My goodness! I absolutely loved this poem! When I have time later, I will definitely write a critique for it. This poem will be the second poem going into my favorites! The prose was so beautiful! I loved the repetition of her waiting, and also of the images of the leaves! What a magnificent writing style you have! Perhaps yog can tutor me in the art of poetry? :)
Author's Response: Thank you :) I would be happy to help you with your poetry!
Hello Julia--this is my belated SPEW review for November, so I hope you enjoy it/ I review this poem in the way it deserves. I was on the Poetry QSQ committee and from the first round this poem struck me as being absolutely beautiful. I know this doesn’t bother as many people as it does me, but what I loved about it in part was its versatility, that you could write it with a certain pairing in mind, but that the themes and ideas expressed within it were more universal than that. Also for a rather long poem, it feels much shorter, as in it is never boring or drags, which is unusual for any poem of length (though the ability to retain the reader’s interest over a long poem is one you share with your co-winner Minna).
One of the first things that struck me about this poem was how intricate the form was, and yet how the poem never felt rigid or contrived because of that. In your poem the form works with it, not against it, lending increasing power and meaning to repeated lines such as “The light fades soft and yellow on the leaves” which at first strikes as just a rather beautiful, autumnal image, but when it is repeated, seems much more sad, far more explicitly associated with loss. I also love how the motif of the light and leaves develops, so that later the “light fades hard and blue, there are no leaves,” which is so sad, even with the potential optimism that they might be found again come the spring. The way you use the image of the leaves to entwine Ginny’s thoughts of Harry is so beautiful (I’m using that word way too much here :/), and this continues throughout the poem to the penultimate stanza where the “days fall like minutes”, just as the leaves do. Although the overall mood of this poem is one of longing and, in a sense, loneliness, I think your leaf image of “though it’s Winter, the tears from her lashes fall like leaves” is just stunning, because leaves cannot fall in winter, and yet they do, showing the seemingly impossible happening, which you return to in the optimism of the ending.
There’s also something very tactile about this poem, as even though you are dealing with Ginny’s emotions the verbs you use- even though Ginny is mainly static-with the motion of seconds threading and words like “softened, moulded, wrapped”. The sense of motion is probably also helped by the rhythm, and the long sentences, as well as enjambement you often use so the lines run into one another smoothly.
The way the poem moves through time is also beautifully done. I love how you manage to come up with so many images of time passing, and the memory of the days which were endless, whereas now she seems to measure every moment, without any sense of control over it, with images like “endless days” contrasted with “numbered weeks”.
I also love the characterisation here. This doesn’t show the rebelling Ginny, even though the reader knows she exists, but the Ginny who trusted and wondered and hoped. I loved her memory of their time together being described as “they wait/a little longer with naive faith and faithlessness.” I think in HBP there’s a line about Harry feeling as though his time with Ginny has been borrowed or stolen from someone else’s life, and this seems to exemplify that idea perfectly. I also love the idea of ‘naive faith and faithlessness’ because although those two ideas seem contradictory I think it shows their hope that this will last, and their acceptance that it won’t, rather wonderfully. The description of Harry as “the black, green and golden boy” was also very visual and very interesting that Ginny should define Harry in that manner, as although the first two are physical, they are combined with the golden to become more symbolic, and particularly the green stands out, not only as potentially his more SLytherin side, but more importantly the hope of spring, which you have at the end of the poem.
The slip into the first person could have seemed rather awkward, but because in the first three stanzas you establish her thoughts so well, it seems incredibly natural, even though what she describes is, ultimately, untenable, as they know this has to end, but the desire to have “Nothing...die, nothing...wither beneath our shoes” emphasises the strength of her feeling for him.
The ending was beautiful. I do have a tendency to, no matter how good what has gone before, judge something on its ending but here it fits perfectly. I love how pared down your sentences are, even thought then vocabulary is very rich and varied. Phrases like “time thread rough” just take on a greater potency for being so concise and also add a tangibility to the poem so that it doesn’t seem too polished, if that makes sense. THis is also helped by images such as “the stitches fray...the weeks/fall like snow” which has a certain weight about it, which is, however, contrasted because although it melts into nothing, and is therefore meaningless, Harry “fills her passing days/with thoughts of lips”. When you repeat the word ‘hands’ it could be too repetitive if what had gone before hadn’t been so good, but here becomes very sensual.
At the start you build up a sense of these weeks, and the length of time, being against them, and a force to be reckoned with, which slowly fails when “the days become undone, as the weeks shed Winter”. I find your last sentence rather abrupt, but I think this works excellently, in the context of the time stretching out before them and seeming both endless, and a memory of what is lost, when suddenly in your shortest sentence, and the most final full stop, that comes to an end, symbolising a change and the possibility for regrowth.
Basically this poem is gorgeous and if I had written it, I would have been fairly light headed for several days in amazement. I hope you know just how good it is. I’m sorry, that this review basically consists of me incoherently analysing your poem and telling you how much I love it, but its so stunning that that’s really all I can say. Alex
Author's Response: Goodness, how have I not responded to this yet? Sorry about the hideous wait! That's no way to treat such a wonderful SPEWer! First of all, thanks so much for this review, Alex. It was difficult handling such a rigid structure so it's always good to hear if someone thought that it didn't drag or fall flat half-way through. I do like changing physical states in my poetry, it seems to be an overarching theme. Treating light and time as something solid and tangible was really fun so it's interesting that you point out that imagery as something you responded to. Thank you xD
The only thing is, it's Hermione in the poem, not Ginny. It's fascinating to see how you interpreted it as Ginny and the more I read this review and then the poem I can definitely see where you're coming from. I guess that's the beauty of writing slightly ambiguous poetry - it really is open to interpretation. Listening to the music gave me the image of Hermione sitting alone beside the tent and it was such a melancholic and touching picture that it got me thinking about what those months in Deathly Hallows was like for Hermione. We often see those months from Ron's perspective in fanfiction (and of course we get Harry's perspective in canon) and so I set out to tell Hermione's story instead.
Again, thanks for the amazing and thought-out review! I've come away with a very different view of this poem now!
This was gorgeous! I loved the rhythm and flow of it, and the emotions were spot-on. I loved how you described their feelings towards Harry's inevitable death, and how you painted it with her pleas for them to forget everything and stay; that was a scene that really struck a chord with me, as well. To put it simply, this piece was beautiful and inspiring, and I loved every line!
Author's Response: Thanks so much :)
Julia, that was just gorgeous! Congratulations on such a well-deserved QSQ; a sestina is such a rigid form of poetry, and I thought you just did a beautiful job of it. I have no idea how you maintained the scheme of the endings of the lines, but then again, you are poetry laureate and all :) Congrats on the QSQ again!
Author's Response: Thanks, Soraya! Yes, the sestina is very difficult to work with. I think all you PAers would hex me if I ever set it as a challenge... heheheh. I think the most difficult thing was choosing the line endings. Once I'd chosen them it was okay but it did take a lot of time and editing to get it right. I actually wrote the final stanza first and then worked my way backwards. The most difficult word was "shoes" and I very nearly changed it but the masochist in me wouldn't allow that! It was all worth it, though. I think this is one of the most satisfying things I've ever written just because of the effort it took. Anyway, I'm rambling now xD Thanks so much for the review! ~ Julia x
I have no idea why I haven't read this before but it is clearly a crime that I hadn't. Just, so many things about this poem. Imagery, as always, and atmosphere - you're always brilliant at both of those. I always come away with vivid images and colors branded in my head. And I loved the repetition even in a form that doesn't require more than just repetition of words at the end. The recurring image of the days beading and then falling towards the end. Just. Beautiful. (I can picture them, like raindrops on a spiderweb - even when you don't outright state an image one forms somehow). This isn't even approaching coherent, but this is just to say that your poem is gorgeous and deserves that QSQ several times over.
Author's Response: Thanks so much, Minna :) I'm so self-conscious of using repetition (because I'm pretty sure I overuse a lot of the time) so I'm glad you really enjoyed the imagery. And I'm so happy to be sharing the QSQ with you! There were so many amazing poems nominated this year. ~ Julia x
Wow, this is the sort of thing you have to read slowly and carefully to take it all in. Some lines seem simple but read again have much deeper connotations. This must have been an interesting challenge as I see the same line endings in each verse. Very interesting how you did that yet the story within the poem still progressed, and I could clearly see every scene you painted. I am very impressed with this. Very nice ending, I can just visualize the fade out.
Author's Response: Thank you :) Yes, the sestina is a rigid form of poetry and takes quite a bit of planning. Nevertheless, it was very satisfying to write. It's good to know that you thought the narrative progressed well within the strict rules of the sestina. Again, thanks for the review.
This is so beautiful and really brings a tear to my eye. hermione isn;t my favourite of the Trio (although I love her really), but this brings the pathos of her situation home. Of the three she was necessarily the outsider because she was the girl and just didn;t share as much the pair of them, but here she shows again and again her true worth to the group. Of course it's always been there, but your words high light her sacrifice, patience and loyalty. She gave up a lot for those boys, for Harry. I hope they appreciate it (yeah, I'm sure they do.)
Julia, your poetry moves me in a way no one's else does. The way this is written is so lyrical and effortless. I forgot the form and the repetitive words because I really didn't see them. It's seamless and beautiful.
Well done. ~Carole~
Author's Response: Thanks so much, Carole :) My heart always aches for Hermione after Ron leaves so it's satisfying to know that I was able to evoke that melancholy through the poem. As for the actual sestina form, I'm so happy that it wasn't jarring or tiring to read. It took quite a bit of time to get it right. Sighhhh. Anyway, thanks so much for the lovely review, Carole!
I am so in love with this poem it's not even funny. The imagery, the narrative, its just... *sigh with choirs of angles singing*
Author's Response: Aw thanks so much, Elene :) *squish*
I really enjoyed this poem, and I especially liked the tone; it was sort of melancholy, but hopeful at the same time. My favorite lines were "We could stay here, she says, we could hole onto your numbered days./We could grow old, she says, and keep your life in our hands" because you sort of added on to the lines from the movie. Nice job!
Author's Response: Thank you :) Yes, I took a lot of inspiration from that scene in the film. It's such a poignant moment so I'm glad you liked the way I incorporated it into the poem. Again, thanks so much for the review and I'm so pleased you enjoyed it!