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    • #30353 Reply
      Kevin Hayes
      43 Posts

      There lies the unknown soldier

      Among decorated graves that are not much older

      Who’s this man that lies for years?

      The state of his grave would bring any a man to tears

      What were all his final thoughts?

      Did his line advance, hold, or maybe become distraught?

      Was he taken by surprise?

      These are only a few of the questions that arise

      There is not a soul to blame

      For no one may have known who he was or where he came

      But he died not far away

      Only to be forgotten until this summer day

      Lost to family, lost to friends

      Lets not forget this soldier for which is how it tends

      For through his life and death fling

      He won our independence from a tyrannical king

    • #30363 Reply
      Mark Stone
      43 Posts

      Kevin, Hello. My analysis, which is based on my personal preferences, is as follows.

      1. Type of poem. 16 lines. 8 rhyming couplets. 2nd line in couplet longer than the first.

      2. Spelling. I would change “Lets” to “Let’s.”

      3. Punctuation. I would make it consistent. Right now some sentences have it and some don’t.

      4. Meter. The odd numbered lines are in iambic meter, except for line 15. You could put that line in iambic meter by doing something like this:

      For through his life and mortal fling
      he won our freedom from the king.

      I don’t see any consistent meter in the even numbered lines. I would add that.

      5. Rhymes. They are good. I would modify line 5 to get an exact rhyme with “distraught.” Here is one idea.

      I’d like to know his final thought.
      Did his line hold? Was he distraught?

      6. Diction (choice of words and phrases). Line 10 reads:

      For no one may have known who he was or where he came

      I think you mean to say: …where he came from. You could do something like this:

      There is not a soul to blame.
      No one knew from where he came.

      7. Sonic devices (alliteration, assonance, consonance). I like the assonance in line 4 (“state of his grave”) and the alliteration in line 13.

      8. Literary devices (simile, metaphor, personification, foreshadowing, etc.). None identified.

      9. Allusions (literary, historic, artistic, musical or mythological). The poem includes a reference to the Revolutionary War.

      10. Miscellaneous. I like the subject matter of the poem. Also, you can tell from my suggested couplets that I prefer couplets that have lines of the same length. However, that doesn’t mean that couplets with lines of unequal length cannot work.

      Best wishes,

      Mark

      P.S. So far I have posted comments on seven poems, and no one else has. For this Workshop to be successful, I think that everyone needs to help in the critiquing. Therefore, I encourage everyone who posts a poem for critique to post comments on at least one other poem.

      • #30414 Reply
        Kevin Hayes
        43 Posts

        Thank you for the feedback. I took some of the advice and rewrote the poem. Let me know what you think.

        There lies the unknown soldier
        Among graves not much older.
        Who’s this man that lies for years?
        His grave is a sight for tears.

        One of many on that day
        It is almost hard to say.
        Was this man able to see
        The great marvel which would be?

        Lost to family, lost to friends.
        This is sometimes how it tends.
        There is not a soul to blame.
        No one knew from where he came.

        Though he may have been a loss
        While he carried his cross
        Through that life and mortal fling
        He made us free from the king.

    • #30380 Reply
      JULIAN WOODRUFF
      43 Posts

      Hi, Kevin
      Mark Stone properly admonished people who post poems to this bulletin board to contribute their critical responses, so here goes.
      It’s good to see a poem acknowledging the value of sacrifice and selflessness!
      Content & word choice: line 2) unknown soldiers’ graves are separated from others as a rule (Washington DC, Paris)?; line 4) For “any,” read “many”?; why the “state of his grave”?: to me the wording suggests neglect, but unknown soldiers’ graves are well tended and marked with due military ceremony; line 9) blame for what, precisely?; line 10) for “where,” read “whence”?: “Whence” may be edging toward obsolescence, but its meaning is clearer than “where” with a motion verb like “came”; line 12) Forgotten by whom? Surely not forgotten by friends & family (assuming they survived), although his/her body was not identified; and why remembered now, “this summer day”?; line 14) meaning of “… for which is how it tends” is obscure; line 16) Since most wars of recent history have not involved kingdoms (other than constitutional monarchies), the use of “king” as a rhyme seems a bit forced.
      Punctuation: lines 1, 9, 10, 12, 14) add ending commas?; line 14) comma after “soldier”?; line 15) hyphens—life-and-death—might assist with the meaning.
      Meter: 1–iambic, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, (13)—trochaic; 15) iamb, iamb, anapest. (Line 1 could be read to de-emphasize “the,” thereby making the line rhythmically close to the succeeding odd-numbered lines.) Even-numbered lines irregular in accentuation, but all 13 syllables with an additional syllable in the final line. To me the inconsistency of accentuation in even lines collides unsatisfactorily with the rhythmic consistency and simplicity in the odd lines. Is there a reason for this contrast that eludes me?

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