Saturday, March 12, 2011

"Thoughts from a Decaying Planet" - a critique

Today is critique day on One Stop Poetry.com. Pete Marshall has posted "Thoughts from a Decaying Planet" and asks for reader response.

Here, for starters, is the poem as it was posted.


Thoughts From A Decaying Age
by Pete Marshall

Let life live on a desolate shore

untouched by man and free of law

where all who live are but creature & flower
on a paradise island these dreams are our

fantasies that wont come true

for Man destroys anything who

stands in his way to accomplish a dream

with Science, War, Religion & we

who all just sit back and watch
do not try to stop as the world destructs.

Let their blood flow on through the valley
covering the land raped by the tyranny

scorching the Earth so dry & disfigured
where once stood trees & flowers & people.

hard to believe there once was life here

this barren land savaged by the years

but no river runs cold when you fight for existence
to live & breathe & laugh is resistance.

********


Here are my thoughts:

The title is vivid and sets the tone for this essentially pessimistic poem about the state of the earth. It does end on an optimistic and welcome note of empowerment.

You're tackling a big subject here. I'm struggling somewhat with your generalization that science, war and religion are the root of the planet's problems.  However, you've taken a passionate poetic stand, and your poem will certainly get people thinking.


Technically, I find the use of the ampersands distracting. I am also not fond of the inconsistent end rhymes. But I like the last two lines rhyming. It gives your conclusion a nail-down or punch line effect.

I'm going to make a few more comments within the poem.


Thoughts From A Decaying Age

by Pete Marshall

Let life live on a desolate (is "desolate" the right word? It has a negative connotation which you may not want here. You could use sheltered, remote, secluded, faraway, far-flung) shore
untouched by man and free of law
where all who live are but creature & flower
on a paradise island these dreams are our

fantasies that wont (won't) come true

for Man destroys anything who (suggest "anything which" or "anyone who")

stands in his way to accomplish a dream

with Science, War, Religion & we
who all just sit back and watch

do not try to stop (stop what or who?) as the world destructs.


Let their blood (whose blood - those who sit inactive watching the world destruct, or those who are destroyed, or ...?) flow on through the valley
covering the land raped by the tyranny

scorching the Earth so dry & disfigured
where once stood trees & flowers & people.
hard (You've begun other sentences with a capital; is this small case 'h' intentional or a typo?) to believe there once was life here

this barren land savaged by the years (interesting that you are introducing another element here - are you saying that the desolation here is also the result of the wear and tear of time? If so, man wouldn't be to blame for that. Or are you saying that the "savaged...years" are an accumulation of years' worth of tyranny?)

but no river runs cold when you fight for existence
to live & breathe & laugh is resistance. (I really like your last line. Though you haven't solved the problems of the world for it, you've come to a place of lighthearted passive resistance re its problems  for yourself.)

For other critiques of this poem, check out the list at the bottom of this post.

1 comment:

Pete Marshall said...

hi and thanks for taking part with this exercise....the questions you leave with this piece are very valid...the critique is done positively and as a writer it is making me question my work...in a good sense...thanks again pete