Some of you know that for homework I have to write an anaphoric poem. We got some guidance. At the end of the class we had to write four lines starting You are.. plus an image.
To complete the poem we have to use each of those lines as the first in a verse, a verse of four lines, and then finish with a two line message to the person the poem is about.
I have struggled. I didn’t clean the windows, a favourite task when procrastinating about something, and thank heaven for procrastination or my windows would be forever filthy, but it was a near thing. I now have a draft. I want feedback, not too critical please, but a bit critical to be helpful. So don’t say it’s lovely if you think it’s crap, and please think of a nice way of saying it’s crap if that is your opinion. Of course, if I get no comments I may have to change my name and leave the country.
Basically I am asking you to be kind and constructive. A big ask I know.
You have twenty-four hours. Or so. And I don’t have a title yet either.

You are the thin pink line between night and day



A seam of light.

You are the burnt stubble of a harvested field



A memory of summer.

You are the words of childish goodnights

Sweet dreams

God bless

Don’t let the bugs bite.

You are yourself but less so



Guilelessly honest

Sometimes the fire burns warmest

Before it goes out.


22 thoughts on “Homework

  1. I like it a lot – so much that I went back and reread it a couple of time. Of course I know nothing about poetry so my opinion is one of plain and simple enjoyment. I don’t know your intended meaning but it spoke to me.

  2. I know precious little about poetry but I really enjoyed this. The imagery is very powerful, that’s my one writing strength too so I know what I’m talking about. It sent me all over the place!You’ve mastered the form and it flows so well that you’ve made it seem easy.
    It’s about your mum?

  3. Each verse says it, the first because it beautifully describes a place of great age. The second and third, memories and the night time ritual of times past, and the last – makes me very sad. It speaks of gradual loss. It’s beautiful.
    Yes, its probably partly because I know from your writing as well, but that is also interesting isn’t it? It tells just how much impact we all as blog friends impact on each other.
    Take care.

    • Thanks Gilly. I shall probably make some changes. Helpless will become grateful, and I wonder if guilessly honest is a bit too tortological. And maybe in the second verse where I start with a field but move to writing.

  4. I like it very much and it is poignant but not maudlin. It is so difficult to witness the diminishing-
    Perhaps consider changing the “guilessly honest” phrase as it was a bit of a snag for me to an otherwise total flow in my reads. I think you did a wonderful job meeting the objective and it leaps to a whole new level at the end.

  5. “guilelessly honest” describes my aged mother who began saying whatever she wanted, whatever floated into her head….

    it’s deceptively powerful, that phrase is.

    I read the poem 4 or 5 times and it was painfully poignant each time. My words abandon me right now, Isobel, except–I’m glad you didn’t take the radio writing class. <:-D

  6. Absolutely wonderful Isobel…..I knew for sure this was about your Mother when I read the “guilelessly honest” phrase….having traveled a similar road with my Mom. I went back and reread it several times after I had that realization and I think the poem is perfect….perfectly perfect.


  7. I love your poem, Isobel. It fits so perfectly to its subject. It is spare, with no un-necessary words, and it contains both pain and joy.
    May I – hesitantly – make two critical comments?
    I think ‘A memory of summer’ isn’t right. It is too commonplace and broad to be alongside the honed down specifics of the rest. It needs something more poignant, something wrenched out of that overarching umbrella ‘a memory of summer’
    The other thing is that on several re-readings it seems to me that the word harvested is bulky and a trip hazard to the tongue. Might I suggest just ‘harvest’? I know it’s not so precise, but it still says all you need.
    To pick up on what you have said above, I think ‘guilelessly honest’ says exactly what you mean. If it’s because your tongue is tripping on that too you could possibly put ‘guileless, honest’ although perhaps it hasn’t quite the same specific precision.
    These are only my opinions, so please bin as you feel fit!
    It is a lovely poem.

    • Thanks. I am going to have an early night, so I shall come back and look again tomorrow before the class. I like memory of summer, but yes it is a bit clichéd. Maybe ditch the field and keep the yourself but less so… Guileless and honest, maybe. I

  8. I have read both, but think I prefer this first.

    Have you tried to punctuate only where the sentence dictates, rather than with each word at the start of the sentence? Then you could have a dash after
    ‘You are yourself but less so -‘
    leaving the next few words in lower case which fits the subject better….

    guilelessly honest.

  9. I like the idea of playing with the punctuation. I can see that might help. But is you are yourself but less so an image? I am going to sleep on it and see how I feel tomorrow. I prefer the two verses with paper and field, but in my mind’s eye, the field has changed to clods of earth, so maybe I am off somewhere else.

  10. I know nothing about poetry, so I can’t give any real constructive comment other than I picked up that it seemed to be about your Mother and I see you’ve confirmed that in the comments. The second version seems to have less of a connection. I prefer this though. Good luck with whatever you have to read out this evening 😀

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