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Perhaps

by Plume


Perhaps it is because I love you so
that I cannot look you in the eyes.
Medusa I must be, and Perseus:
he is my shroud, a cloud of loneliness
that I inhale and exhale through my lungs.

Perhaps it is because I love you so
that I cannot laugh at your jokes.
Daphne I must be, and Apollo:
he is my heart, a part of me
that I bury and grow over, denying.

Perhaps it is because I love you so
that I cannot be near your presence.
Persephone I must be, and Hades:
he is you, we two friends
who will pine over pomegranates until autumn.


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Wed Sep 21, 2022 3:38 pm
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Liminality wrote a review...



Hi there Plume! Lim here with a short review!

First Impressions
The first thing that strikes me about this poem is about how mind-blowingly symmetrical and neat it is. I just love how the sentiments of longing and avoidance unfold over the course of each stanza. The poem definitely leaves me with a sense of pain but also hope, with the phrase “until autumn”. I find myself wondering if the speaker and the addressee will somehow be together in the end. Another part that stood out to me was in the first stanza “Perseus: he is my shroud” – I thought that allusion was quite sombre.

Structure/ Grammar
Something that is done super well here is the repetition. The ‘rule of three’ in using three stanzas and three myths feels like the perfect amount of space to express the speaker’s feelings. Besides this, the repeated structures also make the poem feel really clever and special.

Medusa I must be, and Perseus:
he is my shroud, a cloud of loneliness
Daphne I must be, and Apollo:
he is my heart, a part of me

Persephone I must be, and Hades:
he is you, we two friends

On my second or third reading I just notice this cool detail where in the third stanza, the speaker finally uses “you” to refer to the mythological figure directly, and for the first time uses “we”. The fact that otherwise the general comma and colon placement and the phrases like “I must be” are kept the same helps to highlight these subtle shifts on a careful read, which makes the poem more nuanced and textured. For me the detail I mentioned sort of marks the development of the speaker’s thoughts from sadness to a kind of more hopeful acknowledgement of their relationship to this person.

Imagery
I felt like while there were some images that connect to the myths (like “pine over pomegranates”), helping to make the allusions more understandable, there’s not much imagery in common among all three stanzas. Maybe this is just my shallow knowledge of Greek mythology showing, but I can’t quite see how one myth ‘leads in’ to the next. I guessed there might be a chain-like connection between them since this poem is classified as narrative, but based on the images alone it’s hard to tell. The main connector for all the stanzas for me is how the speaker uses each myth to express their pining/avoidance of the addressee. Even then, I don’t think Medusa and Perseus were lovers (?) so I might be wrong on that one. As mentioned before, I also thought the first stanza had a surprisingly sombre note, with the use of the Medusa myth implying the speaker might be ‘slain’, but the following stanzas felt a bit less sombre in comparison. I’d be curious to know if that was intentional.

Overall
I like how you’ve managed to use images and descriptions referencing all these different myths and yet maintain a consistent tone. The use of more archaic language like “Persephone I must be” also feels very organic here and also still remains very easily readable by a modern reader. The only suggestion I’d have would be maybe to consider how said images might relate more directly to each other, like if there is a way to put a shared motif between “cloud of loneliness” and “bury and grow over”, or perhaps a way to blend “shroud” with “heart”, though that’s just if those parts are meant to resonate with each other in terms of imagery as well as structure.

Hope some of this helps and feel free to ask for more feedback!
-Lim


Image




Plume says...


Thank you so much for your review!! That's a really good point about the cohesiveness of the poem entirely - I tried to keep the images myth-centric, ish, like the "pomegranates until autumn" for Hades/Persephone because of the seasonal connection and the use of "grow" for the Daphne/Apollo one, since she turned into a tree to avoid him. The choice to use different myths in this one wasn't necessarily because they were all lovers (and, as you pointed out, they all weren't!) it was just because they were all kind of famous relationships that I could use to show the relationship between the speaker and various other things. Like, for example, in the Medusa/Perseus one, the speaker is Medusa, and Perseus is their shroud, kind of showing how their shyness and loner tendencies are, in a way, killing them much like Perseus killed Medusa. It's a little convoluted, but that's kind of what I was trying to get at with the myths.

Once again, great points about the cohesive imagery, and thank you so much for this in-depth review!!



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Wed Sep 21, 2022 12:14 pm
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inprisonforsparkling wrote a review...



Oh my god I love Greek mythology references SO MUCH you don't even know.

Hi Plume!! Oliver here with a review!!

First off, I really love the allusions, as you may have guessed from the beginning line ahaha. Medusa and Perseus is a really interesting first allusion, especially contrasted with "I love you so", and I love "a cloud of loneliness/that I inhale and exhale through my lungs".
Daphne and Apollo is also really interesting, the relationship that the narrator and "you" have is clearly very complicated. "bury and grow over, denying" is such a good line, especially considering the context of the myth!!
And gosh, Persephone and Hades is SO SO GOOD. And "he is you, we two friends/that will pine over pomegranates until autumn" is a wonderful conclusion.

Anyway that may have been a little incoherent but it was a really enjoyable poem!! Well done, keep writing, and I hope you have a great day!
-Oliver




Plume says...


Thank you so much for your review!



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Tue Sep 20, 2022 5:58 pm
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BEASTtheHUN wrote a review...



NIIIIIIIIICCCCEEEE. You had to pull daphne out of retirement though. I like the idea. We've all been through this before. As in a show reference, "It's like you wanna crawl in to somebody else's skin and walk around as if it was them." - I FORGOT THE CHARACTERS NAME. Anyway, you did a really good job.




Plume says...


Thanks for the review! I'm curious, was there anything specifically that you liked about it? If you have any thoughts or interpretations, too, I'd love to hear them!



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Sun Sep 18, 2022 7:57 pm
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Seirre says...



Hi Plume! I admittedly am a bit rusty on Greek mythology, but I really enjoyed this poem nonetheless! There's something very snazzy and literary about having allusions of any kind in a poem, and mythology allusions are extra snazzy in my opinion.

From my minimal knowledge, I find it interesting that the comparisons include many very different relationships between Greek gods; Medusa and Perseus is like a villain and hero combo, Daphne and Apollo is like a pursued vs pursuer combo, and Persephone and Hades have a more romantic connotation. It makes the narrator's relationship with "you" feel very complex and messy (which, relatable)!

Also can we just take a moment to look at these two fabulous lines:

he is my shroud, a cloud of loneliness
that I inhale and exhale through my lungs.

like, this is so poetically angsty in the best way possible and I adore it!




Plume says...


Thank you so much for your comment! I'm glad you enjoyed ^-^




I wondered why we put villains in our stories when we have plenty of them in real life; then I realized that maybe we wanted stories where the good guy wins.
— nogutsnoglory