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somedays imaginings

by whatchamacallit, alliyah


a/n: alliyah and I recently discovered we collabed on a poem way back in 2017, so this is a 2021 rewrite! Original poem found here.

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somedays i imagine what it would be to fly
with the clouds at our heels, wisps trying
to steal the space between our palms.
telling the birds about the day's weather,
like they haven't already flown to sing
to the sun; they pretend it's news to them.

somedays i imagine swimming to the edge of the water
with the wave foam in our hair and the shells
caught in our clothes, fingernails becoming sea glass,
a crown on hands that tug absentmindedly at
the shoreline. the fish weaving between my fingers,
laughing at my attempts to breathe air from their bubbles.

somedays i imagine what our memories
would look like sketched in the dirt:
gravel becoming dreams, and pebbles shifting
with whispered secrets beneath our toes -
until the ants start dismantling our skin
and we shed it like we forgot we were snakes.

and then somedays i only wish i could dance
fast enough to catch up with the stars or moon
and we could spin around the room like
orbiting galaxies, dizzy and out of control -
until the earth pulls us back to land, the weight
of gravity reminding our lungs to breathe

and we remember it is enough just to be. 


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Sat Jun 26, 2021 2:14 am
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WinnyWriter wrote a review...



Hey there! This is really cool, and so beautifully written! I admire the imagery and the thought that went into keeping the content of each stanza consistent with its respective theme. The whole thing gives a sense of both the longing and realization of being happy and free, and even though the end brings us back to reality, it is gentle enough to not shatter the happy mood. It really does give the feeling of your feet touching the ground once again.

The only thing I found odd sounding is the end of the third stanza, where it says, "until the ants start dismantling our skin and we shed it like we forgot we were snakes." The mental image this evokes is rather unsettling next to the beauty of the rest of the poem. Also, the likening to snakes almost gives the impression of evil lurking in the narrator's personality. My preference would be to change this section up a bit to be more appealing instead of appalling, but the poem is yours, so do what you like.

Overall, I really enjoyed and admire this work. Keep writing! :)




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Sat Jun 26, 2021 1:27 am
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Liminality wrote a review...



Hi there alliyah and whatcha!

I thought this was a very whimsical poem, with a tone of wistful reminiscence. I’m not sure why, but the voice came across as reminiscent to me even though the speaker is daydreaming, projecting into the future. I felt a sense of peace and awe at the beauty of nature while reading the descriptions in your poem, especially in the first two stanzas. The last two stanzas each introduced such an interesting twist and turn to the trajectory of the poem overall, with the earthier imagery and then the contrasts made with the cosmic imagery.

Subject, Themes, Narrative

Taking a closer look at the narrative of the poem, it seems as though the speaker spends most of the poem imagining all of these fantastic things, only to realise in the last two stanzas that “it is enough just to be”.

I think I didn’t really notice the movement of the narrative to ‘negating’ all of the earlier imagery because I was so immersed in the individual images? It can’t be helped, those descriptions of yours are so delightful . . .

I found it interesting that the speaker says “I only wish . . . to catch up with the stars or moon”. I think my usual association with cosmic imagery is already something larger than life, but given that the next line says “spin around the room”, implying they are in an enclosed space, I would suppose the stanza overall is a sort of ‘coming back to earth’ after the previous ones, thus portraying that theme of sufficiency and gratitude for where you are, as opposed to chasing after where you could be.

Language and Imagery

I see loads of personification here! From the clouds in the first stanza being “at our heels” to the fish “laughing”. I think this resulted in that ‘whimsical’ impression I had of the poem at first.

There also seems to be a shift from more ‘water’ and ‘air’ focused imagery, for instance with the clouds and “wave foam” to images of land in the pivotal stanza. It makes me wonder if this was planned or if it was a sort of natural progression when envisioning a daydream environment of cloud-racing and swimming.

The images that fascinate me most are the ones in the ‘dirt’ stanza:

somedays i imagine what our memories
would look like sketched in the dirt:
gravel becoming dreams, and pebbles shifting
with whispered secrets beneath our toes -
until the ants start dismantling our skin
and we shed it like we forgot we were snakes.


1. Memories being “sketched in the dirt” again creates that whimsical, sort of sbtractly reminiscent feel I felt when I read this first. Likewise with phrases like “gravel becoming dreams” and pebbles that whisper.
2. I’d interpret the last two lines as the speaker sort of forgetting that the “skin” for them is temporary? The whole stanza seems to have this theme of things “shifting” and not being noticed. For instance, the gravel transforms into dreams – I’d imagine maybe this reflects how something solid can become a memory, and when the ants are “dismantling” the speaker’s skin they are able to loose themselves of it like a snake.
3. It makes me wonder if the earth of this “shifting” landscape is the same earth referenced in the next stanza that “pulls” the speaker back, or if they are two different senses of earth.

Structure and Sound

The big-picture structure of this poem seems to be the repeated structure “somedays i imagine . . . “, which seems to contextualise all this as a single speaker’s musings about what they desire. The ‘turn’ in the poem arrives with the “and then . . . “ stanza, where the speaker presents a dream of theirs that contrasts the others by being more low-key, emphasised by the word “only”.

The flow from line to line is really tight and well-formed. I think the fact that the poem has this visual shape that’s easily identifiable helps with that as well.
I noticed how the sounds repeat across lines, creating cohesion and some melodiousness in how the lines are read.

somedays i imagine what it would be to fly
with the clouds at our heels, wisps trying
to steal the space between our palms.


Largely, though, I think the rhythm comes from line breaks, having a similar number of lines per stanza and the occasional caesura that modifies the line in a sort of conversational, pause-in-the-middle-of-a-speech type way.

That's all

Well, I hope you enjoyed this more spontaneous, rambly Lim-review. I’m curious to know what was going through your poetry brains with regards to the narrative of the poem. I found it a bit difficult to get hold of, as you can probably tell from the earlier paragraphs of this review, but fascinating nonetheless.

Hopefully you found these comments helpful - and keep writing!

Cheers,
-Lim




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Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:42 pm
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Ilium417 wrote a review...



Heyo! This is Ilium for a review! :D
OMGOSH THIS WAS SUCH A GOOD POEM!!
Ahem, uh, sorry about that. Anyway, I really liked this poem! For me, it represented dreams and friendship. I really loved how you used imagery masterfully. Some of my favorite lines
were "gravel becoming dreams, and pebbles shifting with whispered secrets beneath our toes" and, well, the entire last stanza or dream. The gravel and pebble line showed to me how friendship changes as time goes on. I also love how out of everything, you made gravel represent dreams, because there is so much gravel and so many dreams.
The stanza was written very well also. You really built up the hype with your amazing imagery until the last two lines brings it back down and prepares us for the last line that delivers the message of the poem with a sucker-punch.
With every single dream, you used imagery very well, as everyone is saying. I honestly don't have a single thing to critique on her, only praise.
One more thing: it's a bit of a small thing, but its a bit cool how everything is lower case. It makes it just a bit more informal, like you're reading a text and not a book. It's a pretty cool effect!
AWESOME poem! Please keep collabing, this is epic!




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Fri Jun 25, 2021 5:54 pm
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi whatchamacallit and alliyah,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

That is a beautiful poem. I like the openness it displays, imagining various scenarios of what might be or what memories might be possible. There is something uplifting in the text that is spread throughout the different paragraphs. This gives it a formatting like a landing of a rocket through the various themes. First the thoughts in the sky, then on the water and then it goes to earth. It seems like a development back to the ground.

But I think that also gives the whole text this subconscious suffering undertone. It seems like an end without a new beginning. It seems like an order that has to be obeyed. I could also see it as a shrinking, as the person gets smaller and smaller, sinking into this world before rising and jumping again. I would describe it as the attempt to recognise the freedoms from captivity, to use them and to enjoy them.

In terms of structure, I like the repetition of the various verses, that they follow a certain rhythm. That gives the poem a certain narrowness and yet again this freedom. You try to take as much as possible out of what you have. I also like the fact that the text is without a capitalisation. This gives the poem a gentleness and an expression of non-violence.

somedays i imagine what it would be to fly
with the clouds at our heels, wisps trying
to steal the space between our palms.

I love the beginning. It's like suddenly waking up in a dream, that's how it begins. There is something very beautiful and yet teasing about it. I imagine being here with someone I love and don't want to part with.

somedays i imagine swimming to the edge of the water
with the wave foam in our hair and the shells
caught in our clothes, fingernails becoming sea glass,
a crown on hands that tug absentmindedly at
the shoreline.

What I like very much here is the connection that is created, as if you become one with the water or return to where life originated. I like the imagination you both use here to express this feeling perfectly.

somedays i imagine what our memories
would look like sketched in the dirt:
gravel becoming dreams, and pebbles shifting
with whispered secrets beneath our toes -

I like the change of tone in this part. First it talks about different parts of the body and dealing with the part of nature, while here the image is turned more the other way, making it feel like you have achieved something and now you are being immortalised. Also, it has something heavy sitting in it, as if one is mourning the old memories without making an attempt to create new ones. The connection with the earth as the place where one returns and the memory gives a hopeful if sad result. I like that it is left open here whether it is generally something positive or negative.

and then somedays i only wish i could dance
fast enough to catch up with the stars or moon

At the beginning I thought of something very positive in these lines but with repeated reading the last paragraph results in a sober passage where it seems as if the person who was otherwise so lively and jovial has been brought back down to earth. I don't have the impression that that was the real meaning here, but more of a new high, but the more I read it, the more melancholy the lines seem to me.

I like how the poem relies on the metaphors that accompany the reader as they read and interpret. I also love that you have managed to conjure up an immensely vivid image. What I like so much about the end is that there is this renewed sense of upliftment after the fall. A bit like a metronome that swings from side to side, only it comes to a stop in the middle and starts to go up again. It gives me this moment to just breathe and be grateful for what I have, instead of spending many minutes of my existence just imagining what I could have. And yet I think it's meant to be done. The poem doesn't feel as if it forbids you to drift away from the vividness, but to enjoy it like a piece of cake, instead of eating the cake alone.

It was a very beautiful poem and I enjoyed reading it very much.

Have fun writing!

Mailice.




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Fri Jun 25, 2021 4:23 am
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starlitmind says...



OH MY GOODNESS??? I literally read this like 5,000 times already. I mean, I knew this would super good since the two best poets came together to write this; BUT OMG AHHHHH THIS IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!!!

until the ants start dismantling our skin
and we shed it like we forgot we were snakes.


^ two of my favourite lines :')

okay I am in awe ahhhh






ahhhhh star thank you, you're so sweet :') I'm so glad you enjoyed it! <3333



alliyah says...


Ah thank you star; glad you liked it! <3 :')



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Fri Jun 25, 2021 12:03 am
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AlmostImmortal wrote a review...



Oh my goodness! Wow, you are everything I aspire to be as a poet. I am speechless. First of all, your imagery is immaculate. I already have an overactive imagination, but you gave me no shortage of things to see, from damp clouds against my skin to saltwater in my hair. You built entire worlds in each paragraph. At first, it's cloud kingdoms and bird allies. It's castles and sun and freedom. Then, it shifts to mermaids and running away from sharks, to seeing shadows below and entire schools of minnows. And suddenly, it's chalk on the sidewalk and children laughing. Chasing sugar ants and letting them crawl on your hands. Before it ends, before you settle us back down to reality, it's novas and galaxies—too many stars for our minds to comprehend. And we want all of these as much as you do. We want to join you in your fantasies of faraway, impossible places. But you remind us to be content with where and who we are and, although it's bittersweet, it's possible. And maybe even its own kind of beauty.






Thank you for the kind words AlmostImmortal!



alliyah says...


Thanks immortal!! :)





Of course, y'all!



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Thu Jun 24, 2021 6:33 am
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rida says...



Wow! I wish I could write half as good as you both!






Aww thank you rida! That's so sweet! You're a wonderful poet as well <3



alliyah says...


:') thanks rida! I love your poetry too!




If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.
— Oscar Wilde