"John Philip Kemble as Hamlet" by Sir Thomas Lawrence‘Perfectionist Inclined’ and Other Poetry by Lynn Kong The Society November 7, 2020 Beauty, Culture, High School Submissions, Poetry, Shakespeare 8 Comments Perfectionist Inclined Maligned by self-encasing brine, defined By certainty’s demise, self-image lies Within a shrine. Perfectionist inclined, I crouch transfixed in infinite surmise: Confined by shell, by husk, cocoon intact, Unshattered yet, afraid to fall, afraid To try to fall, while each and every act Desires a release from masquerade. Deception at its finest is retreat Of false regret; stagnation is my lot While I remain still mired in self-conceit. And I as yet remain unformed, unwrought. But when I’m stripped of each and every rind, My soul, unmasked, will flutter unconfined. Crown of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark I. Ten thousand naked skulls begrimed with glee, All petrified in fleshless grin, do gloat At life’s incessant loss of dignity, Of its ironies they roguishly take note: The irony of heedless youth that deigns To ponder the unthinkable, one’s death; The irony of youth that dares to wean itself of “mortal coil,” to sever costly breath. With cemetery eyes the mirthful skulls In glum hilarity at life’s demise Inspect the decadence of dust and mull on Death’s flirtation with the wise. Behold the smile upon their fossil brows, As tainted as humanity’s first vow. II. As tainted as humanity’s first vow Is bloated leprous “painted word” entombed Beneath a cloying opal-powdered brow And layers deep of sophistry assumed. Not only is the act of sophistry assumed as deftly as a fall from grace, Now, in this splintered age duplicity Comes with a double, no, a treble face. Yet hardest still to bear is breach of faith When friends like Judas lacerate with kiss, With travesties of truth and fretted myth, Pronouncing follies, strewing woe. Note this: When others strive true discourse to obstruct, Then we become like pipes too nimbly plucked. III. Like pipes too nimbly plucked our souls at times are deftly bared to our dismay. A glass Is held up to our eyes: two stricken mimes, Afraid to meet self-stare, stuck at impasse: Afraid because our lines fall flat within A tumor-burdened, cancer-harrowed soul Beset upon by self, by eyes, while thin Grey net ensnares, engulfs all staged control. And as our play proceeds we—like those mutes Of old, diseased cartoons who dare resist grave facelessness, their scenes in ill repute— Act as a foil for main protagonist. But when the playwright’s pen effaces all Facades, our tales, once told, will e’er enthrall. Lynn Kong is an 11th grade student at Cary Christian School. 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One thing I would suggest, though, is that you unscramble your syntax a little bit. For instance, the passage that begins “The irony of heedless youth that deigns” and the long sentence that follows it are somewhat tangled. Strive for more clarity of expression, place commas where they are needed to fortify the integrity of dependent clauses, and find a way not to drop so many articles. Also (and this is a matter of taste), don’t try to rhyme ordinary words with similar words that have an added sibilant ending (brows/vow). For me, at least, this is an ugly practice, though a common practice. Take what I have written under advisement, because you are on your way to a stellar future in the art of word-crafting, and you will figure out all this nitpicky stuff in your own time and to your own satisfaction. Reply James A. Tweedie November 7, 2020 Lynn, I want more of this. Keep posting at SCP. You will keep us on our toes and inspire us to rise to our own best, as you have clearly done with your set of sonnets. I especially liked the way you saved the denouement in your first sonnet until the very last line. I knew it was coming and, when it finally arrived, I was more than satisfied! Reply Margaret Coats November 7, 2020 Lynn, I really like that simile, “pipes too nimbly plucked.” These poems read quite well, but may I suggest a few lines where you might consider improvement? All in the Crown: I, line 3: place a semicolon at the end; you start a new independent clause in line 4 I, line 4: to regularize the meter, leave out “its.” It’s not needed, because you go on to specify which ironies. I, line 8: line seems too long; maybe leave out “costly” I, line 11: put a comma after dust II, line 10: “lacerate with a kiss” is better diction, and you can do this as a slight metrical variation, rather than counting syllables and creating an awkward expression. III, line 7: “beset by” is proper diction here, and since you lose two syllables by removing “upon,” you have room to add “by X” (a third thing the soul is beset by). And just to show that you are not rigidly counting syllables, say “while a thin” Again, the slight metrical variation makes the language more natural. III, line 12: “for the main protagonist” Once more, a slight variance in meter to create more natural speech. If you like any of these suggestions, or have any other perfections you want to make, I believe the Society will apply them at your request, sent to email@example.com Ponder it to be sure, and best wishes on your poetic career! Reply JULIAN D. WOODRUFF November 7, 2020 Both poems are quite accomplished. I am humbled. I think you are right about youthful obsession with death, but I think it gets trivialized in the process, especially in view of the suicide rate among those about your age. Do we need to see any more skulls and crossbones (outside of 10/31 and 11/1, perhaps)? And yet, Ash Wednesday gives to us the chance to contemplate our end, the end of each; and summons from us prayers that we may dance as our Creator deigns, and we can reach. Reply Julian Woodruff November 8, 2020 I should have said 11/2, not 11/1. Apologies! Reply Leave a Reply to JULIAN D. WOODRUFF Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Δ This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.