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nocturne of insomnia's anthem

by SilverNight

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75 Reviews

Points: 2363
Reviews: 75

Wed Sep 15, 2021 1:34 pm
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waywardxwallflower wrote a review...

Hello! Wallflower here for a quick review (:

The first sentence of this poem immediately drew me in- it's intriguing and immediately poetic. Throughout this poem, the story you develop is chilling and unique - it's a fear of the dark we've all known before, but the way you go through it and describe it, the story of the insomniac you tell, is so completely its own.

Your writing style is absolutely lovely: the poetic language and pacing are perfect for a poem such as this. The formatting is also very reminescent of the poem, the lights in the darkness.

Overall, fantastic poem! Perfectly haunting.

SilverNight says...

Thanks, Wallflower! Your description of it was really what I was going for, so I'm glad you liked it. I hope you have a great RevMo-- good luck with the rest of it! :)

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751 Reviews

Points: 24075
Reviews: 751

Wed Sep 15, 2021 12:38 am
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SpiritedWolfe wrote a review...

Hi Silver! I'm here for a review on this piece of yours ^^

I'm a fan of prose poetry, and I think you've done a lovely job with this piece. I like a lot of the small stylistic choices you've made throughout the poem, such as choosing to avoid capitals to give the narration a small, more diluted voice. Also, I love the flow of this piece, since it reads really smoothly, especially with the use of commas to make the sentences feel like they keep going and never end. As I was reading, it felt like the narrator is almost out of breath, like even in their narration they're running away from the darkness and feeling the effects of not having enough sleep. You also have a good mix of these long runs with shorter, harder hitting sentences, which you usually punctuate the stanzas with.

Throughout the poem, there is a feeling of escalation and tension as it continues. It starts with the discovery of the dark, worrying about something the narrator hasn't thought of before, and ends with a persistent fear of the darkness closing in around the narrator. However, I feel like the end is the weakest part of the poem. While the rest of it has been growing, getting louder like a crescendo, the ending feels quieter and less impactful. I'm not entirely sure if I get what the narrator means by "the path ahead ... is shrouded in opaque obscurity." I understand they might be worried about the future and where to go, but this idea feels a bit out of nowhere. Everything else has been focused on this moment, the present, where the narrator is in their room at night and feeling trapped there, but their actual worry is about the future? Perhaps it would help to sprinkle in more references to this throughout the rest of the poem?

Another interesting idea that you could play around with is the fact that shadows are caused by lights -- you can't have a shadow without one. So more lights means more shadows, which could add to the fear in the narrator as they continue to escalate their drastic measures to keep the shadows out.

The other question that I had about this piece is about the father. There are a few references to him in the third and fourth stanzas, and I was wondering if there was some kind of relation between him and the monster. From the line "you can't decide which is worse, the monster that's here or the one that could come in", it makes me wonder if the narrator feels unsafe without the familiy or unsafe because of. I'm not sure if this is a relation you meant to have, but it feels a little unclear if it is. Maybe something else to think about in revisions.

Overall though, I really enjoyed this piece! I think the first line is probably my favorite, since it just brings you right in to the piece with a whimsical but slightly eerie tone. I especially love the rhyme of "theme" and "dream" and it flows really well together. Well done!

Happy writing!
~ Wolfe

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SilverNight says...

Hey, Wolfe, thanks for stopping by! Sorry for not getting back to you sooner <3

I really appreciate the feedback about the end, since I wasn't sure how to wrap it up and now I see what I could've done better, so that was really helpful. My answer for the question you had was that the father's also the "monster in the hallway", but I realize that wasn't super clear, and it can always be interpreted differently by anyone else. Again, this was super helpful, thank you!

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66 Reviews

Points: 200
Reviews: 66

Tue Sep 14, 2021 6:48 pm
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queenshadowgem says...

<333333 this is captivating

SilverNight says...

<3333 thanks!

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191 Reviews

Points: 7980
Reviews: 191

Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:56 pm
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Liminality wrote a review...

Hiya Silver!

The first impression I got from the title was that this poem is about sleeplessness with a musical motif. “nocturne” I’m guessing is referencing classical music and “anthem” seems to personify “insomnia” as an entity.

Overall, the poem has a scary, tense atmosphere. It feels like it’s being told from the perspective of a child, hence the role of lullabies and the images of monsters under the bed. It is very rhythmic, and some of the stanzas almost come across as sounding like rap verses, especially in the beginning.

When I got to the end of the poem, I realised the title was probably referencing more the structure of the poem rather than the imagery, because the light imagery and its antithesis, the darkness, comes across very strongly throughout.

Motifs and Narrative

The two motifs here seem to be light/dark contrasts and music. The light/dark contrasts stood out to me with the speaker “covering” their wall with fairy lights. Juxtapositions between peaceful and violent light imagery, such as “lightning” and “fireflies” also made me re-read that stanza a few times, and made for a very striking image. It gives the sense of extremities, heightening the tension of the poem, which is why the light/dark images tended to stick out to me more.

The music motif is subtler. It beings with the sounds of the alarm clock in the first stanza, and there’s some sound imagery such as the sounds I associate with “twinkling” and the thunder that comes with lightning in the following stanza. But then the music doesn’t come, as the speaker isn’t able to sing to themselves. Was it intentional to have this music motif more in the background in order to build up to this unexpected turn?

In terms of narrative, the poem seems to divide into two halves. The first two stanzas describe the darkness and sleeplessness and how the speaker reacts to it by introducing light, but that the light is “not enough”. Then the last three stanzas suggest the father is responsible for this darkness through the images of “monsters under the bed” and the comparison to the monster “in the hallway”, and with the last stanza repeating the idea of light not being “enough”.


There were some images that didn’t quite fit into the aforementioned two groups, so I’ll discuss them here. “the post r.e.m. heartbeat” suggests more of a sciency motif. If I think hard enough about it, it implies that the speaker has just awoken from a dream, is yet to fall into deep sleep, which matches the overall impression that the speaker has many sleepless nights. I didn’t really get any similarities between this and the other images in the poem, though, so perhaps it’s more of a stand-alone.

The first stanza also has this use of high modality – that means the “should” and “shouldn’ts”. I’m not sure what it means. Does it reflect that the speaker doesn’t feel like they belong wherever they are, with the father there? When reading, I wondered why it seemed confined to the first stanza, as it made the first stanza seem a little different than all the others.
The use of “you” makes the piece very immersive, as though inviting the reader to picture themselves in this situation. It’s like it’s saying see? See how scary this is. So it emphasises the frightening atmosphere, like I mentioned earlier.

Structure and Sound

The piece definitely has the rhythm and sound you’d expect of poetry, so I’d say it is very successful as a prose poem. I liked the rhymes in the beginning between “theme” and “dream”. Overall, though, the main source of the rhythm comes from the stream-of-conscious-like formatting, punctuation and lack of capitalisation. I looked at it and immediately knew I had to read this in my head as a rush of somebody’s thoughts. Was this how you intended it to be read, I wonder.

The question “isn’t that too much for you?” was something I wondered as well, when reading about the accumulating lights – assuming that the lights being added are literal, not metaphorical ones. I started thinking about electric fire risks and power consumption. Maybe overheating as well, and wondered if that would come into play in the poem. But it ended differently than I expected, with emphasising the speaker’s feelings of dearth and the alliterative “opaque obscurity”. Though last phrase doesn’t technically begin with the same sounds, visually the two “o”s make an impact, along with the plain black background, so I thought that was a neat way to end a poem where the speaker is left appearing to feel uncertain.

That’s all

Hope some of these comments were helpful, and feel free to ask me anything about what I’ve said in the review. (Or ask for more feedback.)

Keep writing!



SilverNight says...

Sorry for the late reply, but I wanted to say that this is an amazing review, Lim! I love your thoughtful analysis, and you had so many great interpretations that I hadn't thought of when I wrote it. Thanks so much for your perspective, good luck on RevMo! <3

The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing and to watch somebody else doing it wrong, without comment.
— T. H. White