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E - Everyone

Always

by tgham99


In a flurry of darkness and stifled dread,
I am forced to barter my feelings
In exchange for your life.

While you rest eternally in a bed laced
With your quiet convictions,
I stand tall and face the retribution
That comes in the form of your absence.

I know not what it means to exist without you --
And yet, I am too familiar with the feelings of loss
I've harbored for so long.
The time you've spent by my side
Has only perpetuated my craving of forever.

As I watch you wither away,
conquered by the merciless grip of death,
I'm forced to confront the fact
That the strongest of my emotions
Was not a worthy enough sacrifice
To ensure an always
For you and I.


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Sun Jan 26, 2020 10:12 pm
alliyah wrote a review...



Hi tgham, I'm not much of a prose reviewer - so I decided to take a break from the Green Room and check out some of your poetry!

So I like that we have a very clear premise here - the speaker dealing with the reality of mortality for the subject of their love (maybe a relative or a partner). They seem to wish that their love was enough for them to continue to exist - that they could trade their emotion their life. I like it! The subject is weighty and feels like some of Shakespeare's sonnets when he talks about his love living on even after he is gone because his love is preserved with words.

You used pretty formal language, (wither, ensure, stifled...) but not to the point where it was difficult to understand what was being said. I think your formatting could use some cleaning up, especially since it felt at odds with your formal language use - I would get the stanzas to even out a bit, and if the breaks are all where you want them, maybe just put those last two lines on their own so that that last stanza isn't awkwardly long with little tiny lines at the end.

The most interesting aspect of the piece is definitely the idea of trading emotion for life - and I'd love to hear that expanded or personified even more (maybe bartering with the grim-reaper or something) it feels illogical, but at the same time, we have those type of illogical hopes when we experience loss.

A few suggestions:

I feel like we really need to know more about these two people's relationship. The vagueness in theory makes their relationship open to people putting in their own experiences, but in reality, it makes it a blank slate that people don't fill in, and actually that ambiguity makes it harder for the reader to have empathy with the speaker - I have an article on the importance of specificity in poetry right here.

Next, I think you could dive into your metaphors a bit more - you don't need a million metaphors, but a few unique ones that you really jump into will bring the poem to the next level. For instance the speaker says the subject "withers away" which is a pretty common metaphor with death, but we're not given much imagery with it. I like the next line with the "merciless grip of death" but would love some imagery on it - just digging into metaphors, and making them your own, will make the poem more unique and leave a lasting impact.

Lastly, I thought your phrasing was generally pretty clear - but I had some trouble with this line in particular:

Has only perpetuated my craving of forever.
I think the sentiment kind of makes sense, though is left unexplored, but the phrasing is a bit awkward and cumbersome for me. Maybe "forever" could be replaced with "eternity"?

Overall, you started with a unique premise, had some good metaphors and word choice, but I think some editing would really make this an impressive poem. Keep on writing, I look forward to reading more of your work.

Please reach out if you had questions about my review or wanted feedback on something I missed.

- alliyah




tgham99 says...


Thank you so much for your review!! Very thoughtful and helpful. I'll definitely check out the link you included in terms of specificity. Wording and structure are definitely aspects of poetry that I'm exploring as I write more, so I'm always happy to receive feedback on my work. Thank you again!!



alliyah says...


You're welcome!



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Sat Jan 04, 2020 2:58 am
blackblade wrote a review...



This poem is really cool! I like how you mention the title only in the second to last line but incorporate the idea of “always” subtly throughout the poem—“you rest eternally”, “harbored for so long”, “perpetuated my craving forever”. Even the line “I know not what it means to exist without you” has a sort of eternal ring to it.

The antitheses you weave into the poem also enhance this feeling of loss: “while you rest eternally in a bed” versus “I stand tall” or “absence” versus “exist”. I also agree with CJ6233 that your choice of the word “sacrifice” was really interesting. Lots of times we think of love and strong emotions as products of having (or not having) what we desire, but the speaker of the poem seems to view it as something you must feel, or sacrifice, to obtain what they desire. So cool!

Your descriptions are also really unique: “flurry of darkness”, “stifled dread”, “bed laced with quiet convictions”, “my craving of forever”. Death is something where we often can’t avoid cliches while talking about it, but you avoided them really well hear and created your own unique depiction of pain and loss.

I don’t know if I can say anything about what you can improve—this sounded really good. Can’t wait to read more




tgham99 says...


Thank you very much for your review! I'm glad that my attempts at branching out in terms of descriptive terms is being well-received. It's always good to hear feedback on whether or not I'm accomplishing my goals as a working poet.. hahaha



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Sat Jan 04, 2020 12:05 am
CJ6233 wrote a review...



This is really good! I don't have a lot to say about it really, but I just want to point out the line 'conquered by the merciless grip of death' because I really liked that and thought it was a really powerful line and made me think.

I loved the idea of their 'emotions was not a worthy enough sacrifice' because it was different from other poems I have read where the ending tends to either be that it worked or they didn't do that (if that makes sense? probably not, I'm writing this at 00:02 so I'm bit tired) so it really is intriguing.

The title of it and the description kinda dragged me in too because it reminded me of a song. And it was just a nice description and even though it wasn't a full description, it caught my eye and made me want to read it.

Overall, I would say this is a really powerful and emotional/heartfelt poem. I loved it! :)




tgham99 says...


Thanks for your review!! I'm relieved that you thought the title and description were interesting to read because those are oftentimes the parts of a poem that I struggle the most with when it comes to publishing! <3




"While we may come from different places and speak in different tongues, our hearts beat as one."
— Albus Dumbledore