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When Fear Rises Up by Robert Zimmerman

This work has reached the exceptional level

In four flawless quatrains of 8-6-8-6 iambic syllables in a-b-c-b rhyme scheme, you take us from the advent of fear and resultant uncertainty overwhelming prior confidence and hope, to the only true solution to suppress useless (and likely harmful) panic -- solid faith.

Thank you for keeping your poem neutral in religion, allowing each reader to interpret it according to his or her own faith, as the principle is the same in all cases.

Though I no longer practice religious ritual, I have always had solid faith, and that is what kept me calm during my "Icy Blind Curve Encounter" in 1990 (, when there was no time at all to think in words, much less pray. The fact that no harm occurred to anyone in that event confirmed to me that God had a purpose for the rest of my life, which I then dedicated to helping others in every way possible. In consequence, nothing has scared me ever since -- not even reaching into live 480-volt industrial electrical cabinets to set probes for taking power quality measurements on a five-thousand-dollar, hand-held instrument (which I did in my mid-sixties). (One slip while doing that would have turned me into charred hamburger.) Thus, your last two lines ring true to me.

Superb, and aptly illustrated.

Now here are some punctuation recommendations NOT detracting from the rating this post deserves. As soon as you tell me via PM that you have fixed them, I'll remove these comments to leave you a clean review.

Stanza 2, line 3: lost; => lost,
[Change to comma.]

Stanza 2, line 4: wall. => wall?
[Change to question mark.]

Stanza 4 should be all one sentence:

Stanza 4, line 1: peace, => peace
[Omit comma.]

Stanza 4, line 2: parts. => parts,
[Change to comma.]

Stanza 4, line 3: The => the
[Lower case, as sentence continues.]

Stanza 4, line 3: God. => God,
[Change to comma.]

Stanza 4, line 4: Cause => 'cause
[Add leading apostrophe, and continue in lower case.]

NOTE: To create a correct leading apostrophe, type two single quote marks in a row, then delete the first one.
Comment Written by WalkerMan on 10-Apr-2020

Listen by Cogitator

This work has reached the exceptional level

As usual, John, you express your viewpoint well -- in this case in four six-line stanzas which end-rhyme by corresponding line in all stanzas (six rhymes in all), and matching syllable counts in those same lines.

Regarding the content, I agree with you in general, especially in your last stanza, as no one entangled in lies can be happy.

At this time, I'd like to focus on what I know is a recurring theme in your writing -- here in stanza three, line four:

"All suffering is ego wrought"

This statement certainly is true in two ways.

First, those who consider themselves "elite" -- better and more "deserving" than others, particularly when in a position of power -- do not hesitate to inflict their will on those others, effectively inducing them to live by rules from which the "elite" are exempt. For instance, under Socialism, the people are treated as interchangeable "workers" and discouraged from yearning to better their circumstances, as doing so would be to go against the concept that all must be equal, no matter how low the common condition may be. Meanwhile, the self-appointed "elites" running such a system live in luxury by stealing most of the fruits of the workers' labor.

Second, an ego with endless greed and lust for power over others is insatiable, no matter what it acquires in riches and societal rank. Thus, though "elites" may think they are happy, in fact they are not, for they cannot ever have "enough" and envy those perceived to have more on ANY scale at the moment. The inevitable effect is that such a person behaves toward others in increasingly evil ways, yet feels entirely justified about doing so.

Thus, such self-serving egos make everyone's life a living Hell, including their own.

However, the ego itself is not necessarily bad, for that is the seat of our identity and God-given free will. Accordingly, if we choose to be "serving of others" (instead of self-serving) -- not as a serf, but as a voluntary benefactor (even if all we have to give is a smile) -- then suffering in despair vanishes and is replaced by hope, confidence, and warmth toward others. That is the life I long ago chose for my own future years, and I know others here who have chosen similarly and live accordingly. It is amazing how much adversity one can endure without crumbling when one has a positive attitude and a generous heart.

Thank you for posting this superbly thought-provoking poem. -- Mike
Comment Written by WalkerMan on 09-Apr-2020

Medicine Animal Visits by Glenda Simpson

Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted

This story is both interesting and well told, though you may have discouraged readers by not putting a blank line between paragraphs, as is customary for prose on the screen.

In the first paragraph, you set the scene with Puma falling asleep in her new hammock. The rest until the last paragraph seems to be a nightmare she had, though the action in it certainly feels real.

You refer to the mountain lion as a "klandagie" but elsewhere capitalize that word. Accordingly, you need to choose which is correct and change the other instances to match. In other places, you refer to the animal as a panther or as a puma. Though all these terms are synonymous in North America, this could be confusing to some readers. You might want to add an author's Note about this. (You could do so in the text, but it might weaken a reader's tension during the fight.)

Puma's thoughts, emotions, and actions are realistic during and after the fight to the finish with the mountain lion. The details of the battle are entirely plausible, as are the details of Puma's self-treatment of her injuries afterwards.

At the end, you need a four-dot ellipsis, the fourth being a period.

Your novel, from which this chapter comes, looks interesting.

Overall, well done.
Comment Written by WalkerMan on 08-Apr-2020

What Next? by Robert Zimmerman

Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted

This is a good sequel to "What Now?"; and I like where you are going with this series. Yes, those who have faith do have greater confidence in difficult times; and it seems Alvin is going to learn about that in a later episode. Well done with plausible dialog, and aptly illustrated.
Comment Written by WalkerMan on 07-Apr-2020

What Now? by Robert Zimmerman

Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted

This is likely the plight of the many who have no alternative to whatever job they had when either the business closed (whether temporarily or not) or they were laid off for an indeterminate period of time. If one's identity is wrapped up in his or her job, and that vanishes, it can feel like being adrift out of sight of land.

Those who have a hobby, family activities, or volunteer services somewhere not closed down do not suffer from that "lost" feeling.

You express the viewpoint well in this brief story.

Well done, and aptly illustrated.
Comment Written by WalkerMan on 07-Apr-2020

When I Was Young by Susanjohn

This work has reached the exceptional level

You delight us with your fond childhood memories in this perfectly composed Swap Quatrain poem. (Clearly, Richard J taught you Lorraine M. Kanter's poetic form well; but the words are only as YOU would choose.) My favorite stanza is

Soft golden sand, li'l footprints trail,
whilst swaying plastic yellow pail;
a mighty fortress castle planned ...
li'l footprints trail soft golden sand.

I can relate, for my own childhood was near a sparkling white beach at the ocean. You are right about changing tides, too; as that beach now is dingy gray and one-third of its former distance from boardwalk to the water.

Superb, and most aptly illustrated.
Comment Written by WalkerMan on 05-Apr-2020

Double Blind ~ Chapter Five by Sally Law
Chapter 5 of the book Double Blind

This work has reached the exceptional level

Clementine has a nice dream before awaking and becoming acquainted with Bobby. It is fortunate that he found her, as Thurston's is twenty miles farther away than the sign she had seen said.

Just when we thought the only danger was for the kidnapper to show up at Thurston's while Bobby and Tine were there, you throw us off a cliff with them without revealing the result. Then the fake "Ed Silver" does arrive there and sees the flyer about Clementine being missing, thus alerting him to the fact that a search is on for her. He races toward his hidden cabin, but must pass where Bobby's truck left the road. Thus,
we now have to worry what will happen if he stops at that scene, as no one else is around (as would have been the case at Thurston's). If Bobby is injured, or pinned in a wreck, he won't be able to keep Tine from being recaptured.

At least Jerry Thurston was alert enough to realize that this customer was suspect (too citified for his truck), and had his son write down the truck's plate number.

Meanwhile, you and King find useful evidence (cigarette butts and items intentionally dropped by Tine) for Detective Lembowsky in the alley beside the diner; so you toss in some hope too.

Superb, and aptly illustrated with a scene from Tine's dream.
Comment Written by WalkerMan on 05-Apr-2020

America Needs God's Help by Glenda Simpson

This work has reached the exceptional level

You point out many important issues in these two unmetered but well-rhymed sets of couplets.

Part of the problem is that many Americans have become weary of the seemingly endless series of wars we have engaged in since the mid-1960s. Our loyal soldiers valiantly do their assigned duty, and many are maimed or die in the process; but the public has ceased treating the survivors as the heroes they truly are.

Another factor in recent years is the that many of our soldiers serve tour after tour of duty, in the process losing family ties as well as ability to fit back into a society that is so rapidly changing that it does not feel comfortable to them upon eventual return.

A third factor is that many soldiers come back suffering from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), which is not adequately handled by the Veterans Association (and they are inefficient at handling the lingering effects of their physical injuries too).

Fourth, a lot of people are on the street instead of in hospitals for ordinary people with mental health issues, as those facilities were closed decades ago.

Fifth, there are people displaced from jobs by migrant workers willing to accept lower pay, or Americans who lost jobs when their places of employment either failed and closed, or moved out of the country to escape overtaxation and other high costs. (President Trump is reversing at least some of that.)

Sixth, there are the illegal immigrants (regardless of reason) who are not working.

The American public simply cannot feel compassion for ALL of them, and no easy solution seems likely.

I agree with you, though, that our veterans ought to be top priority, as they sacrificed for all our sakes. I also agree with the other points you make in your last three couplets. Thank you for posting this.

I am not a veteran myself because I was exempt for several reasons when I was of military age, but I have friends who are -- or were. For their sake, and on behalf of so many others, I rate your post Superb and waited for my new batch of Sixes to give you the first.
Comment Written by WalkerMan on 05-Apr-2020

Neighborly Embrace by Y. M. Roger

This work has reached the exceptional level

This flawless Etheree has a beautiful message which is especially important in these difficult times of forced isolation for so many.

Superb, and aptly illustrated with a shaft of light into darkness.
Comment Written by WalkerMan on 04-Apr-2020
Read and reviewed with blinders on.

Skipping Life by Selyob

This work has reached the exceptional level

You have encapsulated the essence of life experience for all of us in these fifteen words presented as a flawless haiku using the apt metaphor of a skipping stone. Accordingly, the illustration is perfect accompaniment.

The Japanese haiku is intended to express a wise message in minimal wording. You succeeded. Superb.
Comment Written by WalkerMan on 01-Apr-2020

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