This is the best snake poem I have read since D.H. Lawrence's 'Snake'. As funny as that may sound, I mean it.
My only gripe with this would be 'it is not normal how, at one point, it seems...' - that just feels a little clumsy to me. I understand that you are trying to convey a particular moment in time but I can't help feeling that it would read better as just 'it is not normal how it seems...'. Anyway, up to you and either way, this is excellent.
I may had been biased when I voted for this. I was so close to develop anorexia nervosa last year. I know exactly how that feels, wanting to get rid of that "extra" weight, thinking it might make me restore some self-worth, starving myself because I feel not enough. It's a heavy burden. And you wrote this poem as if you have experienced that yourself (hopefully not). Which is why you're always the pick in the bunch.
That metaphor is exceptionally powerful, and it broke my heart to read "weak and hungry". To have to judge and hurt yourself like this, to feel helpless and unworthy, to think your "skin may split open" if you take a bite of food, is a pain nobody deserves to endure.
I'm happy to see my prompt led to creating such a masterpiece.
I'm so relieved that you staved off developing anorexia and fought it - it's an awful condition. Well on top of that, any kind of illness that makes us question our physical and mental self worth. I hope any final remnants of that have gone for you forever.
I have of course, like many, have had real fixations upon certain parts of my body that I really wished to change, but have thankfully never experienced anorexia or bulimia. I have known a few people that have, though, and without your prompt, I may never have mustered up the courage to write about something like this.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sorry, I meant to ask...how does the title relate? I thought stem was something to do with education...lol???
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.
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