Reviews for Boxes and Lines
John-the-H-is-silent chapter 1 . 2/20/2018
A great comparison. Ants are probably much more organized than us as well. Attempting to realize our dreams with one foot in the coffin is an important idea to explore. It does feel as though we're pushing a boulder uphill, much like Sisyphus. Good poem with an interesting narrative and message.
sprinkled clean chapter 1 . 11/14/2017
It was a good read for me; it had the right amount of imagination, reality, and wit—all centred on the theme of boxes and lines as a metaphor for different kinds of boundaries in life. I particularly liked the line, ‘flags in the water’ since it sounds nice when I say it, and I’m not quite sure about the imagery but it feels heavy. Is it the flags of countries at war? The ending’s good, too, but could be unnecessarily optimistic this way: Does it mean that you keep your hands in the metaphorical coffin so that when the lid comes off, you have hope in the next place as you climb out of the coffin? While I do like how it gives the piece a bit of hope in the ending, I was thinking that keeping the hopeless tone of the poem intact at the end would work, too, so I am curious as to how that could have gone.
Dublinjake chapter 1 . 10/28/2017
Hey competitorino!

Really nice piece Whispers. I like how you've played off the prompt's nihilistic message a little bit with what feels like a slightly Christian slant at the end. The irony of the coffin-lid coming off implicitly after death creates a really cool and interesting image.

I also like the juxtaposition between humans and ants and their different constraints. I do perhaps feel that it could be a little understated, though. At a couple of points in Stanza 5 I feel like you could cut a few phrases and leave it a little bit more ambiguous as to what you're saying - the reader would be able to pick up anyway I think. I'm mainly thinking of: "Who's got more freedom? Us or ants? I'd have to say thee ants". This just feels a little bit too much like explaining the metaphor for me.

I'm also not too keen on the line "More than half a million people work their hearts too hard". I just feel like you could add something like "each year" to add a sense of frequency. The way you've phrased it it sounds like a one-off event.

However, I do really like the structure. The length of lines feels almost symbolic. The lines gradually get longer as the longing for freedom gets larger, and perhaps it gets more attainable too as the speaker begins to contemplate death? Meanwhile, at the start, when the sense of constriction is most palpable, the lines are pressed to the left, barely daring to peak out. This really compliments the "burrow under" line.

The use of repetition here is also really effective, if perhaps a little too frequently used.

Overall, though, it's a really good poem. Good luck in the competition. :D