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A Fire Full of Pain

by writingbright

and suddenly-



screams rip my throat

shouts for those who will never hear

my parents, my siblings, my classmates


my face is aflame

burning - a branch on a bonfire

slowly, slowly


i can’t breathe

something is filling my lungs

foreign, unnatural


i can’t see

eyes blinded by light

heaven, or hell?


and then - no pain

no fight, no fire

just light, and darkness

and all that comes between.

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52 Reviews

Points: 1565
Reviews: 52

Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:31 pm
fleuralplants wrote a review...

I think this poem has such interesting imagery that expresses emotion so well- such as in lines 4,5,7, and 11.
When you mentioned

shouts for those who will never hear
my parents, my siblings, my classmates

I found that extremely meaningful! Something about it is just exquisite and I enjoyed the way that it connected the persona's experience to something other than themselves, such as parents, siblings, and classmates.
I like the stylistic choices you took, such as dashes between stanzas and no capitalization. Certain stylistic choices such as those add to the dark emotion of a poem, in my opinion.
I respectfully disagree with whatchamacallit with the statement that the opening line was not effective, but that can be chalked up to personal opinion. I think introducing the reader to the poem mid-thought was effective, and it left the reader wondering what the source of that pain was.
Anyway, I really enjoyed reading this! Thank you for writing it!

I look forward to seeing your future posts!

Thanks for the review! I%u2019m glad you enjoyed the poem. <3

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1029 Reviews

Points: 119383
Reviews: 1029

Tue Sep 22, 2020 4:53 am
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alliyah wrote a review...

This is a really unexpectedly intense poem. I'm impressed!

It hits especially hard having family who are living near the fires / smoke in the US, and also having had a family member lose all almost all their possessions via fire - I find the turn really interesting that at first I assume the poem is about breathing in smoke, but then we learn the speaker is actually on fire!

I don't know if "a branch on a bonfire" was a metaphor or if you tried to literally make it from the perspective of a branch, but I don't think that's a very effective line. Being from the perspective of a branch on a bonfire is just a lot less intense than from the perspective if something living, and a tree probably doesn't have classmates. If it's meant figuratively I don't think it adds much because it's saying "I'm on fire, like something on fire" ... sorta like saying "it was raining, like the middle of a rainstorm". It adds nothing markedly new.

I agree with Veeran the highlight for me was the cliffhanger at the end, great suspense and there's a lot of direction someone could it interpret out of that.

And I agree with whatcha a second look at formatfing could really boost this to the next level. I like the minimalist capitalization for this though and also your repetition in a couple places making it seem like the soeaker was really spiraling.

Overall, well done! This was an enjoyable read.


Also welcome to the site! Keep on writing! :)

Thanks for the review! The %u2018branch on a bonfire%u2019 was meant to emphasise the enormity of the fire the narrator is experiencing, but I totally get what you mean. As for the formatting, the Publishing Centre ate my stanzas but I%u2019ll add them back using the tips watcha gave. :D

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184 Reviews

Points: 5997
Reviews: 184

Tue Sep 22, 2020 2:59 am
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veeren wrote a review...

welcome to YWS!

apart from the distinct stylistic choices you've made here, keeping each sense and feeling separate form the last, i do enjoy the fact that you've done your best to capture the feeling of fire moment. i'm not sure if you were going for the image of being engulfed by flames and smoke all around, but that is definitely the vibe i get when reading through this.

in terms of nitpicks, i'd certainly suggest better word choice for certain lines;

i can’t see, either

the word "either" would imply that something is out of two, while at this point in the poem you've already mentioned quite a few feelings/senses. the phrasing seems a bit out of place and slightly messes up the flow, however with a bit of revision could easily be fixed.

moreover, you do manage to wrap up the poem nicely. it's almost on a cliffhanger leaving the rest up to the readers interpretation. with just a bit of tweaking in terms of phrasing, the poem would be even better than it already is.

keep up the good work my friend, i hope to read more from you soon!

Thanks for the review, the %u2018i can%u2019t see, either%u2019 didn%u2019t feel quite right to me, either, but I wasn%u2019t really sure what to replace it with. I%u2019ll revise that section though. :D

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346 Reviews

Points: 30600
Reviews: 346

Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:59 pm
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whatchamacallit wrote a review...

Hi there writingbright! First off, welcome to YWS ~ if you have any questions about the site (or this review) I'd be glad to help (:

You've got some really great imagery and stylistic choices going on in this poem! I'm going to divide my review into three parts, things I liked, suggestions, and overall thoughts, since my thoughts are a bit scattered at the moment.

What I liked
Like I said, you've got some gripping imagery sprinkled throughout the poem. I love the consistency of the fire/burning descriptions, and I think you have a good balance between keeping the poem focused, but also not getting repetitive with the same fire descriptions over and over again.

my face is aflame

burning - a branch on a bonfire

slowly, slowly

^There is so much great stuff going on in these three lines. You've got loads of alliteration, which I adore -> "face" and "[a]flame"; "burning", "branch", and "bonfire", and "slowly, slowly".
But what I really love is the assonance you have (which is like rhyming, but just the vowels of words). The "ay" sound in face and flame is the same, and the "ohn" sound in "on" and "bonfire" are also assonance. I'm not sure if that's on purpose, but let me say, assonance is amazing, and I love that you use it here.
And obviously, there's the imagery; I love how you use the description "a branch on a bonfire", as it paints a vivid picture and is fairly unique.

I also like your stylistic choices, namely punctuation and capitalization (or lack of). It gives the impression that the narrator is hurting too much to even bother with capitalizing, which complements the poem really nicely. I like the lack of full stops / periods as well, though I might suggest adding one in the very last line just for a sense of finality.

Suggestions & critiques
Honestly, I'm not a fan of your opening line. I can see why you might try to introduce the reader into the poem mid-thought, but I just don't feel like it's super effective in this case. I think starting straight out with "pain" would have more impact -> I also think that if you added "pain" as a final line, after "and all that comes between", that would be a super strong ending (even better than what you've already got). Then, if you open and close on the same word, that will really emphasize the idea and make the poem feel like it has a clean start and finish.

I'd also like to suggestion some stanzas (paragraphs of the poetry world). [If you did have stanzas but the publishing center ate them - which it does tend to do - you can use a filler like "-" or "~" in the space between stanzas, to keep the whitespace. Or, alternatively, you could use enter / shift + enter. For lines within a stanza, use shift + enter to keep them closer together, and then to start a new stanza, just press enter.]
If you were to go along with the opening and closing "pain" idea, I think it'd be interesting if those two lines were each their own stanza; something like this:

screams rip my throat
shouts blah blah blah
and all that comes between


I like the imagery, assonance, and alliteration you use! My main suggestions: "pain" as an opening and closing line, and using stanzas. (This YWS article is really helpful if you're looking for more info about stanzas!) I hope this is useful and again, if you've got any questions about the review feel free to ask.

Keep writing!


Thank you so much for the review! I didn%u2019t even know assonance existed - I just thought it sounded cool ahaha. As for the stanzas, I did originally have them but the Publishing Centre ate them, so I%u2019ll do what you said to bring them back. The %u2018pain%u2019 idea is a very good one - the beginning was something I struggled with writing and your idea would definitely resolve the relatively awkward moment there. Thanks again for the review, and have a great day/night!

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26 Reviews

Points: 1188
Reviews: 26

Mon Sep 21, 2020 10:50 pm
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penngreen4776 wrote a review...

Well. This is horrifying. Hiya, i'm penn, and you've brought back some memories.

Fire has a specific sort of touch on the human body. I've experienced it plenty of times with bubbling oil and fireworks, and while you've managed to keep it reigned in, I feel like you could've gone just a bit further in describing the pain such heat inflicts on lines six and seven.

Lines nine, ten, and eleven could also benefit from better description, though, of course, trying to impart the feeling of choking on the impermeable, blackened hand of burning wood can make anyone feel queasy.

Lines twelve, thirteen, and fourteen make me realize that there are still some things that can't truly be described without turning into gore, so I think you've done a good job so far. Terrifying, but good job.

Thanks for the review! I mainly tried to keep the description to a limit to show how much pain the narrator is in, but I get what you mean.

I tell the neophyte: Write a million words–the absolute best you can write, then throw it all away and bravely turn your back on what you have written. At that point, you’re ready to begin.
— David Eddings