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For all eternity...

by freynolds 

Posted: 07 March 2009
Word Count: 84
Summary: Hardly revised

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I will live forever,
There is no “if” for me.

Little minds scowl at me
As I mention always.

I do not know sadness
We are not acquainted.

I will not die ever!
Little minds shake their heads.

Should I encounter death
It would be late at night,

Surrounded by my friends
And too many bottles.

I will live forever!
Little minds can’t believe.

Little minds can snigger
But death will not kill me,

I will be by their side
Laughing at their envy.

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Comments by other Members

FelixBenson at 16:05 on 10 March 2009  Report this post

I really like the voice with which this begins...The pride and certainty there. And the anger at the supposed 'little minds' that doubt it.
I am not sure that (for me) some of the lines come across
splendid hate.
is one. As is the final line. 'Hardly.' I think, given the context, you mean in the final line that you are laughing hard ('with severity'- is that right? The other meaning of hardly (i.e. barely; just) is getting in the way for me. And undermining the power of that.

I am not sure about some of the repetition here either...Each stanza uses two lines to express an idea, and then a further two lines to repeat the same idea. I am aware that I am not the most experienced in spotting forms, and I wonder if some of the repetition is to do with you using a form that I am not acquainted with? If not, I think the repetition is diluting the poem a bit. For example is the repetition of 'little minds' and the central theme in the third (and fifth) stanza necessary? It strikes me that this poem might have more power if it was shorter?

I think the strength of this poem is in the tone, the sharp, acerbic voice. A call of disobediance against death. However the shift could be made more of - when the speaker recognises he/she could die
If I must die some day
that is a big step back. Perhaps this could be made more of? Or explained more. It could be quite funny/ironic. Because the sharp voice at the beginning is quite unrealistic about his/her immortality. And there is something childlike about that. Is the shift a recognision of weakness/maturity?

Just some ideas. I hope this is useful in some way.

Best, Kirsty

FelixBenson at 16:06 on 10 March 2009  Report this post
Not sure why that winking smilie appeared in my text by the way...I must have some errant punctuation in there...

James Graham at 17:57 on 12 March 2009  Report this post
Late getting to this one, but Kirsty has put it very well, I think. Certainly in the first three verses, possibly in the fourth (but more about that below) the voice and its defiant assertions would be stronger if you cut two lines from each verse. Not necessarily the last two lines of the verse, e.g. for me

The little minds all smirk
Laden with splendid hate

- i.e. keeping the first and last line - is better for this verse. Very short two-line verses would suit the voice of the poem, which is supremely confident, and so shouldn’t go on too long but make make terse, unqualified statements.

I think I detect a justification for at least some repetition of ‘Little minds’. This may be reading too much into the poem, but the insistence several times over that ‘little minds’ shake their heads, can’t believe, are envious etc builds an impression that they are a threat - they threaten to undermine the speaker’s confidence, so she must vehemently dismiss them over and over again. ‘Little minds can’t believe’...so what? I don’t care. (I don’t know if you know the Catherine Tate comic sketch - ‘Am I bovvered? Do I look bovvered?’ This sort of message comes across as well as defiance of death. By the fifth verse, the little minds are having an effect, and the speaker is now saying ‘Well, all right then, if I must die - and I’m not saying I will - this is how I want it to be.’

If this reading can be justified, the repetition of ‘little minds’ is justified too. (Possibly there's one repetition too many, though.)

In the last verse there’s a suggestion that even if - and it’s a big if - she dies, she will haunt those ‘little minds’; she will still be present, laughing at them. So the second-last verse isn’t too much of a step back - the speaker’s assertiveness seems to be coming back at the end.

To look at it another way, to die of laughter isn’t unheard of, but it must be rare I imagine. ‘Cause of death’ on the death certificate - ‘Laughter’? More likely ‘Cardiac failure’! What I mean is that death by laughter is almost as unlikely as living forever, and in that sense isn’t much out of tune with the tone of the rest of the poem.

So I think if it’s understood in this way the poem is coherent. But I agree with Kirsty about ‘Hardly’. I think you should drop it, both as a closing line and as a title. It’s like a wink - ‘Only joking’. Let the anti-death protest stand, don’t undermine it.


freynolds at 19:42 on 12 March 2009  Report this post
Thanks for your comments Kirsty and James. It is good to read impartial feedback. I have revised the poem and the title. I think it hangs better and you are right the voice is stronger this way.

James you are right the Little minds were bugging me. I'll prove them wrong in the end. You were also correct in associating the dying of laughter with a cardiac arrest.

Kirsty, I had though of revising the verse "If I should die some day..." with

Should I encounter death
It would be late at night

Surrounded by my friends
And too many bottles

Therefore suggesting I might meet death but I would not acknowledge it and it would go away.

Do you think the above would be better? I am reluctant to give in to the little minds...

James Graham at 20:53 on 13 March 2009  Report this post
This is better than a revision, it's a transformation. So much better. The shorter verses are much more effective. If I had to pick out one it would be

Little minds scowl at me
As I mention always.

It's very neat and concise, and the word 'always' has associations I'd certainly never thought of before. We say 'always' when we mean 'for the rest of my life', but when the speaker in this poem says 'always' it means 'always'. This idea was in the original, but it's astonishing sometimes how a change of form can bring out something that was half hidden before.

I think, on balance, 'Should I encounter death...' works better. It means the anti-death attitude of the poem is truly uncompromising.


FelixBenson at 15:14 on 16 March 2009  Report this post
I agree with James - this is a very thoughtful and effective revision. I love the tone - and it works so much better in the couplets. The voice is not diluted anymore.
Cheers, Kirsty

freynolds at 08:35 on 18 March 2009  Report this post
Thank you both so much for your input. It is always good to have other sets of eyes provide impartial observations instead of just saying "this is brilliant".


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