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The Grave

by Rosalind 

Posted: 05 June 2003
Word Count: 65

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On the place his body lies
nature's beauties grow
The earth which she is buried in
I doubt be ever known
Cruel flowers you are taunting her
you grow upon his blood
and Mary without grave now sleeps
He rests where crimeless should
Visit her, I never will
and so I visit there
to pluck the blossom from his mound
and place a thistle there

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Comments by other Members

llydstp at 14:26 on 07 June 2003  Report this post
I have looked and looked at this, trying to make absolute sense of it. (I have enjoyed the looking by the way.) It seems to be telling the story of a murdered girl/woman whose body has never been found, and the injustice of her killer being allowed a normal burial in a cemetery.
I like the poem a lot - especially the writer's act of protest in the final line.
For some reason I found the second line to be a little weak and somewhat unworthy of the rest of your excellent poem.
Just a suggestion, but how about changing the third from last line to read: and so I visit him.
This gets rid of the repetition of "there," and to my mind at least, makes the words more powerful.
Best wishes

James Graham at 16:33 on 07 June 2003  Report this post
Reading this poem, there's an immediate sense of how much lies beneath the suface - a tragic story, even a mystery. The reader can imaginatively construct at least elements of it, guessing perhaps that the murderer went to his grave unpunished, or even if he was, it's not enough for the first person speaker. The mystery lies, I feel, in the identity of this speaker and her relationship with the dead man and with his victim. I don't think it matters in the least that none of this is spelled out. That would be a subject for a short story or even a novel. It's better that an aura of mystery surrounds the poem: it invites the reader to speculate and construct a story.

A specific point I like is the fact that the woman is named, but he is not. That produces a fine irony - he has his identity acknowledged at the grave, but the speaker refuses to disclose it.

One or two lines don't seem quite right. 'I doubt be ever known' collapses the syntax from 'I doubt will ever be known' and seems artificial. The half-rhyme of 'grow' and 'known' jars a little. Maybe the line could be reveised so as to end with 'know'? 'No-one will ever know' is a bit plain, but smoother than the existing line. 'He rests where crimeless should' also seems artificial. I don't think it would harm the poem at all to have 'innocence' instead of 'crimeless', even though that produces a very slight hiccup in the rhythm. 'Guiltless' is a possibility too. I feel these lines detract just a little from the effectiveness of the poem. I don't hava a problem, by the way, with repetition of 'there' - there, there, there, the place that the speaker must focus on, unwillingly, perhaps repeatedly.


didau at 14:15 on 10 June 2003  Report this post
yeah, 'crimeless' didn't work for me either. This seems like the ideal spot to whip out the imagery kit.

really like the thistle

poemsgalore at 19:04 on 10 June 2003  Report this post
The more I read this, the more it grows on me. It is a very moving poem.

Cymro at 10:41 on 17 March 2006  Report this post
Came across this poem on the 'Random Read'; it's obviously been a while since you posted it, but thought I would comment, nonetheless! Really great poem, a whole story in a very economical number of words. I agree with the comments above that there are a few tweaks needed. Sometimes you compress a line, just to make it fit the rhythm or the rhyme, but with careful choice of words this could flow even better.

I'd edit the first line 'On the place his body lies..' sounds a little off. Perhaps 'At the place...'. The fourth line might work better as 'I doubt I'll ever know' - it sounds less clunky and makes the rhyme tighter. I'd also consider using a different word than 'mound' in the penultimate line...maybe it's just my filthy mind, but it has a Mills and Boon euphamism connotation (or was that the intention?!). Why not the more simple word 'grave' which would also have a resonance with the title?

Hope you don't mind the suggestions - I really loved this poem and thought it was fantastic. The last line is just superb - a perfect end and a fantastic image.


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