I was directed to your poem via the Review Circle at Poetry Anyone? (the beta boards’). I have to say I am extremely glad it was recommended, because I’d personally never have gone back so many pages to read poems, and then I would have missed this.
I loved it exceedingly! The imagery and description are just so very well done. Themes like the stars and constellations, the poignancy of transience, sacrifice – they have become so synonymous with the two Black brothers, however the way you used them in this poem was utterly beautiful. I loved the entire poem, but if I were to pick my favourite part, it would be:
that dying burst of light
blossoms before me-
a blushing chrysanthemum
of shattered sky
Heartbreaking, gorgeous images sprang to my mind as I read that.
Unlike the crit raised by another reviewer, I didn’t mind the fact that the first stanza is a fragment. I’d you have the artistic license to defy such rules when you’re writing poetry, as long as it is meaningful and fits the mood and overall structure of the poem. I was, however, a little confused by the fact that the last line began with a small “e”, but on reading the last few parts, I realized all of the lines began in the lower case. It fits the kind of hurry Regulus must have been, and the last line is definitely symbolic of his death.
Wow, this was wonderful! Everything was so well put together and the words were so poignant and Regulus’s character was so spot-on and just guh. Really, I loved this.
Regulus is a character that I feel like I know very well, since I’ve written him so many times; he’s pretty much a real person in my head. So naturally, I’m a tiny bit cynical and don’t click on things with the full confidence that the author will do Regulus justice. But you did a great job here. I can hear Regulus in these words, all his doubts and confusion and aching. The star metaphors are particularly lovely, mainly because star metaphors rock when it comes to the Blacks.
I have to comment on the form, only because it is a little different. I like it. The words set apart by indentations stand out appropriately, and the spacing feels right. But then again, I am a huge fan of bending the traditional rules. I especially love the parentheses, as I use them quite a lot in my own writing (and I don’t even write poetry). I think the things in the parentheses might be my favorites. The imagery is all just so beautiful – especially ‘blushing chrysanthemum of shattered sky.’ I also love ‘What would we find if we looked through,’ first because of the ‘we,’ and second because of the idea. The ‘we’ brings Sirius in for me. The idea of Regulus and Sirius, together, looking through the stars is lovely. It tells us that they could have been close, maybe were once, but aren’t anymore.
Moving along in the Regulus//Sirius vein, this line stood out to me as well: Could the dog star ever rise,/were it not for the sacrifice/of the king?. It’s interesting to think about Sirius in Regulus terms, as it seems like we always think of them the other way around. I’ve never thought before that maybe Sirius wouldn’t seem so good if Regulus hadn’t done all the things he’d done. Another line I loved (lol, I loved them all) was: Does the world spin/by the force of their fall?. It’s very powerful. For Regulus to wonder if the world is moved by the fallen is even more powerful – it’s like he’s giving himself some sort of assurance that his life won’t have been for nothing. The feelings of remorse here are so evident. And finally, the last line is great. It ties in with the idea of the fallen spinning the world. In that, Regulus will find eternity. I love it.
I’m not much of a poetry person (actually, this is only the second poem I’ve reviewed in-depth), but I loved this. You did an excellent job; I will definitely have to read more of your work.
Author's Response: Thank you for the wonderful review (I'd never know you weren't a poetry person if you hadn't said so) I really appreciate it. I'm glad that the characterization of Regulus came out well. I haven't really written much of him because I'm not entirely sure what to make of him. The main way I understand his character is through his relationship with Sirius- hence the lines about the dog and king stars. As to the form, I've always been most comfortable with freestyle poetry- but only conditionally. I am a firm believer in flaunting the rules, but you have to know the rules before you flaunt them. It doesn't mean as much if you only break them out of ignorance. I had actually intended this to read as three seperate poems- the contents within the parenthesis, the contents outside, and then the full poem. That is why the form is structured as it is. Thank you again for the wonderful review!
Let me first start by saying wow—this is a wonderful poem. I fell in love with the metaphor and description at first sight.
The idea of the passion of the “stars” (Sirius and Regulus) burning holes in the sky is truly inspired. (What a lovely way to describe it, as “portholes of immortality.”) One part that I really liked was the “fiery stumble;” “Could the dog star ever rise, were it not for the sacrifice of the king?” I don’t know, but what a perfect way of putting it.
The idea that you put out about eternity is fascinating. That the “transient radiance” of the stars that burns holes in sky gives them immortality, that their short, bright lives and spectacular deaths give them eternity. I love it. It correlates brilliantly with Sirius as a character, because we all know he always lived his life intensely, and died intensely.
The characterization is just great, even in this exceptionally limited space. Sirius was handled wonderfully as I said, but also Regulus. Knowing that this poem is supposed to be about his thoughts as he leaves the Death Eaters, I noted with interest that most of it is composed of questions, which matches wonderfully with the kind of searching mood that Regulus probably would have experienced.
There were a few parts that put me off a little. The first sentence is actually a fragment, if you read closely. If you changed the first line to something like “In this world we can,” that would fix it right up. Also, having “What would we find if we looked through”, etc. in parentheses was distracting, and didn’t make complete sense. In my opinion, if you had put a colon after “morphing again” and then asked the question, the clarity would have been improved; or, just making it another regular sentence.
I’m also not that crazy about the structure, but as it’s free verse, I can’t say that it’s wrong. I just think that it would have been equally good if put into stanzas of some kind, and easier to follow.
But honestly, the brilliance of this almost negates any constructive criticism that I have. My heart literally sped up at the beauty of your writing. “That dying burst of light blossoms before me--a blushing chrysanthemum of shattered sky.” Guh. Just guh. I would really like to see more poetry from you.
Author's Response: Wow, thank you very much for such a great review! My goal for the poem was for the poem to actually almost read as three poems, one as seen, one with everything outside parentheses, and one as everygthing inside parentheses. Also the formatiting gave me no end of problems as it looks quite different in Word, but some of the indentations had to be sacrificed, and the lines spaced too far apart. Sigh. I will go back and play with it a bit to see if there is a way to make it read better. Thanks again!
Does the world spin / by the force of their fall?
This line swept me off my feet. It's amazingly concise, metaphorical and uncliched. That is what great poetry is all about.
Author's Response: Thank you very much. I really like a lot of the imagry and ideas you use in your poems so that means a lot to me!
I really liked this poem. I liked how you can feel the mood by how the line breaks and spacing occur.
Author's Response: Thank you for your kind words. I was having a lot of trouble transfering the format from Word to the website, so I'm glad the basic idea still comes across. Anyway, thanks again!