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Four

by nickstark195


The ocean breathed white beyond the rocky cliff.

Like two little specs of black that silhouetted the setting sun.

An old man and his son stood watching the night rise.

The sea threw mist of water on the pair.

The old man gazed deeply into the painting that the fading sun mused,

Where as the boy looked at his aged father in a calm curiosity.

It was unlike him to admire the old man in such an inquisitive manner.

What caused the look to occur was this,

There were rumors in the boy's thought that claimed his father would change him today.

The rumours faintly whispered that the boy must hear words of wisdom.

Now, here they stood on the cliff at night's rise.

Suddenly the boy heard himself speak.

"Father?" he said.

The old man turned his head, and only his head to to boy.

The old man's eyes seemed to be saying "Yes son? What is it? What do you wonder?"

The boy looked into his father's eyes and stated his question.

"Father, how old am I?" he asked.

The old man shut his eyes and opened them.

They now shined with the answer to the question.

Perhaps the answer was held within the tears which rolled slowly down his face.

"You are four." he spoke softly.

"You are youth."

The boy heard the words, then turned his head towards the almost hidden sun.

The father then did the same.

"But, how old are WE?" the boy inquired.

All the while neither of them broke sight with the day's last moment.

The old man concentrated on his response, then said "We are young. And yet, we are life."

The boy understood these words and gazed upon the birth of night.

Hearing what he had heard and knowing what he knew now, only one thought was in his mind.

"My god, how lovely the night is! How beautiful the stars are!" his consciousnes spoke calmly.

While admiring the night a lightness in the air awoke.

The boy looked to his right and his father was gone.

The boy looked to his left, and there was no one.

The boy realized he was alone.

Alone on the edge of a cliff.

The cliff boarded the ocean

And beyond the ocean was the night sky.

The boy closed his eyes lightly then opened them.

He could feel himself grow old as he did this.

But the heavens offered him no mirror to prove that he was indeed aging.

The universe only offered him his mind, heart, and soul to feel it happen.

But what if the feeling was false? What if the feeling was a lie?

Still the boy felt aged and alone as he stood there.

Then the sun rose again breathing its light upon the cliff and the boy.

It was different now, the sun rise was.

Not only could the boy see it, but he could feel it as well.

The boy then softly said these words,

"This is light. This is life. It is well."

He stood together on the cliff.

The sun was with him.


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Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:38 am
megsug wrote a review...



Hey nick~
Sorry for the wait.

I really think your imagery is beautiful. I love the picture you paint in my head of a boy and a man standing on a cliff watching a sunset.

I agree with a lot of what Hannah said. Sometimes, especially your dialogue, can be a little eyeroll worthy. I think that language is a bit harsh, and I'm sorry, but I'm not sure how else to put it. What I mean is stuff like:

"We are young. And yet, we are life."

It sounds ridiculous, really. I mean, exactly what does that mean? Your reader doesn't know. Perhaps you do, but your intended meaning isn't clear at all. Despite the fact that this is in a more poetic vein, your dialogue should be realistic, and, honestly, I'm not sure I know anyone who would say something like this.

Other than that, though I agree with Hannah on your formatting, I think if you're going to keep it like it is, you should still capitalize with punctuation, not line breaks. An example of what I'm talking about:
The old man gazed deeply into the painting that the fading sun mused,

Where as the boy looked at his aged father in a calm curiosity.

Make the w in where lowercase. That way your flow is a little more natural.
To be honest, I think your sentences, almost all of them were only a line in length, are two short in general, but that could be argued.

All that said, this language is beautiful. I have been one to write really vague poetry before that doesn't mean much to anyone but me. From a purely shallow viewpoint, judged only on the way the words sounded and what images they formed in my head, it was very good.

I hope to see more of your stuff. Again, so sorry for the wait. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, lemme know. :)

See ya,
Megs~




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Sat Jul 19, 2014 12:46 pm
ExOmelas wrote a review...



'Like two little specs of black that silhouetted the setting sun' - 'specs' should be 'specks'.

'Where as the boy looked' - 'whereas' is one word.

'What caused the look to occur was this,' - Technically this comma should be a colon but since it's quite poetic and poets tend to break grammar, it probably doesn't matter.

'and only his head to to boy.' - the second 'to' should be 'the'.

The boy closed his eyes lightly then opened them.

He could feel himself grow old as he did this.

I really like this bit. I could picture it very clearly.

'The boy closed his eyes lightly then opened them.

He could feel himself grow old as he did this.' - I'm really not quite sure what's confusing me about this but something just doesn't feel right.


Wow. This is very profound and very easy to picture. The form is interesting, but I'm a novel writer so I have absolutely no frame of reference on unusual forms.

Sometimes the words seemed to be in a really odd order, like how Yoda talks. I understand the concept of inversion, but I think you may have overused it slightly.

I really loved it though. It absorbed me.

Well done :)




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Fri Jul 18, 2014 10:27 pm
wickedlygoodwriter wrote a review...



Hello! i really liked this story and how it defied a lot of common stereotypes and archetypes in writing. you didnt make the kid naive and innocent you gave him a deeper understanding of the world and more powered. make the father try to hide and protect him, you let him experience the world. i really liked the common theme of age and wiseness. very good story, hope to see more!




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Fri Jul 18, 2014 10:23 pm


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Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:10 am
ccwritingrainbow wrote a review...



From the beginning, I knew this poem was going to be a beautiful story. Of course, it's the ocean, and just the setting itself. Secondly, I just never know how a simple question can become a life's mystery. Then, we get to the second half of the poem, I believe, and the father just vanishes into thin air. I swear that if the boy didn't start crying, I would. The last part of the poem broke me down completely. I just love this poem so much. I can read this all night if I wanted to. Keep writing :)




nickstark195 says...


Thank you very much. I'm humbled. :)



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Sun Jul 13, 2014 8:37 pm
nickstark195 says...






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Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:43 am
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Hannah wrote a review...



Hey there, Nickstark!

So, my first though while reading through this was that you definitely don't have to have the line breaks. You mention that it's a short story with poetic elements (or something like that), but you know what? That's a short story with your particular style of writing! You can present your prose as prose and don't try to fit your poetic writing into a poetic form. No reason to do so! Line breaks serve specific purposes, but using them in this piece makes me feel like you're trying to make prose that is not a poem look like a poem. Does that make sense?! D:

Next, I really like the last two lines. They are gorgeous and a reassuring after the craziness that is the rest of the poem. Which, I dunno. Could be a good thing if you're exactly sure that's what you want, or could be something you'll want to work on. What I mean is that it felt like the writing was being purposefully vague just to sound mysterious and everlasting.

There's a difference between being profound and just putting strange words about strange happenings that are kind of random and confusing hoping that the reader doesn't know the difference between feeling confused and feeling enlightened. >_< MAYBE other readers understand every single reference and allusion that you've written, but I honestly have no idea what the short story I just read is about. Something about age, a father disappearing, being with the sun, but it is too vague for me, and so the impression I get from it won't last.

I know it's hard to work from vague to concrete because you probably don't want to give TOO many hints and then have it be obvious what you meant to write, but see if you can't write a few versions of this same story, show it to different people, and see which people understand and which people are confused. That might work!

Anyway, I hope these thoughts are helpful to you!
Good luck and keep writing!

Hannah




nickstark195 says...


Thanks for the review. :)

You're probably right about the line breaks, I've contemplated changing the format of the story several times. That's just the way I originally wrote it in my journal, it's one of those things that just felt right, I guess. But I constantly debate over changing it every time I reread it.

The thing about this story is that it is written a lot differently than any of my other works - the style, voice, perspective, ect. it's all fairly independent of what I normally write like. And it was also written about a memory, which I suppose explains the vagueness, considering I'm the only person who remembers it. It is really more of a personal piece rather than professional. I do apologize for confusing you though. My description in my writing is something I plan on working hard to improve though.

Thank you for all the tips and I have all intentions of making good on your advice!

Waka Waka (")>



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Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:08 am
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AdjiFlex wrote a review...



This is truly a calm and majestic piece. Without even getting into the story here, which is quite dreamy and seemingly very metaphorical, your language use is really interesting. You use the oxymoron nicely, like when you said "He stood together on the cliff." The last line explains that it was the sun that was with him, but saying that he stood together really joins the ideas of loneliness and company here. The boy misses his father, and is somewhat lonely, but he is never really alone, as the vivid memories of the father are with him.

"Now, here they stood on the cliff at night's rise." - this is my favorite line. I expect to read of the sun rising, not the night - another nicely worded irony that really makes me glad I stopped by this poetic story. This style of writing can really take you a far way. Keep at it.




nickstark195 says...


Thank you very much for reading, reviewing, and encouragement man!! :D




"Be happy, my friend; and if you obey me in this one request, remain satisfied that nothing on earth will have the power to interrupt my tranquility."
— Mary Shelley, Frankenstein