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Thread: critique?

  1. #1
    Caroline Selle


    Would anyone like to critique this poem for me? There\'s definitely something wrong with it but I can\'t figure out how to change it. I don\'t particularly like the second half of the second stanza...the meter seems off and the last couple of lines don\'t make much sense. Thanks

    Hamlet’s Ghost

    Take now
    this final tableau:
    mother, slumped to the side,
    one graceful hand trailing towards
    the cup spilled across the stones
    the other at her throat, feeling for the pulse
    that ceased when the King,
    now with a sword run through
    handed her the pearl.
    His froglike bulging eyes
    stare sightlessly
    at my good friend, curled nearby,
    his final pose a mockery
    of his fearless life.
    Knees drawn to his chest,
    mouth agape for want of
    air, he gasps in
    silence, struck down
    by mine own hand.

    A poisoned sword, a
    sound behind the curtain,
    through deliberate sip or fatal slip,
    we leave our skulls, our
    ribs and shins behind.
    It is for the grave to study;
    It is for Rosencrantz and
    to know. To be or not to
    be – there is an answer
    and the ghosts – yes,
    the ghosts, they

    I lie simply
    my cold arms touched by
    warm ones, detained by
    he who
    tells my tale.
    Head back, throat bared
    steadily I lie.

  2. #2
    Matt Bloom

    Re: critique?

    Hi Caroline!

    I like your poem. More every time I read it, actually - you've got a real knack for playing with repeated vowel sounds (graceful hand trailing . . . feeling for the pulse/ that ceased when the King . . .) and s sounds throughout. I don't know if you did this intentionally, but your poem hisses and slithers like a snake all the way through, evoking images of the Serpent of Eden, which is dead on when considering the theme of sinful revenge that eats away Hamlet's mind like the poison on the sword that does him in. Good work.

    As for the second stanza, I think your problem is simply in your subject-verb agreement. It ends with the statement that "the ghosts do". What do they do? They know the answer to the question "to be or not to be?" So they "know". The only thing that sentence tells us they "do" is "be" or "not be". So I'd consdier rewriting the second stanza with that in mind. Does that make sense?

    I'm much more of a storyteller than a poet, by the way! I'd love it if you returned the favor and checked out my work. It's a serial comedy, called Striking Out, at strikingout-story.blogspot.com. It's not exactly Hamlet, but I think it's a fun read, anyway.

    Thanks and good luck!

    -Matt Bloom

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