Peer Review by ScarlettLucian (Canada)

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Dear United States Army

By: toverby


Dear the United States Army,

From the moment I was born
I was pulled into your world
Of bravery and sacrifice 
The mighty thud of the cannon 
And the glorious pop of the rifle
Heroes adorned with glittering medals
Change of Commands and Hail 'n' Farewells.
Growing up I knew one thing was true:
I would lead a very different life than many.
You took me to magical places
From the painted sunsets of Oklahoma
To the brilliant snowy fields of Pennsylvania.
You took me across every nook and cranny of this beautiful country.
As a little kid
I sat in wonder of the world I had been granted the privilege of laying my eyes upon. 
But I never realized how lonely your missions for me would become
How suffocating the smoke from the rifle
How earsplitting the sound of the cannon.
I only saw the opportunities you granted me
And so you made me stronger, bolder, wiser.
You asked for my patience and support.
I gave you as much as I could
Because I felt proud to be connected to you.
The mention of your name alone demands attention
But everytime you call upon me
To find light in a new house, new friends, new opportunities
I begrudgingly accept my task
Not because I want to
But because I have no other choice.
You give me the blessing and the curse of starting over.
You offer me the advice that family means everything
While tearing them away from me.
You tell me that my opinion matters
While disregarding anything I have to say.
You say I must be brave, understanding, empathetic.
You are so full of inspirational quotes
They must fill your back pocket.
But I can’t bring myself to believe you anymore.
My mind can take the distance,
My heart can handle the goodbyes,
My feet can run in constant motion.
But I can’t go on like this forever
Stuck in the in-between
Caught in relationships without depth
Wondering whether I’ll be lost in people’s memories.
You’ve called on me once again
And here I am, surrounded by boxes of dusty memories.
I’m ready for this one last trip,
The final crescendo of your roller coaster piece
And the beginning of mine.
I want you to know you’ve given me some of the best memories of my life
And some of the most bittersweet.
I’ll always be connected to you.
You have been friends with my family for generations
And now as I watch my brother pack his bags
I wonder if you’ll ever really leave.
I offer up my final goodbye
And wish you the best of luck
As I turn toward new horizons.
It’s time for me to pave my own path.

Love,
 
Taylor


 

This poem was written in the same style as Kobe Bryant's "Dear Basketball."  This is a reflection of my life as a military child.

Bryant, Kobe. “Dear Basketball.” The Player's Tribune, 29 Nov. 2015, www.theplayerstribune.com/articles/dear-basketball. 

Message to Readers

I would like feedback on the formatting.


Peer Review

I found a lot of different emotions within this poem, which was awesome, because even though they felt contradictory at times, they all also made a lot of sense together. There was nostalgia and regret and hope and frustration, but at the end of reading this piece, I still was left with a feeling of comfort and remembrance, and it was really nice!


"Stuck in the in-between
Caught in relationships without depth
Wondering whether I’ll be lost in people’s memories."

This set of lines really spoke to me because you capture so perfectly how temporary these relationships are because you're moving around so much and how a lot of them are nothing more than just a vague memory of an incident that maybe someone else will look back on one day and remember, which was really cool to see how you instantly made me think of the larger story beyond just the simple words, so nice work!


You do this a bit at the beginning when talking about all the places you were able to see growing up in a military family, but I loved to see some more specific memories that could help underscore some of your points about what the pros and cons of that kind of life were. Having specific imagery of a concrete memory can help evoke even more feeling from your readers and really make your point come across in a memorable way!


I already love so much what you've done! You've written something deeply personal and captured it wonderfully through poetry and it really shows that this is something that matters to you. That stands out to people and your honesty is the best way of helping them feel connected to a piece, so just keep doing that and you're golden!


Reviewer Comments

Best of luck with the competition and please reach out if you have any questions and/or comments for me! Hope you have a great day!