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Portrait of a Life

by bubblewrapped


I'm not sure what I meant to say in this. I was toying with something I read in a book once, that there are some people who shouldnt stand to close to the edge of a cliff because they might jump - not because they're suicidal, but to find out what it feels like. It kinda captured my imagination. I dont think it comes across in this poem though so I'm going to keep trying until I get it right. But I liked this one anyway, so here it is.

Portrait of a Life

The smudge of cloud
On the horizon
Reminds me of the way we
Used to paint, in kindergarten –
Do you remember?
I would dip my fingers
In the paint
Smear the colours across the paper
And call it art.
The beach, pale and pure
Reminds me of
The way we paint now
In clean straight lines, with no expression
Do you remember?
Both of us complained
That our hands were too clumsy
And shared a little smile
When we were accused of getting old;
The grass, in the flush of summer
Staggering across the hill
Reminds me
Of the drunken soldiers you painted
Not so long ago
Their faces so bright and happy
They could have been going
To a party
Instead of to war.
But the cliff from which I watch
Reminds me that
All good things can end
Sometimes in sharp edges
Other times in opportunity -
And that there are some people (you included)
Who should never stand too close
In case they jump.


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Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:47 am
yubbies21 wrote a review...



Hello there bubblewrapped! By the way, I adore your username! Anywhoo, It's the Yubster here to review for you today!

The visual images created in the first half of the poem carries a flow of distant and all but forgotten memories to the front of my brain: splashing watered down paint onto large sheets of newspaper, fingering painting or drawing with chalk out on the sidewalk on a sweltering summer day.

"Do you remember?
I would dip my fingers
In the paint
Smear the colours across the paper
And call it art."

The way you described the beach with just a few simple words made me in vision a long, stretched out beach with the last rays of burnt sunlight staining the water lapping at the sand.

“The beach, pale and pure”

I loved those parts of the poems, but the rest of it kind of made me lose interest and become bored. Up to the part where it says, “And shared a little smile”, is truly an excellent masterpiece that anyone can see you put a bunch of careful thought and hard work into creating. But the rest was a little bit rough around the edges. Especially this next part; It didn’t reach out and grab me like the rest of your poem did, and I didn’t think it fit too well with the themes and ideas behind the poem.. If it were up to me, I would edit that part of the poem out completely, or at least make some significant changes. I will highlight all of the parts of this next section that I like, but the rest needs some serious attention (but not medical attention! Do not, I repeat do not, take it to a hospital emergency room!).
“When we were accused of getting old;
The grass, in the flush of summer
Staggering across the hill
Reminds me
Of the drunken soldiers you painted
Not so long ago
Their faces so bright and happy
They could have been going
To a party
Instead of to war.”
This next section made me pause and think for quite a long time. It’s very (and scarily) realistic. And I wish that it wasn’t true.
“All good things can end
Sometimes in sharp edges”

The idea behind this poem, “that there are some people who shouldn’t stand too close to the edge of a cliff because they might jump - not because they're suicidal, but to find out what it feels like”, is a creative and imaginative topic to delve into, and you did an excellent job of portraying all of the angles, especially in this last segment.

“Other times in opportunity -
And that there are some people (you included)
Who should never stand too close
In case they jump.”

If you ever re-do or add to this poem, send me a PM; I really want to see how this poem will finally end up. Don’t be discouraged if not everyone likes every little bit of everything you write. Keep up the good work writing and good luck!
Happy Review Day!
yubbies21




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Thu Dec 20, 2007 12:03 am
Wolf wrote a review...



Wow...
The imagery and the flow in this is excellent. You really caught my attention and held it until the end. And even after the end, I was thinking about it.

I love the beginning and the middle, and the very last line[s]. But between the middle and the very end, it kind of sags.

Their faces so bright and happy
They could have been going
To a party
Instead of to war.
But the cliff from which I watch
Reminds me that
All good things can end
Sometimes in sharp edges


It's probably just my youth and inexperience with poetry, but I didn't understand how war and soldiers relates to cliffs. You've tied together your ideas splendidly until here, and it left me rather confused. But it might just be me. :P

But other than that part, this is magnificent. Great job!
- Camille :D




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Thu Oct 18, 2007 3:39 am
Shriek wrote a review...



Hm.

It's good, not great.

Firstly, the writing here is gorgeous. Smudged clouds, smeared colours, pale beaches, clumsy hands, little smiles, sharp edges -- all marks of a writer who knows how to combine words and conjure images for the best results.

Why I thought this poem was good -- but not great: The finger painting image, in connection with the beach image, in connection with the poem's conclusion was something I could not wrap my mind around. The thought progression flowed illogically. I did understand the contrast of smudged, clumsy lines in comparison to the smooth, clean lines of the beach -- and its significance. I see that there is potential there. But the final lines seem to come from nowhere -- you do not connect them back to the beginning, or progress your idea. The conclusion seems disconnected, insignificant, as if it comes from a different train of thought altogether.

Allow me to break the final lines down a little more cleanly, so that maybe I can illustrate what I mean:

"But the cliff from which I watch"

Watch what, exactly?

"Reminds me that
All good things can end"

Such as this relationship? Am I following correctly?

"Sometimes in sharp edges
Other times in opportunity -"

Why "opportunity"? If you're going to take the abstract road and say "sharp edges," why not run with it? Why put in such a lackluster, concrete concept like "opportunity?"

"And that there are some people (you included)
Who should never stand too close
In case they jump."


See, the poem is titled "Portrait of a Life," and though the artist's jargon is present and incorporated beautifully, the finale is detached. It's a portrait of a life, not the longevity, or whatever pertains to jumping off cliffs. I think this would be so much stronger if you geared the poem toward really illustrating that life. Showing an honest look into the person you're portraying through the eyes of the narrator.

I hope this critique helped. This poem has much potential, but in my opinion, it could be strengthened up with a better conclusion.

Lyndsey




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Tue Oct 16, 2007 8:28 am
Fan wrote a review...



I thought this poem was beautiful. It expresses what we lose after we have stopped become innocent children very well as well as memories shared with the people we call friends. Reading it aloud, I could find no flaws in the flow of it. Nice work. :)




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Sun Oct 07, 2007 12:35 pm
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xanthan gum wrote a review...



I'm not sure if I like the planned out construction of this poem, so precise and layered like it was a blueprint. The similes are no forced, but definitely sequenced .. and... well, I guess, not "flow-y" Then again, I shouldn't force a sort of style on people - it's just I like it better when you write in that style




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Sun Oct 07, 2007 3:24 am
Foreseer wrote a review...



I have to say. I loved it! It had some wistful moments and youthful innocence that really brought out some of the lines. I can't quite put my finger on it but I have a feeling there's like a hidden 'meaning' or maybe I'm way off. :D The best part, to me, are the very last lines.

Awsome, :wink:
*~*Foreseer*~*




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Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:36 am
Aiva says...



The imagery!! Wow. It's stunning. I'm in love with it. It's hard to explain why... things that are obscure like what you presented in your poem makes it sort of stick in the mind.




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Thu Dec 16, 2004 12:30 am
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Morran wrote a review...



I fell in love with the imagery in this poem from the first line. I like how one idea just flows into the next, and I'd say that these two things are some of the strongest points of this particular piece. Very nicely done.

The only caveat I can see is that it feels like you jar the image with something that doesn't quite mix. Reading it through a couple of times, I can't quite reconcile myself to the shift from painting to standing on a cliff and wondering about whether or not to jump. I can draw my own conclusions, but then they're mine, and they're a whimsical bit of philosophical stretch - and very likely not the conclusions you wanted the reader to draw. If you wanted to keep these two ideas together, I suggest more toward the last part of it as a kind of a tie-in from one to another. What that could be is more or less up to you.

Still, despite my constructive criticism, I was impressed with what I saw. Very nicely done piece. Don't let this one slide off your table.




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Thu Dec 16, 2004 12:04 am
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bubblewrapped says...



Wow, guys, thanks, I'm really glad you like it so much. :oops: I'm beginning to be quite fond of this poem, LMAO.
Cheers! 8)




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Tue Dec 14, 2004 3:19 am
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Galatea says...



A. O. is right, this is absolutly stunning! Great work!




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Tue Dec 14, 2004 2:44 am
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A.O. Avalon says...



I really like your title, that's what drew me to the poem in the first place. I'm really jealous, this is the poetry I always want to write and can't for some reason.


I don't have any thing to fix really...so kudos for a great poem.




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Sun Dec 12, 2004 1:09 am
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bubblewrapped says...



Thanks guys -- glad you liked it. I love the Emperors New Groove too, even though technically I'm too old for cartoons [looks around furtively] Shhh! :shock:




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Wed Dec 08, 2004 2:17 pm
Skye wrote a review...



Reading it through, it didn't really make sense of what you meant until I read the last line, then it tied all together. (That's not a bad thing, just an observation.) I love "paintings" that you put in there, it's really good for imagery.
Good poem!

~Skye Demon

PS> I love your sig! :D




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Wed Dec 08, 2004 6:42 am
Elelel wrote a review...



Nice! :D The flow is consistent and I love the Emporer's New Groove!!! Heheheh! (sorry, had to say it) :lol:





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