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The Separation


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Poetry Award

I am lost and confused
I feel sad and unloved
Looking at pictures of you both
So happy together
What made you go asunder?
There must be reasons beneath

I love you both so much
With you both I feel rich
With happiness
Now I am torn
Why was I born?
I am overwhelmed with sadness

I am depressed and angry
I feel vacant and cry
I don’t know whom to blame
I don’t seem to understand
So many things on my mind
Life will never be the same

I am miserable
I though this bond was unbreakable
It’s so heartbreaking
It’s over now
It’s time to take a bow
My parents are separating


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Michael Dom

You are welcome, Dominica.

Experience and emotion are the educators of every good poet; the electric spark is to employ empathy.

Like William Ernest Henley's famous poem, Invictus, which apparently was favoured by Nelson Mandela.


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Dominica Are

Thank you so much, Michael. I really appreciate the comments and the vital poetry lesson and example.

I really needed it to further enhance my skills in poetry.

This is actually a poem about what I went through when my parents separated.

Michael Dom

Oops, correcting my memory here -

Usually (for reading poetry) Full stops indicate a 'four count', Semi-colons or Colons indicate a 'two count', Commas are a brief pause, perhaps a 'one count', while spaces in sentencing allow the reader to separate the lines being read for dramatic effect.

Capitalisation is 'screaming', lower case sometimes indicates a 'thought continuum', so reading sounds like the 'conversation' started some time before.

And finally Dominica, there is very good form demonstrated in this poem: regular rhyme which also makes sense can be difficult to achieve, but you have done this very concisely.

Your poem is based on a very powerful human experience, supposedly here something experienced by a child or youth. I believe if you explore it deeper there is much more you can reveal to us all.

EM Forester (I think it was him) said that "the correction of prose is endless, a poem comes with a click, like closing a box". He also said something like, "In prose I am sensitive when a sentence drags, in poetry, one word".

Your words are precise and accurate and tell me exactly what you feel. But as I said initially, show me.

Your words should draw that image in my mind, remind me, terrify me, make me realise the pain, heartache and wretchedness.

OK, em inap nau. Liklik toktok b'long mi tasol, long givim sampela moa tingting.

Well done and keep writing.

Michael Dom

Do editing, re-writing, re-conceptualize...

And more...not the first draft nor the last, but The One Draft.

So, my example stanza continues with corrections.

That stray dog caught in traffic, now that's me.
A starving, scabies, flea ridden puppy
Look in its pleading eyes and you will see
It once had a name, home and family.
How do good dogs lose hope, how Lord do we?

The adjustments now focus on the metaphor of the stray dog and raise the key problem at the last line.

The punctuation aids reading, where full stops are for full breath pauses (2 beat) and indenting for a longish pause before the concluding line.

There are other subtle changes that add a new dimension to this version.

Michael Dom

Good subject, Dominica, but show me, don't tell me.

E.g., This is a rhyming quintet stanza in ten syllables per line, for your stanza 1: I am lost and confused...

The stray dog caught in traffic, now that's me
A starving, scabies, flea infested puppy
Look in my pleading eyes and you will see
I once had a name, home and family
How do dogs lose hope, how, good Lord, do we?

Darren Talyaga

A thought in poem, simple and truthfully expressed.

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