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The Red-Handed Handmaiden

by Milanimo


As darkness descends upon the estate

and patrons are safe in their beds,

one handmaiden stirs.

The linens, she says

must be clean for tomorrow,

but treachery and deceit

lay on her cherry red lips ,

her hands soaking in red,

thick water in a basin.

Her sins; a difficult task to wash away.

the kitchen,

her accomplice, lay ripe with blood on the table behind her,

still wet with betrayal.

her victim, the king’s ward,

so trusting and true,

slowly rots and wastes away;

a young life now ceased to be

for one unruly handmaiden

just could not bear

the thought of her darkest secrets

embedded in the mind of another,

whose lips so reeked of heart and integrity.


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85 Reviews


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Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:06 pm
RavenLord wrote a review...



Yikes....... intense. What sorts of secrets did the handmaiden have? *wide, nosy-looking innocent kitten eyes aimed your way, bent on extracting information* It was a great poem! I was wondering why you called your poem "The Red-Handed Handmaiden".......I guess you meant it literally. Cool.




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Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:23 am
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eleutheromania wrote a review...



I think the imagery of this is incredibly morbid (that's a good thing in this poem's case). The portrayal of the handmaiden comes off so sinister and malicious just within a few lines. To be able to display the grotesque image of someone so distant from human sympathy and guilt as well as so selfish in this short of a piece shows that you have a lot of talent. Keep writing. This was really good.




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Wed Jul 30, 2014 12:24 am
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Linguistic wrote a review...



I actually love how dark and sinister this is! Most poems now a days are full of fluff and rhyming unicorns, so this was refreshing!

The words all compliment each other nicely, and you use really nice word choice :)

This really makes me wonder "what was the secret?" And "was it so bad that she realpy had to kill that man?" I like stories that make me think, so A+ for that!

I really don't see anything wrong with this piece :) you're amazing at poetry

Happy writing!




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Tue Jul 29, 2014 5:05 pm
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ArcticMonkey wrote a review...



Hey Milan! Here to review :}

Firstly, I haven't done a poetry review in ages, but I'll try my best to review this for you. I'll start off with my first impression, and I agree with Liaya in saying that it was all just a bit dark. But yeah, that's not a bad thing, I think the dark sort of language and imagery you used was really effective and interesting.

My main concern with this poem is the pacing and the rhythm of it all. I'd suggest reading it aloud and seeing where things don't seem to fit. Not that a poem has to have perfect rhythm, because some of the best ones are all free verse- however it just needs to have some sort of flow. I think the reason that this happened is because of your punctuation. Now obviously, use of punctuation can be a stylistic choice, but I feel because the lines are quite short, it doesn't really flow properly. For example, here:

a young life now ceased to be

for one unruly handmaiden

just could not bear

the thought of her darkest secrets

embedded in the mind of another,

This bit is quite awkward to read as it all is one section. I think either make the lines a bit longer, or add in some punctuation.

Generally, I think your use of imagery is really good.
lay on her cherry red lips ,

her hands soaking in red,

The repetition of the word 'red' makes these two lines sound a bit odd to read, however you don't necessarily have to change it. It gave me the idea that maybe you could focus on using the colour red for more imagery throughout the poem. This is just a suggestion, but I think it would be quite interesting, because red has lots of connotations, and right now all I can think of is blood which is quite dark. I know there is a line about blood later on, but maybe just one more line really emphasising 'red'.

Overall, I thought this poem was really good! The subject is interesting and there is loads of good imagery. I'd say you need to work on the flow of it a bit more. Sorry this review is a bit short but I hope I helped, feel free to PM me with any questions or if you'd like another review on anything.

Keep writing,
~ArcticMonkey x




Milanimo says...


Thanks! And it's fine I never review and I feel bad :/ any review is good long or short!
And originally the poem was in stanzas (if that would have helped the flow) but the editor refuses to let me make stanzas so all of my new poems are all in one large stanza. The original poem has much better pausing. Sorry.



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Tue Jul 29, 2014 12:45 am
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Liaya wrote a review...



Oooh, that's dark. That's not a bad thing though -- it's sort of cool. I'm curious to know how much of this is meant to be figurative or metaphorical and how much is meant to be literal. I love the flow of your words, too! This poem has a natural rhythm all of its own, and that's a very good thing. There's just a couple of little things I'd like to pick over. I hope they help!

I would suggest a period after "must be clean for tomorrow." This would solidify that it's the end of the handmaiden's thoughts and that she isn't continuing by thinking "but treachery and deceit." Since this part isn't italicized most could already tell, but I feel a period would aid the flow and eliminate any possible confusion.

The next part I wonder about are the lines "her hands soaking in red,/thick water in a basin." It doesn't seem to make much sense, grammatically or otherwise. (It is entirely possible this is just because my head doesn't want to work today!) I was just wondering if you meant red to describe the water as well as thick? Because then it would make more sense to say "her hands soaking/in thick, red water in a basin." The flow isn't as good though...perhaps you could even add a line there so you can keep the flow while clarifying what that meant.

The last couple things are just tiny and I'm writing them down because I'm nitpicky. Some punctuation is incorrect. I'm going to put down my suggestions for changes.

"Her sins are a difficult thing to wash away.
The kitchen (now, is this meant to say the kitchen is her accomplice? I don't think it is, but that's what it sounds like. Is it meant to say where she is? 'Cause then I'd put "In the kitchen,)
Her accomplice lay ripe with blood on the table behind her,"

Finally, make sure you capatilize the next word after ending a sentence. Since it's poetry it's okay to be lax with grammar, but you should at least be consistent, and you capatilized properly at least once, so it's best to do it with all of them.

Haha in spite of all that, it's a really good poem. There's not as much wrong with it as I somehow manage to make it sound. Sorry about that! I really enjoyed it and I'd love to know more background on what it's about. Thanks for the great read!




Milanimo says...


Thank you! And your comments were great! I haven't looked at this poem in a while and just never got a chance to post it. I just copied and pasted it from a school project and hoped for the best!




Don't aim at success--the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one's dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself.
— Viktor E. Frankl