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Thread: Population: 1

  1. #1

    Population: 1

    A wry smile dressed the young man's face
    as he drove into the ground
    a sign reading, "Tranquility - Population: 1"
    Pride resounded across the mountain top
    as it exploded out of his chest.
    His conquest was complete.

    Four days later, he thought to himself
    The white blanket has grown so strong
    It blocks out the sun and bars exit
    Wind swept and pure
    Nature's prison locked tight against doors and windows
    Who knows what remains of my sentence?

    I wish I would have brought my provisions
    I wish I would have chopped wood

    They say that hell burns hot, and cries of torture permeate the soul
    my hell is so cold, the only thing I hear
    is the settling of these wooden walls
    and the chattering of my teeth occasionally interupted
    by the groans from my stomach.

    My dry mouth and lips have long
    since given up the fight- I no longer cry out.
    My lips and hands have burst open
    and trickle forth warm life.

    I wish I had went some place tropical
    I wish I hadn't have yelled at her

    In this institution of frozen water
    I die slowly of thirst
    The driven demon holds fast to all of the exits
    like a bullish albino guard that neither lets me out
    nor allows me to coax him in.
    Will I see the sun again?

    Nature flexed and knocked over a sign
    that read, "Tranquility - Population: 1"
    Permit me to doubt.

  2. #2
    Good morning, Campers! Jay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Czech Republic
    Wow, that's a very good piece of a poem. But the truth to be said, I couldn't understand some parts of it, but give me time and I surely come up with ideas and more feedback for a lack of better word. My intelenctual potential is quite down recently, when/if I get out of this state I'll read the poem once again and then my thoughts will (hopefully) be more sense-full (if that's even a word). But anyway, I really like this poem, a lot, even now, wait 'till I come to my senses...
    I have a plan: attack!

  3. #3


    Which parts didn't you understand? I would be happy to lay it out for you.
    Permit me to doubt.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Greetings from Margaritaville, Gats. Sounds like your lost hero could use one on the beach. Forget analysis. As my good friend, P. Diddy, would say,"I feel you, Dawg." Seriously, I would encourage anyone who reads my boy, Gats, to just let the feelings come for five or six read throughs, enjoy them, and then dig in--if you feel the need. Just don't kill the mystery. Perfect understanding can be so boring and uninspiring. Gats, got any comments on the two poems I put down? Don't feel obligated, that is, don't come up with something just to do it. Did anything strike you and why? What did you like and what did you not?
    "We wake, if ever we wake at all, to mystery." Annie Dillard

  5. #5
    Well, gastbysghost

    Pour commencer, it seems that you have been exploiting a very interesting idea, though I wouldn't immediately call your expression an 'internal monologue', as you proclaim in the obscure topic called 'Bartholomeus Bloom'.

    In order to help you, it seems appropriate that I first write an associative comment on your poem, in which I search for it's meaning and significance. After that, I will conclude the possible inclarities that your poem has and try to give some stylistical advice, also pointing to the music - sound, metre, timbre, and so forth.

    The first part of the poem is very surprising and lively, for it is both inpalpable and strong. The line 'as he drove into the ground' in combination with 'a sign reading, "Tranquility - Population 1" creates a tense atmosphere in which I was dragged to the poem, as if I followed a young man in a car, who suddenly disappeared in a tunnel. The protagonist actually sticks his head into the ground, hiding himself from the outer world, hibernating in his mind - his poem?

    The line after that ('Pride resounded across the mountain top') suddenly widens the horizon of the protagonist and makes me expect a poem about poetry itself, filled with irony and self-mockery. 'As it exploded out of his chest' and 'His conquest was complete' actually make those suspicions more acceptable. But still I am not certain about it: perhaps the narrator is referring to things that aren't made clear yet - Why is the young man driving into the ground? And what does that symbolise? And what does the 'wry smile' mean? Does it correspond with the reason for his pride and the completing of his 'conquest'?

    When the protagonist reflects his small history 'four days later' - does that refer to line 3 - 6? - he seems to realise that his hybernation - a (frozen) wet blanket - has locked himself up - in his poem? The metaphore that you work out seems to reconfirm my suspicions, but then - in the last line of the second part - something strange happens: who utters the sentence 'Who knows what remains of my sentence?'? Is this some divine intervention of the poet, a fresh lyrical subject or is the protagonist just saying this? And the two lines afterwards, in part three: who asks that? Is this indeed self mockery of the poet (as a lyrical subject)?

    In the fourth part of the poem, you beautifully exploit - like the esthetical poet - the metaphore that you already created in the past three parts. The lyrical subject is hybernating unprepared and is now being tortured by his cold surroundings, still trapped - as is were - in his thoughts, filled with the physical signs of a desire to live. And in the fifth part, the lyrical subject has given up the fight, and when he does, warm life streams down from his frozen body: his thoughts flow out, and so does his poem.

    And yes: the meaning is revealed: 'I wish I hadn't have yelled at her'. My god: is this the reason for his hybernation, his ostrich politics? So this poem is - eventually - about love. In the sixth and seventh part of the poem - when his blood has flown out and the reason for his hybernation is revealed - the lyrical subject wishes to see life and sun again, but that is seemingly impossible. In the last two lines, he is released from his hybernation, self mockery and poetical reflection and sees the sun again. That can mean two things: he steps out of his thougths to enter daily life OR he dies - rather melancholically.

    I hope that my analysis has revealed the main idea of your true intentions, and if not you can try to recompose the pieces that don't seem to work out according to plan. At least, I would provide more clarity in who is actually speaking throughout the poem: a lyrical subject, or a narrator corresponding with a he-protagonist. If you chose both - consciously - I can see why, but I don't think it really enforces the transmission of your feelings. So if you choose to maintain this division of narrators, I would make it a bit more elaborate and less confusing.

    I fear that you have to change a few things, when you want to make it more comfortable for the reader to understand the poem. The best places to change the direct meaning and / or the narrator's perspective, are the places where the esthetics of the poem aren't very consistant. However: I found very little places where that is the case. The first part - to begin with - is too beautiful to change, also musically: it is really an elusive evasiness, which - combined with the strong sounds - really gives the impression of hybernation - or at least the relation between the claustrophobical atmosphere of 'matter' and the freedom and pride of the horizon, the outside.

    But in the second part, I should absolutely change 'Wind swept and pure' and the sentence thereafter: the first too short, the last too long - I think. The enjambement that you use there doesn't seem functional, so if you agree with me, that would be a place to also change the meaning. The four sentences beginning with 'I wish' appear to me like some kind of annoying dirge, an association that is absolutely not intended, I hope.

    The music in the fourth part corresponds beautifully with the meaning and the atmosphere of the poem: it is uncertain, a bit harsh and unpredictable and rattling ferousiously - in the end. It is funny to notice how the two desire-sentences 'I wish I had went some place tropical' actually trickle metrically down the mind of the lyrical subject. Also the one but last part is musically interesting: the tongue of the protagonist actually strangels and dries till death. The metrical atmosphere of the last two - reflexive - lines stand actually above the whole and conclude the main theme: tranquilized.

    So the second and the third part of the poem are best suited for elaborate change, I think. I Hope that this small essay has provided you with enough information to perfectionize your poem and to continue your devellopment as an artist.

    To hear from you again,

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