Excellent use of Dumbledor's speech so many years before!!! NOW they make sense to me!!!
I’ll open this with a confession: I don’t often enjoy long poems. I tend to lose focus on them before the end, so they are often wasted on me. However, I found this poem a rare exception to that. I loved the way you told a story throughout it, thus keeping my attention, but that simultaneously, it never felt like it could be prose. It was awash with lovely little touches that made it beautiful to read.
I liked the way that the mood progressed alongside the story of this poem. The image of “white puffs of cotton clouds” at the beginning feels quite upbeat and cheerful, and that seems fitting for the casual moment of sitting and chatting in the sun while waiting for an event to start. Then in the second stanza, you mention the tomb, which brings a more sober note to the forefront, acting as a poignant reminder of the context.
In the fourth stanza, once Harry has begun to speak, I loved your use of repeated “s” sounds, with “feels so strange” and “He speaks, strange as it feels”. It softened the sound of the poem, which I found seemed appropriately mournful. Then, by the end, I though the mood had changed again, to become more hopeful. I liked that you put the focus on the present and the future in those last two lines. It’s good to see that life at Hogwarts will go on.
I think my favourite thing about this poem was your use of parenthesis. The lines within have a very clear, strong voice, but that voice could be anyone. You created such a conversational tone at first with phrases like “Oh my”, although that changed to fit the sadder mood later on. It’s an everyman observer, providing a perspective on Harry that we rarely see. I’m not entirely sure who is supposed to be in Harry’s audience, but, to me, that didn’t matter at all. The perspective was right, whoever’s it was.
Harry’s characterisation was, for me, very convincing. It was interesting to see him from the perspective of someone who, I assume, didn’t really know him. He was definitely recognisably himself, despite this different viewpoint. In canon, I think he was a leader by necessity, not choice, so the idea of him “feeling foolish” while giving a speech fitted. I could just see his reluctant bashfulness, but how his sense of duty would overcome that. It seems right that his words would be the ones which would help people heal. He is the one who went through the worst of it, so he might just stand a chance of understanding what others went through.
Then there was the way in which you linked Harry’s speech to Dumbledore’s. “Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!” is one of my favourite quotes from the books, and I think you linked it in very cleverly. It seemed like a lovely way to make a tribute to Dumbledore and to signify that maybe, just maybe, Hogwarts would be able to return to its old self. It won’t forget, but things will get better nonetheless. That seems the perfect spirit to have present at Hogwarts’ reopening.
Overall, I really enjoyed this poem. It seems quite an unusual style to me, but you really made it work. It linked into canon very smoothly, to the extent that I could really see it happening when Hogwarts was reopened. Your characterisation of Harry was a major part of the believability of the scenario, for me, and the language you used brought it all home. Well done!
I love it!!
I love this poem, but really don;t know where to start. You quite rightly won this challenge because this just felt so right. Not a canon moment, but it should have been. Harry giving a speech, but the memories are still on the other man who made a difference.
There's a wonderful conversational quality to this poem as well. It made me smile, and then smile sadly because Dumbledore died before he could see the job done.
Wonderful poem, Olivia. ~Carole~