poetry critical

online poetry workshop

Fiery Skies

One night, seventeen years ago,
my daughter, all of three years old,
stared, mesmerised, into the campfire.
Turning her innocent face towards me,
she asked, “Is that how
stars are made?” indicating the
lazily upward-drifting sparks.
I hesitated, considering my response.
I wanted to tell her all
about the properties of fire and air,
and the basics of astrophysics,
but when I saw her own star-filled eyes,
her trusting, excited face,
I, her father, said “Yes,
and that’s why there are no stars when it rains.”

22 Oct 05

Rated 9.1 (7.9) by 13 users.
Active (13): 1, 4, 8, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10
Inactive (17): 1, 1, 2, 6, 7, 7, 8, 9, 9, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

(define the words in this poem)
(54 more poems by this author)

(11 users consider this poem a favorite)

Add A Comment:
Enter the following text to post as unknown: captcha


 — unknown

um, thanks. but, are there any suggestions for improvement perhaps?
 — inutile

yes, change line 16 to read stars... its a typo.

I have a question, is this a personal experience, non-fiction poem? Or purely made up?  
 — 5foot3

delete L1
 — unknown

The first three lines have no meaning except to the author.  They distract and annoy.
 — unknown

this poem is based on a memory, although not neccesarily mine.

i think the first three lines are necessary, since it explains the age and relation of the girl asking the question, and the past setting was necessary to show that it is a memory, and it is an old one, that has been remembered almost perfectly throughout those past 17 years.
 — inutile

I have a three year old-- you have captured something about that age exquistely.  But, i expect that those who havent a three year old-- may not appreciate it.
Its really lovely.. and capturing the essense of a age surely isnt easy. good job. /5fooot3
 — unknown

thank you 5foot3. it really means something to me that you can relate to this poem.
 — inutile

I love the honesty you place in that little girl in L15-16. It makes me think how you need to keep such imaginations going. I haven't got kids yet but things like this poem make me keen as to have one!
 — kingcrossy

well kingcrossy, i hope you do get the opportunity to father a child in the future, and i hope you are as in love with their naive notions as i am. i believe it is important to keep them believing in magic and such for as long as you can, because once they are grown up the world isn't as magical a place anymore. humour them, let them enjoy it while they can.
 — inutile

i like the idea this poem has.  but i think you could make some cuts with some of extra words to make it flow better, in my book.

also, i didnt need "her father" in L15. -- and just some extra words throughout.  

over all though, good stuff.  if you're interested in my cuts, just hit me up -- i'll throw something together for you.  but fine poem.
 — aeturnus

 — nickiblitz

I like this.  I like the innocense of the girl, and I like the reasoning behind it...oh, the way kids are able to see right through all the science huh?  I esp. like the last 2 lines...good one here!
 — SaleenDriva

thanks, nickiblitz and SaleenDriva.

aeturnus, i wrote a long reply, but it didn't work properly. this was a few days ago, but i never got around to re-writing it. basically, it said that whatever help you want to give me, whatever suggestions for improvement you have, if you want to tell me, i'm interested.
 — inutile

its very nice, I thought you might have been a girl int. damn.
It reads more like a snap shot from a longerpeice, like a short story. love the sentiemnt though, don't kill fantasy and unlimetless notions with hard 'facts'.
 — philosophile

This is so simple and so sweet and so complex.  What a wonderful observation by a child!  So magical and so purposeful at the same time.

Don't you wish this was the way stars really were made?  
 — Isabelle5

thanks guys. that is exactly the kind of response i was trying to achieve with this poem.

science takes the fun out of everything!
 — inutile

this poem sucked. go away. get a life. i bet you don't evan have a daughter
 — unknown

gosh, another correct unknown. i don't have a daughter. this poem is written from my father's perspective, about my older sister. i believe this took place before i was even born.
 — inutile

Very good job on your portrayal :D keep up this good work
 — Thenameless

what have we but dreams and imaginations? to keep moving.
such a beautiful poem. nicely done.
 — varun

thanks guys. i made a few small changes, too.
 — inutile

this is clever and bursting at the seams with vivid imagery. the campfire scene reminds
me of my childhood...except i'm not too sure about the title.
 — emptyepitaph

thank you emptyepitaph. what do you think i should do about the title?
 — inutile

would you perhaps consider changing it to "naive innocence" , "young heart of fire" or "through the ashes of purity" or even "through the ashes of naiveity." i don't know, they're not very good, but something along those lines maybe...
 — emptyepitaph

i don't know. i like the title how it is, and none of your suggestions immediately won me over. i'll ponder over it, on and off.
 — inutile

Love this poem.  I don't think it should be changed in any way, especially the title.  I have 3 kids and this touched thqt soft parental spot in my heart.  Well done.
 — Saldebar

 — listen

thanks saldebar. coming from you, that means a lot to me.

and thanks, too, listen.
 — inutile

Simple, pretty, captures the wonder of a child which is something we tend to lose too fast. I've gone outside twice with my daughter (and she's a teenager) to watch "shooting stars". We really enjoyed it a lot!
 — wamblicante

i love shooting starts, too, but doesn't everyone? i remember one time i was laying on a hill with a boy i really like/d and we saw a shooting star. i've never forgotten that moment, it was so bittersweet for reasons i will not go into here.

it seems that most things, however beatiful, are also sad, even if it's because it can never be exactly the same way again. but, in a way, it's part of this sadness that makes things so beautiful.
 — inutile

 — inutile

inutile - Not speaking of you but in general here, just want to make that clear. Unless you lead a very depressing life, are chronically depressed yourself or both, there is beauty to be found all around us. True that the beauty of a certain moment is fleeting and will never be repeated (at least not exactly the same way) and that's sad. But we still have that moment and the memory. And hopefully we have more beautiful moments yet to come. I hope you have many of them!
 — wamblicante

this is beautiful. I really like the 2 lines, perfect conclusion.
 — cliff

thank you cliff. means a lot to me.
 — inutile

I love this, the innocence, purity and simplicity of it.
 — marionette

why thank you, marionette.
 — inutile

This is wonderful.  It's simple, but it means something.  It captures the wonder and awe and complete and utter innocence or the situation.  10 and favorite.
 — fallinforyou

thank you.
 — inutile

I'm not too sure about the "her father" part in the second to last line.
 — GalvanicGirl

never mind. It mirrors the "my daughter" part in the second line.

symmetry floats my boat.
 — GalvanicGirl

um, ok :)

i needed to have it to describe my relation to her, and hence my attitude.

*when i say "my", i mean the person in the poem, not actaully me.
 — inutile

i like bourbon
you like beer
you want a random person
i am here!

With considerable good wit and a love of online text adventure games....
willing to duel for jerotich's heart....

Best to you and yoursinly,
Lord Brackley
 — unknown

Thanks for sharing this, I enjoyed it immensely.
I don't really have anything to critique, though I tell you the truth, I did look long and hard.

"lazily upward-drifting sparks" in l8, when I read it, did not come smoothly
and I was thinking maybe something else, but nothing sounded better or even kept the same image... :'D
this poem is definitely a favorite for me.
 — lai

this is perfect.  absolutely perfect.  excellent work.
 — poppy_seed

thank you lai and poppy_seed for your kind words.

and thank you unknown for being fun and brightening my day. you are the epitome of awesomness.
 — inutile

I love it.  And as awkward as "I, her father" is, it's neccessary.  Perhaps earlier, because visually it's nice to paint a scene and know the sexes of each of the characters. It's lovely, really marvellous.
 — OwlGirl

This is absolutely amazing, favorite :)
 — xerda

Indicating 'AT' the …
 — unknown

Lovely :)
 — CervusWright

Cut out the filler lines and descriptions. This would work best as sparse and as simple as possible, to show the contrast between innocence and knowledge, young and old, etc. etc. As is, it isn't bad. But it could be a lot better.
 — wendz

edited very slightly.

unknown, i like it better without "at"

cervuswright, xerda and owlgirl, thank you for your compliments.

wendz, i feel that all i have written is needed to paint the full picture. if you have any specific cuts in mind, let me know, and i'll consider them, but i don't really want to change anything as yet. thank you for the suggestion.
 — inutile

First line is irrelevant, also 3rd line. "innocent" is unnecessary and not descriptive or evocative.

Something like,

Mermerised by sparks flying from our campfire, my daughter asked me, "is that how stars are made"? "Yes, my little one, they fly far above the rain."

Then you could tell her about the legend of Perseus and Andromeda, voila, an epic!
 — unknown

Lines one, three and five are filler lines. They don't add anything to this. Lines nine, thirteen, fourteen and fifteen could be rewritten better. Line sixteen is good, but you could cut some of the filler words; "and that's why".

Writing is always dangerous - if you make these edits, then the spirit of this may potentially cease to be your work. I guess this is more an extrapolation of how your furture pieces could be - cut boring lines and unimaginative descriptions to give a more powerful effect.

I also agree with unknown - "innocent" is a chumpy word to use, especially when this hinges so much on the child's innocence.
 — wendz

I feel the mood and it's visual. Big Up.
I sent you an email in regards to your comments on my newly sbmitted poems.



Why the hell L9 - L12????? And I don't like how you let it be known, your relation to her in L15. otherwise I see what you were trying for, thus it is respectible.
 — starwars

lines 9-12 beause this poem is for/about my father. he likes maths and science, and this poem recounts a true story, which he has remembered all those years.
i feel that writing my relation can influence the feeling of this poem. i deem that line necessary.
 — inutile

*writing his relation, sorry.

i get confused with first person writing :P
 — inutile

oh. this is wonderful.
 — lazyduck187

Oh wow... That conclusion gave me chills.
Hmm. I'll be back to read this. No critical comments at the moment.
 — Claide

(All of the suggestions for line omissions... I strongly disagree with thus far. They're necessary for form and setting. This poem is very well rounded.)
 — Claide

lovely, how did you think of this? I find it impossible to step out of myself and write a poem as if I were a different sex, or age or whatever. You have done this really well. I see them sitting at the camp fire, father and daughter, the picture is easy to see cos your poem paints it perfectly.
 — flaminhot

thank you both for your comments.

flaminhot, my father told me this story/memory, and i wrote it into a poem. of course, i changed it, tweaked it, detailed it, made it into stanzas, etc., but the story was already there.
 — inutile

I. LOVE. THIS. POEM. What a wonderful scene! You did well capturing the moment and keeping it simple. Great job! And you've given me an idea for a new poem. Ooohhh....
 — Maela

thank you so much for your comment, maela. i'll look forward to reading the poem when you write it.
 — inutile

I found this enchanting! The father finally entering into his child's world.  Instinctively he knows that the child is not looking for science but magic instead.
 — violet

thanks, violet, for you lovely  insightful comment.
 — inutile

I like this poem its quite cute remember lil kids saying funny stuff like that puts a smile on my face
 — Phoenix567

thanks for the comment, phoenix567.
 — inutile

Love this one.Its so what we do when are kids are little. I believed in Father Christmas till i was 53 cus off the way my mum convinced me when i had a long intellectual conversation about it when i was 49

Larry fire and rain Lark
 — larrylark

larrylark, you're beautiful.
 — inutile

Yeah, first stanza could be removed, so could the word astrophysics -- change to universe mabye? (doesn't seem to go with the rest of the poem). Not trying to detract, just commenting.
 — voltagex

I came to critique.

Since I can't really do that, I'm just gonna say I love the sweetness and the nostalgic feeling this gives off.
 — povertea

thanks voltagex. i'm not going to change anything as per your suggestions, because they have been suggested before, and i have already considered and dismissed them. but thank you for the comment.

and thank you povertea, i'm glad you thought good things of this poem.
 — inutile

 — unknown

thanks unknown.
 — inutile

edited slightly
 — inutile

Wow. This is so special! I can start off my day filled with a happy light now. I have a 2.5 year old and he thinks there is horses sniffing in his bed. It's just the duvet rustling against the wall but I don't ruin it for him, he thinks they're his little friends that keep him safe.
 — callingcard

This is very sweet.
 — jenakajoffer

Good poem for an Aussie slut.
 — unknown

unknown, whether it was you, or another unknown, i've been through this before. i'm glad you liked my poem, and bumped it up.
 — inutile

a moment of wonder captured beautifully

lovely piece
 — Mongrol

[Comment removed by moderator.]

[Comment removed by moderator.]

[Comment removed by moderator.]

[Comment removed by moderator.]

[Comment removed by moderator.]

[Comment removed by moderator.]

Great work.
 — JerryReed

[Comment removed by moderator.]

[Comment removed by moderator.]

[Comment removed by moderator.]

[Comment removed by moderator.]

[Comment removed by moderator.]

[Comment removed by moderator.]

You slut bitch. I hate you and want to kill you.
 — unknown

yeah, well, i don't feel like dying, thanks all the same.
 — inutile

Fuck off, inutile.
 — unknown

Do you shave your pussy, inutile?
 — unknown

Makes me want to be a dad :), really good! am amazed you managed to fit 'the basics of astrophysics' into a poem and it didnt ruin it!
 — Leo24

my father has changed since the time this poem is set in. i don't know when, or even why, but he is different now. and i miss him.
 — inutile

Did your father lick your pussy, inutile?
 — unknown