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.


Clouds came stealing his peace
very much like the numb cotton wool
upon her belly-gash. Neither
of the two fellows was scarcely kind.

Before time had turned
into a broken beehive, and his senses
drained of their easy coordination,
he had been on the phone, almost laughing,
when the bang came. The earnest redness
of her life slapped his windscreen.

So he trembles out of his comfort;
so many other cars have paused their drive.
They are there before him, wailing,
asking, “Didn’t you see her cross the street
to kiss her mother?”

And he knows better than to debate
how right he is, how wheels are half-brained,
how a bleeding girl thieved of consciousness
could never be a tale milder than
brakes gone epileptic. He joins the wailing,
the tamping of blood with cotton wool.

The clouds drip, and he recalls
the sting of bathing water
on cuts you never knew were there,
wants to shout at the weather,
realises stopping the bleeding
won’t keep her from flirting
with her eldest patriarch. He throws
the cotton wool and bellows.

Time had turned to ice
the moment he saw her seeing
the face of her patriarchs
like faces million miles across
a harmattan of crazy mist and dust.
Now time had gone serrated, Brownian,
when he placed her upon the seat behind
and sped to the doctors.

The phone rang, he almost cried.
Her weary redness of life coated the seat
and everything grew epileptic.
The brakes, the wheels, the clouds.
One thing was to reach the waiting doctors
another thing it was to have her rebound.
At least she was breathing
and her patriarchs were still gaseous.

Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Last few words: 
I appreciate the previous criticisms given; they've been more insightful than I could ever have sourced elsewhere. I'd love a similar approach with this piece and appreciate too if I were told its merits as well.
Editing stage: 


There are many very stirring aspects to this work. Firstly, the form you chose numbering the stanzas is a very effective, each stanza becomes another chapter in this event. Many metaphors work- using time as a broken beehive, as ice. Feeling the same as bathing is salt water when all the open cuts on the body sting. This is a universal scenario, hitting a pedestrian, and you have successfully captured the anguish of the event.
The other night I had dinner with a Nigerian student, (with a masters is philosophy and getting one in international studies), and we discussed poetry in Nigeria and language. You have are several hundred languages and dialects with English as the common usage. Yet for most English is a second language, learned in school, and after years of it the population is multi lingual...but poetry is another matter. There are quite a few slightly stilted lines, and grammar issues ex: ."So he trembles out of his comfort" is "off" to common usage, as comfort is a verb not a noun ); or certain words- Epileptic in particular, as a disease..would be considered politically incorrect used for poetic effect, and use as an adjective or noun. It sits uncomfortably with the reader. The line "her patriarchs were still gaseous" is problematic to me- I do not understand the use of patriarchs in your culture, nor what you meant by gaseous. A person would not be "thieved of" ..rather robbed of something, the thief does the robbing. Other things are unclear to me. What is "Brownian" ? Who are the two fellows? And finally, I think i'd like to know...did she survive? Why would you want to not include that?

But as far as the language issues, I do not have any easy solutions. I learned French as a second language, I lived in France for a few years, I am somewhat fluent, but I have never successfully written a poem in French. My best suggestion is, if you have a first language that is not English that you write in that language and then translate to English. You do have excellent language skills, and are certainly capable of communicating a poetic just needs a flow and grammar/vocabulary check. This will come with time if you keep at it. This is a most difficult thing. But it is so that many writers have transcended the language thing, but it takes such hard work and time. I'll offer as much support as I can in that task.

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

Alright sir.
First of all, thanks for the critiquing.
I beg to differ on some grounds, especially thinking COMFORT is not a noun. It is.
I would review the usage of EPILEPTIC there but I selected the word in order to heighten the sense of unease felt by the man who hit the casualty.
PATRIACH was used to capture her dead ancestors, and if I didn't convey the meaning of that well then I would really need to revisit the poem. I had meant to explain that she was close to death, going to be with her ancestors.
GASEOUS helps capture that she had not yet died although she was close to death. Try understanding the imagery drawn from a culture where there are myths about people seeing their ancestors when death approaches.
Brownian is another word synonymous with RANDOM. Like the movement of unleashed pollen.
The manipulation of THIEVED, was deliberate neology if you'd accept. Adapted for aesthetic effect, from the noun THIEVING.
Not concluding was deliberate too, although I would like to accept that as the popular approach. I learnt that from Chimamanda, a gifted writer of ours who taught me that there could also be literary beauty in leaving deneuoments inconclusive.
Speaking of poetry in Nigeria, I might not yet be as ambassadorial as I should be, but great poetry teems here sir. Have you ever read Wole Soyinka? I think he gave me my earliest approach to poetry, and the love for metaphors.

author comment

for your explanations! I have read Wole, he's the only Nigerian poet I happen to know who has books readily available in the US. I am thinking of hosting a workshop on Nigerian and West African poetry.
would you be as well interested to take art in it?

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

Yes I would.

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