19 votes

Untitled Mental Health I

I'm not quite like you
A few words and that's it
The façade fades
Crumbles
The carefully constructed mood dies
Coping mechanisms defeated
The castle is compromised

A strong exterior only goes so far
Each word pulls stones from the foundation
Fragile walls, fragile heart
I retreat to my secret home
Away from the swords and arrows and fire
No one can reach me here
Safe and quiet and in control
Equally secure, equally secluded

14 comments

  1. [2]
    Sill
    (edited )
    Link
    The castle crumbled under strain and what was left was ruins Slowly washed away by rain, til stone joined dirts' confluence Sun baked down drying depth of sounding, showing stones' privation Dirt...
    The castle crumbled under strain and what was left was ruins
    Slowly washed away by rain, til stone joined dirts' confluence
    
    Sun baked down drying depth of sounding, showing stones' privation
    Dirt turned mud turned dirt again, til seasons restored lake's foundation
    
    Sifting silt from sediment and salt, later plants were sown
    On banks of Nile, struggling hearts kept making fragile homes
    The cradle of civilization made when castle turned to loam
    Be secure, be well, be many things; alone, or not alone
    
    9 votes
    1. anahata
      Link Parent
      I like so many things about this. The meter, the rhythm, have the feeling of urgency and a gravity which matches the feeling of a castle under siege. The rhyming, and playing with word order that...

      I like so many things about this.

      The meter, the rhythm, have the feeling of urgency and a gravity which matches the feeling of a castle under siege. The rhyming, and playing with word order that it requires, gives the stanzas the impression of a sonnet or similarly constrained form, and by association lends the work an authority that appeals to me. This feels like poetry, more than my own writing does, if that makes sense. There's an ornate character of longer, rhymed verse that I want to explore. Thank you for writing this in the way you did.

      There's also a theme of encroaching (restoring) nature shot throughout, which is a nice compliment to the artifice and transient character of the construct, the castle, the narrator. I especially like the reference to the Nile, with struggling hearts making their bid for survival along its shores. That cycle nourished as much as it destroyed, and it is indeed social interaction which nourishes as well as it destroys for someone with issues like mine.

      All this to say that, ultimately, this is the kind of thing I would like to write, when I'm feeling inspired to write rhyming verse. You've helped me reevaluate my relationship with my art, and I cannot thank you enough for that. Many thanks.

      4 votes
  2. [2]
    cardigan
    Link
    This reminds me of a favorite line of mine in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, which I'll give a poor rendition of here. Without separating, without parting, All alone, and ever home, in the limitless...

    I retreat to my secret home
    Away from the swords and arrows and fire
    No one can reach me here
    Safe and quiet and in control
    Equally secure, equally secluded

    This reminds me of a favorite line of mine in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, which I'll give a poor rendition of here.

    Ohne Meiden, ohne Scheiden,
    traut allein, ewig heim,
    in ungemeßnen Räumen
    übersel’ges Träumen.

    Without separating, without parting,
    All alone, and ever home,
    in the limitless space of unfathomable dreams.
    
    5 votes
    1. anahata
      Link Parent
      I really like this. It captures the sense of isolation and loneliness (more than just solitude) that I was reaching for. I especially enjoy the "without separating, without parting" line, in that...

      I really like this. It captures the sense of isolation and loneliness (more than just solitude) that I was reaching for. I especially enjoy the "without separating, without parting" line, in that it represents how people can be with others and yet still feel loneliness. I don't think your rendition was particularly poor, in that I got a lot out of it regardless, and (IMO) the duty of the translator is to convey the author's sense and meaning and personality, and I think you've done that admirably here. Maybe it could be improved, but you did a good enough job for me to feel moved by the translation.

      2 votes
  3. [5]
    mrbig
    Link
    Why do you use code markup? Long lines are hard to read on mobile. I think you should put more effort in concision. Try to convey the same feelings with less words and you’ll get something more...

    Why do you use code markup? Long lines are hard to read on mobile.

    I think you should put more effort in concision. Try to convey the same feelings with less words and you’ll get something more elegant. It’ll also make your poetry less literal and more open to interpretation. Some verses seem like regular conversations without much elaboration. I find the swords and arrows metaphor poor, bringing medieval associations that don’t seem to fit. I don’t care for the title either. It’s broad and impersonal.

    In sum, I think some extra work would greatly improve your writing. Let it sit for a day or two before publishing. That’s what I do, and it helps a lot.

    2 votes
    1. [4]
      anahata
      Link Parent
      I use code markup because line breaks are important to the formatting for how I write. I understand that it makes things hard to read on mobile; have you tried tilting your phone to landscape...

      I use code markup because line breaks are important to the formatting for how I write. I understand that it makes things hard to read on mobile; have you tried tilting your phone to landscape rather than portrait? That seems to fix things for me.

      The point about concision is interesting. I do tend to be on the loquacious, verbose side indeed. I tend to have a preference for more words, but I can certainly play with concision like you said. The metaphor I found to be fitting as I do feel under siege, attacked, and I feel very comfortable using that metaphor to express the feeling. Can you quantify what doesn't work with it for you? I understand that the titles are generic; when I post something as "untitled", that's because I'm working on a title.

      Yes, you're right, some extra work would be helpful. I'll look at revising more in future. Thank you!

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        Deimos
        Link Parent
        There's no need to use code markup for line breaks, it will have exactly the same breaks without being in a code block. Tildes doesn't remove line breaks like some other markdown implementations...

        There's no need to use code markup for line breaks, it will have exactly the same breaks without being in a code block. Tildes doesn't remove line breaks like some other markdown implementations do. Even on other sites that do, you can generally put two spaces at the end of a line and that will work for causing a line break (but again, that's not necessary here).

        1 vote
        1. anahata
          Link Parent
          Line breaks are important to poetry. I'm going to have to take a stand against accessibility here in deference to artistic integrity. The device may wrap the lines in ways I don't want if the...

          Line breaks are important to poetry. I'm going to have to take a stand against accessibility here in deference to artistic integrity. The device may wrap the lines in ways I don't want if the display is pathologically small (i.e. mobile). I am comfortable with some folks with small devices having a hard time reading my work if it means that those who have larger displays get the full experience.

      2. mrbig
        Link Parent
        This feeling can be expressed in many ways, including allusions to battles of yore. This does not make bad poetry by itself, the problem is that the other verses do not evoke the same themes. Why...

        I do feel under siege, attacked, and I feel very comfortable using that metaphor to express the feeling

        This feeling can be expressed in many ways, including allusions to battles of yore. This does not make bad poetry by itself, the problem is that the other verses do not evoke the same themes.

        when I post something as "untitled", that's because I'm working on a title

        Why not wait a little bit before publishing, then?

  4. [5]
    Keegan
    Link
    This is good. The title having a "I" makes me think more is coming, and that's awesome :)

    This is good. The title having a "I" makes me think more is coming, and that's awesome :)

    1 vote
    1. [4]
      anahata
      Link Parent
      Untitled Mental Health II is already on Tildes; I posted that one first as I'm overall happier with it.

      Untitled Mental Health II is already on Tildes; I posted that one first as I'm overall happier with it.

      2 votes
      1. [3]
        Keegan
        Link Parent
        Ah okay. I just didn't see it on my feed. That one is pretty good too. The shorter lines makes it seem breathless, which is fitting.

        Ah okay. I just didn't see it on my feed. That one is pretty good too. The shorter lines makes it seem breathless, which is fitting.

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          anahata
          Link Parent
          That's fascinating! I wasn't going for breathless, more the morose yet numb lethargy of depression. Definitely something that would come through in an out-loud reading.

          That's fascinating! I wasn't going for breathless, more the morose yet numb lethargy of depression. Definitely something that would come through in an out-loud reading.

          2 votes
          1. Keegan
            Link Parent
            Yeah for sure I can see that. That's what I find fascinating about some poems. There's so many interpretations that can be had.

            Yeah for sure I can see that. That's what I find fascinating about some poems. There's so many interpretations that can be had.

            1 vote