Stem

by Daniel   Jun 26, 2020


A snake hangs limply from a
knotted branch, its
stomach gorged and full;
its ribcage yawning
open around a globular
mass of meat –
it is not normal,
how

at one point, it seems as if
its skin may split open,
spilling its meal onto
the dirt
or choke,
choke and regurgitate
until it is free -
how slender she is
now

how she snakes
around the protruding
limbs of the tree
almost
seductively
free
but no,
it droops limply
from the twisted
naked boughs
bloated,
weak,

hungry.

6


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Latest Comments

  • 2 months ago

    by Meena Krish

    First off, Congrats on the Win!
    Your use of language and description makes this a vivid read and sends shivers up my spine for I'm afraid of snakes!

    Nonetheless, well done, keep penning, take care~

    • 2 months ago

      by Daniel

      Thank you Meena. :) Hope you're well

  • 2 months ago

    by Milly Hayward

    The layout almost seemed snake like as I was reading it and it is an uncomfortable but compelling read. For anyone who has ever suffered an eating disorder it brings instant recognition. A great write. Milly x

    • 2 months ago

      by Daniel

      Thank you Milly. Great to see you around. :)

  • 2 months ago

    by Hellon

    There is something very uncomfortable upon reading this poem. Taking into account that I hate snakes to a point that I shiver at the thought of them I thought it was that but, it's so much more. I think most will assume it's about an eating disorder but, I guess it can be about any mental disorder at the end of the day.

    It was a great write Danny and, well deserving of the win although, I must admit, you had some stiff competition.

    EDIT

    Sorry, I meant to ask...how does the title relate? I thought stem was something to do with education...lol???

    • 2 months ago

      by Daniel

      Thanks for you sharing your thoughts Hellon! 'Stem' was chosen as it has quite a few definitions. 1 meaning 'root of', and the second was the image of the stem of a flower or plant, and the connotations of slenderness.

  • 2 months ago

    by Poet on the Piano

    I, too, did not guess this was yours. So, when I first read this, I will be honest and say I immediately felt the discomfort, from the metaphor and also the way I connected to it. It's exhausting when your mind pulls you in these directions. The contrast of being physically full to the point of bursting with the stark realization of the hunger that is still there... and wanting to fill that void, that emptiness... I feel like that extended to depression as well as eating disorders and other mental illnesses often co-exist.

    What's so devastating about this poem, and to realize my own issues I STILL deal with years later, is that eating disorders tear you up inside and outside. Some people forget that it reaches far beyond numbers or weight. It makes you a stranger in your own body, not trusting the feeling of being "full", so one wavers between over-eating/binging and and trying to satisfy the hunger, but never quite being able to. The words chosen, the theme you committed to, and the images remind me of how confusing the thoughts can be. What may be freeing vs. what is really another entanglement. When being slender makes you feel, well, not the way you thought. It's the opposite of freedom, trapped within your mind and a body that are fighting.

    Such a clever, heart-wrenching metaphor. I really got emotional reading this and I've thought about it ever since Noura posted the poems on the forum.

    • 2 months ago

      by Daniel

      Thank you Maryanne. The poem could be seen as an extension of any mental ill health. You're absolutely right.

      It's quite perverse, I think, having wrote this, and then the uneasy feeling of people connecting with it on such a level as yourself. I'm so sorry you still deal with issues related to this, but the fact you can talk about it openly, is testament to your character.

      What you said - I couldn't have put it any better myself.

  • 2 months ago

    by Star

    I couldnt tell this was yours. I was blown away by the metaphor, it delivered the meaning so perfectly.!!!

    This deserves a better comment than this, but here is the comment I wrote for my vote:
    What I got from this poem hits me hard, which is eating disorders. It’s a very common thing, and people live with it without realizing it’s a disorder. It’s life altering, and have negative effects on daily life. Though it can’t be cured it still can be controlled. It has a beautiful metaphor, whether it meant this or anything else.

    • 2 months ago

      by Daniel

      Thank you for your comment, Star. You're right :). Hopefully anyone suffering from this has outlets, and people that they can lean on for support to help them control it.

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