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literature

Steel Castles

Gymdawg's avatar
By Gymdawg   |   Watch
16 15 506 (1 Today)
Published: August 6, 2013
I was a fragile youth
clawing my way towards truth.
Soaking in mystery,
I questioned everything.
I said, "There has to be
a meaning for misery,
a reason the days are long,
a reason these nights feel wrong."

Can I keep you?
Can I hide you away?
Will you leave me?
Will you ever change?

I sit in a big steel house,
its windows a gaping mouth;
a fortress atop the trees,
a keeper of all I see.
This life holds no mystery
or meaning. We build and breach
these castles that cannot keep
us safe from ourselves.

Can I flee you?
Can I keep you away?
Will you leave me?
Will you let me change?

Can I fight you,
cynical man I've made?
Will you leave me?
Will you let me change?
© 2013 - 2019 Gymdawg
Serving Cosmosys' 12th exhibit "Resistance." I was the featured artist for this exhibit, which is pretty cool.
www.cosmosys.net/exhibitions/1…

I'm really happy with how this turned out.
Comments15
anonymous's avatar
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greenbank's avatar
I give up: just what traditional fixed form is this, exactly? I've been racking my brains - and my reference books - to see if it even approximates any of them, but I can't see what you have done. Without knowing the intended form, I feel I can't comment on your use of rhyme or metre here.

A couple of minor technical points. The capital C of "Cynical" may just be a typo (the preceding punctuation mark is a comma, so shouldn't be followed by a capital); but if not, it begs the question of why "man" wasn't also capitalised (to indicate a title, like Caped Crusader). If that was the intention, I can see the point of it; but as it is, I am left uneasy as to the correct reading.

And those inverted commas are, I feel - though this is only my own taste speaking - unnecessary to the movement of the poem. If you wrote it down as

I said: there has to be
a meaning for misery,
a reason the days are long,
a reason these nights feel wrong.

that would still work very effectively, but (I think) allow a somewhat more fluid movement to the stanza on the page and therefore in the reader's mind. Ending the "quotation" with quotation marks isn't necessary in itself, because the end of the stanza marks it off effectively enough (that's what line ends and stanza ends are for). Then the chorus (for want of a better term) appears, so it's quite clear that the quotation doesn't continue after the stanza end.

Repetition. Very useful, and it can be a powerful tool for orchestrating the reading. However, the fourth line of the chorus is not identical in the first instance to its appearance in the second and third instances. This suggests, to me, that you have lost control a bit and become unsure of exactly what you want to do with this power. I expected, myself, to see the final line read slightly differently - "Will you help me change?" or even "Will you make me change?" You can see that this opens up another interesting set of questions.

More generally, I think you have left yourself out on a limb, poetically speaking, by weak control of your range of imagery. "steel house" works well enough, as it merges into the castle idea, even if castles are more or less by definition made of stone - but where do these trees come from? What is their point, their use in advancing the argument you present? And "mystery" - you start off by saying you are "soaking in mystery" (presumably meaning something along the lines of "puzzlement" or even "confusion"), but later complain that "This life holds no mystery" (where I suspect you intend something more like "irrational delight" or "entrancing purpose"). It seems to me that as a poet you have been too careless in your thoughtful choice of words to make the poem work.

Nevertheless, I agree with the others that you have posed some interesting questions and made a useful point. It's just that I think your message, as it stands, is weakened and confused by a lack of control which betrays the strength of purpose. You might care to look at "Tuesday night" in my gallery, to see what I've written on a theme similar to the first part of your message. Comments very welcome, of course.
Gymdawg's avatar
GymdawgHobbyist General Artist
Wow, that is a lot of great feedback.
It's entirely likely that I put it in the wrong category. I wasn't sure exactly where to put it so I took a guess. I've moved most of my recent work into the "lyrics" category, where they probably belong, and I apologize for the confusion.

The capital 'c' was a typo.

I agree that the quotation marks are probably unnecessary, but I felt like being explicit.

There is a tone change between the second and third paragraph. You can think of this as the speaker aging. The differences between the uses of "mystery" and the "choruses" are a result of that shift.

The third paragraph is about building something impressive, but not deriving any joy from it. The steel house, castle, and trees all allude to that creation and how it "elevates" its creator.
greenbank's avatar
Okay, that makes sense. I can see what you're doing now.

Still, I think it would be a good idea if this one was moved out of "Traditional fixed forms" like your others.
Gymdawg's avatar
GymdawgHobbyist General Artist
It's already been moved.
Ohreemamma's avatar
OhreemammaHobbyist Writer
nice one... "a keeper of all I see." i wonder why i can relate to that... sigh but you're really good
Gymdawg's avatar
GymdawgHobbyist General Artist
D'awww, thanks.
Ohreemamma's avatar
OhreemammaHobbyist Writer
its true! and you make clean rhyming matches, just don't force it. I love that style... i use it often too. in fact, i'm watching you!
Vexatiousss's avatar
VexatiousssHobbyist Digital Artist
great work, well deserved feature ;)
Gymdawg's avatar
GymdawgHobbyist General Artist
Thanks, Vex :)
Jaejoong's avatar
JaejoongProfessional Digital Artist
love your pieces for the exhibit!
Gymdawg's avatar
GymdawgHobbyist General Artist
Thanks. There's a lot of great art in XII. It's a great collection.
violetmirage's avatar
violetmirageStudent Traditional Artist
"We build and breach these castles that cannot keep us safe from ourselves." - love this line! Great work! :)
Gymdawg's avatar
GymdawgHobbyist General Artist
Thanks!
Jayteare's avatar
I still ask these questions today my friend, great poem!
Gymdawg's avatar
GymdawgHobbyist General Artist
Thanks, Jay.
anonymous's avatar
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