Peer Review by yapyapxy (Singapore)

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we are not meant to know | #apoemaday19

By: Starflower


Afterlife is only a word
that asks a question;
a question left unfinished—
alone without an answer.

From my lips it tastes
like the parched wax of a honeycomb
after all the sweetness 
has melted away.

It is like a canyon
where the echoes of our lives
wander aimlessly
between shadow and light.

It is as empty as our knowledge
of the universe beyond—
empty and flickering with doubt
for we are not meant to know.

Afterlife is only a word
that asks what lies beyond—
perhaps only it knows for sure
words may tell what we can not.

But belief can come to truth
for those who know
the way to steadfast trust.

Now and here, at least,
the afterlife is only what we make it.


Finished at 10:20 PM EST, 1/19/20.

Peer Review

Some of the descriptions about what the afterlife means to the author (related to tangible, then intangible, objects we know) was quite unexpected and surprised me. I like the gentle tone the author has taken for the idea of the afterlife, I felt that it invites the reader to begin questioning and eases the reader into this rather unfamiliar topic.

Is the narrator in the afterlife? Why is the narrator interested in the afterlife? I would love to know what is the narrator's relationship with the afterlife as now we only know the narrator's thoughts about it. Why are we not meant to know? The ending seemed like an open ending, where the author may choose to continue telling the narrator's story if they wish.

Reviewer Comments

I found your thoughtful poem on the eternal question a unique take: many have tried to define the afterlife, and here is the poem stating we don't know, because we are not meant to know. That was quite interesting to me!

My main concern is for the second last stanza as it was the most confusing for me because it didn't seem to link to the previous stanza – it felt quite abrupt and a little unnecessary ( I felt that the poem could've done without this stanza as although it introduced something new, the poem didn't stay long enough on the new idea for the reader to understand what the author was getting at). Another minor thing would be the poem's structure: I wondered why the structure of your similes was only repeated twice instead of thrice (I was thinking of the power of three) – was it intentional?

Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed reading (and re-reading) this piece that made me feel as though my afternoon has slowed down a little – I love pieces that make me forget the sense of time passing! You definitely have a way with words and description – I especially loved the third stanza which I felt captured a vivid image of countless lives that the passage of time has seen, yet carried through a sense of loneliness (as we all are on the path to the afterlife alone). ((I wish I came up with that stanza!))

Kudos to you for keeping up with the a-poem-a-day challenge! It's not easy, but you've come along so far with such wonderful pieces. I hope the feedback helped you! Keep writing :)