poetry critical

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An Answer to the Question: "What's in a Name?"

To the girl whose name
I stupidly forgot to ask:
I woke up at five
this morning,
while you were still
peacefully sleeping,
shallowly breathing, and
showing hardly a sign
of being alive.
I turned to leave,
and paused in the threshold
for just a moment, allowing
a thin strip of light to
softly fall upon your
travel worn face.  
Your lips were for
once pressed together in
silence, but I could still
hear your voice.
I contemplated
waking you, to ask for
your name, your address,
and all of the typical
contact information.
I thought better and
hoped instead for one
of those random coincidence
reunions, in which we
would meet in some distant
time and place not knowing
from where we actually
knew each other.  
You were on my mind;
I, on a bus to Belfast,
reading the words of Steinbeck
translated awkwardly.
I sat thinking
about the contrast of this
Emerald Isle in late
winter and the Oklahoma Dust
Bowl of mid-summer as the
bus passed through Drogheda.
Meanwhile, passing
through my head, were
the ironies of the Reverend Jim
Casey's colloquial German and the
fact that somewhere in Dublin
there's a girl that knows
perhaps more about me than
I know of myself, with the
exception of my name.
I know that about this
time tomorrow
we'll both be holding
tickets and flight
itineraries, with our
respective names
printed on them.  
Hours later you'll be
somewhere shedding
layers in a summer
dawn on hot
tarmac.  I'll be
watching my own
sighs melt snowflakes
in the glow of runway
halogen lights.
I don't actually need
a name for you.  For one
night you were the end
to all of my sentences.
To me you'll always
be the girl who could sum
up life, love, and happiness
in twenty words or less,
to make it fit on the
back of a postcard
and who, in different
circumstances, may
have been my life,
my love, my happiness.
Hopefully this letter addressed:
"c/o The girl, whose late night
and early morning acquaintance I
made just long enough, to think
she may be in every way perfect
Somewhere in the southern
hemisphere," will reach you.
He, who has never regretted his own timidness so much

26 Mar 06

Rated 8.1 (8.1) by 23 users.
Active (23): 1, 1, 4, 6, 7, 7, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10
Inactive (14): 1, 3, 7, 8, 8, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

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i like this poem - I think though that you can tighten it up a bit so that there is more immediacy to it.  I especially liked:

I'll be
watching my own  
breath melt snowflakes  
in the glow of runway  
halogen lights.

Also, if you start with line 34 and then work the rest in as you are watching her sleep, etc. I think this will pull the reader in and I don't think you need lines 21 to 23.

I hope that you don't mind these comments  Like I said I liked the poem a lot.
 — lyssa3

I had just read a bit of a shitty poem about love - im so glad i found this one. You made me smile and i needed it! Thanks.
 — philoanon

Just beautiful. Been there.
 — gingerdave


Loved it.

Sorry this comment is not longer.

 — musicwords

i love it, every part.
 — unknown

you had me at "southern hemisphere".

my panties are down irish boy. paddy come 4 pussy.
 — unknown

for me it is is bit wordy in spots, and more like line-broken prose than poetry. i think if you intended a prose poem, you'll need to tighten it up a bit and rethink some breaks from the point of view of metre.

it is however, a loverly piece of writing.

no rating yet; it wouldn't be fair. it wouldn't be as high as it could be, given your obvious talent and i have no desire to unperch you from the #1 spot.
 — noodleman

this poem is so beautiful, because youre beautiful. and I'll never be with you. not even if i found that four leaf clover.
 — unknown

 — CervusWright

Amazing. I love the last three stanzas more than you'll ever know.
 — crista_lee

Ohh my, wow.

I do agree that the line breaks are a bit awkward at times, however, this is a lovely piece.
 — the_recluse

I noticed you were on the list in that forum, so here I am.  I love this a lot.  As other people have said, it's a little wordy.  But it's so honest and full of emotion that you can get away with it.  This is really good.
Nice job,
 — fallinforyou

nvm, forget the comment about the list thing.  But, w/e.
 — fallinforyou

that poem rox! dude, im luvin it
 — delusional

in 43 and 44, passed and passing are too close together for me.  I'd like to see a different word.

I really like the style of this.  As it goes on, it picks up steam and becomes more beautiful with every stanza.  
 — jerotich

I really liked this, the imagery was terrific. The language and structure were so graceful and flowed so naturally.
 — voidofcourse

I enjoyed this thoroughly, great work
 — jenakajoffer

Parts of this slay me.

enjambment on 41/42  YES

many of the other line breaks seem random, but work fine.

but honestly i think the way it ends ruins the rest of the piece.  you go for concrete and i think you should rely on abstraction which you nearly capture in 69-78 but then move in a different direction starting 79.

i want to see you realize, instead, that sometimes the most important people you meet in life are ones you only interact with for five minutes, or ten seconds.

i want you to realize that perhaps you are fooling yourself into thinking that she is a perfect companion, but nonetheless you wish to thank her for time well spent, and tell her more about what you learned--going into specifics would be interesting!

but i cannot force that on you--it has to become true for you in order to be true for the poem.  do you agree with what i am saying?  the ending seems too melancholy for the spirit of the rest of the poem, which celebrates your interactions.
 — root

btw, i REALLY hope i don't sound like i know what happened better than you, i am only offering the spirit in which i read the poem.

minimally i would like to see you change the last 13 lines or so, which really don't do the rest of it justice.
 — root

i will add one last very important comment:

thank you for writing a poem about this.  obviously it resonates (no pun intended) very much with the readers, and i think captures something very important about pain and beauty in life.
 — root

This is without a doubt the best i've come across on this site.  Only the third that i've even enjoyed.  Favorite.  However, i do have some constructive crticism.  

I don't like admittedly in L21.  It unnecessarily slows the poem down.  Maybe you could add something of more consequence, with commas or dashes, between "you" and "to" in L22.  They're almost asking to be separated.

I see what you're trying to do with L34-37 but it's not carried out correctly.  The "and" before the semicolon has to go.  No conjunctions before semicolons.  "I" should go after the semicolon followed by a comma and you might want to consider doing away with the semi altogether.  It's still questionable even in that arrangement.

Use a comma after "Meanwhile" and perhaps a different word.  I don't think "in the intervening period of time" is precisely the timeframe you're poem occupies.

L60-68 are great.  A thought hit me, though, to substitute "sighs" for "breath".  It does more to manifest your regret.

In 69-82, if you could find some way to say "life, love, happiness" only once but have it apply to both significations, this poem would be immortal.  This stanza is pivotal and needs to be a bit more to the point.  The fact that you have a lofty point to make to puts a bit of a burden on you, but you can pull it off.  

Last two stanzas aren't necessary and almost feel gimmicky, no offense.  Perfect L69-82 and i doubt you'll have any second thoughts about deleting them.

Quite a bit of critique, but i feel it's for a worthy cause.  Touche, salesman.  

(And did someone really dare bring up James Blunt in this thread?  For shame.)
 — yeesher

enjoyed readin this.  i found it to be a little long in some spots but overall an amazing piece
 — xtormentedx

oh my.

 — misspanda

(now that my jaw is shut...)

this is a masterpiece. tight, well-worded, fantastic imagery without the picture being painted overcloying the words themselves... excellent, excellent, excellent.

makes me want to be sure that never happens to me

 — misspanda

I agree with root regarding the end. It almost cheapens her, you know? I never regretted missed love so much as when they made a sequel for Before Sunrise.
 — Ananke

NOt very poetic, but a nicely written story. Good ideas.
 — unknown

a poem for the masses. kind of cool and corny. a walmart fave.
 — unknown

I really like this one, the last line is perfect. Straight into the favorites.
 — Thea

have you seen these comments?

i'm interested in hearing what you think
 — root

oh i love this. i also loved 64-68.
i really like how you are able to base all of your thoughts around the "name" thing.
 — topop

sounds about right
 — Anna-Erb

hey toolbox how about u read the comments!?
 — unknown

I'm glad i spotted this again, i forgot to add it to my favs, it doesn't fall down anywhere imo, muchly enjoyed   ty
 — wantsaname

I really love this. Some of your phrases in here are simply beautiful; such as: L65-68 and L73-78. However, I had trouble with fluency. To make it sound better, I think you should get rid of some of the adverbs at the beginnings of stanzas, such as: L21 "admittedly" and L44 "meanwhile." I even think in L10 you could get rid of "as" and say, "I turned to leave and paused in the threshold.." The adverbs make the poem sound too "gramatically correct."

I also don't understand the use of the the semi-colon in L35. Maybe you could explain its meaning to me? I'm new at this.

Overall, this is great, one of my all-time favorites. Thanks (10)
 — iamswanson

Holy hell, you people are awesome.  I have to confess I posted this and then became extremely busy with random things for the past month so I am just getting back to this piece, but I now see I have a lot to think about.  

Regarding the semicolon that is confusing people: it is improperly done looking back on it, as one of you pointed out.  It should read: You were on my mind; I, on a bus to Belfast.  If it's still confusing, just imagine it saying "You were on my mind.  I was on a bus to Belfast."  Basically the eliptical clause eliminates several words that are supposed to be understood, here the verb "to be" because it was previously used in the main clause.  

Regarding the ending: It's clear that the ending seems to be a point of disgression for people.  I may leave it.  I may change it.  At the moment I find it to be

Thanks to everyone, especially those of you that offered suggestions, I did a small edit to this and am currently considering the rest of your ideas.  I appreciate the time you took regardless of whether or not I incorporate your suggestions.  So thanks once again.
 — Resonanz

The small improvements really made a difference. Nice work. And thanks for the clarification on the semi-colon.
 — iamswanson

Thanks and you're quite welcome for the explanation, though I think I should be thanking you for pointing the lack of clarity out.

Thanks once again everyone for the great critiques.  You have me thinking incredibly deeply about this piece, which I consider to be a rather positive thing.
 — Resonanz

This poem always makes me so sad, today I feel it particularly strongly for some reason, and you have brought tears.

The emotion could not be more tangible in this perfect poem than it already is.

Please do not touch the last line, it would sadden me further.

Hugs to you, Resonaz, for writing one of the finest poems I have had the pleasure to read.

Ever your supporter,

 — musicwords

Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous.
 — WindingRhyme

love it
 — unknown

i'll be honest, i normally get easily bored by long, "wordy" poems....
but this one capivated me, because it stands out from anything else i've ever read on Tetto or anywhere else for that matter. Loved it.

 — xChelseax

This is so boring. Post it on your livejournal or something... your myspace blog.
 — unknown

this beautiful epitath to a one night stand
is more that I can dream of in a poem.
Eloquent, beautiful, i am breathless
 — unknown

This is lovely but I have to confess it creeps me out to know there are still people getting intimate without  knowing each other.  It also makes me wonder why, if the connection was that good, one of you didn't change your itinerary.

Life choices are tough.  This poem is good.
 — Isabelle5

Was tbis based on an actual experience?
 — unknown

Thanks for the support, the compliments, or the negative feedback.  Just thanks in general everyone.

This was based on personal experience (poetic license taken in certain points, it doesn't really matter where)
 — Resonanz

wow. i really like this poem. i love how you deal with the topic and how it beautifully portrays buch a beautiful yet semi-tragic event. my critiques are that towards the beginning i didn't feel a flow. maybe you could try not to shorten your sentences so that they aren't choppy. possibly you put them there to make them sound exactly like that (cold and curt) but to me i found it slightly uneven and uncomfortable. also, i think maybe in your fourth stanza when you wrote "and all of the typical  
contact information. " that possibly could have been revised. for, i found that it was irregular to the poem and that it was too direct to the reader.  nonetheless great poem. be very proud of this. rock on.
 — lanezfairy

oh my god it gives me goosebumps.

every time, and i've read it three times now.
 — misspanda

  boiwkznj http://spqncgyw.com jdwaswga xtvdtwaq  amzcwzgu  [URL=http: //pjsecbzg.com]agwpljyh[/URL]
 — unknown

I hate the way this sounds, but: too many lines. I'll be damned if I can pick which lines are unnecessary, but that's just the general feeling I get.

It's more than that: I think that I'd love to see this as a very short poem, sort of like the persona having all these thoughts, fears, feelings, but only being able to express it very, very minutely - or, not at all.

I'm running out of time - I'll hopefully get back to this.

Oh, I liked this very, very much, in case you couldn't tell. Especially the last two stanzas.
 — wendz

i love lines 69 to 82.
 — dreamingg

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 — unknown