Now I will try to 'amputate' myself from the going's on of this past week or two to comment on this because I will never let any difference I have with the poet get in the way of acknowledging a good poem and yes, this is good! It's very raw throughout and keeps the reader on edge.. something that I feel a sonnet can never achieve.
The opening line made it a reality for me and you followed through to keep me interested.
This is a poem I would sincerely like to see on the front page...
Also, please do not thank me here...I never check :)
This is quite different from what I’m used to seeing from you , Ben. You’re clearly as capable with freer verse as you are with the restrictions of sonnet writing. The word choice in this is very matter-of-fact, unflowery, bordering sometimes on spoken word, but I think this is very necessary!
‘Amputated’ from reality is a really apt image – clever verb use. I’m not usually a fan of adverbs unless they serve a purpose. ‘Lethargically’ was great, I imagined one of those scenes from a war film when the sound becomes muffled, and there is that sound of tinnitus over the screaming and commotion.
The lack of full stops at the end of the stanzas…purposeful? I think it works. The second paragraph is my favourite. It paints a grim picture before the poem begins to develop a voice mid-way through. The language changes, it begins to become more like I’m hearing someone speak rather than hear someone describe a scene. The third paragraph reminds me of Brian Turner’s poetry, which is a compliment.
The only issues I have with this are towards the end, firstly ‘and my eyes are certainly dull’. It’s kind of a…’meh’ image? I also find ‘certainly’ a little superfluous. Maybe a better adjective than dull? It would remove the need for ‘certainly’. I can’t imagine anyone saying it. I lose the voice.
I also felt like towards the end you could’ve described the water rather than tell the reader it’s like sludge. I’d prefer to feel it? I get why you wrote it like that, I just think it limps a little towards the end compared to the sheer strength of the opening stanzas. Overall, it’s a very accomplished poem, and deserving of the front page, as Hellon said.
Thanks so much, Daniel. Great comment. It's funny, because I actually write a fair bit of free verse - people just don't normally notice, lol. Not sure what that says about it but there we go.
The dull eyes bit refers to him dying but I do understand your issues with the last bit. Thanks for your honesty.
*change made on that 'dull' line. Not sure if it's better but you were right - there was something clumsy about it before
A Haunting, macabre tapestry that captures vividly the horrors of war. Not a huge fan of non rhyming or war poetry I find your imagery and emotion pulling content to be spot on and worryingly compelling because the visuals are scarily accurate. A great write. Milly x
I wasn't a huge fan of war poetry until I read Wilfred Owen's "Anthem for doomed youth" and "Dulce et decorum est". They are masterpieces and the imagery in the latter is haunting and so vivid.