|Hi Thankful Angels in my Ear Thank you for entering "Whispers Of The Soul" with your poem, "Sovereign Prison" . Please keep in mind these comments are only my opinion as a fellow reader and writer, offered with the intention of providing encouraging and useful feedback.
Impressions: Delicious! An interesting interpretation of the prompt, placing yourself in the shoes of someone in a position of authority and exploring privilege vs. responsibility. The queen in this poem is not just one person but she represents monarchs, royalty, presidents, prime ministers, politicians, men and women of leadership, and even celebrities, all over the world. Not only are there huge responsibilities, but every action is in the public eye. Your decisions are scrutinised, your mistakes are loudly criticised, your movements are watched and on top of this you are envied. As a representative of the people, you have to listen to them, but it's a sad fact that you can't please everyone. Manual labour may not be your bane, but there's no rest from mental exertion or a life dedicated to public service. And sometimes your duty lasts a lifetime.
As much as we despise the lies and falsity and corruption of politicians, we should still appreciate our leaders and those in public service, and remember to consider things from their perspective.
Technicalities: Free verse works. Your phrases are clear and clean and I admire your word choice: plenty of engaging words such as "gilded", "compass", "lavish", "strenuous", "mantel", "pledged", "fidelity", "masterpiece", "birthright" and "immaculate". These words give it a dignified aura and cover it in a golden sheen, which makes the contrast of the reality a lot greyer and sadder.
I appreciated the use of irony -- a strong convention when applied well, as in this instance. I enjoyed rereading the poem and picking out subtleties which I didn't notice in the first read, such as each "side" (the queen and the people) longing for what the other side has and being dissatisfied with their own lot. It's the old "the grass is greener on the other side" factor. Although I think you were correct in concluding that the queen's fortune was a little less enviable in the end. Ordinary, everyday troubles can be overcome, but there are certain disadvantages to royalty that can't be escaped, merely put up with.
I love the mirror effect. Comparing one perspective with another, you've given the whole poem a two-way feel through your structure: in the first stanza, the queen looks down at her subjects; in the second, they look up at her. There's this back and forth dialogue in the poem, and then, each side having half the truth, they go on to blend together into the whole truth, and it reaches a powerful conclusion.
Suggestions: A few grammar suggestions for errors which are hardly noticeable but enough to merit a quick polishing:
"guilded" should be "gilded" (guild means an association of people; gild means to cover thinly with gold).
"sun baked earth" should be "sun-baked earth".
"The see my" should be "They see my".
"fidelity" should have a comma instead of a period, or the first word of the next line should be capitalized.
"they that are free" might be better as "they who are free".
"masterpiece" should probably have a comma after it.
And the comma after "prisoner" should probably be removed for continuity.
Now, I have a suggestion concerning the title which is more an opinion than anything else, but you might as well consider it. The "My" in the title implies something personal rather than a general truth. I reckon it might look/sound/be better as "A Sovereign Prison", "The Sovereign Prison" or simply "Sovereign Prison".
Favourite Lines: My overall favourite is, of course, the last line, which punches home the tragic and ironic truth which the poem has been revealing stanza by stanza.
I also love: of the lonely mantel of leadership. Just a gorgeous description, acutely portraying of the isolation of being in a position of authority and having people looking to you to protect them and solve dilemmas on a national and even international scale, while at the same time being only human!
My favourite part of the poem is:
I am their masterpiece
honored and revered,
Scrumptious! Oh, it's the perfect metaphor, a masterpiece being hung on the wall and admired but without any feeling of its own. Damn, girl, you have a way with imagery. I don't want to inflate your ego but hey, respect where respect is due.
I am the prisoner,
in an immaculate cage.
These are also charming descriptions. Something about "immaculate" just seemed right to me. It comes off the tongue delicately and yet it has a heartbreaking intensity.
Conclusion: I really like this poem because it has a combination of beautiful imagery, it's crafted so well and it has a thought-provoking message. A fine piece, Aundria, and I'm glad you took the time to get inspired and enter the contest. Thanks for sharing. Keep up the great work!