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New poem for school

John Halo Chief

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I wrote this poem for school, and I thought it was pretty good. Enjoy!


I am the monster under your bed,

I am the shadow that turns your head,

I am the ghost that whispers in your ear,

Whispers, I am always near.


I am the person who you love,

I am the purest white dove,

I am the wind that whispers in your ear,

Whispers, You have nothing to fear.


I am the spirit that passes through,

I am the person you never knew,

I am the stranger that whispers in your ear,

Whispers, I will always be here.


I am the monster under your bed,

I am the purest white dove,

I am the ghost that whispers in your ear,

Whispers, You have nothing to fear.

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Every line is a worn-out cliche. The descriptions are so generic and vague that your reader will barely be able to understand what you are trying to communicate. (At least in "This is Halloween" we have some idea what the monster under the bed looks like: Teeth ground sharp and eyes glowing red.) The first two stanzas seem to contrast one another: light/dark, good/evil. At that point, I can find some pattern or relationship between the two. The third stanza loses me though. I don't know what you are describing, and I don't understand the relevance to the first two stanzas. The last stanza only appears to be a jumbling of the first two stanzas, but if there is a point to be summarized by doing this then I missed it. I do not know who "I" embodies in this poem. Is "I" the monster, the dove, the stranger, and the ghost? Another thing that makes it awkward for me is that the poem is directly addressed to me, as if it's answering questions I haven't asked yet. Because the "you" in the poem may not be able to personally relate to the experience, it may be more effective to address the poem to another character. Even the narrator itself would be a better candidate as long as you change the "I am" phrase repeated throughout.


The only features I could identify as far as structure were four lines to each stanza and the aa,bb... rhyme scheme (except for line 14). I'd recommend toying with more complex rhymes and poetic techniques, or at least find more interesting words to rhyme with besides words like "bed" and "head". The reason is because those rhymes are what's going to stick out the most in your poem. It's what your readers are most likely to remember, so you want to pay closest attention that your rhymes are not dull or sound forced.


After rereading it a few more times, the only theme I could come up with is death:


"Scary Death" - There's a monster under my bed and a ghost threatening to haunt me forever.


"Friendly Death" - A person I love (whoever that is), who isn't just a white dove, but the purest white dove, is whispering on the wind that I have nothing to fear.


"Death of People I Don't Know" - Random dead strangers are threatening to haunt me, too?


and a recap (I wouldn't really call it a refrain) in the final stanza.


As I said before though, all of these different characters is in fact the same character, presented as "I am" throughout the entire poem. The true riddle to discovering any meaning is figuring out who "I" really is then. In order to do that though, you must figure out the broadest subject that could personify all of these elements at once. The only thing I could come up with was death. Even if this is true then I still don't understand the purpose, or meaning of the poem. Is Death himself merely making an observation to "you" about the different things he could be?


There is a difference between leaving it open enough for your readers to draw their own conclusions, and making something so obscure and vague that it becomes senseless. Even when I dive this far into your poem to attempt to extract some sort of meaning from it, I keep doubting myself and am wondering if I'm simply trying to read too much into it. Of course, this is just my personal analysis. Here's an exercise: Hand your poem to ten people at random and ask them to describe to you what they think it's about. The fewer people who get it right means the more you may have to rework it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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