Peer Review by ALangford (United Kingdom)

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Love's a Funny Word

By: _Mason_


She loved you
More than she loved herself
A smile larger than her self-esteem
Plastered her face when you called
She loved you more than anything
More than she should have
Listened to your problems
Instead of dealing with her own
But love is a funny word
It can be repeated back
Left hanging in the air
Which you should have done
Left it hanging
Not said 'I love you' back
Because you don't say, love
If you don't mean it
She called you nicknames
Gave you advice
Homework answers
Because she loved you more than herself
And you were too selfish
To say 'I don't love you'
To a sad girl 
Who you meant the world too


Peer Review

'She loved you/more than she loved herself': this sums up the whole poem very nicely. You utilise a very minimalist style in order to convey quite a complex moral situation, and you do it beautifully. This line is plaintive, it reveals a lot about the character in very concise phrasing, and it also introduces your intriguing use of the personal pronoun 'you' to describe the other person in the relationship. I found this really interesting, because, of course, the use of the pronoun 'he' or 'she' would fit much more perfectly with the use of 'she' to describe the broken-hearted girl (or 'you' and 'me') - but the fact that it is 'you' and 'her' prevents this perfect fit and makes the fractures in the relationship more obvious. I also find it interesting how you don't reveal the gender of the object - is this intentional? Does this function to make it more universal and increase the appeal to a wider audience of all sexualities?

It's a very sad piece and very nicely done - it, of course, left me feeling the injustice of such a split. But it also presents a moral dimension: is it wrong, and selfish, to tell a white lie about loving someone whom you cannot love? You insist that it is, that love is never something to lie about simply because you are too cowardly to reveal the truth (I'm inclined to agree), and thus this is as much a persuasive piece as anything else. Nonetheless, an interesting debate has been opened by this as one might argue that it was kinder to pretend, at least for a while, that the object loved the subject. It certainly left me thinking.

Who is the 'you' referred to? Is it a specific person to whom the poem is directed? Was it a deliberate choice to not reveal the gender of the object? Or was it an attempt to make this inclusive of all types of love - after all, this could apply as easily to a friendship as to a romantic relationship.

Reviewer Comments

I loved this piece, it was very moving and your writing style is effortlessly charming. However, have you considered varying the structure a little bit? I haven't read any of your other poetry so don't know if you do this often but it might be an idea to try to vary the structure, perhaps in accordance with the mood - for example, towards the end you could have made the rhythm and lines more disjointed, broken or uneven to parallel the increasingly melancholy tone. More punctuation may also be prudent for organisation of ideas in some places: although I thought your consistent use of enjambment was very effective in general, it's always interesting to experiment with things such as these.
Very well done for this piece - I enjoyed reading it immensely and look forward to seeing more of your work in future.