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Diadne (The Castaway Angel)

Discussion in 'Critiques' started by Perpetual Man, Nov 18, 2011.

    Perpetual Man

    Perpetual Man Tim James

    Jun 13, 2006
    As seems to be the law out here I'm making my 2,000th post (I seems to have done that second thousand a lot quicker than the first!) and as such I'm posting a piece for Critique.

    In the recent 300 word challenge I struggled to get a poem shrunk to the required 300 words, when what I came up with started closer to 800. I promised I'd post it here when the time came to be ripped, twisted and otherwise looked over.

    This is exactly as it came out with no alterations, so plenty to correct:

    (The Castaway Angel)


    She stands alone in her ivory tower,
    Lost in memory
    Her eyes are caught in yesterday's fire,
    Staring out across the crystal sea.
    She is dressed in rags,
    That were once fine robes,
    Her hands are clawed and red,
    Her face is pained,
    Her heart is torn,
    For love once she wept.


    Her hair is long
    Of the finest blond,
    Her eyes are blue,
    Pure sapphire blue,
    Her voice as sweet as wine,
    Rosebud lips adorn her face,
    Her figure is both strong and fine,
    She has skin,
    As white as silk,
    And fair,
    (So fair),
    Against her back,
    The smoothest plumes,
    Folded wings,
    Brightest white,
    She shines with that inner light.


    She cares not for tomorrow,
    Or for what today may bring,
    Her eyes are bright,
    With the pasts great light,
    And she will not sing again.
    Her heart it yearns for that yesterday,
    When she was pure and true,
    When she walked amongst the Seraphim,
    She loved,
    And was loved too.
    Many there were of her golden kind,
    That walked in crystal halls,
    They played together,
    These lords of light,
    And looked at the world below.
    Time passed,
    On its way,
    As it always does,
    And through those celestial days,
    She lived in a angel ways,
    Resting in gardens fair,
    Beyond even Eden's compare,
    She danced the dance of being,
    She loved not one of the heavenly host,
    But all and none of the Flaming beings.


    Then one night the Dream King came,
    And passed into her mind,
    He showed her things
    Of the world below,
    From which she tried to hide,
    But in dreams,
    There is no escape,
    And apparently no lies,
    And from the scenes she could not take flight,
    They filled her full of dread fear,
    And shame dimmed her light.


    She saw:
    War on city streets,
    A child in the ruins,
    Factories belching smoke,
    Refuse filling rivers,
    Whales transfixed,
    And cut to bits,
    Needles full of ****,
    Bombs on passenger planes,
    The homeless on the streets,
    She saw:
    Crime and disease,
    All of this,
    The pain of the human race,
    She saw it all through tearful eyes,
    And despair on her face.


    The dreamer smiled,
    A knowing smile,
    And walked them from her dreaming,
    Leaving her with questions why,
    To see the world with hollow eyes,
    She stumbled along the gilded streets,
    But saw through that façade,
    She watched her fellows laughing,
    Dancing in the glades,
    But when she closed her eyes,
    She knew their love betrayed.
    Doubt it grew in her mind,
    Rotting her perceptions,
    Of a better time,
    Adrift in a sea of shame,
    Why should it be that angels fly,
    While their lesser cousins,
    Live and die,
    Cast upon a sea of pain,
    She wandered lonely,
    Through the crowds,
    Until a destination came,
    Upon a hill the Lord’s home stood,
    And to there her questions came.


    She clambered up the single hill,
    Into exalted halls,
    She walked through gardens green,
    Through orchards and flowerbeds all,
    Until at last,
    She stood before,
    The Mighty Ones doors,
    The gates opened before her,
    The throne room supreme,
    But nothing stirred within,
    She looked in shock,
    At what she saw,
    A dusty room,
    With no life at all,
    Windows smeared,
    Cupboards empty,
    Cobwebbed walls,
    A giant throne stripped of gold,
    A ragged cushion at its feet.
    Oh, what a tragedy,
    She knew then what despair was,
    The Creator was not there,
    If he ever was.


    And so she came to the last great tower,
    Upon the realms high walls,
    And screamed to her fellows what she'd found,
    But in laughter her cry was drowned,
    And the lie went on again.
    Within her breast emotion churned,
    She was swimming against a drowning tide,
    She cast herself from the walls,
    And did not attempt to fly.
    She fell,
    Free of heavens light,
    Twisting towards the fires below,
    Of Lucifer's plight.


    But intercepted by planetary mass
    She came to rest at last,
    Upon the Earth,
    And there she chose to hide,
    What more were she to do,
    Except join mankind's bloody tide?


    So she stands alone in her ivory tower,
    Lost in memory,
    Her eyes are caught in yesterday's fire,
    Remembering how it used to be,
    She's dressed in rags
    That were once fine robes,
    Her hands are clawed and red,
    Her face is pained,
    Her heart is torn,
    And she wants it all to end,
    But that can never be,
    Trapped she is until the end of time,
    Because no matter how much they try.
    Angels cannot ever die.

    hopewrites Deliriously Happy

    Oct 6, 2011
    *a moment of silent despair proceeds deafening applause*
    I would not have been able to remove one word of it if it were mine. You have my respect and admiration twice over then, first as the author of this bardic feat, second as the editor of it.
    The emotionally charged imagery is clear and (as is fitting for a poem) poetic. The rhythm softly chanting with a pull that walks the reader through the piece at a steady pace.

    the heartbreak of the last line unexpectedly trumped the plight that brought it about.

    thank you for sharing it in its original form. lol I would have been too dismayed at the thought of bringing it under 300 words and would have just written something else, so thank you also for being able to create the shortened version that was almost as moving and certainly as beautiful as the first.
    Perpetual Man

    Perpetual Man Tim James

    Jun 13, 2006
    Thanks so very much Hope, I'm blushing.
    Jo Zebedee

    Jo Zebedee the year of Abendau.

    Oct 5, 2011
    Hi Perp, being really hard here, since very few have fed back yet. The imagery and the tale are really moving and the sense of the cold angel watching very well done. I thought the poem flowed really well in places and then lost the flow from time to time; when this was linked to the subject matter it was really moving, but occasionally it jarred. As I say, I'm really nit picking; the imagery will stay with me for a long time, as it did in the 300 challenge.:D

    TheDustyZebra Hangin' around Staff Member

    Nov 26, 2009
    Wonderful! It does lose the flow in places, but that could be fixed with a thesaurus and a little more judicious choice of words to make the cadence -- I don't do much in the way of poetry (only for a few challenges here), but I can't do it at all without the trusty thesaurus!

    I can't agree about the flow being lost in verse 3, though -- that is my favorite part of all, and it's very Edgar Allen Poe. I think the only part of verse 3 that doesn't strike me as perfect is that "flaming beings" at the end. Otherwise, sheer genius!

    I don't think I could have cut this to 300 words, myself. I'd have torn my hair out, for sure.
    Jo Zebedee

    Jo Zebedee the year of Abendau.

    Oct 5, 2011
    I think that's the problem with poetry and why I'd normally never comment on it - and that's that its just so subjective.

    I also wonder if the venacular we read in affect the way we hear/appreciate the flow. I mean, I read this out loud when critiqueing, and I'm fairly sure Perp and I have very different accents; do I put the emphasis somewhere different/shorten a sound and then affect the flow?

    I'm sure someone a lot more intelligent than me on such matters will have an answer.
    The Judge

    The Judge Truth. Order. Moderation. Staff Member

    Nov 10, 2008
    nearly the New Forest
    Congratulations on the 2000, Perp!

    Thanks for sharing the poem with us, but I'm sorry to say that I couldn't get on with it. When it comes to poetry I'm a hide-bound traditionalist so free-form rhythm doesn't ever gel with me, and if rhyme is present I think it's vital that it's consistent within stanzas even if not always between them. I'm clearly in an old-fashioned minority, though, so no need to listen to me.

    Anyway, with my nit-picky hat on, as you undoubtedly know, the punctuation is haywire and definitely needs to be tidied up -- you've commas instead of full-stops and vice versa, and apostrophes missing all over the place.

    chopper Steven Poore - Epic Fantasist & SFSF Socialist

    Feb 4, 2005
    Sheffield, SoYo
    as with TJ, i'm afraid - damn good go at it, and far more than i would ever dare to post, but as a newcomer to poetry myself i need a definite rhyme scheme to be able to enjoy it (i came to poetry through Stephen Fry's excellent little primer, and got back into Shakespeare though it). the imagery and tragedy are all very good though - what use an angel without gods?

    HareBrain Lagomorphing Staff Member

    Oct 13, 2008
    Poshville, West Sussex
    I have no problem normally with blank or any other kind of verse, but the problem here, for me, is that it falls between two stools. There is enough suggestion of rhyme and rhythm for my mind to want to "fill in the gaps" where it doesn't exist, leading me to want to do something awful like this to the first stanza:


    She stands alone in ivory tower,
    Lost in memory
    Her eyes are caught in former fire,
    'cross the crystal sea.
    Dressed in rags
    That once were fine,
    Her hands are clawed and red.
    Her face is pained,
    Her heart is torn;
    She lies upon the bed.​

    (Possibly reinforced by the title, which perhaps led me to expect something with a Victorian feel.)

    I think you'd do better to either give it more structure (but not, *ahem*, like my example), or remove any tainting hint of one. But taste in poetry is very personal, and this is only my opinion.​

    Just to add that (again, purely for my own taste) although I like seeing poetry entries for the 75-word challenge, I'd find 300 words a bit of a struggle unless it were brilliant. But clearly not everyone shares that view, and it was a brave attempt.​

    Boneman Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2008
    Working with the Bare Bones of talent
    Hi Perp, and congrats on your 2000th. I don't read a great deal of poetry by choice, but I always like the entries in the 75 and 300 word challenges, because they're telling a good story. Which is why I enjoyed yours - I let it move on to tell the tale, rather than looking for cadence and rhythm. (Or anything else poems are 'supposed' to do!) Yours is a really good story, and I can see the photo so clearly in my mind at the end of it. Evocative and disturbing at the same time. Good work!:)
    Perpetual Man

    Perpetual Man Tim James

    Jun 13, 2006
    Thanks to everyone who commented, praised and critiqued this, it is greatly appreciated. I did mean to come back sooner and look through what had been written, but got distracted by the NaNo malarky.

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