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1
1
Review of The Hermit  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Review 3 of 5:
 The Hermit  (E)
seek the tao...
#1240717 by kip


Dear kip

*Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4* What I Liked: *Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4*


You seem to have a penchant for rhymed couplets. *Smile* This one has some fantastic rhymes and captivating imagery.

*Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5* Suggestions: *Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5*


Punctuation:
Watch out for your punctuation. You've almost consistently used a comma at the end of the first line and a period at the end of the second line for each of your couplets but some of them don't actually end at the period or pause at the comma. For example, line 9 and 10 feel like they should be connected to 11 and 12.

blue original text
green possible addition
red possible exclusion

Worn robes flutter to the four winds, where,
solitary explorers dare.

To seek the silence without despair,
and drop the burdens of common care.


Some Confusion:
What exactly ARE 'common surfing tones' (line 3)?

Repetition:
common - Used in lines 3 and 12 it's not really a strong enough word to bother repeating. Because poetry tends to have such limited word count it's important to make every word count so repetitions should serve a purpose and if they don't then find an alternative.

Yodaism:
Only one that was significant enough to comment on. Line 15, Tears of joy he shall surely cry,. I call a line that's had its common structure twisted (usually to fit rhyme) a yodaism (like the speeches of Yoda in The Star Wars series).

Usually there is a way to change the line so that it isn't warped and follows the patterns of modern language. In this case I'd cut the rhyme (cry - nigh. Nigh is an outdated word and since most of your language is modern it feels out of place.

Perhaps there is an alternative way to say these two lines, two new rhymes or a new ending?

*Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5* My Favorite Part: *Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5*


Oh, it's a bit tricky this time because there were a few lines I really enjoyed. I guess my 'favorite' would be: Seeking nature's craggy mountain thrones,
climbing high upon her bones.


The imagery in this couplet is fantastic and the thrones - bones rhyme is wonderful. Powerful words and a good cadence.

I also enjoyed the "wagging tongues and witless crones" and "He who holds the flame, he lit on high,
will console the weary passers by.
" Be careful with your punctuation in the latter.

*Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1* Overall: *Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1*


Finally, have a very close look at your punctuation. I think some changes there would make a dramatic difference to this poem. Otherwise it's a wonderful piece and I really enjoyed reading and delving into this poem. It's creative, uses some fantastic words and creates some wonderful images that reminds me of monks which is great considering your description talks about "seeking the tao..." *Smile*

Have fun and keep writing.
Yours Truly,
Rebecca Laffar-Smith

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2
2
Review of Mists of Chaos  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Review 2 of 5:
 Mists of Chaos  (E)
questions, questions, questions
#1225981 by kip


Dear kip

*Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4* What I Liked: *Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4*


You've got an interesting mind. *chuckles* I've really enjoyed the two poems I've delved into so far today. You have a wonderful talent for finding extraordinary subject matter and giving me, as a reader, a wonder of possibilities when it comes to exploring creative thinking.

These couplets are put together well and the questions offer a powerful insight into human thinking. I would suppose there are many of us in the universe who have these sorts of questions and wonder if there are any answers.

*Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5* Suggestions: *Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5*


Word Confusion:
What goal justifies are earthly frame - I struggle to make sense of this line. Perhaps are should be our. The same kind of confusion occurs a few lines down with, Who shall praise, proclaim are valiant fight,.

I also wonder if you've occasionally used a less common word to make the poem 'feel' more intellectual and poetic. Average readers won't bother digging up a dictionary and might get lost in translation.

Rhyme:
You've used some fantastic rhymes, such as:
churning - burning
prevail - tail
fight - right
time - sublime


But a few of your rhymes are imperfect:
time - mind
tomes - roam
maturity - eternity
frame - insane


Others are a little weak:
unbounded - hounded
wrack - back
mind - blind


Punctuation:
This poem is full of questions without answers and while they 'might' be considered rhetoric I feel like there should be question marks. Perhaps it's something open to interpretation; I’m sure others would disagree with me.

There are other areas I feel could be strengthened with emphatic use of punctuation to draw out the pauses and divide sections to sharpen meaning. For example, Shall the answer be revealed, at last, in time. The extra comma gives the line an additional pause and I naturally want to pause there. Again, it's a subjective comment as each reader may find themselves naturally pausing in other places.

Meter:
This poem had some wonderful consistency but there were a couple of lines that felt were a little bumpy with meter issues: lines 4, 8, 9, 10, and 17 (anthropomorphic is a monstrous word to blend into meter).

Imagery:
Finally, some of your images were a little challenging to bring to mind. I struggled with the fifth, sixth, eight and ninth couplets.

*Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5* My Favorite Part: *Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5*


I love your final couplet. It's a wonderful way to round off all the questions.

*Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1* Overall: *Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1*


I love the way you've connected some fantastic images. Each couplet is a unique, stand alone unite that comes together to form a charged and compelling poem.

Have fun and keep writing.
Yours Truly,
Rebecca Laffar-Smith

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3
3
Review of Hot Blood  
Rated: ASR | (3.0)
Review 1 of 5:
 Hot Blood  (ASR)
sin, debauchery, alienation, despair and the occult
#1224519 by kip


Dear kip

I'm sorry this review has taken so long; unfortunately reality sometimes collides with my online commitments. *Frown* But, as promised here is the first of five reviews gifted to you. *Smile*

*Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4* What I Liked: *Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4*


You've chosen a wonderfully dark and entrancing subject. I get the impressions of fleeting otherworldliness. With a few choice words you lower the theme into the darkness of the underworld.

Vampires come vividly to mind although you really don't give enough detail to crystallize exactly what the 'living dead' are that this poem talks about. The hint is there and it's enticing. It calls readers to discover more, to read again and to delve into the words in search of something that might have been missed.

I think some of the repetition is a creative construct that strengthens this poem. An echo (such as in your first line) is a wonderful way to harmonize that sense of pulsing blood with your words and to give a sense of timing and rhythm to the poem.

The tight couplets also create this pattern and give the poem a speed and a drumming sense of inevitability. Wonderful!

*Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5* Suggestions: *Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5*


Rhymes:
I felt some of your rhymes were a little weak.
For example:
(again - begin) This is an imperfect rhyme that weakens those two lines.
(flood - blood) These two words could be used more dramatically by connecting them to each other with the rest of the lines. The rhyme is a rather obvious one so the use needs to be deliberate. The other option would be to look for something a little less cliché.
(higher - desire) Desire is actually a repetition as the same word was used as the end-rhyme of line three. It's not a powerful enough word or line to justify it being used twice. When it's a rhyme that is repeated it's even more obvious and jarring. These four lines are also the only ones that repeat the rhyme sound so closely together.
(again - sin) Later you use (again) again (pun intended) which weakens both uses of that word as well. These rhymes have the same imperfection as the first two lines. Sin is a fantastic word so it's worth looking for an alternative word to end the line above with equal impact.
(soul - control) These are a fantastic pair. *Smile*

Repetition:
As I mentioned earlier, I love the repetition tool you've used. "The living dead are here, they're here again," FANTASTIC! I think this could be even more effective if used consistently.

Meter:
I know you haven't written this poem to a specific meter but you might find you can strengthen all the lines by creating a consistency with the pulse of the words. Consider your stresses and see if you can create a pattern to enhance the rhythm of the poem as a whole.

*Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5* My Favorite Part: *Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5*


Feel the pain burning down in your soul,
Feel the hunger your losing control.


*Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1* Overall: *Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1*


I think you have a wonderful foundation for an evocative and sensational poem. It's rich and vivid. I really enjoyed the expressions and impressions this poem brought to mind and I love the concept. I haven't had the opportunity to read many supernatural poems and it's inspiring to consider the possibilities. *Smile*

Have fun and keep writing.
Yours Truly,
Rebecca Laffar-Smith

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4
4
Review of The Real Me  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Review of Newbie Member's Item:
 The Real Me  (13+)
Written durring a depression i was going through
#1264079 by Kirstie Rae


Dear Kirstie Rae

Welcome to Writing.com


*Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4* What I Liked: *Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4*


This is such a touching poem and I can relate to the emotions through my own experiences with bipolar. The masks and that sense of being disconnected from the world and even from reality are difficult to live through. You've conveyed that sense of disconnection with this poem, I think the freeform style suits it very well and your easy and occasionally imperfect rhyme scheme adds to that fractured sense.

There are a couple of great images, they stood out from the rest of the poem as the sharpest lines and I mentioned a couple of them as my favorite parts below. *Smile*

I think you've touched on a powerful set of emotions. Because you feel it so deeply within yourself you have the backing of experience to echo that emotion in poetry. You convey it with an understated elegance. There is just enough distance that readers, won’t be drawn down to the depths of the poem. I think the point of view (POV) helped to create the sense of watching, and coming to understand, rather than giving the reader the staring role. This works very well. *Smile*

*Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5* Suggestions: *Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5*


Don't forget your spell check. *Smile* I noticed 'durring' in the paragraph introduction but recommend you spell check everything before posting. It doesn't catch everything but it definitely helps catch a little of what reading may miss. Also in the first paragraph watch your capital letters.

Beware the dreaded yodaism. That's what I call it when a sentence is contorted in structure. Usually it's done to fit a rhyme and it's not uncommon in some of the poetry in past centuries. In today's world however it's discouraged, especially in freeform poetry, because it's harder to read. These days readers like poetry to feel natural, to read naturally off the tongue so it is important to avoid jumbling your sentence structure.

I would encourage the imagery. Look for the power words; the ones that don't change in interpretation as much as others. The word, 'love' for example is one of the most abstract because every person has their own opinion of what love should be. 'Sadness' and 'darkness' are other examples of weaker words, there are more powerful alternatives that could deepen the poem as a whole and give it a sharper tug on emotions for readers.

Finally double and triple check your grammar. You use it but there are places where it could be tightened up. I find that removing line breaks and treating poetry as if it's prose helps in cases like this. By removing line breaks you can see how the sentences are woven into the poem and use the grammar check function to help you work out where some parts might be improved. Also, read it out loud and be aware of where your breathing and your tongue wants to pause. Read it without line breaks and if you find yourself wanting to pause you probably need punctuation at that point.

*Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5* My Favorite Part: *Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5*


She reaches out for help, yet says she’ll do it alone
Her sins not even her own soul can condone


The alone/condone rhyme is wonderful and while there is a little 'yodaism' (see above for definition) the message of the lines are wonderful.

The darkness is heavy, a load she can’t carry alone,
She knows the number but can’t reach the phone.


Another ‘alone’ rhyme, which is fine and the alone/phone is very well done. The imagery of the phone aspect is powerful. It shows the helplessness and insecurity brilliantly. Have you considered:
The darkness is heavy, she can't bare the weight alone,
she knows the number, but can't reach the phone.
?
Little tweaks like that don't change the meaning but can strengthen the language.

*Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1* Overall: *Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1*


I think it's fantastic that you can express yourself so powerfully. Sometimes we can lose ourselves on the lows and sometimes we can see more clearly. Taking one of those crystal moments and creating something touching and flowing with melancholic beauty is wonderful. Poets should use their emotions, it allows us to reach out and connect with readers. You do that brilliantly with this piece.

Have fun and keep writing.
Yours Truly,
Rebecca Laffar-Smith

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5
5
Rated: E | (5.0)
Dear Stephanie Grace

Thank you for hosting such a wonderful concept on WDC. I really appreciate The Lemon Stands support of the "Invalid Item. I've just donated (from my personal stash not the group) to help this wonderful cause. Thank you for all you give back to the WDC community.

Have fun and keep writing.
Yours Truly,
Rebecca Laffar-Smith
6
6
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
Review of:
Therein All the Honor Lies  (ASR)
Originally three poems, but this seemed better. What price victory?
#752678 by C. Powell


Dear C. Powell

*Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4* What I Liked: *Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4*


I love your introductory quote. It impacts on the message of the poem and offers a stark sense of emotion and humanity. In so many battles the men are stripped of their individuality. They are an 'army' or a 'troop' and the role of each man is rarely remembered for he is not remembered other than to carve his name amongst hundreds on the stones of our memorials.

I really loved the way this poem too the voice of ONE man, a General. I think it's fantastic that you seeded that deep sense of regret and waste he felt. In movies or retellings of these situations they tend to portray the steal determination of the superior officers. Orders are given and sometimes mistakes are made. These men can't apologize, it would undermine their authority and demoralize the troops but it doesn't mean they don't feel that regret to the depth of their core. I imagine it would be harder to have lead and lived then to have followed orders and died.

You have so many fantastic, powerful words that evoke strong images. The POV voice is strong and emotive and the scenic descriptions really bring me into the environment. Wonderfully done!

*Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5* Suggestions: *Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5*


Punctuation:
There are a few points where I feel the lines would be strengthened by adding some caesura (internal punctuation), particularly commas. For example:
They raced up the ramparts through the hail
of lead, wavering only in the arms of death.
No decisive battle, nor desperate last stand,
Not even freeing our fellow man.


I wonder if the line break here could be sharper:
For the glory of a nation; perhaps the
Conquest of new lands

For the glory of a nation; perhaps
The conquest of new lands


*Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5* My Favorite Part: *Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5*


Voices cried from the depths of the fort
Begging for mothers and cursing God above
Their agony and heartache a cross to bear
for what?


I love how he calls to question the purpose behind all this suffering. The voices are tangible and the agony and heartache palpable. So is the sense of despair and shades of guilt and grief. Despite all this the POV character continues, loyal, honorable, doing as he must because it's his duty. It doesn't stop him questioning within himself but his own concerns have little to do with the chain of command he must follow.

I think it's wonderful that you've captured this mans sense of responsibility. So many times I wonder if man of his status could only give the commands by blaming them on their superiors. This warrior feels the oppressive responsibility. It rests firmly on his shoulders. Yes, he's following orders but he's also very conscious of his right to choose not to if he did not have the courage it took to lead well.

*Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1* Overall: *Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1*


I think this is a remarkable poem. You've selected exactly the right categories and offered a great trilogy that blend well with each other. I'd like to see this published. It definitely has potential if you can find the right market.

This poem is touching, vibrant, vivid, powerful, and suitably solemn. You've done an excellent job putting a voice into the words and showing war in all its glory-less glory.

Have fun and keep writing.
Yours Truly,
Rebecca Laffar-Smith

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7
7
Review of Evanescence  
Rated: E | (2.0)
Review of Newbie Member's Item:
 Evanescence  (E)
Evanescence is a poem based on the band as well as the definition of the word Evanescence.
#1236089 by Lizzee


Dear Lizzee

Welcome to Writing.com!


*Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4* What I Liked: *Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4*


This poem feels like the throbbing, racing, heartbeat of an injured bird. The core of true beauty and emotion is there and with the right nurturing, patience, and love it will open its wings and soar into the sky.

I see a touching declaration of love and commitment. One person reaches out embracing another, soul to soul, in the kind of emotion that is a sense of living and breathing simply for the wonder of doing so with the person who completes you. I read it and feel like it's a hand stretched out, asking, perhaps begging, for the trust it takes to place yourself into the hand of another.

I think the sense of repetition is wonderful. It creates that throbbing sensation that makes it seem like the poem echoes a heartbeat.

*Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5* Suggestions: *Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5*


I found it very difficult to follow separate thoughts because of the lack of stanzas and punctuation. While punctuation isn't required in poetry it does tend to add clarity for readers. In this case if you'd rather not have punctuation then breaking up the poem into smaller segments could be of marvelous benefit. It's a little bombarding at the moment which detracted from my enjoyment.

In lines 8 and 9 you have the word 'you'. Having it at the end of line 8 and the beginning of line 9 without punctuation or a stanza break rings like someone saying, "you, you". It felt a bit weird to read, especially aloud. The 'you' of line 9 felt unnecessary and you could probably eliminate it completely.

Line 11 says, "Like a vapor" but you use a repetition tool elsewhere connected to the word 'vapor' that reads, "As though but a vapor" (lines 03, 16, 27 & 38). For a sense of consistency you might want to consider conforming line 11 so that it's the same. Repetition can be a powerful poetic tool when used effectively and consistently. *Smile*

Line 5: This I know
*smiles* This is what I like to call a Yodaism. A sentence out of order. Or at least it MIGHT be. Without punctuation I can't be sure if it should read, "THIS, I know," or be correctly structured as, "I KNOW this" Context has me thinking that modern speech would lean toward the orange option. Creating a sentence that reads, "But forevermore, I know this shall never fade"

I'd recommend looking for the structure of modern language to clarify your poem. Perhaps try taking out the line breaks and reading it as if it's all one paragraph. Sometimes your joins don't seem to work as effectively as they could and you'll see that more clearly by reading it top to bottom without pausing.

Lines 29, 30 & 32 made me wince. I felt like this poem was about something beautiful, the kind of being with and for each other that gives a sense of harmony, of paradise. But the words, "withdrawal", "drug" and "addiction" have negative connotations, particularly when used together like that. Addictions tend to be things that are bad for us. Drugs are particularly harmful. These lines made me think, "This just isn't healthy.”. It doesn’t seem the right message there.

Also, the words, "everlasting drug" don't seem to ring true. Nothing is everlasting. We may wish that were the case but at some point, everything dies, or changes and becomes not what it was. Water turns to air, rocks to sand, people to worm food, etc.

Please let me know if/when you've worked on and edited this poem. I'd love to re-review it then. *Smile*

*Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5* My Favorite Part: *Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5*


As pictures may fade
And life may falter
I'll be here for you


These lines are lovely! They are definitely my favorite. The strange thing is they're also the most unique in the whole poem.

*Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1* Overall: *Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1*


I've realized that I could be completely way off in what I felt this poem is about. Every reader brings to the page their own experiences, their own life and meaning. Your subject could be a bottle of Coca-Cola for all I know. *chuckles* *blinks and jaw drops* Gosh! Maybe it IS!!! Or Mountain Dew? Jolt Cola? *grins* Talk about blowing my mind.

I guess I look deep for human emotion. As I said, we all come to the page with our own experiences, life, and meaning. I'd rather believe this is a love poem. I like to believe in the evanescence of emotion and the ability of true love to capture that dissipation in our fingers and our hearts.

I really enjoyed this poem. I always have so much fun delving into poetry and exploring what the parts mean and how elements could be changed, weaved, tightened, smoothed, chipped and polished. You have the injured bird, or perhaps it's simply an infant bird, I can see the beauty that the adult could become. I hope you'll nurture, tend, and care for it. *Smile*

Again, welcome to writing.com and I hope you're enjoying your time here. If you're interested in learning more about poetry, sharing your poetry with other poetry enthusiasts, and getting to know some other poets on the site you might want to check out the "Invalid Item group.

Have fun and keep writing.
Yours Truly,
Rebecca Laffar-Smith

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8
8
Review of Blessed Be  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Review of:
Blessed Be  (E)
A blend of Yin and Yang, 3rd place Lexi's Poetry Challenge round 36
#1227814 by KimChi


Dear KimChi

*Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4* What I Liked: *Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4*


Wow, there is some stunning imagery in this beautiful poem and I found myself reading it more than once to bask in the language. You've captured some powerful words with perfectly understated alliteration.

I really enjoyed the polar points of day and night, both beginnings and endings in the circle and each needing the other to be whole. Coupling the mother creator aspect of the moon with the father protector adds another dimension to that vital balance we all experience in life. I think your poem is a lovely reflection on the mirrored aspects of life and nature and how while each is unique to itself they're very similar.

*Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5* Suggestions: *Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5*


Drusy? Wow, a word I had to look up. *chuckles* Of course with the dictionary definition in hand I was left wondering how it could be used in context with the sky. I had trouble creating an image of the sky packed in a splatter of tiny crystal fragments. I think it's a wonderful idea to have the definition of the uncommon word at the end. I'd already dictionary.com'ed the definition but many readers won't be interested enough in language to do that. *Smile*

Of course, having said that about the 'drusy sky' I do think it’s a fantastically alliterative word to follow 'blues'. It would be a shame to lose the word. A part of me wonders if cloud cover could create the drusy effect but the image isn't clear. The rest of your imagery is sharp and captivating so this one stands out I suspect.

My only other suggestion relates to meter. I know this is free verse but I felt some of the lines were out of balance. They obviously don't have to follow a specific meter but a noticably short line followed by a longer line would trip my tongue.

For example:
Bask within Her chilly glow;
Singing wind on skin your true insight.
"

For some reason this line suggests an alternative, "Skin-sung wind your true insight." That mightn't work for what you're trying to express. It's just what comes to my mind when I think of how I'd balance the line if it were one of my own. *ponders* Sung wind on skin could work too, the shortening of that single syllable seems to make a difference when I say the lines.

*Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5* My Favorite Part: *Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5*


Oh, I actually have three favorite parts.

Snap passion’s flash with the inner eye.

Freeing a compass aligned to the new:
The infinite path, the eternal start.


and

Inhale the rainbow mist

All three are vibrant with imagery and sensation. These lines involve powerful words that invoke a sense of awe and strength that appeals to me as a reader. *Smile*

*Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1* Overall: *Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1*


I think you've created an enriching poem. It's a remarkable poem given the contest and thus prompts it must have been written for. I'm always amazed by some of the creativity that is sparked by these sorts of challenges when connected with a talented poet. *Smile* Good luck and I hope you win.

Have fun and keep writing.
Yours Truly,
Rebecca Laffar-Smith

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9
9
Review of The Forgotten Man  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Review of "Invalid Item Member's Item:
 The Forgotten Man  (E)
Old age should be a time of joy but for so many it is anything but
#1187151 by Rich


Dear Rich

*Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4* What I Liked: *Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4*


I really love your sharp imagery and the focus of this poem. You have a message that rings out loud and clear. There are people in aged care all over the world and many of them have lost their sense of self and their pride. Getting old is a challenging concept (one I know you're paranoid about *Pthb*) but your poem expresses the individuality of this one man and his place in the world.

You express your subject with an honest integrity that inspires respect. This man, while old, deserves so much more than the ending that looms before him. The life he's lived deserves to be revered and appreciated. As a culture we tend to put our aged family into nursing homes thinking that they're getting a quality of life there. Entertainment, meals, private rooms, being cared for 24/7, etc. The reality of those places, especially from the point of view of a resident, can be very different.

I really enjoyed the way you've covered this with poetry as well. Moderately balanced syllable counts and structure create a solidarity that is empowering. The layout and the language adds to the sense of solumn respect. Choosing not to endrhyme also adds that mature aspect that conveys the subject beautifully.

*Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5* Suggestions: *Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5*


I only have a couple of minor suggestions. Firstly, take care with your punctuation. You've done a very good job with that aspect already but there were a couple of points I noticed.

For example:
Line 9 ends in a period and line ten begins with 'and'. The final line should end in a period as well.

I find the best way to check my punctuation is to remove the line spaces and read the poem as if it's prose. Especially with a poem like this that is actually mostly prose poetry. There is a story told creatively and broken into poetic form. It works well for this topic but it does mean you need to be extra careful with your punctuation.

Line 4: He shuffles on slipper shod feet down a hall
I felt 'the' would work better than 'a'. Particularly since you use 'a' in the next line as well. 'The' would focus the subject more on this particular man which helps keep the subject emotional and reflective. Sometimes it's better to encompass all your energy on a smaller subject to highlight how it expands. Focusing on the single man instead of aged care residents in general allows you to create a personal aspect (which you've done very well when you remember your subject character) while also creating an awareness of the universal aspects.

Lines 10, 11, 12, and 13 equate to what would be considered a fragment. The 'and as' of line 10 make us expect more. The description of his activities is wonderful however so perhaps cutting those two words and adding a descriptive for the room in line 10 would create a solid sentence.

Similarly in lines 14, and 15. Perhaps He languishes... and wonders...?

*Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5* My Favorite Part: *Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5*


I love your opening. It takes the single subject and encompases the global aspect.

Nobody heard him, the forgotten man.
A pitiful specter too often seen within
the sad depressing places we keep the old.


Stunning and beautiful in it's simplicity. *Smile*

*Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1* Overall: *Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1*


My mother is a AIN in an aged care home so she see's people like this all the time. The wonderful thing about knowing of the care aspect is that I know at least where she works, when she's working, each of the residence has someone who see's and hears them as individual people. She grows to love many of the residence and is truly pained when they pass away. I guess that means there is hope that not all aged care homes are white cages for the elderly.

I really enjoyed this poem and look forward to reading more of your work. You show skill with imagery and create an emotional connection while remaining fairly aloof. In this case that works very well. Also, another very big welcome to the "Invalid Item. You mentioned being very new to writing poetry and I really would love to know more about your experiences with it in college. I think you'd really enjoyed "Invalid Item. It is in no way all encompassing but it might give you some ideas and inspire you to write more poetry.

Have fun and keep writing.
Yours Truly,
Rebecca Laffar-Smith

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10
10
Review of Faint Memory  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Review of:
STATIC
Faint Memory  (E)
A rose pressed in a book is used to help remember True beauty and love that could not be.
#1158939 by Brian K Compton


Dear bkcompton

*Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4* What I Liked: *Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4*


This is a touching poem that speaks of deeper meanings then that of a simple rose. I feel a sense of melancholy in these fragile moments captured in the memories held by the rose. There is a solemn sense of loss and grief but also a very deep love.

The connection to the rose and time causing all things to fade is a sad but true message. I'm left reflecting on the shallow breaths taken in each moment and the other memories on the shelf.

I really love the way you've used WritingML to color this poem. It's another beautiful reflection of the 'red rose', 'rose, flush', and 'bright red smile'. You chose an intriguing title although I can't help but feel 'Flower' is a poor representation of what you express in this poem.

*Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5* Suggestions: *Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5*


There are a couple of places I felt confused because of either line-breaking or punctuation. For example, in the third stanza:

A thousand more
roses once roamed
in the wild, but earth-bound
flower, I picked you
while you lay in your bed.


Lines 3 and 4 mean different things depending on how they are read. As it stands now I couldn't really grip the connection. Consider how it would look without the line breaks, "A thousand more roses once roamed in the wild, but earth-bound flower, I picked you while you lay in your bed." The actually works perfectly so the line breaking confuses the message. As a reader I tend to naturally pause even on enjambed lines to absorb what the line on its own says. Each line offers a stand-alone message.

In this stanza I'd be inclined to do one of two things, either line-break slightly differently:
A thousand more roses
once roamed in the wild,
but earth-bound flower,
I picked you while
you lay in your bed.


or punctuate differently:
A thousand more
roses once roamed
in the wild but earth-bound.
Flower, I picked you
while you lay in your bed.


*sighs* Having said that neither is better and both are perhaps less meaningful than your original. Perhaps I should just shush and admit that without looking very closely I found myself confused reading that stanza. It could be the blonde roots coming thought. lol

The last three lines of the final stanza have a similar confusing aspect. It makes me wonder if you're trying to express more than first sight would focus on. 'Bookmark'? 'Book, Mark'? I know the punctuation makes the original intention clear but reflecting on the lines as I read creates more then may have been intended.

*Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5* My Favorite Part: *Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5*


*ponders* It's hard to choose a favorite part. But when I really think about it my eyes and my heart are constantly drawn back to:

And with wetted lips,
I would kiss your hard petals,
make them melt tender,


That whole stanza is captivating; speaking of more than a rose while at the same time pulling together the essence and beauty of the fragile petals and the voice of the aching heart that speaks through those words.

*Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1* Overall: *Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1*


I really enjoyed this poem. If you haven't already I'd say push for publication with this one because it really is lovely. Each time I read it I feel and see more than I did the time before. It's not that the layers are hidden but rather that like a rose the petals of my heart open a little more and I see the words more clearly, hear them more openly and enjoy them more and more. *Smile*

Have fun and keep writing.
Yours Truly,
Rebecca Laffar-Smith

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11
11
Rated: E | (5.0)
Dear Chris,

WOW! This is a powerful and wonderfully frank list. You also made my jaw drop on your hourly rate. I have been undervaluing myself. *chuckles* Of course the lack of a degree and professional experience with a publishing company means my copyediting and proofing rates are significantly lower.

I think it's wonderful that you offer upfront and honest feedback relating to why you review, what you review and how you approach those reviews. It would be fantastic to have this sort of communication with other reviewers, to know what they're looking for and why they review the way they do.

I really enjoyed the simple, straight-forward way you set out your list of ten. Each point is specific and defined. There is no excess language to bog down your meaning (unlike my rambles).

All of your points hold a great deal of merit and I really respect your outlook on the reviewing process. You understand your personal integrity as a reviewer and your voice in this very strongly indicates that you do not compromise that in any way. You respect yourself and the writers you review. That is a very positive aspect in your favor and earns you the respect of others. *Smile*

Thank you so much for giving me something interesting, inspiring, and educational to read. I'll remember your ten points and consider my own reviewing techniques and reasoning. I expect if I really concentrate on doing so I would be able to create a list, or a monologue, that explains my own reviewing structure and patterns.

Of course, you've now received two reviews that don't even use my template. *blushes* I suppose that's because my comments are mostly conversation rather than real reviewing. The work inspires communication, not editing. *Smile* Thank you for sharing.

Have fun and keep writing.
Yours Truly,
Rebecca Laffar-Smith

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12
12
Rated: E | (4.0)
Dear Chriswriter

I think rather than rating or no rating it would be better to have a chance to label items by the kind of reviews you're looking for which then also limits what a user can send.

For example, if an item is labeled "In-Depth with Rating" then the rating is required and the review has to be a minimum of about 1000 characters. If an item is labeled "General Opinion" it would have a minimum wordcount of 250. "Rating Only" would allow no comments and only stars. "Review Only" allows comments but no rating. There are probably variations of all of these that are designed to be specific.

Another option that could perhaps work in unison is to allow authors a section that clearly states the kind of feedback they're looking for. It would go in the review section along with the quick note and the guide to reviewing link that is currently there and allows the author to express exactly what they need to know more about.

If they're looking for opinion about the plot and/or characters they could specify that. If they've worked the plot and are happy with that aspect but need help cleaning up the grammar they could specify that. If they're looking for feedback about the impression and emotions the readers feel they could ask for that kind of feedback.

If it were a section of the 'create an item' form then it's more likely people will take advantage of it. As it is I suppose we could get into the habit of including a section detailing the kind of review we're looking for at the end of every peice.

Anyway, it's wonderful to know there are others out there looking for solutions to make the rating and reviewing system more effective. Thank you for supporting the WDC community and your fellow writers. *Smile*

Have fun and keep writing.
Yours Truly,
Rebecca Laffar-Smith

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13
13
Review of A Slower Return  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Dear bkcompton

*Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4* What I Liked: *Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4*

I really enjoy the imagery in this piece and you always have a wonderful way with the strong words in your poetry. You know how to capture the words that hold the most significance and pull remarkable beauty and emotion from them.

You offer a subtle metaphor that if read and absorbed slowly sharpens into a magical creation of life from death, a second chance to make every moment really count. It is the sort of opportunity that is a gift that should be cherished and is too often wasted.

You progress in slow ambles through this poem and yet it feels like these tiny movements, miniscule moments flutter past in a flash. It's interesting how your choice of words creates that sense of time passing but not passing.

*Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5* Suggestions: *Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5*

I found I really had to work hard to understand the undercurrents of this poem. In a world that is primarily lazy it could be risky to hide so many layers in your poem although those of us who appreciate it will enjoy it all the more. Alas, many readers won't read it more than once and I couldn't truly love and appreciate what I read until the fourth time through reading aloud.

tenderly hold to the hardened surface.

*ponders* I still struggle to lock down what the 'hardened surface' is. In this case I suspect it's an autumn/fall leaf clinging to the branch but those two words don't bring that image clearly to mind. I'm left wondering what else it could be and if I'm completely off track.

*Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5* My Favorite Part: *Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5*

It's hard to decide which part is my favorite. I particularly loved the alliteration particularly in the first stanza but I think I'll have to say that the third is my favorite:

Giving soul, your once vibrant essence
bleeds life back into the ignorant soil.
From green to orange then black, you died.


It captures the element of the chain of life. Death is in a way the end of one thing and the metamorphosis into something else. In this case 'bleeding life back into soil' gives a brilliant portrayal of the importance of this leafs sacrifice. It must die so it might live, or at least those that follow it might have their own moments of life.

*Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1* Overall: *Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1*

BTW the alliteration is fantastic. *grins* I love alliteration. *worships your alliterative skills* You use the tool of alliteration in an understated but solid and breath-taking manner that always brings me joy.

There is a great degree of deep meaning and wonderful life lessons in what could be mistaken at first glance for a simple poem. I really love poetry that uses nature to give a message about human life and indeed all life. Your poem breaths a life of its own and I really enjoyed reading and reviewing this piece. It inspires me to return to the collection I'm working on at the moment and see what other elements of nature can be transformed. *Smile*

Have fun and keep writing.
Yours Truly,
Rebecca Laffar-Smith

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14
14
Review of GO AWAY?  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Dear SHERRI GIBSON

5 of 5 Poetry Reviews - "Invalid Item

*Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4* What I Liked: *Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4*

*ponders* This is an interesting capture of the confusion and emotional insecurity of being in a relationship. I think you've done a fantastic job pulling together the elements of a kind of love/hate relationship. Needing but not wanting to need. Longing but not wanting to long for. Accepting that sometimes we don't have the power over our emotions that we wish we could have.

*Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5* Suggestions: *Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5*

Well the only thing I found a problem for me was the size of the text and all in bold. I know it's meant to appear like shouting frustration and I guess for that reason it makes sense. I'm too warped by my sense of asthetics on the web. Web design history and my own dyslexia has taught me what my eyes can withstand reading. I'm thankful the poem isn't a very long one or I mightn't have made it to the end. *chuckles*

That of course is purely a personal peeve though. I'm sure others wouldn't have the same issue and your own personal preference should always come to the fore in that sense. I was just commenting as an observation based on my own opinion as with all my comments. *Smile*

*Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5* My Favorite Part: *Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5*

Thinking it out, I know I’m fooling myself.
Like an old book, I’ve put my heart on a shelf.


I love the simile here. *Smile* I guess I resonate with books and putting aside love and hope out of fear or anger. These two lines really focus the turning point in the poem and bring about the fact that she knows how crazy her emotions are. It creates a counter and the first two lines of the stanza after this one are fantastic too. Focused on taking a chance.

*Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1* Overall: *Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1*

Beautifull expressed. This poor woman is locked into her own turmoil and uncertain where to head. I can't imagine what the lover must feel at her rejection. Holding on because he knows, deep down, that she doesn't mean it too. I hope he can continue holding on and that she eventually finds the peace within her to let herself love without being afraid.

Have fun and keep writing.
Yours Truly,
Rebecca Laffar-Smith

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15
15
Review of How We Miss Him!  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Dear SHERRI GIBSON

4 of 5 Poetry Reviews - "Invalid Item

*Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4* What I Liked: *Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4*

I really love how you've taken the point-of-view of a loved one, in this case the victim's mother and shown how abuse and kidnapping can affect more than just the child abducted. The damage touches so many lives, most significantly the loved ones. Not knowing creates a great deal of pain and you've focused on that aspect in this poem to great affect.

*Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5* Suggestions: *Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5*

I crumble from the heartache before breaking down and cry - Line 9

Beware of your tense here. Perhaps I crumble from the heartbreak. I break down and cry.

I cannot bear to look at the toys my little one did cherish - Line 18

Inversion again. You could sharpen this by removing 'did'. Doing so would also strengthen the rhyme. I cannot bear to look at the toys that my little one cherished

In line 1 and line 16 you seem to create an abstract relationship between the POV and the subject. You clarify that it's the mother's POV later in stanza 3 and I feel like instead of "A" little boy and "THE" little boy it would strike more to the heart if you allowed both of those to be My little boy. Let her own him because in this sort of situation she won't be able to put any distance between them by associating him with other boys.

For some reason I was also feeling the last line of each stanza as, Oh, how we miss him! I'm not sure why exactly, perhaps it relates to the shortness of syllables in that line compared to the rest. Creating a pause there with the breath captured exclaimation at the beginning of the line lengthens the line for me creating more balance.

*Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5* My Favorite Part: *Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5*

A little boy who never knew a stranger in his life,
Enlightened our lives each day with a smile so bright,
Until one day it happened, and he was swept away
Stolen by a madman on that all too tragic day


This is a fantastic start to this poem. It captures two points, the vibrancy of the child and the horror of the situation. You create a flow here and an interest that pushes me forward wanting to read more, to keep flowing.

*Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1* Overall: *Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1*

Thank you for sharing another heart touching poem about the tragedy that goes on in our world and how it affects the lives of all those involved.

I really enjoyed all four of these poems in this folder and I hope you'll go on spreading the word and writing about abuse in all it's forms.

Thank You and keep writing.
Yours Truly,
Rebecca Laffar-Smith

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16
16
Rated: E | (3.0)
Dear SHERRI GIBSON

3 of 5 Poetry Reviews - "Invalid Item

*Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4* What I Liked: *Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4*

Another touching poem that captures the way lives can be stolen. This boys focus is on his father and a part of me wonders if maybe, just maybe, this woman really IS his mother and his Daddy isn't coming. It's heartbreaking to think that might be possible but then being stolen from a loving family and raised by a woman who is obviously unstable is tragic as well.

*Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5* Suggestions: *Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5*

*ponders* Suggestions, well perhaps be careful with your rhymes. Some of them feel forced and there are one or two that are imperfect that caused me to falter when I was reading.

Another factor to consider that perhaps had more to do with the rhyming aspect as some of the inversions. "with her I am to remain" leaps out most prominently but there are other lines where the natural structure of the line is twisted slightly to fit the rhyme.

These aspects always detract from my enjoyment of a poem and the depths I feel when reading them. It's like hearing someone suddenly revert to a different language when singing in english. There are occasions when it works but most of the time it draws us away from the music to focus on the changes instead of the beauty.

*Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5* My Favorite Part: *Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5*

I’ll keep thinking of you and hoping you’ll find me
As I keep on praying daddy, can you hear me?
I’ll continue praying until you come…daddy, can you hear me?


These final three lines wrap up the desperation in this boys voice. It brings us back to the title and the true meaning of this poem, refining everything else into this little boys simple prayer.

*Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1* Overall: *Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1*

Again capturing the heart and tears of a child on the page is a beautiful idea. You reach out to the world with your words and show the darker side of life that some people are afraid to admit exists. With people like you in this world these children can cling tighter to their hope of surviving.

Have fun and keep writing.
Yours Truly,
Rebecca Laffar-Smith

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17
17
Review of SMALL AM I  
Rated: E | (3.0)
Dear SHERRI GIBSON

2 of 5 Poetry Reviews - "Invalid Item

*Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4* What I Liked: *Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4*

Again you touch on the subject of being abducted and abused. This time the child is left in uncertainty, hoping and with courage which would be what saves him/her from giving up. Anger and hatred are strong emotions that help us fight against adversity. S/he understands that what is happening to him/her is wrong and fights against the unfairness even as s/he realizes that there is a great deal s/he cannot do one his/her own.

*Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5* Suggestions: *Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5*

I felt kind of disappointed by this poem but perhaps it's mostly related to how intense "DON'T FORGET ME, MOMMY is in comparison. This one doesn't tap those emotional depths to the same degree.

I think the couplet rhyming scheme detracts from the power this poem could have. In a way it creates a childish voice which is appropriate but I didn't feel a connection with the subject.

The inversions also made me wince with this poem. Small am I, feels difficult to say and it leads me to a strange kind of warping. I feel it could have been just as, if not more, effective to structure it with the more common, I am small,

*Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5* My Favorite Part: *Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5*

Small am I, yet I still yearn to be free
To return to my loved ones, my family


I really enjoy these two lines because they cling to hope and negate the line above where this child states, "I could care less if I live or die." Obviously s/he DOES care, yearning to be free to return to family.

*Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1* Overall: *Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1*

I think it's wonderful that you focus some of your poetry on the tragic essense of this world. Child Abuse is a huge factor that needs to be faced, challenged, and righted. No child deserves this sort of torment. That you face this with the power of words shows your own inner courage. Thank you for sharing.

Have fun and keep writing.
Yours Truly,
Rebecca Laffar-Smith

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18
18
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Dear SHERRI GIBSON

1 of 5 Poetry Reviews - "Invalid Item

*Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4* What I Liked: *Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4*

*sighs sadly* This is a truly touching poem Sherri. I was predicting the ending but even so a part inside always hopes that it won't turn out that way. No child deserves to suffer and it's always heartbreaking when the torture is more than could be born. A part of me looks back and thinks she's lucky to have reached that path but it's from the knowledge of how much the suffering continues afterward even if she'd escaped.

You capture the emotions and the longings of this little girl. It raised my heartrate with the immediacy aspect pulled in with your tense and as a mother and a survivor touched on fear already well seated in my personality. I would hope that no one could remain untouched by this girls plea but I also know that there are people out there who would, like the person who did this to her.

*Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5* Suggestions: *Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5*

The only thing that nags at me is the tone. The words used are very adult, particularly in the last stanza where she names the 'rape' and 'beatings'. I struggle to stay with her there because those terms aren't what a child would use. At least they're not what my own inner child uses and they're not terms my own children use. Perhaps this girl is older.

Normally I'd also point out punctuation here but in this case I felt that the lack of periods (full-stops) worked in your favor. It kept the urgency present. The sense of her calling out without pausing, hurried, desperate.

*Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5* My Favorite Part: *Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5*

Forgive me mommy, for I prayed for death each day
I just couldn’t endure the torture inflicted this way


These two lines truly capture this girls desperation and pain. She's feeling so guilty for wanting it all to end and she's lost her ability to believe that there might be other choices. It's a turning point from hoping to escape to giving in to her powerlessness.

*Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1* Overall: *Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1*

The suffering of a child is always the hardest thing to bare. A child has no power and no understanding that when this happens it's not their fault and they often don't have the strength to survive. It makes me very aware of how many children DON'T make it. We see adult survivors and often focus on the endurance, sometimes it's hard to forget the many who just don't make it.

Hopefully poetry like this, and the work of survivors and loved ones around the world can help the world see. Perhaps we can protect more children and prevent this sort of thing happening. I know it's perhaps too much to believe it could ever be stopped completely. But saving even one child, makes a remarkable difference in the world.

Have fun and keep writing.
Yours Truly,
Rebecca Laffar-Smith

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19
19
Review of Me, Myself and I  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Dear kiyasama

5 of 5 Poetry Reviews - "Invalid Item

*Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4* What I Liked: *Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4*

*ponders* Well this poem makes me think that some 'male' of our species was being a jerk when you wrote it. lol We face those occasions don't we? When the expectations of others start to combat against what we want from ourselves.

In this case I want to tell the woman in the poem that she should be herself and if he doesn't want that then walk away. Because no one should ever change who THEY want to be inside to suit someone else. There will be someone strong enough who can handle the confident, intelligent, woman. There will be someone who can deserve her. *Smile*

You have managed to capture what I'm sure a lot of women face at one point or another. This insecurity that we aren't good enough and the frustration that men and women face a double standard in society and therefore in each others minds as well. What is acceptable from one point of view is not in the other. All we can really do is strive to create a balance I suppose.

*Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5* Suggestions: *Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5*

*ponders* I don't have any suggestions. *chuckles* I always feel guilty when I have no suggestions, especially since again I'm not rating the poem as perfect. For what it is there is nothing 'wrong' with it. The questioning aspect is part of what makes this poem what it is and all the other aspects work well together.

I suppose what makes it imperfect from my own reader perspective is that it's too surface. It doesn't reach deeply and it doesn't create a world, a reality. It doesn't give us a connection with these two people, the asker and the asked. It allows us to reflect on how we can feel that way in our own lives but it doesn't make us feel it.

Does that make sense? But as I said, for this poem it isn't meant to and there are no changes I feel need to be made for this poem to be what it is.

*Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5* My Favorite Part: *Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5*

Tell me now, what do you see when you look at me?
Your ideal woman? Or your worst nightmare?


This really wraps up the poem completely. The rest of the poem focuses on why some men might find her imperfect in a 'lady' sense of the word. The expectations of what makes a woman worthy are all stereotypical but it doesn't focus on who she really is. The final couplet strips away all the stereotype and just lays her there, as she is and forces a choice. Something I think we all have to do in a relationship at some point. Strip away all that access and say, "Love me, or don't."

*Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1* Overall: *Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1*

Another wonderfully expressed poem. You've a real talent for words and I love the way you use your vocabulary to effect. I believe poetry is about finding the 'right' words. The strong words. The ones that matter and mean exactly what you're trying to mean instead of substituting. You always seem to find the words that matter and it creates powerful works.

Thanks for sharing your poetry and I hope you've found my reviews helpful. *Smile* I've enjoyed my wander through your poetry folder.

Have fun and keep writing.
Yours Truly,
Rebecca Laffar-Smith

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20
20
Review of Field of White  
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
Dear kiyasama

4 of 5 Poetry Reviews - "Invalid Item

*Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4* What I Liked: *Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4*

The title and image of this poem had me expecting something very different and I'm intrigued by the way you pull Him into a moment. I've never experienced snow in my lifetime and I struggle to imagine anything but the beauty and the pale, pristine sense of a world washed of all darkness and brought into the blinding light of His creation.

Your poem shows that even in that wonderment it's possible to feel awash with grief and fear, loneliness and pain. It's possible, surrounded by His touch on the world, to need to reach out to Him and feel His caring touch you specifically instead of just the world that touches your eyes.

You capture the emotion, the turmoil and dispair mixed with an aching hope and longing beautifully. Most of your words focus on emotion, they've very internal, less imagery but it works very well with this peice.

*Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5* Suggestions: *Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5*

You've done a fantastic job creating a flowing essence and beauty with this poem. It echoes like a path through the snow. *Smile* My only suggestion relates to my common nitpik about punctuation.

You have some, very little, and I feel like you could strengthen your meaning by focusing on where the punctuation would have most effect. Adding a little more caesura. Take away the line breaks and let yourself read it in single breaths etc. to see where the punctuation is most needed to sharpen specific aspects of each stanza.

*Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5* My Favorite Part: *Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5*

Guide me through these desolate hours
As I try to make sense of the world in which I live
My sadness shall not overcome me
My misery shall not be my downfall.


I love these lines because they show that in reaching out she has the courage within. She's making a stand here and choosing not to be conquered by the negative emotions that wash over her. Instead she's reaching out and it's in doing that she'll find the strength to survive.

He embraces us all in our moments of need, but it's only in reaching out and feeling for Him and asking for His help that we can ever truly feel it.

*Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1* Overall: *Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1*

Beautifully expressed. Thank you so much for sharing this and your wonderment in your own faith.

Have fun and keep writing.
Yours Truly,
Rebecca Laffar-Smith

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21
21
Review of Justice  
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
Dear kiyasama

3 of 5 Poetry Reviews - "Invalid Item

*Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4* What I Liked: *Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4*

Another shorter poem with fewer reviews. This one is almost the reverse in shape to the form of "Seize the Day. You've done a fantastic job with what is again another difficult form.

Your poem captures in sharp relief a very serious aspect of society. Your words capture that aspect very well and I found myself thinking that you've done a masterful job bringing fourth strong emotions in so few words.

*Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5* Suggestions: *Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5*

I feel like the whole poem could be stronger if the first word were emphasised.

"Justice!"
they demand,
accusatory eyes upon...


*Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5* My Favorite Part: *Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5*

the Negro cursed with the
dark hue that is his burden to bear


It really does capture an aspect of our communities and our systems that presents a them and us. It makes me wonder how many Negro's suffer their differentness and the unfairness of the discrimination associated by race. We all want to be accepted and many try to conform instead of loving and appreciating our uniqueness.

*Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1* Overall: *Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1*

A far reaching topic that sparks a lot of thought. You've put together a remarkable poem that barely touches the surface yet leaves a lasting impression. Thank you for sharing.

Have fun and keep writing.
Yours Truly,
Rebecca Laffar-Smith

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22
22
Review of Seize the Day  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Dear kiyasama

2 of 5 Poetry Reviews - "Invalid Item

*Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4* What I Liked: *Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4*

Well I was choosing the poetry in your folder with the least reviews hoping to be of help and then see this one is really short so perhaps it's lacking reviews simply because there is so little one can say about so few words.

The form is a very strange one. I'm used to poetry with balance and timing but this form creates something new and challenging. In a way it works very well with your subject because the longer first lines lead in with the laziness of waking up in the morning and then as lines grow shorter it's like the body coming to attention as it wakes up.

*Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5* Suggestions: *Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5*

I have two comments more than suggestions. The first is that when I read the form I noticed that your version is missing a line that would have been included in the exact "Boonstra Brain Function Form". The form has seven lines and the third (which seems to be missing) is 9 words long.

My other suggestion relates to punctuation. You use a comma in your fourth line to create the pause between thoughts there but you could create a sharper meaning by fully punctuating this peice. The comma could be a period with a second period at the end of reality.

Neither are required so feel free to take or not either of my comments.

*Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5* My Favorite Part: *Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5*

forcing me
to face
reality


Oh how I'm sure we all know this feeling. I know on my low days it's tempting to stay in bed and NOT face reality, to NOT face the world. It makes me wish you'd had another stanza telling us all how to conquer those feelings and actually WANT to 'Seize the Day'. *Smile*

*Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1* Overall: *Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1*

This is a very clever poem and I hope you were pleased with where the prompt took you. You've captured a sensation that I'm sure many people (perhaps all people) could resonate with.

Your mixture of expressive words and alliterative connections create something that is interesting. I find myself reading it time and again because an advantage of it being short is that it's enjoyable every time. *Smile*

Have fun and keep writing.
Yours Truly,
Rebecca Laffar-Smith

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23
23
Review of The Harlequin  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Dear kiyasama

1 of 5 Poetry Reviews - "Invalid Item

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Ok, lets try this again. I spent 30 minutes writing this review yesterday then it got gobbled up by the site but I'm back at last and can try again. Note to self: Never trust web forms, always copy first.

This is such a wonderful story poem. I love your strong descriptive words. The kind that brings sharp images to mind. "Mulberry Woods" instead of something weaker. You pull together so many wonderful pictures with your words and capture the emotions and the actions of your characters.

The ABCeDarius Form is a very difficult form to do well but you've created something truly lovely. It's more prose then poetry since the line breaks tend to detract from everything but the form but in this case it works very well.

*Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5* Suggestions: *Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5*

Um... I remember having two suggestions. Now I have to remember what they were. lol

Ohh, one of them was that I felt this poem might benefit from having the words that are spoken within quotes.

The other was line 11. Kiss from the mischievous impish fairy. Perhaps a comma between 'mischievous' and 'impish' as they are both descriptives of the fairy?

*Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5* My Favorite Part: *Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5*

Fingers tapped restlessly upon gossamer wings as she
Gave a light whistle of pleasure and rose to her feet.
Hopping out to meet him in a cloud of tiny butterflies


I really loved the verbs used here that describe perfectly the way she moved and the emotions she felt. Mixing it with beautiful images that capture the wonder of her in this form helps us see why the man might be so enraptured by her.

*Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1* Overall: *Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1*

I really enjoyed this wonderful tale. It reminded me of plays in the theatre and I could bring to mind the stage with the scene unfolding upon it. I'm not sure when/if Jessica will be back to finish off the contest but I wish you the best of luck with it. *Smile*

Have fun and keep writing.
Yours Truly,
Rebecca Laffar-Smith

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24
24
Rated: E | (4.5)
Dear Shannon

*Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4* What I Liked: *Gift4* *Bigsmile* *Gift4*

*chuckles* What a delightful little poem. It reminds me of a childrens book called Invisible except the 'alien' was the invisible one causing all the havok like walking with dirty feet on the ceiling and leaving purple hair in the hairbrush.

I started thinking of a fairly young children when I started reading. I usually do because of the age of my own children but as I read there were aspects that made the child in my mind older. Short-sheeting the bed for example would require at least the knowledge of a preteen. Or at least my six year old wouldn't have any idea what that is. But it still worked well.

*Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5* Suggestions: *Flower5* *Reading* *Flower5*

Actually I have none. Wait... Let me go back and have another read to see if I can nitpik. lol *pauses* *frowns* Nope, nothing. How am I supposed to write a balanced review if I find no faults?

*Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5* My Favorite Part: *Balloon5* *Heart* *Balloon5*

*ponders* Favorite part... It's hard to choose but I think I'd have to choose stanza three as my favorite:

I’d sneak up slowly next to you
And pinch you while you slept.
Nibble your nose, tickle your toes
I’d trip you as you stepped.


In this stanza there is no twist to the words to fit the rhyme. I didn't fault the twisting elsewhere in the poem because with the voice of a child it's appropriate but the artist in me still objects to that I guess but this stanza is perfect. *Smile*

*Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1* Overall: *Snow1* *Cool* *Snow1*

I have a lovely time reading this and thank you (or whoever did it) for sponsering this poem. I hope you get a lot of reviews but "If I Were Invisible is truly delightful. Thank you!

Have fun and keep writing.
Yours Truly,
Rebecca Laffar-Smith

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25
25
Review of Nancy  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Dear The Literary Penguin

*sighs sadly* I could feel it coming but it was still a wrench to read the final line. I love how you closed with that, it was simple, understated, but smacked the point right home like a shot to the chest. You needed no more words after that and I'm glad you didn't try to expand on it when you didn't need to. *Smile*

I found myself at one point a little confused about their exact relationship. I shouldn't have been because it's very clear early on exactly who they are and what their relationship is. I think it was something about paragraph three that confused me. Perhaps it's because I can't imagine a mother and son having that conversation. It's the way our own lives are shaded that can change the way everything we read touches us.

You did a fantastic job of setting the scene and giving Nancy an aura of frail desperation. She's clinging to hope and in the beginning it's clear that she's very afraid he won't come. I suspect however she was like this every year because there was always the chance he'd never come home. It makes me wonder how long she sat and after collapsing in exhaustion to sleep curled in his chair would she wake in the morning? Or would the grief take her heart in the night? If she survived would she remain dry eyed in the coming months and years, facing life as a shell and never giving into grief because of her promise, one she vowed to keep to eternity.

Obviously the fact that I'm left with all these questions means you did a fantastic job of bringing this character to life. Flash fiction is very difficult do pull together and create an emotional depth while bringing about all the elements that make it a story. I know, because I've tried and failed many times. While the climax in this is right near the end with no decline it's solid and pulls all the points of the story to sharp relief which is perhaps what leaves the lasting impact so sad and fragile like the woman it focused on.

I don't know how your story will compare with other entries. You should read what others wrote and entered but you should definately submit this. It's really beautiful and my chest is still tingling with the lingering sensations of grief and sadness.

Thank you for sharing and I'm really glad you asked me to read this. *hugs*
Yours Truly,
Rebecca Laffar-Smith

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