had a hinting towards a sort of lesson that we as humans have to learn from this situation, a tone of sarcasm and a pinch of cynicism.

Moving onto the technical part. Your grammar wasn't an issue and I found that the poem was an easy read, so kudos on that.
One of the issues I had was rhyming. There was a good flow, but some lines missed out on the rhyming which while reading the piece, causes a small jerk or pause. I like how you used the sentence, "We wear the mask" as a refrain but would have liked to see it included in the first stanza too, to maintain a little uniformity throughout.
Also, I found that the length of each stanza wasn't the same. I don't know if that was intentional but it seemed a little unconventional but what about it? There isn't any "one way" to write a piece so you can always shuffle around a little, have fun!

Overall, this was a good read and I hope to see more from you!
Happy Writing!

I am glad you liked the piece! Though my rhyming was a bit out of it, I will look to see if I can try to fix that. I am glad to see your feedback.

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Points: 140
Reviews: 3

Tue May 26, 2020 6:10 am
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Kian Alisson wrote a review...

I loved your poem! This is amazing. It's really hard for other people to express their feelings or emotions, whether it's by writing or talking. So, to make these words rhyme is even more difficult. The message of this poem and the double meaning of the mask is lovely. Just by reading the first stanza, it made me want to continue reading the whole thing. You did a great job. I really enjoyed reading this!^^

Thank you! It was difficult trying to find the right words and making it all rhyme together. I'm glad you liked it!

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17 Reviews

Points: 174
Reviews: 17

Mon May 25, 2020 11:38 pm
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Lethargic wrote a review...

First of all, I adore the classical voice you’ve used here. It gives the poem an almost Shakespearean feel to it, which is helped by the fact that the poem is only a line away from being a sonnet. I also really love the double meaning of the mask in this piece. It almost feels as if you were intending to paint the masks we wear in public as a symbol of the collective suffering we’re all trying to suppress. And I find that genius! Good work!

Thank you! I was in fact going for a Shakespear feel to the poem. I'm glad you love the poem!

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16 Reviews

Points: 1269
Reviews: 16

Wed May 20, 2020 11:09 pm
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quitecontrary wrote a review...

Wow! This is a really great poem, and there’s so much to love about it! One thing that really stuck out to me was the two lines at the end of the first stanza: “With torn and bleeding hearts we smile, and mouth with myriad subtleties.” I love the first reference back to the mask, but the second line confused me. What are you mouthing? (Okay that sounds kinda weird but I think you get what I’m saying) I also thought your second stanza was really insightful, and the way I read it was that there are too many news articles talking about the death toll and sad stories of people who are suffering because of the virus. Overall I really enjoyed reading your poem! Thank you so much for writing it!

Thanks I am glad you enjoyed it! When I was writing this poem the meaning of it was to show that people cover up their true feelings, but now that I reread it, I realized that we are in a epidemic. We wear masks to protect ourselves from the Corona Virus. Anyway for your question, the phrase "mouth with myriad subtitles" means that we smile but we don't mean that smile, we hide our emotions with a so called "mask".

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17 Reviews

Points: 309
Reviews: 17

Sun May 17, 2020 1:50 am
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I loved your poem! This is truly how people feel about this whole situation. It is exhausting to have to wear a mask every time you go out. Not only one to protect you from the virus but a lot of people wear masks emotionally to hide their real feelings inside. Both physically and emotionally are exhausting and this quarantine isn't make it any better.

I'm glad you liked it!

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Points: 0
Reviews: 0

Thu May 14, 2020 8:54 pm
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Shawstories95 says...

Wow this is amazing. Loved the rhyming but loved the flow even more. It always intrigues me how other people see the world and what past experiences has shaped there personality. I look at astrology of people rising signs (mask people wear) as that kind of stuff I fully resonate with.

Thank you! I'm glad my work resonated with you!

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58 Reviews

Points: 1519
Reviews: 58

Wed May 13, 2020 1:05 pm
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BhavyaMehta123 wrote a review...

Hi! I feel this is a great poem highlighting a sad truth of today's time. The rhyming, the message everything is just lovely. The poem glides so smoothly leaving readers like me fall in love with every line. I feel, you have done a great job. And would say although I liked the whole poem. But, my favorite lines are
" This debt we pay to human guile;"
It is so perfectly rhymed and I can't stop reading them again and again. And, also last two lines of the stanza. They are lovely. Overall, it is a very well-written piece.
Lastly, all the best for your future works and Keep Writing!
From: Bhavya

Thank you, I appreciate your comment!

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Points: 9
Reviews: 67

Wed May 13, 2020 6:29 am
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brookeallo wrote a review...

I really really enjoyed this poem. There's a lot of different and unique writing styles, such as using the dashes and I enjoy the questions used. It also has a really good flow to it. I liked how you used a mask as a symbol and the first stanza was really good at hooking me in and made me really want to keep reading. In the last stanza its kinda song like but in a really good way. I really enjoyed reading and reviewing this poem!

Thank you, when I was thinking of sadness I was wondering how people express themselves. Then I realized that no one expresses their tire feelings, everyone wears a mask.

Forever is composed of nows.
— Emily Dickenson