I thought I’d leave you a review to thank you for all your amazing work with SPEW!
I loved your exploration of darkness in this poem. The more I read it, the more I saw it in the lines and words and images, and it became such a powerful motif throughout. It really captured the idea of life if Voldemort had won and painted a bleak but poetic image of such a world. The way you addressed human behaviour was quite haunting. Having humans “turn off our morality” seemed to dehumanise them, as though the darkness would turn them into objects or rob them of their identities, making them pitiless simulacra of humans. In addition, the idea that they “no longer have the energy for fear” created a similar vision of these empty people. In made me think that the darkness would have seeped inside them, that their lives are full of shadows or an absence of light. This really emphasised the horror of Voldemort’s rule had he defeated Harry, and the fact that it was done so simply made it even more impressive.
I think this theme of darkness was conveyed well in the style of the poem. Not only did the first and last stanzas emphasise a dying of light and a settling in of darkness, creating a cyclical and therefore never-ending effect, but your use of repetition was particularly evocative. By starting most stanzas with “I look into the crystal ball and see the future”, you made this reality almost inescapable. By repeating this notion of the future and all that can be seen, a sense of despair is evident. The repetition of “stretching, stretching, stretching” also evoked, to me at least, a sense of a hopelessness, an emptiness, that once again was inescapable. This also fits with the cyclical nature of the poem, and I think these two techniques worked well together to create a restriction that reflects the world you describe.
The disembodied “I” voice was very interesting, and I liked that we never found out who it was meant to be. It distanced them and made them omniscient (especially when you consider that they can see into the future). They were obscured by the darkness that is falling around them. But then I suppose their facelessness could also represent more than one person - a group of people who anticipate what is coming, and hope that they won’t “change for the worse”. I loved that this identity remained ambiguous, because it added so many layers of interpretation to the poem.
Author's Response: Helena! <3 Thank you for this amazing review, I'm particularly pleased you felt the sense of despair throughout, that was really what I was aiming for when writing. -hugs- xx
Hmm. First off, I would lower the rating to 3rd-5th yrs. This is nothing against the poem, of course, but I feel that the darkness within it is more a 3rd-5th yr level.
Now to the nitty gritty. *chuckles* I really enjoyed how you incorporated the Unforgivable Curses, along with looking into the future. That was a rather smart way of dealing with the forthcoming darkness.
I also rather liked the "palindrome" element to this poem. It really helped to tie it all together, especially towards the end.
Just one note on diction. You use "look" for when gazing into the crystal ball. I think a stronger word is needed in order to really invoke a sense of darkness and danger. It's up to you, but words like "gaze" "stare" "peer" would all make the statement stronger.
Overall, I rather enjoyed it. Even if it was dark. :) Bring on the darkness! Keep it up. ~Nagini
Author's Response: Thanks for your review, particularly the comments on mood: it's something I'll definitely consider in future :) x
The dark tone is expected, but it could have been light if you'd written from a different perspective, like Bellatrix, if she’d lived and Molly had died. The use of the crystal ball makes me think Trelawney is the one gazing into the future. Is that who you meant the reader to picture?
The opening lines drew me in. They have a LotR quality. “And in the darkness bind them” sort of thing. As the poem progresses, there’s a feeling that “one by one, the free lands (of the wizarding world) fell to the power of (darkness).” There’s a palpable strain of melancholy through the stanzas as the pov character sees one bleak aspect of the future after another “stretching, stretching, stretching forever.”
I found the repetition of the “stretching” line powerful, and the first line, too, could have been effectively repeated at the end.
Darkness enslaves us, ensnares us
As it infiltrates everything.
You’ll notice I simplified “quickly infiltrates” to “infiltrates.” There’s a wordiness that I think would benefit from being streamlined.
Some of us are going to change for the worse,
Will turn off our morality to protect ourselves.
Some change for the worse,
Turn off morality for self-protection.
It’s just an example, because it’s your poem and I’m just responding to it from a reader’s (and sometimes fellow poet’s) perspective. I would have liked more imagery because words like death, torture, and threat are harsh, but general, and specifics would have created vivid mental images and evoked more emotion.
Overall, I enjoyed your use of darkness as a motif and your use of repetition gave the poem a rhythm reminiscent of goblin drums—dark and foreboding. I hope you’ve found this review helpful, and as elves would say, No in elenath hîlar nan hâd gîn.
May all the stars shine upon your path.
Author's Response: Paige :) No, I didn't imagine this from Trelawny's point of view. I imagined somebody male, but it's really up to the reader to imagine who they want. I haven't actually read/seen LotR, though I've meant to for years. Maybe it's about time I picked one of them up, lol. Thank you for the feedback on imagery, particularly, that's something to keep in mind. Thank you for reviewing! :) xx