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King Rat

arctoa's avatar
By arctoa   |   Watch
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Published: January 4, 2010
I am the morning;
A dawn
that drives
darkness from dreamers
to drain

Toward the depths of Earth
with the rain:

An eventide flood
that flows through ruts
cut rough in the dirt:
rifts amongst rubble

Where rats
raise realms
in the run-off,
and reign
their raven rule
alone
and in ruin.

I am the mourning;
A wraith
for rodent kings
in absentia.
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© 2010 - 2019 arctoa
Updated: 04/01/2010 @ 17:17
Project2010: 007 of 375 (January 4th)



Another piece based on a dream that was undoubtedly influenced by a book I read some time ago that goes by the name of King Rat. While unrelated in subject matter, the imagery is striking and is surely responsible for the thought matter I experienced.

This feels rough around the edges, so is a likely candidate for future revision. Additionally, I had trouble categorising it; the possible selections aren't particularly useful.
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Comments (26)
Illusionna's avatar
I like this poem! 

The phrase "Where rats/raise realms/in the run-off" is powerful, it is both visual in its imagery and audial with the alliteration.

The return to the sound "morning/mourning" is a nice construct also, brining the reader back around to the beginning. 

I was a little confused by "in absentia", and wasn't sure if the reader needed to read the book in order to understand that line, or if I missed the meaning. :clap:
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arctoa's avatar
arctoa|Student Photographer
Thank-you kindly for taking the time to comment, it's most appreciated. As for the final line, it's there to detach the imagery from reality.
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jackgunski's avatar
Always a pleasure reading your work.
Alliteration, from my experience, is not common in poetry. Again, I am speaking from experiece, alliterations usually become a little silly. This avoids that trap altogether, thankfully.
You're also right. Stylistically, is is a little rough around the edges, but in this case, "rough" may not be such a bad thing. It doesn't draw attention to itself, which is good, and it's near-stifling nature reflects well with the subject matter.
And before I move on to the actual advice, you may already know this, but bear in mind that not being able to catagorize a poem can be a good thing. Poetry should thrive on breaking boundries, and what is a catagory other than a big, ugly boundary?

NOW, let's talk about the actual poem. The first stanza talks about a force of good, something that drowns out evil. The "drain" comes into play in the next stanza, where combined with "depths" and "rain," we can infer that the setting is a sewer. (I'm only trying to go over everything, sorry if I give some "duh" details). The flood mentioned sounds like another cleansing force, and it takes out all the rats living there. For the final stanza, morning has become mourning, suggesting that maybe this "cleansing force" was a little short sighted.

I love the idea that wiping something out completely, regardless of how it's viewed may be a shortsighted move. What seems to be missing is the actual repercussions. This is where style clashes with subject. While the poem is a good length, I kind of wish there was a mention of WHY this move turned out to be bad. With the addition of that "why," this poem becomes something of an instructional fable. Add the "why" and you risk sacrificing the "length." I know it seems nitpicky, but it's difficult to find anything wrong otherwise. I hope this was helpful.
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arctoa's avatar
arctoa|Student Photographer
Thank-you for taking the time to compose such a thorough critique; it's most appreciated. I'll certainly take your thoughts and ideas into consideration should I return to revise this piece!
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BunnyFroofroo's avatar
I really like this one :D The first line is intriguing.
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arctoa's avatar
arctoa|Student Photographer
Many thanks.
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Luna-Avalon-Dragon's avatar
I love this poem, it captures him exactly!!!

Who was it who wrote the book?

Liv =)
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arctoa's avatar
arctoa|Student Photographer
Thank-you for your comment, it's appreciated.

The author is China Miéville.
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Luna-Avalon-Dragon's avatar
*Reads the book* OMG I love this!!! *begins habit of screaming at the characters in the book!* You idiot Saul, just do as he tells you to! Stop getting into trouble!!! =^,^= (rat face!)

Liv =)
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arctoa's avatar
arctoa|Student Photographer
Quite.
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corvidophiliac's avatar
The King Rat connection is undeniable; it was with me before I saw the comment, and ladyface is right -- it does bear that same atmosphere, the same bone-rending feeling of dank chilled air and dark orange light, as the book does.
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arctoa's avatar
arctoa|Student Photographer
Smashing, jolly good.
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corvidophiliac's avatar
USELESS RESPONSE FOR THE SAKE OF RESPONDING.
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arctoa's avatar
arctoa|Student Photographer
Quite.
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Tar-Ankalime's avatar
Tar-Ankalime|Hobbyist Photographer
I like it really, really much. I can't say anything more for my english isn't good enough to make an enough ambitious comment. ;p
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arctoa's avatar
arctoa|Student Photographer
Heh, thank-you for the comment.
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limnides's avatar
I can see, quite vividly, the sun rising up over the city streets and chasing the nightmares to their underground kingdom.

It has the same atmosphere as the book, but just with a lot more alliteration. Hah.
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arctoa's avatar
arctoa|Student Photographer
Not bad, considering I haven't read it for years. ;D
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flawedfairytale's avatar
I adore your language in this, it makes the piece so readable.
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arctoa's avatar
arctoa|Student Photographer
Many thanks, it's appreciated.
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Anemone-The-Bored's avatar
I love the imagery here, and the almost surreal feel this piece has. It makes sense, but at the same time...I feel like I'm only seeing pieces. In a good way though. :)

I'm probably not making much sense, but I love this piece. :heart:
Reply  ·  
arctoa's avatar
arctoa|Student Photographer
Heh; no, you make sense. I was aiming for something of a fragmented composition given that dreams are regularly jigsaws missing pieces. Anyway, thank-you for the comment.
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Anemone-The-Bored's avatar
You're welcome. :)
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DrearyWishes's avatar
DrearyWishes|Student General Artist
I like it. :)
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