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Lonely Company

by whatchamacallit


I am trapped in this empty cage, alone,

comforted by my ghostly miseries.

Hateful bars rise invisible until

my thoughts weave between them,

restrictive chains that shackle me tightly.

Anxiety creeps from the cement prison,

and my haunting fears are risen.

     

I am stumbling through a chaotic crowd,

yet here I struggle, drowning in this isolation.

I speak a word, but each syllable

is lost and contorted in the rising waves.

Still I fight against the tumultuous tides,

hoping the iron will break as it rusts.

But the metal holds strong, and fate is unjust.

     

I am attacked by praise and congratulation

but my soul is devoid of confetti pride.

My aspirations are bent in the hurricanes

of their words, and everything they

think of me is false. I am surrounded by

friends that swirl like leaves in a gale,

yet no one holds the key to my jail? 


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Sun May 31, 2020 12:45 am
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alliyah wrote a review...



Hey whachamacallit! Here as requested! :)

Formatting & Organization
This is clean, clean, clean. The poem looks very polished as far as punctuation, line and stanza length, and the quick three stanzas you've got. This might seem like a minor point, but if a poem looks polished on the page I believe the reader automatically is going to read it at a higher level, assuming that the author put more effort into it - and will trust that what the speaker is saying isn't just random words smeared on a page but something deliberate and thought-out.

My favorite formatting / organization decision I think was your choice to use a question mark at the very end to a sentence that doesn't at first read as a question, but then when read with the poem makes the reader look back and see that the "company" is their anxiety and fear which is always in this lonely presence with the speaker. Clever decision that makes the reader linger on that final sentence a bit longer; almost haunting. The last word of a line, and the last line of a stanza always linger a bit longer for readers, creating a pause so it's important to choose them with care, and for the most part it definitely seemed like you used this to your advantage - choosing important words when you wanted the reader to linger and transitioning words when you wanted to pick up the pace.

The only thing I'd say formatting-wise that I didn't love was little ~squigglies~ between stanzas because it felt a bit casual for a serious poem (though I'm guessing that was to deal with the YWS publishing center which sometimes hates stanza breaks - maybe for this tone of poem use dashes -- instead?). Also I didn't think that rhyming the final couplets of each stanza did much and felt a little like an afterthought because there weren't similar rhyme schemes going on elsewhere in the poem.

Imagery & Metaphor
Imagery and metaphor are the bread and butter of poetry, I thought that you had a nice clear central metaphor that anchored your poem; anxiety to a jail. And most of your imagery matched up with this too. Even though the idea of the mind or anxiety being a jail isn't out-of-this-world unique, you were able to add a lot more to the metaphor to give it more interesting layers.

A few thoughts -

It's good to stay within the same imagery-family in poetry (unless jumping outside of it is instrumental in some helpful way) because this helps a poem feel cohesive and make the image layered and connected instead of a bunch of disconnected statements and images. For the most part in this poem you stayed in two imagery-families industrial/bondage with the chains and keys and isolation, and then also water/ocean imagery. You very smartly connect these two images together in stanza two with the drowning being even more serious because they're in this jail/cage. I think the poem would be stronger if you brought some aspect of that water imagery into stanza one, because you really center on it in stanza two, and then bring in hurricanes in stanza three. This would add a lot of continuity to the poem (it could even be something small water-related like tears or sweat, just something to get the three stanzas working together).

Lastly on imagery continuity, I didn't feel like "confetti" fit within that picture of imagery-themes you were working with at all, so it felt a little awkward to me. Freedom, boats, light, stretching, all might work as better contrasts that fit within that imagery-family.

Theme & Meaning
I interpreted this poem to be about a person who is struggling with anxiety and fear in a way that's become kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy because it revolves around their loneliness and lack of human connection. They are anxious so can't make connections so become more anxious and the cycle repeats, so they feel like they're alone and drowning apart from their fears which is all they feel they have left.

This is a pretty powerful theme, and I think the idea of drowning especially resonates with me in regards to anxiety - just in how it feels cumulative and suffocating. You were able to get at the issue with multiple angles that felt very powerful.

I also think that this poem is pretty easily understandable; even if the reader can't follow one of your metaphor connections, they have a full three stanzas to figure it out - and you stay very centered on one theme which also helps communicate meaning clearly.

The only thing I felt was lacking meaning-wise is that depsite the poem being about something very emotional and serious it didn't strike me as very personal. I think something that adds that "personal" aspect is two things:

1) communicating the stakes within the conflict -> just like in prose; a poet must communicate the stakes of the conflict for the speaker in order to make the audience care. In other words, why is it important that the speaker is lonely? How does that concretely effect them? Why does it hurt to be anxious? (not just what does anxiety do but why is it painful?)

2) the second way to make a poem feel more personal is to bring it out of the realm of the abstract and make it specific and concrete. Right now the poem is talking around the idea of anxiety without bringing up any of the actual things that the speaker is anxious about. They hint at it - but don't actually say it. I've written a KB article on Specificity in Poetry if you want more information about that topic.

Overall this is a nice poem. It tackles a theme that has some depth and importance, and it doesn't feel cliche because you really dive deeply into the metaphors/imagery that you've chosen. It's concise but also clear. I think there's a few things here and there that could add to its depth, but this is a piece you should be proud of! :) Keep on writing ~ and let me know if you have any questions about my review!

- alliyah

Image






Thank you for the in-depth review alliyah! The squiggles between the stanzas are, like you guessed, just there to deal with the fact that the publishing center doesn't like stanzas very much. But I can see why they'd seem a little bit too happy for the poem, so I'll probably just change them to dashes.
That's a really good point about water imagery, I'll definitely consider adding some to the first stanza. When I was writing the poem I just sort of wrote imagery that I felt described it, but I can see how some continuity would make the poem stronger as a whole.
And about being vague/unspecific, I know that that's probably one of the biggest things I struggle with in my poetry. When I was writing this poem I was just generally feeling negative and lonely, but tying the poem to something more specific makes sense.
Again, thank you for the thoughtful and in-depth review. It's really helpful!



alliyah says...


You're welcome! Glad you found it helpful! :)

(also not sure if you've tried this but in the publishing center clicking "shift enter" makes a small space, which "enter" makes a big space generally, though sometimes that doesn't work too & can be kind of tedious to re-format all the lines to get it right)



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Sat May 02, 2020 6:29 pm
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Gravitem wrote a review...



Hey! It's Grav here (lame intro) and I'll be reviewing your myth today!!!

I really love 'cause it's beautiful (lol I said this already).

Before I get technical, I just want to say that keeping things inside gets hard and you should always let it all out, one way or the other. Like I said before;

The cage is a product of the boundaries you set for yourself and the isolation is a result of the cage. Maybe you're the one who holds the key. It's just not the kind of key you'd
imagine. I hope you find it or I hope you find someone to find it and open it and set you free.

So, let's get started.

Spoiler! :

"I am trapped in this empty cage, alone"

This is a great start because well, an image is always a good lead to give a reader who's trying to follow so YAY! [b]:)


I really like some of your metaphors. It helped create two images at once. Let me explain how that works. Imagine yourself in a room with a mannequin. Then, imagine yourself imagining a person who the mannequin reminded you of. (I KNOW I HAVE WEIRD EXAMPLES AAAAAAAH)

"hoping the iron will break as it rusts.
But the metal holds strong, and fate is unjust"

I didn't notice any problem with the grammar (you're the expert -_-)

The flow was pretty smooth and I WANNA READ MORE OF THESE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



This wasn't perfect...... But well I told you what I felt and I guess that's enough.

KEEP WRITING!!!!

Yours sincerely,
Grav :\






Thank you Myth <3



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Fri May 01, 2020 1:27 pm
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Clairia wrote a review...



Hi there, watcha! Clairia here to review!

As always, this was absolutely gorgeous. The notion of feeling alone while being surrounded by the people who care about you is very real; not to mention quite common. It can be so hard to have faith in others when we have such little faith in ourselves. Trust issues, insecurities--they're hinderances that can be difficult to overcome, but you display your understanding of the situation in your piece, which is 100% the first step to improvement. Oh, and if I'm misinterpreting the message you've attempted to convey, I'm so sorry! This is just what I gathered from your work. These lines in particular seemed to reach in that direction:

Hateful bars rise invisible until

my thoughts weave between them,

restrictive chains that shackle me tightly.


We often are our own worst critics, but there comes a point where we simply need to let go and allow ourselves to enter the world with no remorse behind it. We can't doubt ourselves so much; we can't be our own worst enemy.
but my soul is devoid of confetti pride.


I just wanted to comment here; "confetti pride" is such a creative metaphor. I may have to steal that one from you ;).

There is one tiny technical issue that I wanted to point out to you, and it concerns the flow of the first stanza. Everything is spot-on until these last two lines:
Anxiety creeps from the cement prison,

my haunting fears are risen.

The segment in bold is a bit shorter than the rest of the stanza. This wouldn't be a problem if it transferred to the reader with the same passage, but it doesn't. I'd suggest adding "and" to the second line to help it along a bit further. Of course, this isn't a groundbreaking problem, just something that I thought I should note to make you aware of its toll on your work.

Your piece was refreshing and extremely well-written. You continue to amaze me, watcha. Well done--I'm excited to see what you put up next!

Much love,

Clairia <3






Thank you Clairia!



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Fri May 01, 2020 8:54 am
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Gravitem says...



:)

This is beautiful.

The cage is a product of the boundaries you set for yourself and the isolation is a result of the cage. Maybe you're the one who holds the key. It's just not the kind of key you'd imagine. I hope you find it or I hope you find someone to find it and open it and set you free.






Thank you Myth <3



Gravitem says...


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Gravitem says...


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Gravitem says...


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Gravitem says...


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Gravitem says...


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Gravitem says...


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Gravitem says...


holy sh*t what the hell just happened???





XD



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Fri May 01, 2020 2:30 am
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Clairia says...



remind me to review this later






I will, thank you <3




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