What would improve this poem?

Mightier Than

My hands are cold,
cold, bleeding, and calloused.
Once they scribed beauty with razors and ink,
filled voids from heresy, anguish, and truth.
Upon a time gentle,
smooth and unmarked,
fingers write music, skin ripples through into

two sacred soul-shards glist'ning before me,
singing through blood, thrumming harmonic chant,
both what I've been and must choose to Become,
one Choice of Lust and the other of Passion.

Now all as nothing,
white phosphorous fire,
holes stamped in concrete
like traps for the tiger,
hands worked to leather, from feather to metal--

who had knowledge to wield one...
thou shalt lay down the other.

13 Comments on “What would improve this poem?

  1. Some happiness….I wouldn’t presume to alter a thing (because, as you see below, I do not do misery or angst)

    (The following is my response to another posting – but, hey, it fits here, too)

    I’d rather be a happy bunny
    I do not ‘do’ misery or angst
    Deep within I could be low
    But, gloom promotes no thanks.

    And tales of overflowing wretchedness
    Are really not my thing
    I, too, like happy-butter on my bread
    And feeling the joys of spring.

    (yes I know it’s autumn time
    but autumn does not rhyme)

  2. I do not read much poetry, but when I do, tend to know the background, for example Ted Hughes and his angst with his wife. Or it’s clear what the message is. Not sure what your message or story is? It’s contradictory in some areas; … both what I’ve been and must choose to become. Is it a poem from life experience or is it a list of statements that are profound that do not gel together? That’s my question to you? Are you a musician or an artist? …fingers write music… once they scribed beauty with razors and ink? I do not know. I suppose when you right a poem you do it to communicate a feeling to someone who has not experienced that feeling? Anyhow, what is your objective here? What do you want the reader to feel?

  3. The pen/word is mightier than the sword? Teenage angst replaced by the toils of hard work which becomes passion? Hard to decipher after the first stanza. Perhaps just me.

  4. This is very poetic, good job. I do not know if you’re trying to be cryptic to be interesting. If your theme is complex, it will turn out cryptic by itself.

    Mightier Than

    My hands are cold,
    Bleeding, calloused.
    Once they scribed beauty with ink and razors,
    filled voids from heresy, anguish, and truth. (heresy isn’t a good thing) filled voids of heresy with the anguished truth.
    Upon a gentle time,
    smooth and unmarked,
    My fingers wrote the music, skin that rippled through

    The sacred souls in shards that glistened light before me,
    singing through the blood and thrummed harmonic chant,
    both what I’ve been and must choose to Become,
    one Choice of Lust, the other Passion.

    Now all is nothing,
    A white phosphorous fire,
    holes stamped in concrete
    like traps for the tiger,
    hands worked to leather, from feather to metal–

    who had knowledge to wield one…
    thou shalt lay down the other.

  5. It is interesting that when we actually fall in love things change
    our poetry and our way of expressing things.
    I follow the words with a bit of confusion, but knowing who you are and what you stand for
    your youth and your passion,
    I can attempt to decipher
    and at this point in my reading I care not to offer any improvisation
    .. take care

  6. My take on this poem:
    how did we start, what has been going on, where do we stand now, and what to become of it.
    Nothing stays the same forever, for we are faced with 2 hard choices (lust and passion). If you can handle 1 of them, it’s wise to lay down the other.

    Long time no see, Eva. Nice to ‘see’ you back.
    your pen still maintaining that lovely (sad) touch.

  7. I can make no suggestions for ways to improve the poem; it is expressive almost to the point of being frightening in what it depicts. The choice of language style is interesting, in places almost Biblical, while the message is 1 that could apply to any age and time.

    There are references to artistry and to emotions, yet the style seemed to me to be emotionless and dispassionate. Cold almost.

    What comes across to me is sort of an ultimate let-down. If this is what you were trying to say with it, you succeeded. If there was a different message it needs to be given a voice and words.

  8. A divided heart finds no peace?
    Strong pen of a relationship unfinished, hard to let go of?
    whatever sounds very troubled.

  9. The pen is mightier than the sword?
    Yet, your poem feels like you have gone through a range of emotions from cutting to rejection.
    The word thou I think is mis placed if your poem does not speak in archaic form and i did not get skin ripples through into. However, I love this rhyme and rhythm ;-

    Now all as nothing,
    white phosphorous fire,
    holes stamped in concrete
    like traps for the tiger,

    I think that this is the strength of the poem.

    On a personal note, it is good to see you back.

  10. Hello, Eva.

    I see that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Best regards to you,
    Elaine

  11. Hi Eva,

    Nice to see you and your writing again. Here are a few comments:

    My hands are cold,
    cold, bleeding, and calloused.–the repetition of cold is good. Normally I get nervous seeing lists of descriptors they tend to weigh a poem down. You could stick with your sonics and cut bleeding unless you feel it is essential to what you’re trying to get across.

    Once they scribed beauty with razors and ink,–maybe a line break after beauty
    filled voids from heresy, anguish, and truth.–This is a problematic line in my opinion. Voids strikes me as a non-descriptive word that would be better if substituted with an image. Also heresy, anguish, and truth are 3 abstract ideas which do not carry much power. Is there a better way you could phrase this?

    Upon a time gentle,–upon a time seems like awkward phrasing
    smooth and unmarked,
    fingers write music, skin ripples through into–maybe do a line break on skin ripples and pull the other words down onto the two sacred…line Skin ripples is so evocative it might look better ending the line.

    two sacred soul-shards glist’ning before me,–Is there a better way to say two sacred soul-shards. It does not convey much and seems distracting.
    singing through blood, thrumming harmonic chant,–this is a cool line
    both what I’ve been and must choose to Become,–the next line accomplishes what this line does. I think you could cut this.
    one Choice of Lust and the other of Passion.–if you simply move to this line it has the quality of the chant and seems to work better.

    Now all as nothing,–maybe add is after all
    white phosphorous fire,–maybe white fire phosphorous it plays better that way with holes in the next line.
    holes stamped in concrete
    like traps for the tiger,–nice
    hands worked to leather, from feather to metal– again this is nice

    who had knowledge to wield one…
    thou shalt lay down the other.–maybe thou shalt lay the other down (smooth the syntax a bit).

    Cool poem I liked it. I realise I gave a lot of comments. Use what you like ignore the rest. I hope that some of it is helpful.

    Best,

    Todd

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