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Shadow Days

by quitecontrary

Seconds before the dawn, on early March mornings,

A thick white cloud rolls gently in

Like a prowling cat that walks through unresisting streets.

The passing child can see its face reflected

In still pools--hunkered down and gathering sorrow

Like dust in the broken corners of this world.


Every day it creeps around the world,

Pawing at doors tightly shut, signaling the morning.

Every day the windows stay shut, leaking sorrow

Like dripping tears that wouldn’t stay in.

All around the town houses, like faces, reflect

The gathering gloom that mournfully walks the streets.


The rumbling beast slinks down the crooked streets

To trap the passions of the world

Under a smothering blanket of endless fog. It reflects

The warm sun’s rays aside and catches the morning’s

Breeze as it filters through the dewy air, in-

To hearts longing for release from sorrow.


Even the bricks cling to the fog and sorrow,

Crowding the empty drives and streets

With a voice that quietly breaths the heaviness in.

Soon streams begin to trickle through the world,

Constructed from tears of perpetual mourning,

And bleeding into common pools that reflect


The depths of hearts still wounded. They reflect

That strange normality, the ever-present sorrow

That never leaves once it settles in. Mornings

Pass and days fly by without a passerby in the streets

To remind us that we are alive in this world.

And yet the great cat still paws in.


One day the hulking beast will leave us, in

Great leaps and bounds it will float up, reflecting

Our melancholy in pure blue skies. And then the world

Will be opened like a river to drown out the sorrow

And wash away its memory from the streets,

Unfastening the skies in a glorious morning.


Old shadows once lived in will break and sorrowfully flee,

But not until the sun’s light reflects through our busy streets,

Shining on a world that’s cast off all its mourning.

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69 Reviews

Points: 174
Reviews: 69

Sat May 23, 2020 1:58 am
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Em16 wrote a review...

Hey! Nice job on this piece. I’m super impressed that you were able to write such a beautiful, and coherent sestina. Sestinas are hard. I also loved the way you compared loneliness to a “great cat”. I think that was a good choice, because cats are such lonely animals, compared to dogs or birds or other animals. If there was one animal that could be completely described by the word “lonely”, it’s cats.
I also love the atmosphere of fog, and the way you’ve created this image of a town locked in, menaced by this great “cat”. I think that’s a really great way to describe loneliness. There are just so many phrases and descriptions that really add to the loneliness. For example, “the empty drives and streets” painted that mental image of loneliness in my mind. I can just imagine the empty streets, in the middle of the night, covered in fog. Overall, this poem was great.

Thank you for your review! I%u2019m glad you liked it!:D

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40 Reviews

Points: 1520
Reviews: 40

Fri May 22, 2020 2:59 pm
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Shadeflame wrote a review...

I really liked your poem. It seemed to capture the feeling that everyone has right now and will have once we are released from quarantine.

You seem to say "sorrow" in every verse except one and so I'm not sure if that was intentional or random. I feel like if you had substituted a different word sometimes instead of sorrow it would have improved the poem. Other than that, I found your poem great!

Keep writing!

Thanks for your review! As for the word "sorrow", the point of a sestina is to reuse the words at the end of each line again in the next verse, so it is supposed to be repeated. At first I tried using "sadness", but that seemed really obvious so I switched it to "sorrow".

Shadeflame says...

I've never heard of a sestina before, so thank you for enlightening me. There are so many different types of poems, and each one is beautiful in their own way. I feel like I would like to try to write a sestina one day, I'm just not sure how good it would be.
In thinking back, I realize now that maybe it's not the best idea to review a poem that is written in a style you don't know about. :D

Don%u2019t worry! I love any and all feedback.:D

Shadeflame says...

That's good

This is a house of homes, a sacred place, by human passion made divinely sweet.
— Alfred Joyce Kilmer