poetry critical

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I named him Orion

Secrets kept for a decade or more become restless. So unfortunate you ever had to call. So devastating, the secret on the tip of my tongue. Did you already know? A part of you grew inside of me and then left before I knew he was there. They had to scrape him out of my hysterical womb. I never told you.

21 Mar 08

Rated 8.5 (8.7) by 2 users.
Active (2): 7, 10
Inactive (17): 5, 6, 7, 8, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

(define the words in this poem)

(9 users consider this poem a favorite)

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I liked this especially "hysterical womb", Well done.
 — unknown

yeah, "hysterical womb" is pretty funny.
 — DeformedLion

: )
 — fractalcore

Oh, my gosh!  Perfectly small and sad, like an unborn fetus still in his silver wrapper.
 — Isabelle5

This is so so sad.
 — unknown

 — unknown

Changed title.
 — unknown

Very strong. You may be able to do without the question in the middle. And I'd suggest breaks, but the way you have it seems appropriate for the subject. Like you're trying to blurt it out before you change your mind.
 — BoundFeet

Super-duper sad. You poor thing.
 — unknown

Thank you for reading, everyone. I appreciate your words.
 — unknown

The title is perfect for this.  Something untouchable and vast.  
 — Isabelle5

thank you
 — unknown

i had a vasectomy for your hysterectomy

de novo in utero in pluto
st3ntorian freud
 — unknown

oh, so heart wrenching
 — unknown

thank you
 — unknown

Orion. how beautiful. rings personally to me (the name, not the experience).
powerful poem, excellent writing.
 — jenakajoffer

This really struck a chord with me. I find it to be nearly perfect. This walks a fine line and doesn't really answer the question of whether you told him in that phone call. I like that.

Here are some thoughts about the rhetorical question in the middle and the last sentence. The question seems a little telly, but it does serve to set up the did she or didn't she question that provides some of the tension in this poem. "I never told you" serves to spin about the first few sentences. To me, the narrative begs for you to take some action. Not, "I put the kettle on." but perhaps something, a gesture.

If you are looking for suggestions, you can take it or leave it. It's wonderful the way it is.
 — diz

Thank you all
 — unknown

i love the content here ... well, hate it actually, if you wanted to get technical,

but i would love to see such a great title as this take the form of something else. i was a little thrown off by the paragraph form, considering how tight this poem is, i would expect a more rigid formatting ... because paragraphing can sometimes make it seem conventional, easily readable, and line breaks as well as more content would help get rid of that.

i'm not suggesting a rewrite ... please, keep this poem. but if you took this title and wrote something else with perhaps the content here as the core of your next one ... that would be good. not really even suggesting parts one and two, just another poem with the same title with perhaps the original central focus.

just an idea. good poem. you got it down.
 — listen

thanks listen. I've considered breaks. Still unsure.
 — unknown

I like the idea, if not the execution. Here you have such a short poem, and, not unusually, it probably should be even shorter. And then you could lengthen it again with more effective lines than the opening sentence, the Did you already know?, and the I never told you.
The first line tells us the theme of the poem. I hate to be told. The other two lines simply add no value to the poem.
Devastating is much too predictable.
I recommend that you open stronger and keep to what is important:

They had to scrape him out of my hysterical womb—that part of you grew inside and then died before I knew he was there. So unfortunate you ever had to call, with the secret on the tip of my tongue.
 — unknown

thanks for your critique. I don't know when I will feel up to edits, but thanks
 — unknown

Know what you mean. Sometimes I have to wait for a month or more. You're welcome.
 — unknown

yeah. eventually i'll do something with this
 — unknown

I favourited this last week but wasn't ready to comment. It really stunned me. It could be even more powerful I think. There is much that is enigmatic in here and I'm not sure if that adds or detracts from the overall effect.

The title is perfect. The form is not ideal and I do agree that it needs work - a different form would maximize the impact of your words. The current single paragraph doesn't do them justice. I like the unknowns suggestions about cutting the first few lines as I'm leaning towards thinking that there's too much going on. The most powerful lines for me:

A part of you grew
inside of me, and then died
before I knew he was there;
they had to scrape him out
of my hysterical womb.

I never told you.

Maybe you could start here?
The poetry in here, the internal rhymes, it all cries to be accentuated by the form. Form is not my strength but I hear the poetry and I sense it could be even more effective.

Maybe you could end with unknown's suggestion:

So unfortunate you ever had to call,
with the secret on the tip of my tongue.

Hope you don't mind me fiddling with your amazing words. Really love this.
 — smugzy

thanks smugzy.
 — unknown

this poem is truly amazing. it feels so cold, like the message has been weathered by a "decade or more" yet still has a sense of internal warmth and secrecy. the internal question seems to me pivotal. i wouldn't remove it because it marks the turn of the poem. it's somewhat abrupt after the two symmetrical "so" lines. however, i'm not sure if i like "died" in the poem. perhaps "hushed" or "faded" would be more applicable to a secret, which seems to be your overall conceit for the unborn baby. really though, spectacular work.
 — chriscampbel

Thank you so much. I agree on the died part. Any other suggestions? Everything I come up with doesn't fit.
 — unknown

No matter which side of the abortion issue your philosophy lies, there is death.
If you were use a euphemism for death, it may diminish your poem.
 — unknown

I know this is not describing an abortion, but hopefully you know what I mean.
 — unknown

That's exactly it. No matter what it sounds that way. (It was a miscarriage, by the way. The scraping came afterward.) I'm open for ideas. I put it there for lack of a better term.
 — unknown

i think the readers are smart enough to understand the metaphor. the removal of "died" does not necessarily remove strength from the poem; in fact, the subtleness another word could provide could be more powerful.

here's a list of words i would consider for it:


i especially like the first three, but that's just my take. i'm sure you've tried them before.
 — chriscampbel

That strikes me as a poetry 101 concept, Chris. Yes, there are many general, usually valid, rules, like show, don't tell, and the avoidance of certain words---like love and soul---but then you have to learn when it's ok, even necessary to abandon one of those concepts. If one or more is ignored out of ignorance, it will be obvious to a knowledgable reader. The author of this felt that died was the right word at the time. She may change her mind, but I think, in this case, her first instinct was correct. So I guess we can agree to disagree.
 — unknown

"Thank you so much. I agree on the died part. Any other suggestions? Everything I come up with doesn't fit."

i'm pretty sure the poet agrees with me. yes, i think died works fine, and it's somewhat nitpicky, but the overall metaphor might be better with a more subtle word than died. however, i still think this poem is amazing as is.
 — chriscampbel

thanks for the advice. I will give this more thought. Thanks again everyone!
 — unknown

I'm comfortable with changing died to left. Thanks again for your help.
 — unknown

Although I liked died, I must admit, I like left better.
 — unknown

Thank you. It was the only word that satisfied the line.
 — unknown

i agree. i think "left" is much better than "died."
 — chriscampbel

Thanks. I thought you'd like that.
 — unknown

i love it. i think do agree with others and like the "hysterical womb" part
 — onyx12098

orion would like this.
 — onklcrispy

short and sweet, and incrediblly loaded. i feel heavy.
 — humblebee

thanks to all
 — unknown

oh man, this hit me right in the gut.
 — shakeit

touching to the heart...
 — twayze

thanks =)
 — unknown