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A Poem by getinthecarplease

I want to imprison all the words that find me
in contemplation and fear.

Spectral fingers reach for mine but
slip through my hand into the shade.
I fascinate from afar
as the ocean drags their fragile skin
and erodes the sand hoisting their bodies;
all of those memories swallowed
by an ancient sea.

Ghosts huddle on ivied bridges
poised in pearl-white robes.
Brisk by face and trembling hands
which brush through the stream invisibly;
nothing to touch, no one to see.
Pebbles stare back as ripples unfold
into reflections of the weak and cold.

I want them to retain their experience
but death punctures like a chilling knife
cast into the brow of the world.

© 2022 getinthecarplease

My Review

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Interesting use of imagery in this one. But of course the dark angel wins in the end, and no words can imprison it. On the other hand, maybe it's not an angel, only a door.

Posted 7 Months Ago

• I want to imprison all the words that find me

So…someone unknown wants to imprison words for unstated reasons? What can this mean to a reader who just arrived? Nothing. The reader must have context as, or before they read any given line, because you can’t retroactively remove confusion. Sure, it has perfect meaning when you look at it, but you not only have context for how one can place a word in prison, and, ony you know why this person thinks it’s a good idea.

You just gthe reader effect—wanting to react to unknown statements, before you provide cause for wanting that. In fact, does the reader care that you’re upset for unknown reasons? No, because you give them no reason to care.

• in contemplation and fear.

So…having added more to the original statement, when this person is fearful and contemplating something unknown they believe the solution would be to silence whoever tried to talk with them? Umm...

The problem is that when you talk about you every word points to memories, experiences, and more, all in your mind and waiting to be evoked. So as you read, the narrator’s voice—your voice—not only is filled with emotion, those memories come to life…for you. For the reader? For them, every word points to memories, experience, and more, all in *your* mind and waiting to be evoked. But, you’re nowhere in sight when it’s read.

The thing to remember is that readers care not at all how we feel. No one here woke today hoping you would talk about how you feel, any more than you woke thirsting to know about them.

Poetry isn’t informative, though, it’s emotion-based and invites the reader in. The goal is to make that reader feel and care, not be better informed on what matters to us. We don’t tell the reader we cried, we work to give that reader reason to weep, and laugh, and… Tell the reader about you and all they can respond with is, “Uhh…okay. But make them laugh, or cry, or feel the warmth of love, and they'll love you.

Problem is, in all the years of our schooling, all we were taught is how to report and explain. That’s great if the goal is a report, or an essay. But not if it’s a poem. For that you need the skills that have been developed and refined for centuries: The skills of the poet. And like the nonfiction skills we were given in school, they must be studied and mastered.

Not good news I know, but since we’ll not address the problem we don’t see as being one, I thought you might want to know, especially as the problem is fixable:

First: when you edit, always do it from the seat of a reader, never the author. One good trick is to have the computer read it to you.

Next: Grab a copy of Mary Oliver’s, A Poetry Handbook. It’s filled with useful, and interesting, information. You can download a copy here:

And since some of your work uses rhyming, you need to read the excerpt from Stephen Fry’s, The Ode Less Traveled, on Amazon. You’ll be amazed at what he has to say.

And finally: You might like the Shmoop site. They have lots of great poetry there, analyzed deeply, to show why and how it works. Log in as student, and then use the button by the midpage search window to select Poetry

So…I know you were hoping for something a lot less painful. I’ve been there a time or three. But the problem, as Mark Twain puts it: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” And because we forget that the purpose of school is to ready us for the needs of employers, not make poets of us, you have a LOT of company—which means starting out headed full-tilt in the wrong direction is the rule, not the exception, so finding out is more a rite-of-passage, than a disaster.

So hang in there, and keep on writing. It never gets easier, but with work and study, we do become confused on a higher level.

Jay Greenstein

Posted 7 Months Ago

A very interesting poem. Death is a must where we shed the crust. I feel the author is contemplating life and death. Good imagery.

Posted 7 Months Ago

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3 Reviews
Added on October 8, 2022
Last Updated on October 8, 2022
Tags: Dark, Rhyme, Sad, Horror, Ghost, Death, Life, Water