This poem, “Hear Their Cries,” was submitted by a 15-year-old writer. I will be focusing on the clarity of the subject matter, the execution of the poetic form, and how well those two things compliment each other. My comments are in coloured text. – Laura
Hear Their Cries
- This title fits but it is a little fuzzy. I think this poem could be strengthened by focusing on a single group of people whom we have neglected, rather than all people. It would allow the poet to go deeper into description, which would have a bigger impact on the reader.
If we stood together, what could we achieve? - Give me something visual here. My inner movie screen is blank.
Could we give the desperate a much needed reprieve?
Could we give them a taste of what we get every day?
Could we finally convince them that it’ll all be okay? – The rhymes here are a bit rough and wordy. Try simplifying.
I want to help them but I don’t know what to do.
I want to show them that the sky can be blue. - Cut empty words like “that.”
With lack of knowledge comes lack of shame,
Do you ignorant people think this is a game? - Calling me ignorant directly makes me want to stop reading. Try to be more subtle by making me come to the conclusion that I am ignorant.
Take a good, long, hard look at our world,
And look at the horrors that have already unfurled.
When you look at this mess, do you feel pride?
Oh look, another innocent child just died. - Begs for description.
That’s okay, if you don’t see it it’s not real.
Or is that just your petty excuse not to feel?
So many are dying and we’ve so much to give,
Their hearts are bleak and yet happily we live. - Describe a situation.
We fall asleep at night, safe in our bed. - Describe my comfy bed to contrast with the bed of a person living in poverty.
Not once do the starving pop into our head.
All this we know but still nothing’s done.
That’s why our people are dying so young. - Our people? What do you mean here?
We talk of this change, of a world that is just,
Of a world that’s built on love and on trust.
If we don’t act now, it’ll continue as a dream, – Dreams do not continue, do they? Usually they end when you wake up.
And die along with all those children unseen. – Where is the sound imagery of the cries? Take me back to the title.
More Feedback: This is a poem with a heavy subject matter, and I am wondering why the poet has gone with the light tone created by the rhyming couplets. Is the contrast intentional? What would it be like without rhymes? How might it change the reader’s emotional response? That might be fun to try. Also, I think this poem is missing visual imagery. Creating powerful visual images would deepen the impact this poem would have on the reader. The job of the poet is to make the reader see things like the poet sees them and feel things like the poet feels them. Without imagery, you cannot penetrate the imagination.
Thank you so much for all of your feedback with my poem! It was really helpful and I’ll definitely take it into consideration when I’m editing it. I can see now that I need to go back and add more imagery and make it more concise so thank you for that. It’s a poem that I wrote way back in January so I think that more than enough time has passed for me to look back on it with new eyes. - Author of “Hear Their Cries”