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The Glass Floor

by SpiritedWolfe


If I could scrub away all the muck from
my palette of lies, like the smudges on the glass
ballroom floor, I'd be perfect. Too perfect, that
any can see my reflection, my transparency;
everyone would know me - how to hurt

my tender feelings are like the splotches,
left from the dust on the soles of my feet.
I used to dance with a free soul, on this floor
or glass, so perfect and smooth - not a ripple
to be seen among the ocean.
If I were scratchless, scarless,
my body would be a shield to the refugee
who could never step into the light of day.

But like the floor, I can never be fully cleansed
of the lies I smear. Each one is worse then the last
and the harder I scrub, more comes from the dirt
on my shoes. While I leave a trail of soap,
someone else walks into the ballroom and admires
the seeming perfection and gives more impurity

to this room, I am always summoned and given
the task to scrub. Scrub, wash, rinse, all similar
words under one meaning. That is my sentence

for life passes on, while I rot away in my own empty
chasm that is the glass floor. I cannot dance
away my worries, for another stain shows where my shoe left
a mark, also from just my bear feet squeaking
as I slide along. My bare hands leave finger prints, so small
no one will notice, will they? I do.

But you don't.

You prance into the hall of pure
glass, like your heart. Transparent, but your own.
Wearing it like a cape flying behind you, it shields
what you fear, what you love, from the demon
smudges. They don't register. And you take my hand
from the sponge and you tell - no, command - that I laugh.

So I do. For you are new to me, strange in your own accord,
but I like that. You know how to dance across
the glass without a smudge, only pure, and pull me along.
You show my prison, glass ballroom, has purpose
and use. A chore at times, but nothing is complete
in its purity. Everyone has some smudges.

While we dance, the perfect motions, there is a split
in the glass floor where my soul was too free, too
daring and I crumble along with it.
But you pick me up, dust it off the floor and
tell me:

"Everything breaks, has a point it cannot go on
any longer. It may be done for good. But know that
if something has broken, it has served its purpose
to the fullest. Don't be afraid to break a little -
it's how you get out of your shell."


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Sun Sep 27, 2015 12:50 am
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Rydia wrote a review...



Hi! I'm reviewing all of Team Tortoise and I liked the title of this one so I thought I'd come review. The length and layout are a little more daunting but if it's a good poem that shouldn't be an issue.

Specifics

1. There are a lot of excess words in that first line and it's slowing your pace down. How about

'If I could scrub all the muck from my palette of lies,
like the smudges from the ballroom floor
I'd be perfect...'

2. I'm not sure about 'too perfect' because it feels like the persona reaches the realisation and switches mood too quickly, before the thought has been fully explored. Perhaps if it was 'so perfect' then the transition from this being a positive to a negative would be more gradual and feel more natural?

3. The roll over of the first stanza to the second has an interesting disconnect that I kind of like. It threw me at first and I had to re-read because I felt like I'd missed a line but I like what you're aiming for and I'm not sure you could do it without tripping up the reader. Just thought I'd share my thoughts.

4. I don't like the imagery connecting the feelings to dirst because it's contradicting. A moment ago we had the transparency showing the persona's feelings which suggests they're something inside us but now they're on us and a dirty trail we leave instead? I don't like the mixed metaphor.

5.

I used to dance with a free soul, on this floor
or of glass, so perfect and smooth - not a ripple


6. There's some nice flow and imagery in the next few stanzas but no new ideas and I feel like you're using a lot of words to tell me the same thing we've already covered - ballroom, dirt, feelings. That's about all which I have to work with at the moment and I'm struggling a bit with what I'm meant to take away from this so far.

7.
You prance into the hall of pure
glass, like your heart. Transparent, but your own.
Wearing it like a cape flying behind you, it shields
what you fear, what you love, from the demon
smudges. They don't register. And you take my hand
from the sponge and you tell - no, command - that I laugh.
Okay so now we have another party and things get a little more interesting again but I feel like this is needed sooner and that the line about commanding the persona to laugh is a little unoriginal. Laughing and smiling are too often used to show a person has been made happy or to indicate that they are falling in love and the commanded feels a little Pride and Prejudice with the strong male character sweeping the female persona up. Perhaps it's not meant to be male and female but it feels that way, kind of like the fairy-tales when the prince suddenly arrives and everything is now okay.

8. The end is nice but feels a bit forced and I think you need to introduce the theme of breaking earlier to make that seem more natural. Yes we have a glass floor and glass does break but even if you just describe some cracks or a few lines on the glass rather than smudges then we'll be more prepared for the ending.

Overall

This poem doesn't really work for me. I think because it doesn't feel like the main character is stuck in their shell in the beginning. It feels like they're perhaps guarded but that's not the same thing. We don't get to see them with others so we can't really see that they don't extend beyond themself because let's be honest, we're all self centered when alone. It's only when there are people around that we can identify those who interact and those who don't.

I think the glass room metaphor was pushed too hard which is a shame because it's a lovely idea but there were too many mixed messages so by the end I wasn't entirely sure if the glass room represented the persona (and yet the soul escapes through the crack?) or the restrictions of society? It's all a little bit too vague and too ambiguous.

But the images are nice and it flows well so I think with some cutting and tidying up that it's something I could like. It just feels quite rough at the moment.

Best of luck with the writing! (and reviewing)

~Heather






Thanks so much! Yeah, NaPo poetry is always so rough xD Your points are all very helpful ~ Thanks again!



Rydia says...


No problem! :)



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Thu Jul 23, 2015 6:32 pm
Ronald559 wrote a review...



It's hard to critique poetry, because it's more personal I'd say. I really liked your title though. It has a vague meaning, and I wonder you meant when you used it. It's a good title.


(*q)If I could scrub away all the muck from
my palette of lies, like the smudges on the glass
ballroom floor, I'd be perfect. Too perfect, that
any can see my reflection, my transparency;
everyone would know me - how to hurt(q*)

This is whats underneath your poem. Line underlining it. Its good that way. Hemingway used to say that when he had something really good, something brilliant he would know to take it out. I used to wonder what he meant when he said that. I realize now this is what he was talking about. This sort of paragraph that describes how you feel. Take it out, and it's still there. Even if its not written the emotion and the meaning stay with the reader. And your writing improves because it reaches another level. So that's my advice to you take it out, and start with the second stanza.


(*q)my tender feelings are like the splotches,
left from the dust on the soles of my feet.(q*)

That's beautiful, and amazing. It grabs you more than the first line in the first stanza.





I think this poem is to someone specifically. There's a conversation. Which is clever. (if that's what the second half is, it might be a continuation. Unclear.) I like how it shifts. I thought about maybe suggesting you make it two separate poems. Good poets do it with their poems....
-Sailing to Byzantium
-Byzantium

But then maybe I thought the beauty of this poem is that it is a conversation. So I'd say keep it this way. Just thought you should know it is an option.


I didn't like the last line of the poem.
Don't be afraid to break a little -
it's how you get out of your shell."

Someone told me to break out of my shell once. And I didn't agree with them so maybe that's why I don't like it.
But I still also think that it's a little weak. Because its common, and people say it all the time. I think the poem is about 2 people who misunderstand one another. And it should really end with their lack of understanding. Because it seems like love with these two people. And all love is tragic in literature, and should end tragically. So that's the sadness in your poem it could have if you changed the last line.

If I'm off about that conversation thought, my apologies. It seems like 1 pov, and then the other pov.




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Thu Jul 23, 2015 5:44 pm
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Pompadour wrote a review...



Hey, Wolf! Pomp here for The Big Review. Because I have six reviews to write (yelp) and because this is a great piece anyway, I'll try to make this quick~

Hm, so I think my main issue with this poem is the fact that while you have a lot of consistent images (which really lends a hand to the overall knitting-together of things) you have a lot of unnecessary imagery, too. This detracts from the main focus of the piece and it doesn't do much to A) snag me, as a reader; and B) build the focus I so greatly desire. I think I remember talking about 'constants' in prose once, and it's highly unfortunate that I like to ramble about them in poetry as well. XD Basically, you know you've got a constant when your images line up one after the other and coincide (rather than collide) seamlessly. In poetry, the reader tries to make connections; they look for parallels and how one image supports the other. Poetry is more than just conveying ideas--it's giving the ideas a scaffolding and searching for ways in which everything is clear + makes sense.

I suppose it's weird talking about clarity in poetry, isn't it? when the reader is free to assume and inspect and have their own perspective. To an extent, the reader is free--but to an extent they are not. I say 'to an extent' because yes, you have a certain idea you need to get across, and the reader can make assumptions based on your idea. But in the end, it's all narrowed down to one point: what the writer wants to say. And this is the 'point' the reader needs to understand.

Let me talk less generally about constants and clarity now. In this piece, I see the narrator as a Cinderella-esque person, except with a massive twist: they are the ones on the ballroom floor and they are the invisible. You've succeeded in making me understand this, so kudos on that!

But the images still bother me. It's very subtle, the discrepancy, but it's the tiny words and their extensions that make the imagery seem a tad higgledy-piggledy. It throws off your constant: that steady stream of images that are somehow similar to one another and make sense.

For example, stanza one could use some smoothing out, in terms of imagery and in condensing the verse so it's less clunky. Here:

If I could scrub away all the muck from
my palette of lies, like the smudges on the glass
ballroom floor
, I'd be perfect. Too perfect, that
any can see my reflection, my transparency;
everyone would know me - how to hurt


~ First: in red. Palette is a word associated with artsy images and it makes me think of free will and skill. It also gives the impression that the narrator has an array of what they do (lie)--which is good, because this is what you're going for, no?--and that they're skilled at this art. However, I'm going to pick on this, because although it's a pretty word that serves purpose, it contrasts heavily with the images of 'muck' and 'transparency' and leads to a lot of images forming in my mind, none of which bear much similarity with one another. So mull over this a tad and try coming up with a stronger image.

~ Second: in black, bold. It feels wordy and it feels like a siren tossed into a sea of tranquility because it gathers that much obvious attention. Don't be blatant--I like the parallel you're creating here, between the narrator's daily tasks and the narrator's internal dissent, and it's a lovely parallel ... but there are more subtle ways to showcase this. Where it stands right now, I'd cut it out and possibly reinsert it someplace else. Or perhaps you could consider shuffling it to read differently. Here's how I (personally) would edit it, though of course you can edit as you see fit!<3

(Another, slightly unrelated to the highlighted bits, thing that bothered me was that 'if'. It implies hesitation to action #1 [the palette] but it also does this with action #2 which I'm sure is a more solid act [the scrubbing of glass ballroom floor]. So, again, consider shuffling and rearranging so the glass ballroom floor comes first. This would also reinforce the hesitation in an implied way, because the narrator's first thought is the real world.)

Spoiler! :
I could scrub away all the muck from
the smudges on the glass
ballroom floor--then, from my palette of lies,
and I'd be perfect. ...


^It's a very clunky edit, but it's more to give you the idea of how rearranging could work, though I bet you can do this much better! (I didn't want to take any liberties with changing the 'palette' thing. XD)


~ Third, marked in blue. It's just a clunky bit of phrasing that can be smoothed out easily enough. 'Too perfect' feels off to me; it sounds cliché. It's also an unfinished thought--I won't elaborate on this critique, because I know you can fix this in one re-read. :P

Second stanza: there are more conflicting images here. The sea, the glass, the refugee (which makes me think of barren, empty fields and war). I'm actually kind of partial to the refugee image, because it's classy and an absolutely delicious thing to allude to. I think, again, you need to make the images flow better. 'my tender feelings...' is superfluous information; it's verging on mooning and does not connect to the rest of the stanza so much. It's like a prologue that way--it's got nothing to do with chapter one. Get rid of it. You also have a case of dangling modifiers. The way 'free and smooth' is placed right now, it makes me think of the narrator as 'free and smooth' and 'rippling' as opposed to the floor.

Stanza four is also wordy and your poem can stand just as strong without it. It's a lot of telling, which isn't very necessary in poetry, because it's heavily implied anyway.

The chasms and shizz feels very awkward and out-of-the-blue. A chasm gives me pit-like images, which makes me think of erosion, which makes me think of marvels that wear away, and I think you could keep it if you foreshadowed this element a bit.

I think another thing that detracts from the quality of this poem is the need to explain everything, as is the need writers have to fulfil in prose. You could cut out a lot of words like 'for' and stuff, as well as superfluous detail. Like in stanza four, where you could cut out a lot of superfluous detail and rearrange the words:

for life passes on, while and I rot away
in my own empty chasm of glass--never dancing
away my worries; my shoes forever mark
the floor, its sliding surface.

also from just my bear feet squeaking
as I slide along. My bare hands leave finger prints, so small
no one will notice, will they? I do.


Basically: reduce verbal clutter and the Wizard of Oz will respect you forever.

Mm. I feel like the shift to when the narrator begins talking to someone else is kind of abrupt; it lacks subtlety. It's a la enter Prince Charming, and I think you could work it into the poem better, perhaps by hinting at how the narrator wishes for someone to pull them out of their slump and such.

I like that ending. It speaks volumes and is beautiful askldfgh<33.

Overall, you've got a lovely piece here, Wolf, with a lot of potential! Considering this was for NaPo (and NaPo poems are always hurried), it's really good and the idea is creative--one you might consider revisiting. Your imagery is poignant and pretty; all you really need to work on is making sure images don't clash and meld with one another, and you're set!

Hope this helped. Keep it up! Keep writing! Seeing your poetry always makes me happy~

Cheers,

~Pomp




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Sun Apr 26, 2015 10:53 pm
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GLaDOS wrote a review...



Hi Wolfare1! Happy review day! <3

Let's take this stanza by stanza.

Stanza 1: I believe that instead of writing "Too perfect" that "So perfect" would've fit more nicely. And this line here "everyone would know me - how to hurt" confused me a bit. Otherwise, great start to this lovely poem. ^.^

Stanza 2: Another great stanza, but with the way you're delivering this, It's a metaphor about a clean glass floor, "not a ripple to be seen among the ocean." ...Not an ocean! But, I did like the ending of this stanza. Very nice. c:

Stanza 3: Now the true meaning of this poem starts to sink in. A liar is like a dirty floor, once it is first dirty, it can never be fully cleansed. Great metaphor. But this one line "While I leave a trail of soap, someone else walks into the ballroom and admires the seeming perfection and gives more impurity." This felt like a line from a short story, less than a poem.

Stanza 4: Alright, I think the "to this room" part is irrelevant, not needed. Also "I am always summoned and given the task to scrub. Scrub, wash, rinse," Should be revised to: "I am always summoned and given the task to scrub, wash, and rinse," And the ending of this stanza confused me, because the other part of that sentence is on the next stanza. Unless you are pausing, never put part of a sentence on a separate stanza. Plus, that ending should be revised to: "My sentence for life passes on," This was the most problematic stanza.

Stanza 5: This stanza is perfectly fine, in my opinion. Great work. c:

Stanza 6: "from the sponge and you tell - no, command - that I laugh." I was confused by this, are you trying to sort of tell the story of Cinderella in poetry? I dunno. Other than that, cool beans.

Stanza 7: Every stanza past this is great.

Although I feel that this poem is more of a story. Poetry is more brief, and this tells a complex story which in some parts I can't understand. But overall, I liked it.

-xJ <3




Wolfare1 says...


At lot of things you pointed out were intentional, such as in stanza for. 'to this room' is written there to hook the two stanzas together. 'gives more impurity/to this room' (and poetry can very well tell a story as well. It's narrative, but keeping a more dreamy feel. Not all poems have to be curt and to the point.) In a way, the story of Cinderella inspired this, but there are very disting differences, I believe. But I appreciate the review.



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Sun Apr 26, 2015 1:31 am
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niteowl wrote a review...



Hi there Wolfare1! Niteowl here to review for Team Stitch this fine Review Day!

Overall, I think this is a lovely poem that shares a good message. Here are my thoughts:

ballroom floor, I'd be perfect. Too perfect, that
any can see my reflection, my transparency;
everyone would know me - how to hurt


This is a little clunky. I think if you cut "Too perfect, that" and start the second line with "Anyone could see...", it would flow better.

I also think the third line is confusing. I think "how to hurt" is supposed to lead into the next stanza, but it doesn't. I think "everyone would know how to hurt me." could work better.

I used to dance with a free soul, on this floor
of glass, so perfect and smooth - not a ripple


Minor typo there.

someone else walks into the ballroom and admires
the seeming perfection and gives more impurity


I think this a little awkward. Maybe, "admiring its clarity while bringing impurity" or something like that. I do like how this leads into the next stanza.

for life passes on, while I rot away in my own empty
chasm that is the glass floor.


Everything after "rot away" is kind of wordy. I'm not sure you need any of that, to be honest.

a mark, also from just my bear feet squeaking
as I slide along. My bare hands leave finger prints, so small


1) You used the wrong "bare" the first time.
2) I don't think the repetition of "bare" works. You could cut out the bare feet portion entirely and it would be okay.

You prance into the hall of pure
glass, like your heart.


I think a better way to word this would be "You prance into the glass hall, pure / like your heart."

Transparent, but your own.
Wearing it like a cape flying behind you, it shields
what you fear, what you love,


I'm confused as to what "it" is here. His heart? Maybe there's a way to clarify this.

You know how to dance across
the glass without a smudge, only pure, and pull me along.
You show my prison, glass ballroom, has purpose
and use.


I think this is wordier than it has to be. Something like "You pull me across the glass, leaving no trace." would get the same idea across. I feel like the second sentence is just telling and isn't needed.

I'm a little confused by suddenly bringing in cracks at the end since they haven't been mentioned before. The explanation is sort of odd, too.

For the last stanza, it's a solid message, but also pretty wordy. I think the last sentence (maybe the last two sentences) are fine on their own. I feel like this is getting a little too tell-y. Maybe a more interesting way would be for the prince to show their own smudges/cracks? Just food for thought.

Overall, I think there's some excellent imagery and it tells a good story. My main complaint is that it could be cut down a bit. Good job and keep writing! :)




Wolfare1 says...


Thank you so much! ^^ Your critique is really helpful and I do agree that I could be a lot less wordy. I struggle with that at times. I'll use it when I redraft this.



Wolfare1 says...


Rereading through your review, I do realize that there must have been some misinterpretation. I must not have presented well enough that the crack was caused while they were on the floor versus always being there.



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Sun Apr 26, 2015 12:27 am
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XPresidentTurtlesX wrote a review...



Hello, Wolfare1! I hope you are having an enjoyable review day!
I love this poem. I think it's a brilliant way of showing how everyone has faults, and no one can be perfect nor pure. I believe it had a really great message to spread to others, and I'm shocked someone hadn't reviewed this before. I think this poem should get a lot more love, but I guess it's the length that turns people away. (I, on the other hand, am fine with length, as long as it does not drag on)
I did find one mistake, and I think you simply made it while typing and perhaps going beyond your speed. On stanza two, you said:
"floor
or glass,"
which I believe you meant to be "floor OF glass."
There was also a section in which you used "then" instead of "than," and I personally thought that it would have a better flow being "than," though I don't think that matters much, for it is simply your style of writing, and it wouldn't be right for me to change your style of writing, now would it? It's what makes your pieces special!
I absolutely adored the last stanza, it was very empowering! You should definitely take in to consideration of doing more meaningful poems.
Well written, great job!
~Prez. T





Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
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