My name is Jess. I noticed that your poem has no reviews, so today, I shall endeavour to give you helpful and constructive advice, as well as some deserved praise, for your poem.
The first thing I noticed is that the opening stanza reminds me greatly of how Merope would have felt once she stopped dosing Tom Riddle Sr with the love potion. It parallels well with ‘the light falling’, or essentially the end of her happiness, and then she is poor and without prospects, waiting for her baby to arrive. I do wonder whether this was your intent, but it is a gorgeous start to the story you’re telling in this poem
This theme for me carried over for me to the second stanza, especially with the disease and the screaming (her in labour). I recall in the memories shared with Harry in HBP that there was something unsettling about Merope’s very presence at the orphanage, as well as with baby Tom. It’s a remarkable correlation, and quite well done.
But then I got to the third stanza and the line ‘He killed them all’. I will admit, it threw me a bit. There was this gorgeous buildup of the sad, destructive circumstances that started Tom’s descent into what he was when we first met him, and then he ‘killed them all’; it almost feels too rushed. There wasn’t a mention of the disillusion he felt about finding his true parentage, which is what fuelled his rage and pushed him over the edge. Perhaps if there had been a transitional stanza, or at least a line acknowledging this, it would have made this the best stanza of the whole poem.
The fourth stanza is gorgeous. It emphasises how Tom got a taste for killing, revenge, and the assertion of his power. I really like how you outlined his lack of conscience after having committed murder. There was no frilly language — just matter of fact, just like his intent. In fact, the only thing about the whole stanza that doesn’t quite fit well is the word ‘cower’, and when dealing with such heavy themes, it’s easy to go overboard.
There are aspects of the fifth and sixth paragraphs that are slightly redundant, which dilutes the intensity that was built in the previous stanzas. One simple way around that is to blend them together, which would greatly assist the flow and unintended repetition, and it would have the potential to act like a crescendo instead of a long transition.
I have to admit, when I first read the ending stanza, I was confused. It seems like each line says the same thing but phrased in a different way. Reading it over a few more times, it doesn’t feel as much like this is the case, but I didn’t find it as poignant of satisfying as the other segments. The point of view seems to switch to less of a dispassionate narrative and more of a single person’s judgment of Voldemort, which is rather obvious in the last line. I don’t know if I have any suggestions to fix it, but perhaps looking at it from that perspective might give you an insight into the stanza that you hadn’t considered before.
All in all, your command of punctuation to regulate flow is really good. The semicolon is one of the most misused and abused keys on the keyboard, so it makes me happy to see it used well in this poem, which deals with one of my favourite subjects. You have a mostly gorgeous poem, and I truly believe that, with a little bit of tweaking and revision, it could be even better. I read in your profile that you don’t consider yourself a writer, but your writing begs to differ. Poetry is difficult, time-consuming, and has the highest risk of failure of almost any form of writing at all, but you have done well, both with this and your other poem posted on this site. I’d hereby like to encourage you to keep pursuing it. Look up different poem structures and try some brand new things, and you’ll be surprised how rewarding it can be to see that you’ve risen to the challenge.
I hope that I was able to offer you some pertinent and valuable advice in order to hone both this poem and your skills as a writer. You have good talent, and only trying, trying, and more trying will build your abilities until you find yourself the peer of the authors you love to follow. I hope to see you on the Most Recent list in the near future!
Take care and happy writing,