Who Am I?
#1
I scribble this question again and again
in my diary, blunt pencil and a fistful of doubt,
hoping to find a mirror in a bed of words.

I long to be a signature, but morph into a sponge,
crouching in the shadows of others, 

for a drop of greatness.
Give me your metaphors that glow like comets,
lighting up an audience.
Throw me a word of praise I can wear like an epithet.

I am a castle of dreams, slave to failure,
a believer in ladders to zeniths from rock bottom.
Every so often, a broken rung scrapes against my skin,
sands the edges of a person still forming,
and the conundrum in my heart grows,
in search of a word, an adjective
for those growing blank spaces.

Perhaps, when I've collected enough words,
I would be everything.
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#2
I scribble this question again and again


"Again and again" says It, but says it too much. Let people assume the urgency.



in my diary, blunt pencil and a fistful of doubt,



You could arrange the fist and its doubt with a unique concept. Start with eliminating "of", and work from there.

hoping to find a mirror in a bed of words.

I long to be a signature, but morph into a sponge,
crouching in the shadows of others, 


The mirror, the other and the bed. The sponge. Shadows. 
There are potent symbols here; all they need is a little arranging and conceptual framing. Stronger cognitive grammar and statement.
The statement, the living force, being the signature. The signature is your double here, so make your double strong. And consider the destiny of a strong poem successfully portraying itself as weak. How far are you willing to go with that?

for a drop of greatness.
Give me your metaphors that glow like comets,
lighting up an audience.
Throw me a word of praise I can wear like an epithet.

I am a castle of dreams, slave to failure,
a believer in ladders to zeniths from rock bottom.
Every so often, a broken rung scrapes against my skin,
sands the edges of a person still forming,
and the conundrum in my heart grows,
in search of a word, an adjective
for those growing blank spaces.

Perhaps, when I've collected enough words,
I would be everything.



I'll come back in a few minutes.
Reply
#3
(04-09-2020, 05:13 AM)rowens Wrote:  I scribble this question again and again


"Again and again" says It, but says it too much. Let people assume the urgency.

I agree, this needs to be changed. Should I just take out the "again and again"?


in my diary, blunt pencil and a fistful of doubt,



You could arrange the fist and its doubt with a unique concept. Start with eliminating "of", and work from there.

Ok, I will try to work on this. I agree fistful is not very original.

hoping to find a mirror in a bed of words.

I long to be a signature, but morph into a sponge,
crouching in the shadows of others, 


The mirror, the other and the bed. The sponge. Shadows. 
There are potent symbols here; all they need is a little arranging and conceptual framing. Stronger cognitive grammar and statement.
The statement, the living force, being the signature. The signature is your double here, so make your double strong. And consider the destiny of a strong poem successfully portraying itself as weak. How far are you willing to go with that?

Could you explain what cognitive grammar is? Also, by "the destiny of a strong poem successfully portraying itself as weak", did you mean this is a poem where the poet aims to be stronger, but the poem itself is weak? Sorry maybe I did not completely follow.

for a drop of greatness.
Give me your metaphors that glow like comets,
lighting up an audience.
Throw me a word of praise I can wear like an epithet.

I am a castle of dreams, slave to failure,
a believer in ladders to zeniths from rock bottom.
Every so often, a broken rung scrapes against my skin,
sands the edges of a person still forming,
and the conundrum in my heart grows,
in search of a word, an adjective
for those growing blank spaces.

Perhaps, when I've collected enough words,
I would be everything.



I'll come back in a few minutes.
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#4
I'm saying that the speaker is claiming not to be a good poet. Or the person is pleading for assistance in becoming a poet. An initiation. You must be hoping the poem transcends itself. Tricky business.
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#5
[quote="rowens" pid='248739' dateline='1586391325']
I'm saying that the speaker is claiming not to be a good poet. Or the person is pleading for assistance in becoming a poet. An initiation. You must be hoping the poem transcends itself. Tricky business.

Ah. That is an aspect I did not think of, honestly. Does the poem overall read as being too pretentious or stuffed? How does it feel overall, if you do not mind me asking this question..I apologize if I am bugging you.
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#6
I think fear of pretentiousness is usually an intellectual superstition. If you stay with the positive images of trying and hoping, lay off the reflections on failure, and expand on the implications of becoming or being "everything", you'd find something.
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#7

(04-02-2020, 02:51 PM)savannah Wrote:  
I scribble this question again and again
in my diary, blunt pencil and a fistful of doubt,
hoping to find a mirror in a bed of words.

I long to be a signature, but morph into a sponge,
crouching in the shadows of others, 
for a drop of greatness.
Give me your metaphors that glow like comets,
lighting up an audience.
Throw me a word of praise I can wear like an epithet.

I am a castle of dreams, slave to failure,
a believer in ladders to zeniths from rock bottom.
Every so often, a broken rung scrapes against my skin,
sands the edges of a person still forming,
and the conundrum in my heart grows,
in search of a word, an adjective
for those growing blank spaces.

Perhaps, when I've collected enough words,
I would be everything.


Savannah,

In my opinion, the strongest section of this poem - because it has the most concrete imagery, and is the clearest to understand - is S2. N seems not to be asking ‘Who am I?’, but ‘How can I be unique?’. To that end, I suggest getting rid of S1 and S4 altogether. Likewise S3L4-6. They really don’t add anything, and the last three lines of S3 are full of abstract images.

S2L1: I like ‘long to be a signature’ - it suggests N craves importance (e.g. a powerful corporate role), or posthumous (?) fame.
In S2L4-5, who exactly is ‘Give me...’ addressed to? N’s muse, the reader, the audience she sees herself performing in front of? ‘glow like comets’ is a great line - very vivid.
‘Sponge/crouching’ is rather an odd image. Even if we rearrange it so that the two images are entirely separate (‘I am crouching in the shadows of others; I am a sponge’), this leaves the problem that sponges don’t absorb just one drop (S2L3). They absorb everything - there is a reason for the expression ‘soaking it up like a sponge’. This is actually saying the opposite of what you seem to intend. You might say something like ‘I am a sponge/soaking up greatness’ (but better than that). I see the N’s sponge status as positive - absorbing lots of styles and voices from several different perspectives. After all, that’s how we learn - we mimic first, we read voraciously from lots of different places, we practise, we fail, then we develop our own poetic/artistic voice.

In the next stanza, N goes from ‘crouching’ and being a ‘sponge’ to climbing. I like the sense of progression, but I suggest changing it to something like ‘I am climbing from rock bottom to zenith’. It’s clear from the preceding strophe that N believes she can succeed.

S3L1: ‘Castle of dreams’ is incongruous with the ladder image, and isn’t telling us anything we don’t know already. Besides which, it doesn’t seem to make sense. As I said above, I actually see failure as a positive in the context of learning and growing, but clearly your N is unhappy about it. Perhaps something like ‘I am shackled to failure’, and then extend the shackle metaphor to talk about how that failure has helped N grow. Was that what you were trying to get at? This may work instead of broken rungs sanding N’s skin (S3L3-4). It doesn’t make sense for a broken rung to ‘sand’ anything, and sanding skin sounds extraordinarily painful. Alternately, I read this as N saying the system is broken. Could you do anything with that - tell us a story, say, describe an incident where N met someone in the industry who disillusioned her?

Hope this has helped.

Cheers
EWO.
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#8
(04-10-2020, 07:49 PM)easywayout Wrote:  
(04-02-2020, 02:51 PM)savannah Wrote:  
I scribble this question again and again
in my diary, blunt pencil and a fistful of doubt,
hoping to find a mirror in a bed of words.

I long to be a signature, but morph into a sponge,
crouching in the shadows of others, 
for a drop of greatness.
Give me your metaphors that glow like comets,
lighting up an audience.
Throw me a word of praise I can wear like an epithet.

I am a castle of dreams, slave to failure,
a believer in ladders to zeniths from rock bottom.
Every so often, a broken rung scrapes against my skin,
sands the edges of a person still forming,
and the conundrum in my heart grows,
in search of a word, an adjective
for those growing blank spaces.

Perhaps, when I've collected enough words,
I would be everything.


Savannah,

In my opinion, the strongest section of this poem - because it has the most concrete imagery, and is the clearest to understand - is S2. N seems not to be asking ‘Who am I?’, but ‘How can I be unique?’. To that end, I suggest getting rid of S1 and S4 altogether. Likewise S3L4-6. They really don’t add anything, and the last three lines of S3 are full of abstract images.

S2L1: I like ‘long to be a signature’ - it suggests N craves importance (e.g. a powerful corporate role), or posthumous (?) fame.
In S2L4-5, who exactly is ‘Give me...’ addressed to? N’s muse, the reader, the audience she sees herself performing in front of? ‘glow like comets’ is a great line - very vivid.
‘Sponge/crouching’ is rather an odd image. Even if we rearrange it so that the two images are entirely separate (‘I am crouching in the shadows of others; I am a sponge’), this leaves the problem that sponges don’t absorb just one drop (S2L3). They absorb everything - there is a reason for the expression ‘soaking it up like a sponge’. This is actually saying the opposite of what you seem to intend. You might say something like ‘I am a sponge/soaking up greatness’ (but better than that). I see the N’s sponge status as positive - absorbing lots of styles and voices from several different perspectives. After all, that’s how we learn - we mimic first, we read voraciously from lots of different places, we practise, we fail, then we develop our own poetic/artistic voice.

In the next stanza, N goes from ‘crouching’ and being a ‘sponge’ to climbing. I like the sense of progression, but I suggest changing it to something like ‘I am climbing from rock bottom to zenith’. It’s clear from the preceding strophe that N believes she can succeed.

S3L1: ‘Castle of dreams’ is incongruous with the ladder image, and isn’t telling us anything we don’t know already. Besides which, it doesn’t seem to make sense. As I said above, I actually see failure as a positive in the context of learning and growing, but clearly your N is unhappy about it. Perhaps something like ‘I am shackled to failure’, and then extend the shackle metaphor to talk about how that failure has helped N grow. Was that what you were trying to get at? This may work instead of broken rungs sanding N’s skin (S3L3-4). It doesn’t make sense for a broken rung to ‘sand’ anything, and sanding skin sounds extraordinarily painful. Alternately, I read this as N saying the system is broken. Could you do anything with that - tell us a story, say, describe an incident where N met someone in the industry who disillusioned her?

Hope this has helped.

Cheers
EWO.

Hi @easywayout, thank you for your extended critique.

I understand that S1 does not start off the best way, and has not much to say. I may have to edit it myself.

In S2, while sponge does mean absorbing information, it also means that N wants to write in his own voice, but ends up being influenced by others' greatness and tries to emulate their styles, thinking that they are far better than him. That is why he is crouching in others' shadows. I understand this is not the best expression, at the time of writing this poem it was the best way I could visualize it.
In S3, I understand the metaphors are a mess, and all over the place. At this moment they are disjointed, and no progression between them. And although N feels he can climb up the ladder, occasionally an obstacle will tear him apart, making him lose confidence and sense of who he is. This corresponds to the words he wants to use for himself. 
Thanks again for your critique. Smile
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#9
(04-02-2020, 02:51 PM)savannah Wrote:  I scribble this question again and again
in my diary, blunt pencil and a fistful of doubt,
hoping to find a mirror in a bed of words.

I long to be a signature, but morph into a sponge,
crouching in the shadows of others, 

for a drop of greatness.
Give me your metaphors that glow like comets,
lighting up an audience.
Throw me a word of praise I can wear like an epithet.

I am a castle of dreams, slave to failure,
a believer in ladders to zeniths from rock bottom.
Every so often, a broken rung scrapes against my skin,
sands the edges of a person still forming,
and the conundrum in my heart grows,
in search of a word, an adjective
for those growing blank spaces.

Perhaps, when I've collected enough words,
I would be everything.

Hey! I think a cute thing would be to have a metaphor after asking for one where right now you have a simile. "Give me your metaphors that are comets lighting up an audience from afar" is an idea! 
your final two lines are so so so powerful and I love your work choices like "Epithet' and "Zeniths" builds a lot of depth
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#10
(04-02-2020, 02:51 PM)savannah Wrote:  I scribble this question again and again
in my diary, blunt pencil and a fistful of doubt,
hoping to find a mirror in a bed of words.

I long to be a signature, but morph into a sponge,
crouching in the shadows of others, 

for a drop of greatness.
Give me your metaphors that glow like comets,
lighting up an audience.
Throw me a word of praise I can wear like an epithet.

I am a castle of dreams, slave to failure,
a believer in ladders to zeniths from rock bottom.
Every so often, a broken rung scrapes against my skin,
sands the edges of a person still forming,
and the conundrum in my heart grows,
in search of a word, an adjective
for those growing blank spaces.

Perhaps, when I've collected enough words,
I would be everything.
Beautiful! Just interesting, though I think you should remove those cliché lines "I castle of dreams" "a fistful of doubt" etc, also I feel that the words are kind of cliché too, some phrases of cliché, but if you really edit this piece you would have a solid poem.
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#11
Sometimes I struggle to understand the meaning of poems, but this was NOT such case. Some of my favorite parts are "mirror in a bed of words" and "sands the edges of a person still forming." I think one part that you may want to reconsider is "slave to failure," because I think that using the word "prone" or "bound" or "chained" (or something similar) might have a more applicable-to-life resonance with the reader.
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#12
I struggle with this as well. I am not committed to stating success as a matter of fact and therefore worry if I do it will come off as arrogance. I really enjoyed it however.
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