Peer Review by stravelbach (Australia)

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where only rock remains

By: astridianmayfly

the epoch arrives
where we kill what
speaks for the trees. 
even as their 
leaves fall
ashes to ashes 
They resemble the snake 
fabled to swallow our sun
bring out your dead!
On collapsed horizons, of doomsdays
four horsemen walk on a well-worn road to 
Eying a dead world 
Where only rock remains.
But remember how we dared disturb the universe?
time and space and relativity stand infinite and counting
but so were we on your trampoline,
defying gravity from the moment of takeoff
To the final landing on an imaginary moon. 
We were so full of pride and summer and fantasy 
that the fireflies became satellites--
Oh, We tried. I’m so glad that
we tried.
I know I what I endured, before:
the smell of coffee 
& adults that told me to pipe down
& crying in the school bathroom 
I know 
the gift they gave me 
and oh,
how I grieve for them,
the trivial sources of anguish
when only rock remains.
This is a quiet protest.
this is the thing with feathers.
Listen to it, unreal & colorless but glorious all the same
bearing no flag and
Drawing no borders.
We are the lichens 
that grow 
where only rock remains because
When only rock remains 
There is something else there, too
this little prospect which
shies away in a box’s corners and burrows,
in the rubble of monuments of sin
And it has been injured and 
beaten and
broken but 
time has stopped. 
There is 
No night, nor day
if sleep will come, darling,
Dream of the flowers 
and potters 
Who make use of the earth
Of open doors & windows & 
Laughing, hugging neighbors
Fingers that were meant to fit together 
And how our hearts are only half of one. 
Remember windchimes, beaches, autumn 
And me.
Welcome to a new day
Where rock and that sacred thing 
do not dwell on yesterday
but remain
To create tomorrow. 
Remember, I beg you:
Hope has arrived
(if it ever really left.) 

Message to Readers

Any feedback is welcome!

Peer Review

Though it feels a little strange to express, the best way I can describe how I feel is 'convinced' or almost 'defeated' (in a weirdly positive sense). Throughout the stanzas, you take us on an incredible journey through both human and cosmic experiences of life, death, growth etc., and along the way show us all the ways hope can and does exist. By the end of the poem, we almost cannot help but acknowledge that hope, which seemed sometimes fleeting and sometimes nonexistent, is still there. Nice work!

Imagery and description-wise, I think you're completely in control, and even the suggestion I'm making now is only an extension of what you're doing. Throughout the poem, we can already see that you're using different line lengths and their effects in an innovative and considered way - eg. the first two comparatively short stanzas 'building up' to new heights and intensity with 'But remember how we dared disturb the universe?'. However, I'd like to suggest having a closer look at the juxtapositions, current or possible, between lines in individual stanzas. An example of this (also in a highlighted comment) might be the closing lines in the sixth stanza, where you write 'And it has been injured and... /broken but/it/Still/Breathes/On.' I would almost suggest making 'broken but' and the following 'it' a single line in order to convey a more sudden break between this and the declaration that it is still alive and breathing in spite of the circumstances. Overall, have a think about the physical ways that the relationships between line lengths have on the reader's understanding of hope and see if anything you've written might change to emphasize that : )

Without question, my favourite line (well, actually two) would have to be 'We were so full of pride and summer and fantasy/ that the fireflies became satellites' in the third stanza. The soaring, 'takeoff' (pun unintended!) imagery and the blending of natural and cosmic phenomena through the concept of human emotion is just so incredibly poignant and memorable.

I'm not sure that there's much to say which I haven't already mentioned! - This poem features a lot of exquisite detail and consideration, and the depth with which you tie the various concepts, be it nature, growth, social cohesion, or friendship, together with each other, is astonishing. Well done!

Reviewer Comments

As a whole, this was a fantastic read. Have a think about my suggestions, but don't feel compelled to take any of them on board.

Best of luck with the competition, and keep writing!