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Last walk (2nd draft)

by Traves


Broken-in shoes resist the urge to sit

as they hurry past the ghosts of known faces,

dragging out an end that my time here knit.


I leave un-whole from this town, I’ll admit

only people can fill others’ empty spaces.

Broken-in shoes resist the urge to sit.


An intense urge to mend a needless rift

made years ago ends in imagined embraces,

dragging out an end that my time here knit.


The wind blows in jagged parts of me that don’t quite fit

but I must look for sandpaper in the next town’s graces.

Broken-in shoes resist the urge to sit.


The old dog’s tail says something we won’t admit,

like moribund patients smiling with life’s last traces,

dragging out an end that my time here knit.


Standing next to my seat on the train, I can’t quit—

trembling arms won’t let go of memory-suitcases .

Broken-in shoes resist the urge to sit,

dragging out an end that my time here knit.


This is about leaving your hometown for the last time. First draft ->  https://www.youngwriterssociety.com/work/Traves/Last-walk-146595


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15 Reviews


Points: 369
Reviews: 15

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Fri May 22, 2020 10:53 am
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ayushinav wrote a review...



Hey @Traves
This is more of an interpretation than a review, I guess.

The first stanza talks about you hurrying past the 'ghost' of know faces, which gives a negative impression, a temptation to run away from the know faces. Also the phrase 'dragging out' gives an impression that you had a hard time here.

Then, you say that you leave incomplete from the town. Now what I could gather was that (also because of the reference to the 'ghost of know faces') you have been short of what you wanted to be when you leave, and that was because of the voids created by the people that you feel will be filled by others.

In the third stanza, you again mention that you didn't get along with the people well, and you wished the time with them had ended in imaginary embraces. Here, I feel the last line puts in an extra effect, and you have subtly placed the emotions here.

The fourth stanza is a bit of deviation from the earlier chain in the aspect that you admit your own mistakes and faults. The 'jagged parts', I guess, are the pointed and rough ends of your character that you will try to mend with the 'sandstone'. Here, your expectations with the next town come into the light, again, as also had come in the second one. I could not totally grasp 'the wind' here, but it did add to the melancholic tone of the poem. I guess it's the memories? I could not really say, because you did not mention it anywhere else.

The fifth one is again a bit vague for me. I sense it says something like we are adamant in our beliefs but still the end forces a smile out of us, perhaps a brave and sadistic one. Maybe you were adamant in admitting your mistakes, and now you smile at the end, bravely (as you drag yourself out of the place?)

The last one takes a tinge of fear, fear of losing the people and friends you made there. You sense that though you want to move on, holding on to your memories makes it difficult. And it is here, that I like the line 'Broken-in shoes resist the urge to sit' more than anywhere.

Reading my first villanelle could not have been a better experience. You have very subtly linked the past to the future throughout your poem, and it draws admiration from me. The task of writing a villanelle is itself quite intimidating and you carried it out beautifully, editing one is even more. As I read your first draft, I feel you have made considerable improvements in this one, though we miss caesura here. :p

Nice work! Looking forward to reading more of your works.
If you feel I misinterpreted some part/s, do tell me so.




Traves says...


Thanks for the detailed review @ayushinav !

Some of your interpretations vary from what I had in mind but they are valid all the same. This interpretation also helps me in preparing for the next draft because the parts you feel confused by are because I changed the ordering while keeping some of the lines exactly the same from the first draft so I'll have to decide whether 3rd draft should be more like 2nd draft or 1st draft, a synthesis of the 2 might be out of my abilities



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Reviews: 9

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Thu May 21, 2020 9:18 pm
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quitecontrary wrote a review...



Wow! This is really amazing! I’ve tried my hand at villanelles before, but they never end up quite right. I love your last stanza, and I feel like it really brings all the imagery in this piece together.
1. First off, I think you can drop the I’ll in exchange for just an I.
“I leave un-whole from this town, I’ll admit,”
You start off the stanza in present tense, and I think you should keep it that way.
2. Villanelles don’t always have to follow a syllable count, but usually the lines stay close around a set number. In the beginning the lines hover around 10 syllables, but towards the end they get longer. I suggest trying to cut down some of the lines(especially 10, 11, 13, and 14). For some reason the last stanza works well with two longer lines at the beginning, and you can decide whether or not they should be cut down a little.
3. In your second stanza the word “others’” seems arbitrary and only acts as a space-filler. I would suggest changing the line to something like this:
“Only people can fill life’s empty spaces”
4. This is only a tiny criticism, but your fifth stanza seems a little out of place. All of your other stanzas talk about YOU leaving, but this stanza talks about it in the sense of other people leaving. I think this could be a really powerful statement, especially with the new inclusion of “we” in the poem. I would just take another look at the syllable count in that stanza.
Overall, I think this is a really deep and well thought out poem. Great job!




Traves says...


Thanks for the great review @quitecontrary !

About the syllable count, I did not know about consistency being a requirement because I wrote this using the wiki how page on villanelle (highly recommend it).
I'll try to make them more consistent .they might become another poem altogether with the difference in lengths lel
As for others' I meant other people's empty spaces, it's not a filler. I'll think about the word choice in the next draft.



Traves says...


Thanks for the great review @quitecontrary !

About the syllable count, I did not know about consistency being a requirement because I wrote this using the wiki how page on villanelle (highly recommend it).
I'll try to make them more consistent .they might become another poem altogether with the difference in lengths lel
As for others' I meant other people's empty spaces, it's not a filler. I'll think about the word choice in the next draft.




If you can't get out of your comfort zone, you'll never find what you're looking for. Don't make things quick and easy to feel better short term. Make a change and then you'll feel better longer term.
— Frinderman