Join the Neopoet online poetry workshop and community to improve as a writer, meet fellow poets, and showcase your work. Sign up, submit your poetry, and get started.

One Art

She lay beneath a barren tree
dead, exsiccated in an instant,
as the lake
that we once waded through
to reach her.

We attended the wake together
holding hands
and wanting to kiss
but not.

We each gave our sympathies
not with words, but strange dialogues
gazing upon her parched body,
close to each other.

After, you took me to the tree of life,
barren, but not dead:
still glistening
in such oppressive heat,
with life to come.

We sat beneath it—
silent, wanting to kiss,
but holding each other instead,
Each of us trying to comprehend our loss.

Style / type: 
Free verse
Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Review Request (Direction): 
How was my language use?
What did you think of the rhythm or pattern or pacing?
How does this theme appeal to you?
How was the beginning/ending of the poem?
Is the internal logic consistent?
Last few words: 
Title is borrowed and a reference to Elizabeth Bishop's poem "One Art" ( I think their are definitely redundant words and repetition issues. Need help with flow when these words are eradicated, couldn't decide whether to do this or not (hence 'rough draft'), so really need help there. Need help with cutting out the flab and getting the 'real' poem under it out. Please tell me what you think the dead girl is in the first paragraph after reading. Need to know if I'm getting the imagery/symbol across. In regards to that, please let me know if instead of 'the girl' you'd prefer 'the body'.
Editing stage: 


although it approaches, without actually touching, a strange aspect of grief: the desire to fuck like bunnies. I think it could come closer, it feels to me a bit shy in that respect.

I read this literally and failed to appreciate any allegorical meaning, if you intended such.

I question the use of exsiccated, the difference in meaning is not sufficient, to me, to justify it's use instead of the better sounding, and better understood, desiccated.

Also question the title. It's perfect for Bishop's poem, but grieving is a more complex art.

Neopoet Directors

I'm not very happy with this poem at all. It's messy and there are maybe a few good lines I should put away for future works or rework the whole poem based on those few good lines.

But I think I'm going to leave this poem alone for a long while (like Sapphic on Death Row) until I've got the energy, perseverance and skill to be able to make something good out of it.

Thanks for the critique Jess, it's always appreciated:)!

author comment

"exsiccated" that correct?
I love new words
like dictionarys turned 'sepia"
with decay
worn with use

I love the word
and in this poem
For me it works well

I cannot comment on your
work as for me its new
I love reading your posts
finding that "voice" of your writing

someone once wrote that they
would love to have an hour in my mind
the way I look at things
and I can say that now I understand
their meaning and application
of text of thought

Thank You!

You're right; I am trying to find my voice in poetry. I'm not too happy with this poem as a whole but as an experiment towards creating something better in the future, I think it's achieved it's goal.


PS. Your mind is amazing; don't let anyone desecrate it by camping there:p!

author comment

I also stumbled over the word "exsiccated". This piece opens up a fresh box of worms on feelings and personal reactions. I feel you held something back in expression. But on the whole, a very eloquent poem full of imagery.

A suggestion:

the people who offer you critique are here to help you. No insults are offered with suggestions. It wouldn't be such a terrible thing to answer back?

Nice to meet you.

favorite lines:

After, you took me to the tree of life,
barren, but not dead:
still glistening
in such oppressive heat,
with life to come.

always, Cat

When you fling poo, some of the stink sticks to you!

"The Book of Styx" can be ordered and purchased on line at:
she responds when she can, and when she gives feedback it is awesome.

Neopoet Directors

Thanks, Jess!

always, Cat

When you fling poo, some of the stink sticks to you!

"The Book of Styx" can be ordered and purchased on line at:

Thanks for your critique and comments; they are much appreciated!

As for replying, as Jess said during Uni I have next to no time for anything outside of Uni. I don't answer back straight away until I have something worth-while to say. I often feel quite lazy that I don't answer back straight away, but with my time constraints (other than uni - I have a pretty chaotic home life) I just never get to log into neopoet everyday (usually I'm able to log in once a week!). I'm sorry if this behaviour offended you, it really wasn't intended to.

So with all this on board, I will try to respond more to the comments left on my works, even if they're just a thank-you. Because I'm sure you're not the only person I've offended.

Thanks again for your comments and critique; they are always appreciated.


author comment

only because we get American Broadcasting
Bristlecone pines and joshua trees are ancient trees
living long lives I remember reading too of how
travelleds in the desert had from underground cisterns
caught fish translucent when the lakes retreated from
the lands

I prefer

"She lay" rather then "the girl"
only because of the intimacy of this poem
and the defference going on too
one of the resons I didnt like Decsicated
wihich reminds me of a dissection term
which I found the poem did not reminde of
this at all for me

the tension between the three viewed
entities of this poem ring out well though
will return to this more often

I greqatly do like raw poetry that is intelligent
and has that tangible palpable
shadow to it

Thank You''

(c) No copyright is claimed by Neopoet to original member content.