I’m surprised this doesn’t have more reviews. I was stunned by this when it showed up in the Random Song Title challenge. It took the two components of the title and worked them into an emotionally-gripping story.
I think the first thing that struck me about this poem was the vivid imagery. I especially enjoyed the image of the night simmering till it boiled down to nothing. However, the recurrence of the color red truly tied the poem together - from the squirming red squirrel to the night giving way to red sunrise. It is truly beautiful to the mind’s eye.
The structure is also worth noting. I enjoyed your use of repetition in this poem. Part of this is that it was another component that tied the two halves of the poem together - the night boiling down in the first verse, and that image returning and expanding in the last. However, it also lent a sense of entrapment in some sections, such as here:
Half and half and half
and half of everything.
The enjambment in these lines and the previous verse also give a sort of disjointed feeling that meshes well with the sentiment of these verses.
Of course, I didn’t just enjoy the beauty of the poem - it took me on an emotional journey, a story in miniature. Fred’s death was one of the worst in the books for me, and I can well imagine George feeling like he’s missing half of himself afterwards. However, I like that you led from loss in the first half to hope in the second. It’s what I would hope for George.
The story worked so well with the imagery and the structure, especially with the pervasive color red seeming to symbolize life. Even George telling Fred, Jr. that he preferred red to blue seems to be him choosing life over sadness at last. By entwining the imagery so closely with the emotional storyline, you made this poem into something unforgettable, Natalie. Bravo.
(And sorry if this seems stilted; I’m trying my hand at SPEW-esque reviewing for the review drive. I love this poem, though.
I like it :). Very melancholy - reads a bit prosy in spots but it works in this format.
Natalie, you know I don't review much poetry, but this is such a beautiful and heartbreaking image of George... love the idea of the shimmer to his left and Molly's smile "a half slimmer." So glad you included a bit of hope here at the end. Lovely stuff.
Author's Response: Thank you, Lori, for reading and leaving such a lovely review! :) I love, love receiving reviews from those who generally don't do poems - that makes me feel like I was able to establish the right connections!