The flow of this was beautiful. I really liked how it didn’t rhyme or have a specific syllable structure (or at least one that I noticed), but it still was tied together. However, the first stanza was definitely my favorite. The first sentence began the piece with a very vivid scene. I thought your choice of using the sunrise very much introduced the theme of loss. I could easily picture a lone woman sitting on the ground watching the sunrise. The contrast of the sky and the woman visually made her seem very alone. The next section of the stanza has slightly more structured feel than the first part. I liked how you separated the two line clauses (i.e. “As those hours/ Blur into days,) from each other with a comma. To me, it gave them enough definition to emphasize the passing of time, but it didn’t break the flow. I felt that slowly building from hours to months highlighted the magnitude of the loss. The last line finished the stanza, in an almost abrupt manner. I really liked how you didn’t draw out; it felt concise. I really liked how you communicated the woman’s loneliness and loss without outright saying it.
In addition to the imagery in the first four lines, I also thought that using time in a somewhat visual way (i.e. “blur into days”) helped make me feel that the woman was alone. The size of the sunrise and the way you showed the amount of time passing in a slow manner, I thought lead up to the last line nicely by creating a visual of the woman being alone.
I thought that changing the narrator after the first stanza worked well in this piece. It felt like each stanza was almost a different poem. But, they were all still connected by the similarity in the structure and the theme/topic. I don’t think the second stanza flowed quite as well as the first one. I really liked the way the first two lines of the stanza sounded very lyrical. They had a definite rhythm when read aloud, which I think may have stemmed from the fact that they both had six syllables. The next three lines seemed to continue with a very different type of flow, which was more like the first stanza.
I didn’t feel the next half of the stanza didn’t flow as well as the previous half and the first stanza. I really liked how you combined a couple lines with different syllable structure with a couple lines with a flow more like the rest of the poem. I’m uncertain about the next two lines. They sound fabulous when read alone, (I really liked the consonance in “him” and “home”), but I’m not sure whether they work with the previous half of the stanza. I think the thing that doesn’t sound right to me is that you rhymed home in the seventh line of the stanza and alone in the second. I didn’t feel like rhyme worked well with this style. The flow of the entire poem up to this point has felt very natural and unstructured feel to it, so it felt to me that the rhyme stuck out and broke the flow. I liked the eighth line; it gave me an image of a young boy laughing, and I think it began to sum up the stanza. But, I’m not sure that the last two lines sounded quite right with the rest of the stanza. If this were my piece, I’d combine the last two lines into one. I think what made me pause was that the comma separates the two phrases and so does the line break. I think because the line, “The brother,” (20), is so short and comes after several relatively long lines. Because a comma and a line break separate the phrase in the final two lines, I think the twentieth line sounded sort of abrupt.
The flow of the third stanza felt very similar to that of the first. I thought that the first two lines of the stanza managed to somehow combine the feeling expressed in the previous two stanzas. The word “exists,” sums up the feeling of the woman in the first stanza. I really liked how each stanza was almost of the point of view of a different person. I think it kept the piece fresh from stanza to stanza. The last segment sort of joined together the essence of each of the previous stanzas, and it did it in a way that didn’t feel repetitive. The last five lines of the poem, I thought that using the image of night tied the beginning of the piece and the end together nicely. It also brought back the image of loneliness, which I think was prominent throughout the entire poem. Night is so huge and seems so endless, referencing only two people holding each other, makes me visualize them completely alone and still lonely.
I really liked your use of punctuation in this piece. You didn’t use commas and periods in a conventional manner, but I think that the way this poem was punctuated contributed to the flow. It seemed like you used commas to indicate a pause, and periods to indicate a slightly longer pause and a change. I didn’t feel your use of capitalization aided the flow of the poem as much as the capitalization did. Capitalizing every line made each line feel a little more separate from each other. When the first word of a sentence is capitalized, it makes the difference from the last one. I think in poetry, capitalization emphasizes a single line. Some of the lines obviously are accented, but I don’t think others need to be. When you split a complete thought, (i.e. “Hoping when/ Each child arrives,/ He’ll reconcile his sorrow.” (14-16)) it doesn’t feel like each part should be accented as different. If this were my piece, I’d capitalize only lines that begin a new thought or that need to be differentiated as from the previous one.
Carole, this is one of my favorite poems I’ve read on the site. I love how it flows in such a natural and unformatted manner. I know that it was written about Fred, but it feels like it could apply to anyone who died in the battle. It’s obviously sad. (If you wrote a happy poem about Fred’s death I’d be very disturbed and very annoyed.) I hope I was eloquent and not offensive in any way.
Author's Response: WOW! A monster of a review for such a short piece of writing. Thank you! I have to admit that I'm not the greatest crafter of words in either poetry or prose and when I work too much on something it tends to wither and die on me, hence there are parts of this poem (and a lot of my other writing) that don't fit as well as others. As you said (and as I put in the end note) this poem is about Fred, or rather Molly and Arthur. I'm not sure they could ever recover from his death despite having six other children and twelve grandchildren, but I do think they'd find solace in each other, which was why I ended the poem on a more positive note that although they're not sleeping they're aware that the other isn't sleeping either.
You were very eloquent,Meg, and not at all offensive. Thank you, again. ~Carole~
That's so sad, Carole! Okay, I think I was way off the mark last time I tried to put one of your poems to character, but I'm going for it anyway. This one speaks of Molly and Arthur to me, and I think it's both lovely and tragic. The building of tension is done very well, as in the hours into days, into weeks, etc. I also liked how there was a part for her, a part for him, and then a part where they came together, even if they do not sleep. :-(
Beautiful poem. R.I.P. Fred indeed.
Author's Response: Yes, it's Molly and Arthur. I'm not sure you can ever really get over the loss of a child, but they do have each other, so there's still some joy in their lives. Thank you very much for reviewing. ~Carole~
Oh, Carole. This is so moving. And exactly how I view them trying to carry on with life. Beautiful.
Author's Response: I can't remember why I wrote this. I think it must have been a challenge. Anyway, the thought process is basically because although they're a strong family, I can't imagine Molly and Arthur ever getting over Fred's death. And I'm all sad now :( ~Carole~
This brought tears to my eyes, Carole. Generally I'm not a huge poetry fan and I don't have a lot to say about rhyme/rhythm... but this was just really beautiful. The whole thing just flowed so well and you can really capture emotions in so few words.
I think my favourite line was "She still weeps". It just really shows the unending grief that continues despite life going on. Having said that, I could quote the whole poem back and say they were all my favourite lines.
Just a really fabulous poem.
Author's Response: Thank you very much. I don;t know much about poetry either - certainly not all the different forms, but sometimes like experimenting with using fewer words to tell a story or express an emotion. I don;t think Molly and Arthur would ever have fully recovered from Fred'd death. *sigh* ~Carole~