#1
First post, latest thing I've written. I'm not actually all that sure of where to end the lines and I don't know about this as it stands, so any critique helps really. I hear how it sounds in my head, but I've always been god awful at transcribing coherently. Anyways...


We are all that remains of what we once were
and what we wanted to be
like a fleeting dream
evaporated with the sleep from our eyes
till it gave way with the morning
slowly, but sure
And we realized what we had to do,
so we buckled down
and toughed it out
till all our rough edges were smooth
but see we found
it wasn't "had to do",
more "expected of you"
and we were left out bitter in the cold
standing in the snow
that was all that we gave up to be here

And all our old dreams
have ripped along the seams
and what's spilling out
are the nightmares we'd always feared
that days and weeks and months
and years of helplessness
were spent to build this tower to our hearts
only to see that we'd used our minds
one too many times
and all our direction was taken away
and we're buried in the loneliness
of a monument we made
for all the right reasons
with all the wrong methods

And we ended up alone in our heads
with the remains of what we once were laying beside
and it's painful that those eyes
seem so much brighter than our own
did we all go wrong somewhere
that we fell so far from those children
whose dreams did reach into the stars
and not only didn't burn away
but shone more bright
than any of the lights that float up there
how did we end up back on the ground and below
were the signs on the road that hard to see
or did we all just blindly flail through the trees
assuring everyone but ourselves that we knew the way
how much of ourselves has been given up
in the name of our own comfort and fear

And can we say we're really alive
if we're just waiting to see the next day
if we started to turn transparent,
glass ghosts just before we fade
would you be afraid
cause that's what we're doing
stretched out over a lifetime
how many times have we been at a crossroads
only to take the path that lays flat
well you may be on the straight and narrow
but haven't you thought of seeing the trees
and hills on the winding paths
anywhere outside of the pictures
on the wall in an office where no one cares
but somehow we all say it matters
careless lives and careful tongues
locked in four walls too small
to spread those wings
I swear you were born with
and I can't help but ask
have you really thrived there

And we are still around
but barely anything remains
of what we once were
all of it sitting in a corner of a room,
covered in old books
and gathering dust
and all our thoughts have rusted
barely any get out of tin mouths
too afraid of their own sounds
most end up in squeaks and grinds
and creaks in our throats
but god we swear there is meaning there
and we just want someone to hear
someone to let into the tower
we built to our hearts
someone to fill those halls
that they might pump new life
and circulate new love
a new light that may well
be dimmer than the sun
but I promise we'll still glow
and we'll have a monument to loneliness no more!

And together we can lay down
the remains of what we once were
and put them to rest with the best of intention
no longer running from bright eyes
too clear for our weary heads to look up to
and may we then
remember the path we took
with a smile only someone
that truly felt can create
and I hope to whatever there may be out there
that we'll all be able to say
that though we are this way
and gave up much of who we once were
to get to where we stand
the tower to our hearts is tall
brimming with all we need
and not for want
All that remains
is all the life we still get to live,
and I am who I want to be
#2
i'm waiting for my philosophy class to start when reading this so i didn't get to finish it all; my apologies.

but after 2 and a half stanzas, i already feel like this is way too bloated and long. it seems to meander a lot, without the tact to really keep my interest. like i said, i haven't finished, so maybe my judgement is a bit premature; but i feel like there's just so much going on - so many images, so many phrases, so much stuff. there are some reallly great and poignant lines, and if you could distill this piece and strip it down to the best of what you have, it really could be great.

i also felt there was a lack of punctuation. this is a personal preference in some ways, but adding even just commas or semi-colons here and there may help separate this up a bit.

still, i enjoy the sentiment here a lot. it's something i've been relating to lately. thank you for posting, and welcome to the forum.

Oh, and to your worry that you don't know where to end the lines : the line breaks didn't bother me much, so it seems like you have a good sense of the cadence of your phrases and where to enjamb appropriately.
#3
It is very lengthy, if possible it is better to make it short. All are like to read short lines. It is feeling bore to read lengthier paragraphs.
#5
Thanks everyone for the feedback! I did wonder about the length and whether or not it could really hold together, I'll see about breaking it down into something a bit more concise. As for the lack of punctuation, I know its something I need to work on; I'm just as guilty for throwing commas around without a second thought aha. Really, thanks for giving it a shot though.
#6
Dear soggycracka, I want to know your name because it is really a poor username and I cringe to use it.

Regardless, I also had a problem with keeping up reading after two or three stanzas, but something kept me going. This is truly horrendous poetry, but like the dark black night it shimmers with stars of genius. My only ponder is whether your genius is a result of work or was it that you mistakenly fell into some beautiful things. Perhaps you can answer me after I fully get into my critique.

You have poured so many idioms into this piece that I could not even start, but I will certainly list a few:

all that remains
what we once were
slowly, but sure
buckled down
toughed it out
rough edges were smooth
bitter in the cold
for all the right reasons
reach into the stars
at a crossroads
the straight and narrow
gathering dust
afraid of their own sounds
put them to rest
with the best of intention

The two bolded idioms are the exception and here lies the genius part. When you take so many idioms and common phrases, it is tiresome. But when you break them down, you change them, you catch your reader surprised, engrossed. I was expecting "Surely" and got "sure", suddenly a different meaning. Intended? I wonder. "Bitter in the cold" was great. A play on "bitter cold", yet packs such a different intention that I actually shivered. Great.

Repeating words and phrases sometime can work for a piece rather than against it, so I will not touch on that, but a lot of the piece was repetitive in content, which is a big no-no with such a long text. It needs to advance or it bores the reader. You could trim it out and make it shorter, or change it to reflect some progress.

Other problems:

"are the nightmares we'd always feared"
Should be "we've" unless you suggest they used to fear them but do not any longer.

"assuring everyone but ourselves that we knew the way
how much of ourselves has been given up"

Such close repetition of such a cumbersome word like "ourselves" is too much.

"if we started to turn transparent,
glass ghosts just before we fade"

A tiresome metaphor that you could have elevated by using words that are with double meaning, such as "lucid" in place of "transparent" and "fragile" for "glass".
I appreciated your want to use alliteration, which is one of my favourite writing tools, but it detracts from the content, and it should never do that.

"well you may be on the straight and narrow"
An opportunity lost to take another idiom and turn it into something interesting.
straightened arrow
strait so narrow
So many options really, I just gave here a couple. Something to light up the reader, fuel their reading to be able to go farther.

"someone to fill those halls
that they might pump new life
and circulate new love"

I do love the use of words from the same field to enhance a piece, "pump" and "circulate" do that wonderfully, but this does not belong in this piece where you have chosen a different route. Save it for a piece where you can keep this going.

And of course the reason this piece really falls short is your adherence to the horrible imagined metaphor of "tower to the heart". It underwhelms and is a poor phrase to build an entire piece around. Very cliché and emphasises all the other idioms in a bad way. It is also the reason I believe that the parts I like may have been an accident. A happy accident, but one nonetheless.

But on a bright note, I would now like to show you the things I thought were wonderful, so you can see what makes readers excited, and those are the lines that made me read this piece to the end, just for the chance to find such other gems:

"and we were left out bitter in the cold"

I have already said why this is brilliant.

"and we're buried in the loneliness
of a monument we made
for all the right reasons
with all the wrong methods"

I love the juxtaposition of "loneliness" and "monument". Beautiful adjacent alliteration with perfect rhythm. These four lines also have a great continuing theme that reads throughout. I left the last two lines in, though they are generally unremarkable, because building a monument requires a method, and the right reasons for doing something such as building a monument for loneliness do make you think about the meaning behind the words, which is all a writer wants readers to do, really.

"how many times have we been at a crossroads
only to take the path that lays flat"

You might not have intended to reference Robert Frost, but if you did then this line shines through. You could have used a better vocabulary, but this still struck a chord.

"careless lives and careful tongues
locked in four walls too small"

Nice alliteration and even nicer concept, if those four walls referred to our own mouths, a theme you kept with, which is what I thought to be interesting. Then again, you might have meant just a room or a house, which would be regretful.

"and I can't help but ask
have you really thrived there"

The only reason I would like to point out this part in a positive way is because I think it to be highly irregular to use the word "thrived" in a question. People ask if you did well, if you felt good, but no one would ask you if you ever exceeded your hopes. Interesting concept. Probably just a choice of an interesting word rather than a real intention, but I wanted to mention it so you would see what catches a reader's eye/mind.

"and all our thoughts have rusted
barely any get out of tin mouths"

The mouth theme again, working it out in great fashion. Rusted thought out of a tin mouth. Perfect.

"a new light that may well
be dimmer than the sun"

I know it was probably not your intention either, but when reading this I referenced Shakespeare immediately, and it is such a compliment to be able to make a reference like that with only two lines, that I had to mention it. For me, I immediately saw Romeo & Juliet's "But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun." combined with Sonnet 130's "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;"

So after all of that, I hope I helped. Good luck!
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