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I am the Butcher and the Bearer

by ellasnotebook


and all at once

the butcher took a knife to my chest

and carved out what was left of my beating heart

and cried and held me as i wailed

-

and all at once

the butcher handed the bloody knife

and uncurling my pale, red-stained fingers

said, “You are not done yet.”

-

and all at once

i was looking at their tense expressions

and the feel of the metal was slick in my hands

and i cut ever so deep

-

and all at once

everyone was on their knees

and i handed them all the curved knife of grief

and said, “I am sorry.

-

and all at once

we were the butchers and

the bearers, we were the Hermes of Hades

the messengers of death

-

and all at once

we heard a lone, echoing shot

in the night, and breathed in the frosted air

and (all at once) whispered, “Goodbye.”


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Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:11 pm
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zaminami wrote a review...



Hello ellasnotebook! Kara here for a (hopefully) quick review!

Give me your soul.

With that aside, I'm not the best at poetry but here we go!

Bold = grammar and flow issues.
Italics = suggestions and overall
Strikethrough = remove
Underline = krazy Kara komments.

Spoiler! :
and all at once

the butcher took a knife to my chest

and carved out what was left of my beating heart{,}

and cried and held me as i wailed

-

and all at once

the butcher handed the bloody knife

and uncurling my pale, red-stained fingers {and}

said, “{y}ou are not done yet.”

-

and all at once

i was looking at their tense expressions

and the feel of the metal was slick in my hands

and i cut ever so deep

-

and all at once

everyone was on their knees

and i handed them all the curved knife of grief

and said, “{i} am sorry.”

-

and all at once

we were the butchers and

the bearers, we were the Hermes of Hades {--}

the messengers of death{.}

-

and all at once

we heard a lone, echoing shot

in the night, and breathed in the frosted air

and (all at once) whispered, “{g}oodbye.”


My interpretation:



You get hurt (the butcher) and others get hurt (the butchers), correct?

Overall:



I really loved this. I have a few suggestions:

1. Don't bolden "Hermes of Hades" and "death." Italicize instead.

2. I love the repetition of "and all at once." It was beautiful. Maybe, to emphasize the repetition, make something else a common theme?

3. Make your title "and all at once."

Keep up the great work! Loved it :D

Why haven’t you given me your soul yet? --

Kara

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Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:16 pm
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Audy wrote a review...



Ella,

I like the concept of a butcher bearing bad news and pain itself referred to as a knife. I think the image of "pain as a knife" is not a very new one though. Where the poem feels fresh(er) to me for your ideas come with the "we are all butchers" and the "all at once" lines. I think the echoes of the "all at once" was subtly done, but the overall experience of the poem for me was shy underwhelming.

Repetition for me normally serves as an emphasis, the way choruses in music play over and over again in our heads. That's why I loved the repetition here. The "all at once" does a similar thing to provide an echo and makes it seem almost as though all of these stanzas and imagery is happening "all at once", as though the repetition here is trying to serve to say that this whole thing is extremely overwhelming for the speaker. I love that technique.

The poem itself, I like it as a concept, but I didn't really feel the poem evoked much feeling at all. I just kind of shrugged. Who died? Why is that person important? It's like how in movies - we care about the characters that are shown to us, or in books, we care about the characters that we read about because we get to experience the world through their eyes and so connect with them. I didn't have anybody to connect to though, and I don't know much about the person who is mourning, or the person who died. I get that the poem was more trying to talk about things in a "general sense" but if that's all, then it's still not fixing the lack of impact/power problem that happens when poets speak vague rather than in specific instances.

Strangers die everyday all the time. Why is it then, when someone who is not a stranger to us - why does it hurt more? I think expressing that kind of pain as a "knife" is the easy route because we hear it so often remarked that way and it feels true.

But it doesn't really tell of the speaker's truth. It speaks of concepts and telling of pain, but none of the actual showing of that pain. And I don't mean showing blood or screaming or someone huddled in pain clutching at their gut. I mean, like...show me love. Show me the loss of that love. How does a poet show a person who means so much in few words, and in poetry?


It is much harder, but would altogether prove more impactful. This poem for example also explores death - and it's not the greatest poem, I think you do a lot of things better than that poem already but I want to point it out simply because in few words it actually goes a bit deeper to describe what a world without the person would be like. And then flips it by saying what YOU would be like without the person -- nowhere! Lost! Alone! So it has a bit more impact. In order for me to feel the sense of loss that the speaker is feeling, I have to be at the same level of that speaker - I have to know at least a little bit about that person and the significance that person has. I have to first know the context - what is lost, what does it mean for the speaker, and the significance of it all. At this point, I know nothing at all except that there is an overwhelming pain. For me it's more about stating the fact that there pain and less about the emotion of the pain and for that reason I felt I could have enjoyed it more if it went more emotional. I hope this helps.

Another technical note: The Hades and mesengers of death did not really need to be bolded. I felt those lines too read a bit cliche, similar to the knife-pain. I just feel like I've read that before.

Otherwise though, an interesting concept piece with great execution there for repetition. Keep writing, I'd love to read more of your stuff!

~ as always, Audy




ellasnotebook says...


Thank you for the review!



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Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:46 pm
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Capa002 wrote a review...



Hey,
I loved this poem, especially because of the intense amount of emotion that's in it. I love the whole symbolism of being the "butcher and the bearer". It is obvious the speaker was going through a lot of heartbreak and grief, it make sure the reader feel the exact same way too. I also like how you began the poem with "all at once" like the whole process for the speaker is never ending and it just goes on and on. The end of the poem is my favorite because you could look at it as the section of the poem with the most grief and sadness (because everyone is left in such a state and they're forced to say goodbye, it is the end) but could also represent hope for the end. There is no more "and all at once", suggesting that theres hope that because the speaker has come to terms with the death, they can finally move on.
I'm sorry if this review is rubbish, I'm not great at it at all.
But I really loved your poem, I look forward to reading more of your work!




ellasnotebook says...


Thank you for reviewing! (I'm not good at reviewing either, but I thought you did a great job (: )



Capa002 says...


Your welcome :) and thanks!



Capa002 says...


Your welcome :) and thanks!



Capa002 says...


Your welcome :) and thanks!



Capa002 says...


Your welcome :) and thanks!!



Capa002 says...


Your welcome :) and thanks!!



Capa002 says...


Your welcome :) and thanks!!



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Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:27 am
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Radrook wrote a review...



Thanks for sharing this poem which expresses a truth-we hurt the ones we inform about the death of a loved one. In short, we have the effect of unintentionally butchering their hearts. I like the extended metaphor of words being like knives and those wielding them as butchers and news-bearers. It is a very effective and fascinating way to express a very somber truth. I like the mythological reference to Hermes, the Roman Mercury, as messenger of Hades.

Mentioning Greek mythology was once very common in European poetry. Such poets as Keats regularly employed such references. It gives the poem a certain graceful touch. I like the layout with the stanzas.

There isn't anything for me to really criticize.

I was able to understand the whole poem except for the part that mentions a lone echoing shot and the breathing of frosted air that followed it. Thought about a gunshot but that doesn't fit in with the rest.




ellasnotebook says...


Thank you for reviewing!




constant state of confuzzle
— Quillfeather