A Letter for my Mistress
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  1. #1

    Arrow A Letter for my Mistress

    Now that sufficient time has passed, I feel it's worth reworking / revising some of the more promising NaPoWriMo entries I wrote. So expect a few familiar, but changed (sometimes dramatically) poems to crop up here (though this one really only required minor revisions, hence doing it first). I'll mark them with the circular arrow icon, so that those uninterested can skip them easily.

    A Letter for my Mistress

    to my heart-broken lover with an unbreakable bond,
    let me mend the tears that life has torn

    we both settled and settled down
    when life didn't go as we had planned
    I need your embrace more than my soul
    better to have you and be damned

    he's a fool taking you for granted
    you're so much more than he can see
    and you know she can't hold a candle
    to the things you do for me

    these are the lives we have now,
    but we still have a choice
    I gladly risk it all when you call
    just to hear your voice

    though the withdrawal aches so deeply
    knowing you're not around
    memories and softly spoken truths
    will always keep us bound

    you don't face the isolation of our distance alone
    it's only in your arms that I am truly home
    Last edited by andrewclunn; June 9th, 2018 at 06:28 AM.
    I find that my lack of knowledge can sometimes be an asset in that I'm forced to try new things because I don't have any other options.

  2. #2
    Member CrimsonAngel223's Avatar
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    Deep and thought-provoking, I like it! Nothing to nitpick here.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by andrewclunn View Post
    Now that sufficient time has passed, I feel it's worth reworking / revising some of the more promising NaPoWriMo entries I wrote. So expect a few familiar, but changed (sometimes dramatically) poems to crop up here (though this one really only required minor revisions, hence doing it first). I'll mark them with the circular arrow icon, so that those uninterested can skip them easily.

    A Letter for my Mistress

    to my heart broken lover with an unbreakable bond,
    heart-broken should be hyphenated here.
    let me mend the tears that life has worn
    tears are not usually worn--they tend to be an abrupt thing, like a rip or rend. I'm not certain what you're aiming for so I can't really supply options.

    you know my dreams, my sins,
    and the warmth of my hand
    we both settled and settled down
    when life didn't go as planned
    when I read this aloud, the cadence isn't there. It's not about the number of syllables, but their stress pattern. Also L1 and L2 don't really connect to L3 and L4 except they rhyme. You have two thoughts here and maybe you need to separate them into their own stanzas.

    he's a fool taking you for granted
    you're so much more than he can see
    and you know she can't hold a candle
    to the things you do for me
    These lines do fit together in theme as they both praise the mistress while deprecating the non-involved partners. Yet so much more and can't hold a candle maybe this is why you're in the workshop?

    these are the lives we have now,
    but we still have a choice
    I gladly risk it all when you call
    just to hear your voice
    This is a good rhyme, but do they have a choice? What exactly is it? What is the protagonist risking?

    though the withdraw aches so deeply
    withdrawal
    knowing you're not around
    memories and softly spoken truths
    will always keep us bound
    what exactly are softly spoken truths?

    you don't face the isolation of our distance alone
    it's only in your arms that I am truly home

    You have the template of a power piece here but it's got issues ... making the leap that I understand the overall point. It's a letter from a man to a woman who is his clandestine lover. They are married, each to someone else.

    about rhyme -- it works best if used in a consistent fashion. When you find yourself bending or twisting your ideas to fit the rhyme, you may wish to reconsider if rhyme is the right framework for what you're doing.

    This is your piece -- tell me to have unnatural relations if you think I'm wrong -- however, I'm not trying to take it over or boss you or turn it into my piece. I'm trying to, the best way I can express, say, "hey, I see something ... " and maybe it's close to what you see ... and maybe it's not.
    Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone.
    — Robert G. Allen

  4. #4
    Fixed the clear errors and made two minor revisions based on your feedback. I do however think that some of the "what do you mean by this?" sort of questions are missing the intentional vagueness of this. I want this to both be indistinct and anonymous even as it's clearly personal and focused. This is done in part due to the nature of one wanting to write something to their secret lover without the discovery of the thing itself exposing their infidelity. It's actually more believable in its authenticity if it doesn't go into specific details. That's my thinking anyway.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by andrewclunn View Post
    to my heart-broken lover with an unbreakable bond,
    (Do you mean that you have an unbreakable bond with your lover?)
    let me mend the tears that life has torn from you (?)

    he's a fool taking you for granted
    you're so much more than he can see (the mistress's husband, right?)
    and you know she can't hold a candle (the speaker's wife, right?)
    to the things you do for me
    I think it's a good poem. Only the first two lines really concern me. Also, I'd like to see you add punctuation.

    Let me add that I don't find the language terribly original. You are using a palette of words that has been used in many other love poems. If you are writing for the public and not just yourself, you need to find some way to make the language more uniquely yours.

  6. #6
    How to put this... anyone who has known people involved in such a situation would know the perspective of the individuals involved and understand why my phrasing and word selection would be the best choice. I'm considering undoing one of the changes I just made precisely because it makes it a bit too existential rather than pointedly emotional in its appeal.

    I appreciate the feedback, really, but I think you're not seeing the intent of this piece. One wouldn't criticize a children's song for lacking musical complexity. This piece is intended specifically to appeal to the sort of person who is presently the "other woman" in such a relationship, and having known more than one of such people, I can tell you that this level of language and emotional and linguistic complexity is entirely appropriate.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by andrewclunn View Post
    How to put this... anyone who has known people involved in such a situation would know the perspective of the individuals involved and understand why my phrasing and word selection would be the best choice. I'm considering undoing one of the changes I just made precisely because it makes it a bit too existential rather than pointedly emotional in its appeal.

    I appreciate the feedback, really, but I think you're not seeing the intent of this piece. One wouldn't criticize a children's song for lacking musical complexity. This piece is intended specifically to appeal to the sort of person who is presently the "other woman" in such a relationship, and having known more than one of such people, I can tell you that this level of language and emotional and linguistic complexity is entirely appropriate.
    An egotistical response -- I like that. A poet has to have ego to write good poetry.

    But your response doesn't erase my observation that you've used words and phrases common to love poetry to write your poem. To respond that I am wrong because you chose the perfect words to express your meaning doesn't take into account that there are many ways to say things, and that many of your phrases are worn and even clichéd. "Heart-broken lover", "I need your embrace more than my soul" -- those are just two examples.

    The one thing that I can tell you is that good poets have to be original in all respects. They have to find new and fresh ways of saying things.

  8. #8
    A well worth reading poem. I like the 1st and the last verse; in the 1st you make a promise and in the latter you fulfil it. Evokes equanimity.

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