This poem really intrigued me, Siriussirius. It was good in so many ways and it’s clear to see that you’ve put a lot of thought into various aspects of it which really paid off. As soon as I read it, I had to leave a review.
You get across the mood and tone really well in the poem. I love how each stanza, in a way, represents a different emotion that he is feeling while at number four, Privet Drive. The progression from envy to anger to longing to resignation was really smooth and seemed really natural. The voice of the poem was spot on as well – it suited a child, but wasn’t dumbed down.
I tend to not like rhyming poems too much as I feel like they can sometimes feel contrived, but the rhyming pattern in this really worked! It was subtle, so it didn’t feel like the poem had been edited to conform to the rhyme or built around it, and it created a really nice rhythm and pace throughout the poem, offering it a lot of continuity. That being said, I liked how the last couplet didn’t rhyme. It really seemed to give the poem finality and completed it very well.
I like the question mark after the first line. It really captures the strange situation of the contrast between how the Dursleys can be so loving to each other but so cruel to him. In the first verse, and indeed the whole poem, he comes across as young without being overly naive which is an achievement. It’s so easy to misconstrue a child and make them fit into a cookie-cutter mould, but you side-stepped that cliché. I love the poetry of the last two lines of the stanza as well, it flows really well and gives the poem a very musical rhythm. It just sounds really good on the tongue.
However, there were some points where the word choice seemed to disrupt the flow of the poem. One such example was in the line “A sound experienced only by others.” Experienced seemed to stick out of the line, sounding almost too pointy (What? Words can be pointy.) I think “made” or “formed” would work better in the line and make it flow more smoothly.
I really love how, in the second stanza, you used enjambment to create a rather harsh tone which conveys his anger and bitterness really well. The words you used for that part was really good as well and were almost mutual; it was Petunia who was being described, but they’re emotions that are very potent in Harry as well. Separating them from the line about Petunia really helped to get that across. I think they showed how badly he wanted to throw them in their faces, and show them that he was bitter and that he hated them too. It was very powerful.
On a whole, I loved this stanza beyond belief but I did find one small area for improvement. The line “to the recollections of my previous dream I clutch” seemed a bit long and so broke up the flow of the poem a bit. I think it would have been better without the word “previous”. But otherwise it is a great stanza and quite possibly in favourite in the poem.
The mention of his dream was so sweet. The idea finding comfort in those fleeting memories of his real parents while at the Dursleys’ seems so realistic. Harry comparing Lily to Petunia was very poignant as well as it really highlighted the contrast between Petunia as a mother and Aunt Petunia.
However, I did have gripe over the line “With a pretty lady with red hair holding me tight.” The word “pretty” just seems a bit weak in the context and, though it works in prose, I think a stronger word is needed for poetry. I also think a few commas over here would help to slow down the poem after the faster and angrier pace of the second stanza. The way I see it, the second stanza would be a lot faster because of his anger, but it should slow down in this one as he comforts himself with the memory of his mother.
The last stanza is just so poignant and sweet; it’s perfect! I love the line “The voice outside once told me so.” It really conveys that the Dursleys were his life and all he knew and is so all-encompassing. The last line really hints towards what’ll happen in the series, which is a plot device that I really love.
On a whole, it’s a great poem and I really enjoyed reading it.
Oh! This is really very touching and so sad. Poor Harry, at this age not realising that the dream is true and not knowing how his life will change.
I like the way you structure this poem. These lines: Spits my name with so much Bitterness; to the recollections of my previous dream I clutch. stand out for me, because of the juxtaposition of 'bitterness;' with the dream he desperately needs to remember.
Lovely poem. ~Carole~
Author's Response: Hello Carole! Thanks so much for the review! I'm really glad you like the poem:D And yes, you noticed my intentions with relevance to the structuring! :D I've always wondered about those ten years that Harry spent as a child with the Dursleys, and how he actually managed to grow into such a fine young man despite all that neglect and abuse he received.
Hello there. I must say that when I first read your summary, it quite intrigued me. And after reading this, I quite liked the concept.
Lie back against the dusty walls,
Grimly I await the morning call.
I got slightly confused by this bit here. Do you think maybe it would make sense if it were worded like this:
"I lie back against the dusty walls,
Grimly awaiting the morning call."
Also, in the next stanza:
A loud snarl filled with only
Hatred; the voice that had laughed so ...
I think that is a rather odd place to break up the line. It sounded choppy. It would probably flow more smoothly if the word "hatred" was moved up one line. Also "bitterness" has the same effect on me. Maybe it's just reader's preference.
I was also slightly confused, and this is more than likely my own error, by the line "the voice that had laughed so lovingly." Is this Aunt Petunia laughing at someone other than Harry, and now she is just growling at Harry? Yes ... I think that makes sense.
The third stanza is really excellent. We know that Harry had dreams that were actually memories of when he was living with James and Lily. I appreciate that you added this in here. The word "one" made me think for a moment, and it would be easier to comprehend if you added a "dream" instead, but it would hinder the meaning and poetic aspect of that line.
I also like how Harry is wondering if Dudley feels the same way about aunt Petunia as he does about Lily. This is brilliant. Of course Harry would wonder about Dudley, this makes it seem great! You did a really nice job with adding the thought about Dudley in there. That was an interesting route to go, and it was a creative and worthwile one at that.
"It's not real, I know, the voice outside told me so." So poetic, so true, so beautiful. And the next line "but it sure felt like it was, something for me only, from behind the cupboard doors." You end this with a BANG! This last stanza is so moving, so compelling ... it's the stuff of poetry. Some authors will write a good poem, and it will be good overall, but to me this most important part is the end, because when I am writing in this little white box, that is the part that I remember. It makes me almost shiver how great and powerful that last stanza is, and I can barely type.
Overall, this poem was beautiful and compelling. You took an interesting approach, and I've never really thought much about this. That's what good authors do, is make the reader think, and you've done just that.
Excellent job with this story.
Author's Response: Thank you sooooo much for your glowing review, Megan! It's really heartening, what with this being my first published poem and all:D Anyway, in answer to the queries you raised, the line structuring in the second stanza was actually deliberate! I'd actually intended for the words "hatred", "spit" and "bitterness", all really harsh choices of words, to be emphasised at the start of each line to juxtapose Harry's tough reality and the warm solace of his dream. Oh well, I guess it came out rather awkward! Ooh yes actually, I really like your suggestion on the use of "awaiting" rather than "I await" :D The present continuous adds to the cyclical nature of the subject matter, which is Harry's awful life with the Dursleys. It's repetitive and horrid and there's no escape): And yeah, Aunt Petunia was laughing lovingly with Dudley:D Once again, thanks so much for your review! Really glad you liked it<3