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18+ Language Violence

richard III

by TheSilverFox


Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language and violence.

I don't want to speak ill of the dead;
I want to stab their ass with a lance
while horses drag their blood-spattered corpse
across the bridge,
because it beats scattering petals
over their embalmed face
and hoping I cover the hate stuffed
in every wrinkle, the fire slipping out
out of their closed eyes.


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Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:23 pm
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Panikos wrote a review...



Hi, TheSilverFox! Just dropping in for a quick review.

I don't read or critique a lot of poetry, but I found this to be a really fun piece. The first two lines are particularly engaging - I love how you start with the beginning of a cliché and then twist it, and the rest of the piece is dedicated to dissecting it. The imagery is pretty nice too, though I think you could get a little more specific - 'embalmed face', for example, feels almost like a secondary description. I'd like something more immediate, something which tells me what an embalmed face actually looks like.

Structure-wise, I don't think this is as competent as it could be. It's what one of my lecturers would call 'chopped prose', because you could easily take out the line breaks and rearrange this into a perfectly grammatical sentence:

I don't want to speak ill of the dead; I want to stab their ass with a lance while horses drag their blood-spattered corpse across the bridge, because it beats scattering petals over their embalmed face and hoping I cover the hate stuffed in every wrinkle, the fire slipping out out of their closed eyes.


It's a pretty long-winded sentence, but it is just about grammatical (although the last clause is slightly less prose-like). Because of this, it doesn't feel exactly like poetry to me. I think a poem should be freer with the structure, and the line breaks shouldn't just be there to make it look like a poem. I didn't feel like the structure added a new angle to the meaning or anything. I wonder if you could make something of the 'beats' verb, because it has all the connotations of heartbeat and life. If you had something like this:

while horses drag their shrivelled heart,
across the bridge, because it beats
scattering petals over their blank face


I'm honestly just spitballing here, because this is your poem rather than mine. This is just to illustrate my point about 'beats' and how altering structure can change how the poem is read. If you put a line break after 'beats' rather than after 'scattering petals', you'd create a small moment of ambiguity for the reader. We'd try to read the verb one way...then have to read it a different way, once we progressed to the next line. It's completely up to you whether you want that sort of reading or not, but I just wanted to say that line breaks shouldn't be random. Try to position them in places that will make the poem more engaging.

That's about all I've got to say! Sorry if this was a bit of a ramble. Poetry isn't my area of expertise. I did really enjoy reading this - it's got a sardonic air and a clarity that I don't see in a lot of poems. I do think you should be a little more adventurous with breaking structural grammatical rules, and maybe you could be a bit more specific in your description, but overall I think it's a great piece.

Keep writing! :D
~Pan




TheSilverFox says...


yeah, I kinda have a weird writing style. I like to throw lots of repetition, rhythm, and metaphors into my prose, and so there's a blurry line between my prose and my poetry. I agree with you about the whole embalmed thing - embalmed is a vague word, and I should've looked for something that captured more of that Lenin-lying-in-state vibe that I'd been thinking about when I wrote that line. It could also be more of an adventurous poem with regards to line breaks, though I'd probably get a reviewer coming in and telling me it's too clunky and weird. anyways, thanks for the review!



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Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:54 am
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CJ6233 wrote a review...



This is interesting. It kind of made me laugh, not trying to sound rude but I think that’s a good thing because it makes it less morbid. There’s a sense of humour when you say ‘ I don’t want to speak ill of the dead; I want to stab their ass with a lance’, I don’t know if that’s what you were intending for but I think it gives it character. This is a serious but humorous poem at the same time and that’s amazing to me. I don’t know your intentions or feelings behind this poem but it seems quite violent to me. But it seems like a good poem overall.

-CJ6233




TheSilverFox says...


the article that inspired this poem *was* pretty funny, I just decided to borrow it and also take some shots at the whole "don't speak ill of the dead" mentality. that's a fair response, and about how I feel about this poem - pretty morbid, pretty violence, a tad funny. thanks for the review!




The capacity of human beings to bore one another seems to be vastly greater than that of any other animal.
— H. L. Mencken