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Antipathies: part II

by emilia9ludenberg

The gatekeepers

According to the gatekeepers, the only way

To barricade political defiance

Is build stronger planks of monetary compliance


Willst thou trespass onto forbidden territory

Or be sheltered contentedly with ancient scrolls

Is growth of civilisation really mandatory?

The gatekeepers seem desperate to get it enforced


Mother Nature is beginning to waver

The Arrogant declare, trapped in their fence

A pattern of reason, forevermore



Fear echoes a myriad of outrageousness

Constellations guilt-ridden, trodden, self-absorbed

Contemplated with aliens, who fight with aliens

Galactic civil wars; chaos has been assassinated


Terra may be next-

put her to the test.


The Futile Eternity of the Constellations

How amusing, to hear the roars,

Of silence; consultations from those foolish

Constellations. A comet hears the poignant melodies

Of a Lied. Succinctly enveloping the cosmos of gluttony

Amidst the stars, there are atoms,

Of mutiny. Delivering the doctrine, faster

than the speed of light;

“Oh no, this is the worst the universe has ever been”


Orcus laughs. Nature adores spheres,

after all, where else does eternity lie?


Sighs the constellations;

oh, how they wished to die


Il du Diable

So convinced; the doctrine of polarisation

is the absolute, inevitable Truth

Though amidst the North and South Poles

There is an equator, the physical equilibrium

For those that tire from metaphorical limbo

in the crevice,

Of il du Diable.


Alas! Where can ye be found?

Upon the heath, where the sane

Cower in horror, and the kooks dine with grace

In the crevice,

Of il du Diable!


Beware; for even the famed depictions

Of Middletown

Will cease to flourish like Motown

And instead, produce a harmony

So disjunct, it surpasses the element of mad blasphemy

Why must all tunes become so obsolete?

The answer surely lies,

In the crevice,

Of il du Diable...


The Shadows

The Underground is a fearful place

Or Plato’s crooked cave

Where all the remains of Imagination were

Ruthlessly tossed aside


Yet the worst must surely be the Shadows.

Wherein by the vicious Parties

Shall break free from their shackles of meaning

The poets live in the Undead's Gardens

Where the serpents declare,

“Trochaic tetrameter! I dub thee, the New Language”

Emulating the holiness of the witches’ cackle


And the very most dire aspect

Is the scrutiny of the Shadows as they inspect


and shroud the minds of poets and dreamers

With their bewakouff, vivid streamers

Emblazoning with cult-like messages

And depthless contemporaries


The Soul hath Perished

The hamster’s grave lies nearby the

Simulated trees; moss and Apathy

Shroud its true name



Nineteen eighty-four arrived long ago

Now await Beauty’s wrath;

Of 2042


That is, if time chooses to maintain a superfluous etiquette

Despite the Parties’ derogatory epithet

I shall say nothing else, but allow me to present


My timeless arrogance, built squarely

From pillars of ignorance

I require not thy condolences

Nor your invaluable scriptures of reverence


Instead, accept these acts of insolence

Which lack any form of benevolence

Selling all I claim to possess

Means nothing to the Shadow’s prowess


Hung up in the gallery of control

Thou shalt not fall under pretence

And indicate you never foretold this disgrace


For eventually thou shalt notice thy self-inflicted fate

But by then, the light will hath arrived too late


The Accidental Fiasco

The ramblings of a Marx; cigarettes

which were the opium of his delusional ideologies

But alas, blamed it all on religion

As though its potency outweighed that of his chronic epiphanies

Though the masses were all clearly tipsy


How, precisely, that was the question

Even so, a few decided to attend this maestro’s lectures

And declared he really was not merely talking nonsense


And then there was the communist manifesto

I wonder why, it was such a fiasco


Back to Square One

For the masses of course, religion binds them

Though if thou hadst an issue, then simply do not believe

In the harmonious though rigid codes of conduct

Prevalent long ago


Though one may emulate Shakespeare’s sonnets

Not all trembled or suffered from those

Totalitarian, yet collective ghosts

Which hath dictated thy society as religious “Leaders” chose


Why then, is your solution

To purge them with consultations

You claim this is for Democracy

The holy rite

Though never in sight.

And liberalism; 'watered down Shamanism'?


Yet the left has morphed unto the right

And the right associated with the unthinkables

Is thy brain not crammed tight

Sealed with carbon-free plastic


But the footprints of Shadows are arriving

Naturally, no one needs to learn driving

Even if all sense is dying



AI is a cherished nightmare

Surpassing even the Shadows' cares


Can it reproduce those sweet antipathies?

“Of course, it can; already can it manipulate ethereal

artworks and enriching paintings”


And what of bitter complaints?

Nonsense! Its Perfection puts even the Nobles to shame


Refusal to acknowledge the dreaded nonsensical.


To lose one’s only Friend

Goodbye negativity, goodbye hardships, goodbye

My dear friend, Meaning

We may miss your untimely presence

That is, if we ever appreciate

Your epistemic distance

The source for all our fallible curiosities’


Now we are even further away

One day, we will need you again

For we are bound to go astray...


The only Truth that remains

What else do we behold

Save our antipathical abodes

Too disorientating, and therefore wondrous


I ask you; what is the difference

Between opaqueness and translucence

The Shadows ne’er revealed its mystical nature


And now only they reside,

Gleefully celebrating with Prime,

In the crevice,

of il du Diable.


Yet still, a poignant sigh is heard

Whispering silently; “Why is New...”

Sings the lark, submerged in the blues


The entails remain.

Orcus is dead. 


Is this a review?



User avatar
51 Reviews

Points: 40
Reviews: 51

Sat Jul 22, 2023 11:19 pm
Ari11 wrote a review...

Hello hello! Ari here.

I...don't know if I'm exactly qualified to review this work as I'm not a particularly accomplished poet, but I'll try anyway.
First impressions: it feels like you're trying to tell a story here. Between the recurrent themes of existentialism and the frequent mention of the cosmos, I'd say this is a tale of how small and insignificant our world is, and the way it's falling apart, partially because of our own faults and partially because of the sheer inevitability of extinction. Am I right, or am I just reading into this too much? I hope its the former XD

Is growth of civilization really mandatory?

The gatekeepers seem desperate to get it enforced

I like these two lines because it brings home the notion of our own flaws causing us to fall. Combined with the later themes of the cosmos crumbling apart, it leaves this idea of progress toward the demise of the progressors, especially when it asks: 'is growth of civilization really mandatory?'
It asks the question of whether progress for progress' sake is worth it when in the long run, we are really just destroying ourselves and the world around us.

And what of bitter complaints?

Nonsense! Its Perfection puts even the Nobles to shame


Refusal to acknowledge the dreaded nonsensical.

These phrases in your section labeled AI paints an interesting picture of how the flawless nature of artificial intelligence both creates problems and assures its continued existence. People complain about how the effects of AI are taking over their lives, but they can't convince its implementors to get rid of it because of the inherent perfection of programmed intelligence.
I think this is especially poignant with the rise of AI art and automated factory machines, taking away people's jobs and decreasing the value of a human artist.

I could say more, but that would take all day XD
Overall a really interesting set of poems, and I hope you continue to post these in the future! Have a great day!

User avatar
516 Reviews

Points: 35211
Reviews: 516

Sat Jul 22, 2023 1:35 am
Liminality wrote a review...

Hi there, Lim here with a review.

General Impressions

I definitely got a strong sense of doom from this poem. The tone of each part is largely ominous, with a few bits of mockery thrown in here and there. I thought the ominous tone was probably most effective in the Aliens poem. The way you used the short length and stanza breaks there created some shock value for me in the end of the poem. All the poems are clearly interconnected and I appreciate that the last one contains callbacks and echoes of several of the previous poems.
There’s also the sense that some lines are vaguely gesturing towards contemporary events such as the development of artificial intelligence and VR but they don’t make specific comments about specific situations. One exception would be Il du Diable which to me seems to pinpoint the Dreyfus Affair specifically.
Some of the overarching themes I could identify seem to be:
1. Downfall: it seems implied in ‘The gatekeepers’, ‘Back to Square One’ and ‘To lose one’s only Friend’ that there is some kind of irreversible Bad Thing tm that has happened. None of the poems imply any uptick from that, so I’m pretty confident saying this is one of the themes of this collection.
2. Loss of Meaning: the poems either explicitly describe meaning as having been lost by the world or they describe an equivalent loss such as in ‘The Soul hath Perished’ where it is the value of life that has been lost. (I’m not sure if ‘meaning’ in this poem refers always to sense or if it sometimes refers to a broader cultural notion of ‘the meaning of life’.) The references to ‘society gone mad’ in Il du Diable and The Shadows could also fit this category.


Something I like about these poems is where you put a twist on the meanings of classical allusions. For instance, the shadows in Plato’s allegory of the cave were originally meant to represent the work of poets. (Plato believed poetry had the potential to distort reality.) Here though, you’ve changed it such that the shadows are an external bogeyman that interferes with the poets’ otherwise fine work, so it becomes an allegory in favour of imagination rather than against. That made the poem more interesting.

Similarly, I liked the metaphor “My timeless arrogance, built squarely / From pillars of ignorance” in 2042. ‘arrogance’ is usually depicted as negative, but here it is described as a form of strength. That’s certainly eye-catching, and the comparison to a concrete thing such as a building helps make it more vivid as well.


I think you could work to make your criticisms more persuasive. While critique of society in poems doesn’t have to be like an essay, I found it hard to believe the criticisms being made here because they were often just assertions or lines that assumed the reader already thinks something is wrong with what they are describing. For example:

The ramblings of a Marx; cigarettes

which were the opium of his delusional ideologies

But alas, blamed it all on religion

As though its potency outweighed that of his chronic epiphanies

Though the masses were all clearly tipsy

The poem doesn’t discuss what exactly it is about Marx’s ideologies that was delusional or chronic, instead focusing on his use of cigarettes and declaring that “the masses” (of whom? His readers? Supporters? Just his contemporaries in general?) were drunk. That would be fine if the point of the poem was simply to make fun of Marx himself, but by the last lines which call the “communist manifesto” a “fiasco”, it seems the target really is Marx’s ideas, and it’s hard to be persuaded by that if the poem doesn’t at all touch on what those ideas were: there’s no discussion of money or work, and there’s just one line referencing Marx’s atheism. Perhaps that line “as though its potency outweighed . . . “ could draw a parallel between Marx supporters and religious zealots as a kind of ironic commentary, but as it is , it feels like the poem brushes across really quickly the very thing its trying to convince me of. Adding more detail or expanding on your ideas would probably help here.

Another place where I felt that more elaboration was needed:
AI is a cherished nightmare

Why is it a cherished nightmare? That’s a paradoxical combination of words and it felt like there was no explanation of why it was used within the poem itself.
What are the “bitter complaints”? Who are the “Nobles”? It’s hard to make social sense out of a satire if it is too abstract in what it is critiquing.
Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem ‘The Masque of Anarchy’ also makes a habit of using these capitalised abstract concepts to do political criticism, but he gives the concepts a ‘face’, making them concrete, for example:
Next came Fraud, and he had on,
Like Eldon, an ermined gown;
His big tears, for he wept well,
Turned to mill-stones as they fell

Even though I don’t know who Eldon is, I can still get the critique here, which is something like ‘shedding false tears’ because there’s just enough description to convey a specific message.


I think the main strength of this work is its emotional intensity. I can believe the speaker’s emotions, which is the feeling of doom and hopelessness as they go through life in a society they believe has lost its way. My suggestions for future writing or if you intend to revise this one would be to get more specific, maybe by writing down in prose, exactly what messages you want to deliver with your satire, and then work up from there. I think that would help concentrate your imagery and also help you think about how you want the reader to perceive your work and what technical things you can do to get to that result.

Hope this helps – keep writing!

Random avatar
emilia9ludenberg says...

Hey Lim!

Thanks for reviewing :)
Thank you so much for your feedback; in the future, I will probably redraft some of this and try to organise my thoughts in a clearer, more concise manner.
Also, the "Nobles" is more explained in my previous work: 'Antipathies: (part I)' but essentially it's referring to either people who are considered old-fashioned or aristocratic (and no, not necessarily due to their wealth/social status.)
The paradox on "cherished nightmare" was also intentional, but perhaps I could word it better.

Thank you,

No man or woman who tries to pursue an ideal in his or her own way is without enemies.
— Daisy Bates