A dark place.

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A dark place.

Postby the_leander » Thu Jul 20, 2006 11:43 pm

In this darkend room I sit, my mind lives elsewhere,
In a living dream I reside, terrified of the world outside.
In me I feel a pain, so strong.
This nameless ache, this timeless agony.

Suffering in silence, I must go on, though desperate to speak.
But what to say, and who to tell?
Is my own world now darker then the outside?
Dare I risk a peak?

I know not who I am, but am told, am I what is said of me?
This darkness I hold onto is comfort, but also my vice.
Where do I fit? How will I know?
Is this all there is?

I look about me, desperate to understand, but then a thought:
Is this my time?
A creeping coldness holds me, no longer the warm dark.
I am depression.

For the record, I hate writing poetry, its always been an artform that has never sat well with me. But I do feel a little better for getting it out of me.

joanne chapman
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Postby joanne chapman » Fri Jul 21, 2006 2:00 am

God Alan that is dark, sad and so bloody real.

I sincerely hope that you (nor anyone else) are feeling this withdrawn, especially when friend's are/should be there to help.

Some of the best poetry I have ever read has risen from despair and/or traumatic events. I think when poetry targets and provokes certain feelings that we all have deep down, then it becomes far more powerful and sometimes even scary.


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Louis P. Burns aka Lugh
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Postby Louis P. Burns aka Lugh » Fri Jul 21, 2006 2:18 pm

Hi Alan,

Interesting piece mate. Would you say that your sense of release at getting it out onto the page / monitor is a lasting one? If so, then you have most probably gone through a form of catharsis while writing this poem. A healthy thing I might add :wink:

There's no rule that says a poem must be cheerful and luvvy-duvvie. Poetry can also be used as a tool to unlock the minds of oppressed people, tackle governments when they fuck up, break down war or place shame with those who deserve it. As for structuring a poem so that it hits 'the many', perhaps Delph would be best placed to guide here because I'm not orthodox in my writing and have a tendency to ramble...

It takes guts to write mate and you have clearly delved in and decided to confront nagging issues. Fair play to ya man :)
Louis P. Burns aka Lugh
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Diesel Engine

Postby Diesel Engine » Sun Jul 30, 2006 4:17 am

Very Good Alan
As Dark and Cold as a life sentence to a Gulag
Im not a fan of writing poetry myself either as sometimes you feel that you are giving too much of yourself away
That said it was a very brave and honest piece

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Catherine Edmunds
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Postby Catherine Edmunds » Mon Jul 31, 2006 3:08 pm

Hi Alan. Apologies for taking so long to get to this one.

I've written poetry for many internet communities, and used to often write little explanatory notes like your 'for the record...' at the end of this one. I thought they were useful for the reader. Then I joined a particular workshop community with stringent rules that at first made me feel like screaming, until I had been there for a year or so and started to realise that the rules made sense. One was; no headers and no footnotes. No explanations. The reader isn't interested. They want the poem; not excuses and explanations. I thought this was absurdly harsh at first, but after a while I realised how right it was, and now I try my hardest not to 'lead' the reader with such comments.

Your comment basically says that you don't think you're much of a poet, but you find the process cathartic. Well, it's up to the reader to decide if you're a poet or not. You might be pleasantly surprised, but if you tell them you can't do it before they've written a response, they have to respond with that in mind, so you're setting yourself up for a 'there, there, dear; you're quite good really' response, rather than a totally objective and honest one. As to whether the writing was cathartic or not; of course it was. You don't need to tell us. We're writers too, we've been there.

Right, onto the poem. If you are writing today, for today's readers, you need to avoid archaic forms of expression. You have to avoid what to you vaguely sounds 'poetic'. Keep to normal speech forms as much as possible. In other words, would you really say: In this darkened room I sit, or would you say: I sit in this darkened room? Obviously the latter. So why turn it round? Just to make it sound poetic? That's not what poetry's about. Poetry is about communicating as clearly as possible in a small number of very carefully chosen words. Sometimes it's also about turning out a truly musical phrase, and sometimes there can be conflicts between the two. I've a feeling you're going for musicality and elegant phraseology here, but it's at the expense of readability and communication. That's your choice, but I'd do it the other way round.

Find your music through other means. Through rhyme and rhythm. Your first stanza has a few rhymes anyway; mind/reside/terrified/outside and pain/nameless/ache. You also have some effortless rhythm. The last line of the first stanza is in perfect iambic pentameter, for example, and also happens to be one of the lines that's written in normal form, rather than attempting to be 'poetic'. You are probably a writer who falls into natural rhythms without thinking about it. This is a GOOD THING. Means you don't have to agonise over such things. I bet a few of those rhymes crept in without you especially noticing too.

"Dare I risk a peak?" is an interesting line. It's a typo, of course (should've been 'peek') but as a result, you have got a completely new meaning. Instead of peek, as in a little glance, you have peak, as in mountain summit. A very happy accident. It stands out because of its originality. Makes the reader think. First reaction is, 'what the heck?', but then it starts to make more sense. That's good. Make your reader think. Don't make everything too easy. Don't over explain. And that's where we get to the mantra of all writers; Show don't tell. Most of this poem is telling. That line is showing. It's one of the best lines in the poem as a result. It's also short. Not at all wordy. The rest of the poem shows you up as a prose writer; perfect syntax, carefully expressed. I think you can get the scissors out and do something about this. Be bolder. Cut out a lot of the explanations, and leave the ideas. I'll have a brief go at doing this myself to show you some possible ideas, but obviously, it's your poem and you're at liberty to tell me to get stuffed. I'll remove quite a bit of punctuation; that's simply because line breaks act as punctuation in poetry, removing the need for a lot of commas etc. Okay, here goes. Brace yourself... I've made a hell of a lot of cuts in order to heighten the impact (hopefully). I've even got rid of that nice iambic pentameter line I liked so much. Why? Because it was a cliché. Terribly hard to write this sort of poetry without the wretched things creeping in. I've left a few (eg, 'nameless agony') but have got rid of most of the others. I've kept the 'peak' typo, just because... I like the confusion of meaning.

A dark place

I sit in a dark place, my mind elsewhere
residing in nameless agony
terrified of the world outside

I suffer in silence though desperate to speak.
But what to say? Who to tell?
Is my world darker than the outside?
Dare I risk a peak?

I don't know who I am
or what is said of me.
This dark is comfort, but also my vice.
Is this all there is?

I look about me, desperate to understand
but then a thought:
is this my time?
Creeping coldness holds me, no longer warm dark.
I am depression.

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