Thursday, July 21, 2011

Magpie Tales #74 and Poetry Jam, "Temptation's Mask"

Photo courtesy of Tess Kincaid for Magpie Tales

Temptation's Mask

With eyes downcast, unshed, behind a mask I hide
and try to overcome my desperate loneliness.
How do I move forward without you by my side?
The thought so painful and foreign, so odious;
my emotions oscillate between vulnerability
and vindictiveness.  A deep breath, I take.  My copious
thoughts filled with stifling revenge, not humility.
Dear God!  I beg of you to save me from such a vice!
With every broken heart beat my body quivers.
Alive I am, but for what purpose?  What price
if I give in to malicious temptation?  I pray my heart withers,
and shrinks.  For loving you, caring for you, is destroying me.

By Margaret Bednar, Art Happens 365, July 21, 2011

* * * * *

This is for Magpie Tales & Poetry Jam.  Magpies photo prompt is the awesome African mask and Poetry Jam's theme for the week is temptation.  Just so nobody worries about me, this poem is completely fabricated and does not reflect me current state of heart and mind.  But, do beware of a woman scorned!  :)

Now, this is also for dVerse - Poets Pub: Crit Friday - a means in which a poem is to be approached with a bit of scrutiny and critiqued in order to help make it better.  There are some ground rules explained in this week's post over at dVerse.  But I am really happy to present my poem above.

Temptation's Mask was written in roughly 30 minutes.  I rarely try to rhyme - so that was my challenge.  But I didn't stick with a syllabic rhythm...  I often get to this point and then wound what to do.  I 'm all ears!
Critique away!  :)

I am on a bit of a blog break 'till the end of the month - July 31st.  However, I will have my I-Pad handy and will methodically go through whoever links up to this challenge.  

16 comments:

texwisgirl said...

wonderfully desperate and powerful.

Jinksy said...

I don't think "I take a deep breath" and "I am alive" gain anything by being turned on their tails? I wonder what your thinking was behind the decision to switch them around?

It's desperate desperation, alright, that you've caught with these words...

The Bug said...

I'm all for the revenge instead of shrinking into oneself. Well, not really - I'm all talk :)

Margaret said...

Jinsky... Not sure. Maybe I thought it was a bit more dramatic. I willntake a closer look atbit this weekend! Thanks for the comment. Now i'm off to enjoy th lake!

Heaven said...

I like these lines....

my emotions oscillate between vulnerability
and vindictiveness.

Sorry, not good at critiq yet.

Thanks for sharing it~

Margaret said...

Heaven: Hey, compliments 'aint bad! :) Thanks.

Lolamouse said...

I really like the juxtaposition of vulnerability and vindictiveness. The desperation is clear in your piece. My one critique is to perhaps replace the cliched phrase "without you by my side" with something more uniquely yours. Nice take on a very strange prompt!

Brian Miller said...

ok, give the room to breath a bit with some line breaks, be creative with it to accentuate the questions. Cut a 'the' just to give it a bit of punch...could tighten it a bit but i like...

With eyes downcast, unshed, behind a mask I hide
and try to overcome my desperate loneliness.

How do I move forward without you by my side?

Thoughts so painful and foreign, so odious;
my emotions oscillate between vulnerability
and vindictiveness. A deep breath, I take.

My copious
thoughts filled with stifling revenge, not humility. Dear God! I beg of you to save me from such a vice!

With every broken heart beat my body quivers.
Alive I am, but for what purpose? What price
if I give in to malicious temptation? I pray my heart withers,
and shrinks. For loving you, caring for you, is destroying me.

Ruth said...

Good on you for opening up to the Crit Friday challenge, not easy to do. I like Brian's suggestions very much, feeling the breaks to open this up. But how the poem looks is also essentially something the poet must feel. These things create themselves, don't they? A life of their own.

I wonder if this poem might benefit from a little rearranging. It can be fun to play around this way. I'm not saying this is better, but it plays with the revelation a bit.


I pray my heart withers, and shrinks.

With eyes downcast, unshed, behind a mask I hide
and try to overcome my desperate loneliness.
How do I move forward without you by my side?
For loving you, caring for you, is destroying me.

The thought so painful and foreign, so odious;
my emotions oscillate between vulnerability
and vindictiveness. A deep breath, I take. My copious
thoughts filled with stifling revenge, not humility.

Dear God! I beg of you to save me from such a vice!
With every broken heartbeat my body quivers.
Alive I am, but for what purpose? What price
if I give in to malicious temptation?

tony said...

Masks Attract Attention Rather Than Divert.Non?

Margaret said...

I can't wait to truly get a chance to rework this and thank you for all the suggestions! Each time I hope to get better...

Luke Prater said...

Hi Margaret - Strong sentiment here, and in many places well-expressed. Some nice word-use, in particular, 'oscillate', 'copious', and common though it may be, 'withers' will always be a favourite of mine personally.

Firstly I think Brian is right - it need room to breath. Stanza-breaking can be very important. It also makes a piece feel more crafted on the page/screen, can emphasise those lines before and after the break, and give a piece more body. I see two viable ways here, the first is teh tercets-despite-where-the-content-is approach, which I favour, and is used by a lot of professional poets. You'll get a lot of run-on lines but I like that effect, it gives the poem more interest. Viz -


With eyes downcast, unshed, behind a mask I hide
and try to overcome my desperate loneliness.
How do I move forward without you by my side?

The thought so painful and foreign, so odious;
my emotions oscillate between vulnerability
and vindictiveness. A deep breath, I take. My copious

thoughts filled with stifling revenge, not humility.
Dear God! I beg of you to save me from such a vice!
With every broken heart beat my body quivers.

Alive I am, but for what purpose? What price
if I give in to malicious temptation? I pray my heart withers,
and shrinks. For loving you, caring for you, is destroying me.


Here's the other stanza-breaking option I see as viable here (all just suggestions, of course :) Broken at appropriate places in the Narrative -


With eyes downcast, unshed, behind a mask I hide
and try to overcome my desperate loneliness.
How do I move forward without you by my side?

The thought so painful and foreign, so odious;
my emotions oscillate between vulnerability
and vindictiveness. A deep breath, I take. My copious
thoughts filled with stifling revenge, not humility.

Dear God! I beg of you to save me from such a vice!
With every broken heart beat my body quivers.

Alive I am, but for what purpose? What price
if I give in to malicious temptation? I pray my heart withers,
and shrinks. For loving you, caring for you, is destroying me.


more...

Luke Prater said...

...cont..

On content - I feel that this piece is largely told rather than shown, ie you tell us straight how you are feeling and what's happening, rather than show us by way of visual poetic devices such as metaphor, simile, personification, etc. In other words, that colourful poetic language that actually intensifies the emotive quality of the content hugely. You have written this eloquently, this is not the issue. Here for example -

The thought so painful and foreign, so odious; > so odious? How did that make you feel? What did it do to your face? Flush cheeks? Did it make you get up and break something? You could show us how odious by the effect it had on you in your actions (or its action on you), explained poetically, and it would hit ten times harder.

In this last section you use broken heart(beat)/heart withers/loving you etc. In love poetry/loved-and-lost poetry, these are overused and your sentiment would be more arresting if you could find other ways to express these statements/emotions. Some, in my opinion, you don't need at all. It's all been said or implied in the poem already.

Dear God! I beg of you to save me from such a vice!
With every broken heart beat my body quivers.

Alive I am, but for what [purpose]? What price
if I give in to malicious temptation? [I] pray [my heart] I wither
[and shrinks. For loving] you are [, caring for you, is] destroying me.

ie -

Alive I am, but for what? What price if I
give in to malicious temptation? Pray I wither;
you are destroying me.

I don't think you even needed to mention your heart there, or loving, it's clear. And there is much more strength and punch in succinctness/brevity. what do you think? All just in my opinion, of course. I think you could go through the whole piece and strip some redundant phrasing/words away to boil the piece down to its essence, writing in more poetic device as you go.

I think you have good poem here, love to see how this one develops if you choose to edit. Hope this was helpful Margaret

warm regards

Luke

Laurie Kolp said...

Sad, but beautiful. Things will get better!

Margaret said...

Luke..wow.. I thank everyone for the time and effort. I really do see what you are saying and I am going to try and have a go at this one again. And I can't wait to apply these comments and tips to my next written piece!

Thank you, again! I'm on vacation, so if you don't see a revision right away, that's the reason.

Doctor FTSE said...

Hi Margaret.
I think you could improve your rhythm here and there quite easily. For example, in line 4 red-pencil the "and" and the second "so". This doesn't significantly change your intentions, but it would make a more metrical line - "The thought so painful, foreign, odious" - the commas forcing pauses as in Mark Anthony's notorious
"Friends! Romans! Countrymen!"
(But remember . . I'm a pentrametroholic!)