poetry critical

online poetry workshop



The monkeys have flown and the wicked bitch turned out to be jenakajoffer.
sybarite

On the outskirts of youth
 1
I composed a sanctuary.
 2
Steeped in books and tea;
 3
the quiet of my shadow
 4
for company.
 5
 
 
No longer hurdling fences
 6
looking for emerald cities,
 7
the whirlwind years unfurled
 8
in the green of a forest.
 9
Not quite Kansas,
 10
mountains hold more magic
 11
than a dust-bowl of devils.
 12
 
 
Just outside the door
 13
a little ruby car
 14
unwinds in return
 15
all the miles wound-up away.
 16

17 May 11

Rated 8 (9.1) by 2 users.
Active (2): 6, 9
Inactive (7): 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10

(define the words in this poem)
(129 more poems by this author)



Add A Comment:
Enter the following text to post as unknown: captcha

Comments:

I know this needs work.  I've been messing with it for days and can't get it right.  I really want to end it with 'they know the way back here' but want to avoid the repetition of here from L11.  I think it's the middle stanza that is the real problem.  Suggestions?
 — sybarite

home is nice, but a bit too nice?
been reading and re-reading this. thinking what if you ended with:
'only they know the way back' ?
I love this poem by the way.
I'm going to keep thinking and reading ok?
to see if I can suggest anything better.
 — Empty

great
 — unknown

there you go :)
 — Empty

nice poem.  consider omitting 'here' from 15?   or replace 'here' with 'to Kansas'?  though that might change what you're trying to convey.  just a few ideas anyway.  
 — JKWeb

Aside from the absurdly deluded title this is a solid write that melts in the mouth like butter.
 — unknown

Some edits.

Empty, thank you for kind words and favoring.
Thanks unks--unk2--you don't like my title?
JK--I wanted to fit Kansas in here somewhere--thanks for the motivation!
 — sybarite

Think about using your current title in the body of the poem - it would add balance & create the opportunity for you to beat yourself up figuring out the new (shorter) and snappier title that this deserves. I feel gimmicks aren't required when you write this well.
 — unknown

embedding clauses sounds, these days, like antique writing, and, hence 'poetry'. the poetry comes from actually finding yourself in another time and place and automatically writing what only you can see, not what you expect us to react to.
 — syviaplastic

Thanks Unk-kind words.

How about this for the second stanza:

Clutter of munchkins now scattered, settled.
The monkeys have flown
and the wicked witch turned out to be my mother.
Hurricane years wound me down in the green of a forest
Not exactly Kansas; the mountains hold more magic
than a bowlful of dust devils.

Hmmm....title...
 — sybarite

I like your revision but with shorter lines and with semi colons to stifle the flow - e.g. 'but mountains hold more magic.'
 — unknown

I meant "without" semi colons
 — unknown

Thanks again unk--appreciate that you keep coming back and appreciate your suggestions.  Would like to know who you are though!

So:

Clutter of munchkins
now scattered, settled.
The monkeys have flown
and the wicked witch
turned out to be my mother.
Hurricane years wound me down
in the green of a forest.
Not exactly Kansas
but mountains hold more magic
than a bowlful of dust devils.

Better?
 — sybarite

If you said 'my' clutter of munchkins and 'turned out to be mother' (without the second my) I think it would ice the cake.
 — unknown

Thank you, that's perfect.  Now for a title change before editing the second stanza....I'm stumped.

All I can come up with is, 'Not in Kansas Anymore'--which seems kind of cliche...
 — sybarite

Title will arrive soon for you (a magic messenger in your mind is already on it) but you don't need Kansas twice.
That last line still bothers me a little...
Would you consider - "They always know their way back"
 — unknown

I agree the last line isn't quite right.  I find 'back' as the last word not working well with the rest of the stanza though--it sounds to hard against the softer vowel sounds of door and worn.  
 — sybarite

Agree - what about simply - they always know their way - (gives the reader more credit & making for a crisper exit)
 — unknown

Yes, that is better.  
That damn messenger is late...still stumped on the title.
 — sybarite

It'll pop into your head when you least expect it.
You've worked hard, so relax and enjoy the fact you've produced a fine poem.
(May's full moon is always a good one to write by)
 — unknown

(sybarite)

this started off strong. particulary liked the opening two lines. i can most certainly agree with lines four and five, a sanctuary of the perfect degree is a book and a cup of chai. in fact tonight, i will be doing that at around 10pm with the last 70 pages of 'gone with the wind'. in my opinion, books and cups of tea are better than sex. unless it is with a dirty slut then that's different.

i think the middle is the weakest, but still holds it somewhat, line 14 is my least favourite.

the last stanza is the strongest. cute and sweet.
 — raskolniikov

this is really great sybarite
the first version felt more moving though
 — antipoetry

Hmmm...This one's a little challenging to crit only because of the Wizard of Oz references which can tend 2b cliche more often than effective in a poem.  We've all been gone and we've all come home.  I'm STILL sometimes clickin' my heels together for Boston, but know I'm better off in Southern Maine.  Besides, Boston's only a 1:45 bus ride, but it feels far even after 7 years (sometimes.)  The only issues I have with it are L's 2, 8, 12 & 15.  In my honest opinion, the Wizard of Oz stuff weakens the presentation itself.  If you were to scrap all that and change the title, I feel that it would make more sense to the reader.  In L10, you speak of a hurricane, which is GREAT because in the movie, we were dealing with a twister.  I hope this doesn't offend u.  I'm just giving u MY TAKE on it.  :-)
 — starr

i dont find this cliche. i enjoyed it quite a lot. the first and last stanzas especially.
 — unknown

Rask--thank you.  I'm considering dropping L14 completely.  It's one of those 'little darlings', I think.
Antipoetry--thank you.  I'm not sure I even know what the original was anymore--LOL.
Starr--no offense taken--that'd be kinda silly of me after asking you to read this!  I'm kinda committed to the theme and of course, that means it won't appeal to everyone--what poem ever does!
Last unk--thank you.
 — sybarite

check your email syb.  
 — unknown

I have enjoyed this reading
 — unholy

interesting Oz inspiration but i'm not quite feelin it... =-)

i do feel the first four lines are a bit off.  line 1 isn't quite a strong hook to begin with.  maybe try re-arranging them,

"On the outskirts of youth
i arranged (do you really want 'arranged'?) a sanctuary; no longer
hurdling fences, looking
for emerald cities

steeped in books and tea
in the quiet of my shadow,
the clutter of munchkins, scatter,
hurricanes wound me
down in the green of a forest;
not exactly kansas,
the mountains hold more magic
than a dust-bowl of devils

my slippers by the door,
a little scuffed,
always find their way back."


I don't mean to re-write on your page,
just wanted to show you a different take. some words i find too close to Oz, like, you do'nt really need 'ruby', I dont think anyway.

well, nice to see you, have a wonderful Victoria Day =-)
 — jenakajoffer

ah, you're working today....have a good one, hope the weather turns nice for you again; i've been watching...=-)
 — jenakajoffer

Hey Jen, thanks for the feedback.  Yeah, this one needs some reworking.  I really like your suggestion for re-arranging the lines in the first stanza.

I worked all weekend but at least it was less busy than usual and today I made the big bucks working a stat!  Hope you enjoyed the long weekend too.  You did a great job on the lawn!
 — sybarite

Good storage of knowledge close to this topic people find, at the writing for money service.
 — unknown

haha, oh that lawn will be the death of me.

thanks syb, and i'm happy to share.
 — jenakajoffer

Much edited.  Extra thanks to Starr and Jen (sorry Starr, just couldn't do it without a bit of Oz)
 — sybarite

going through title woes i see...:)

what about
on the outskirts of youth
i composed a sanctuary,
not longer hurdling fences
to emerald cities

i wish you kept steeped in books and tea (was beautiful)
also miss the dust bowl of devils (i know i varied it but it sounded cool!)
how bout 'not quite Kansas' you get some good sonics there, up to you.

I would still tinker with the ending, this part seems to be your greatest challenge.
good luck, and yay for stat holiday pay!!!

have a good one
=-)
 — jenakajoffer

Thanks Jen.  Yes, titles always challenge me!  Thanks fer coming back to check on the progress of this and I'm with ya on all the sore spots.  I shall consider this a 'work in progess' and come back to it when I'm less tired.

Side note...I really do call my car Ruby....and there are two dogs here....Em and Jo.  Serendipitous rather than contrived but seems my subconscious maybe made some connections...life is weird.
 — sybarite

it's a different poem now syb. still very good. seems more distant somehow.
 — antipoetry

not to be rude or crude, Syb, but this new title makes me think of bodily waste.

=-O
 — jenakajoffer

LOL--yep, you're right Jen.

Argg--this poem is driving me crazy!  
 — sybarite

lol, you'll get it.  i'd ditch it for awhile, it will read differently to you in a few days or a week.  :)
i'm hoping to head out soon, maybe a month.  we'll have to exchange info's.
 — jenakajoffer

Love this. It's getting better.
My two cents:

Omit 'of' in line 7.

and

Little ruby star
just outside my door
when I leave, she knows
to bring me back here.
 — unknown

I lik the the little ruby car with the reference to Kansas :) but you're not from Kansas are you Sybarite?
you wouldnt want to be in Kansas today,, lots of action going down in Mo. Kansas and Okla. all part of tornado alley where i haunt.
 — ghost

Much edited again.  Third time's the charm?
 — sybarite

Lol...syb you're killing me with these titles...i hope you keep them all, we should write a satire with them.  :)
 — jenakajoffer

:)  lol  I still liked the first one best, silly as it was.  I like your satire idea!

Titles aside, is the poem any better?  I usually give up on poems that make me this nuts but for some reason I'm quite determined to make this work!
 — sybarite

hey sya,
i still fight for line 2 to be written naturally (i composed a sanctuary)
as for 'in the quiet of my shadow' (for company, well...meh)

6-12 Mastered!!

13-16 Fabulous!
i love 'unwinds'! it makes it, it really does.

nice work, keep the original title.
 — jenakajoffer

Back to the original title, partly because I like it, silly as it is and also for Jen, for all the help.

Flatlander--I'm freakin' determined to make you like every word of this and I ain't quittin' til you do.
L2 back to original (I'll stop trying to be so darn poetic!) and swapped out my shadow for some wildflowers.  If the wildflowers are 'meh' I gots me one other idea...

Seriously though, thank you for all the help....bloody slave driver... ;)
 — sybarite

i like whips and chains too syb :)

you callin me flatlander?  lol

easy on the punctuation, girlfriend.
wildflowers, meh.  poppies would be better, but so would opiates! omg opiates, that's awesome, hahaha.  no, i know that's not what you're going for.

ok that's it, i'm not going to make you bleed no more, though bleeding is good.
and i like you, westerly sister. :)
 — Estella

well, you know it's me.  =-)
 — Estella

Hey--you changed your clothes!
Whips and chains--send or receive?

Kay, okay, I won't send you flowers anymore!  LOL...opiates...yeah, no.  I could have Prince Valium for company?  

Ahem--back to the serious business of writing.  I can weed-whack the flowers.  What about 'a sentinel of trees to watch over me'?
 — sybarite

hmmm......or something with 'curtains of rain'? (too cheesy?)
 — sybarite

i am much better as a sender than a receiver :)

not trees, you already have green forest.
why did you ditch shadow anyway?  there was nothin wrong with that.

i'm going to the dick races now, should be fun.

catch you later!
 — Estella

oh my christ i meant DUCK!!!

yes, duck races.  oops =-)
 — Estella

well geez--ya said 'meh' a few comments up to my shadow for company. I'll whack the flowers.

dick races???  Have fun...I think?
 — sybarite

no the 'meh' was for the company part
the shadow was good.
 — Estella

Ah, gotcha.  Will ponder while I get ready for work.

Have fun at the races, ducky!  (Is it one of those things where they dump a gazilion numbered rubber duckies in a river and see which one wins?)
 — sybarite

i love you syabiotch :)
 — jenakajoffer

hehehe  back atcha jen!  
 — sybarite

0.345s