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December 2, 2012
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The path ahead is long and dusty,
with bumps and cracks to impede
a pale steed and dark rider
travel down the chalky path.

The rubble and stone,
prove no hindrance
to the vauge figure
on the alabaster colt.

With letters from family in one hand,
and the reins clutched in the other,
Dark Rider moves along the byway
happily traveling the endless road.

Yet all the bumps and cracks,
the trips, twists and tricks,
venturing never stops
along the dusty old course.

Dark Rider does not stop,
until the road suddenly splits,
and two trails, clear as day,
appear on the lane before him.

The right, birds are cheeping,
and the sky is blue as babies breath,
the trees are golden and flowers bloom
no hindrances to obstruct the voyage.

The left, there are no sounds
fog hovers to obscure sight,
the grass is shriveled and trees are dead
traveling is a chore through the lane

Dark Rider stares both down,
for the right is calling
but the left doesn't bother
to speak out to the traveler.

He just couldn't, no he wouldn't
the right was too tempting
and he strolled through the sunshine;
birds singing a tune to decorate the air.

A stroll through his journey,
not one hitch in his traverse
to disturb the horseman and
his moon painted colt.

The path traveled on and on,
never ending with no changes,
as if it was straight and narrow
in its due course through time.

As Dark Rider rode forward
he could not turn away or back
the course of strolls and ease
never let him turn away.

He had  solemn made his choice
let the prejudice guide him
for the easy path of light and love
while tempting to take,
was not the one for his journey.

For with the rest of time ahead
and the enduring road in front
there is an easy thoroughfare
that never succumbs until we do.
For :iconpoetry-book:'s second round. We had to write a ballad and use HTML to emphasize the words.

Let me know what you think! It's my first time writing a ballad.

Like my writing? Then please like my facebook page!
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:icontristancody:
Hello there,

Before I get started with this critique, I would like to specify that I am in no way a bully or incredibly condescending to anyone who writes. I am a poet, someone who understands the challenges and trials each piece has. I do this because I love helping other poets thrive and not stay in a melancholy state. Please, remember this as you read the critique. Thank you.

I would like to give my edits and explain them before telling you my four counters and why I believe you deserve the rating.

Edits:

Now, when I edit, I do not touch your style. Your style is yours and yours alone. Only you can change it and keep it. I only edit grammar and, when I feel the need, word choice. All word choices are up to you and do not need to be changed if you disagree.



The path ahead is long and dusty,
with bumps and cracks to impede,
a pale horse and dark rider
travel down the dusty path.

This stanza has two major errors which I can see. Firstly, you used the words 'path' and 'dusty' twice in it while, secondly, making it seem very forced.

The path ahead is long and dusty,
with bumps and cracks to impede
the pale steed and dark rider
who travel upon the filthy artery.

Now, by allowing the whole stanza to be one thought, we have made an attempt to, in a sense, lengthen the idea. The reason I said "the pale steed" is because it can be read like, "thee pale steed" offering a rhythm. My thought on using 'artery' instead of 'path' is because it allows lines 1 and 4 to rhyme, giving a much more fulfilled sense to the reader. The use of filthy is to restate the image of 'dusty', just in a new way.


The rubble and stone,
prove no hindrance
to the shady figure
on the moon pale horse,

This is not a bad stanza at all, the only issue is that it is plain and repeats the use of 'horse'. It hinders the reader from feeling compelled by being boring.

The rubble and stone,
provide no hindrance
to the vague horseman
upon his alabaster colt.

The change between 'prove' and 'provide' is simply based upon lengthening the line and allowing the stanza to look neater. Using 'horseman' instead of 'figure' gives you a direct depiction of the character and then is reassured by 'alabaster colt' (also avoiding the repetition of the word 'horse').

With letters from family in one hand,
and the reins clutched in the other,
Dark Rider moves along the path
happily traveling the endless road.

I like this one. It gives good depiction, nice sense of emotive pleasure. Overall, nice. Only edit comes back to the reuse of the word 'path'.

With letters from family in one hand,
and the reins clutched in the other,
the Dark Rider trots along the byway
happily traveling the endless road.

The use of 'byway' is unique and gives a more authentic feel to the piece.

Yet for all the bumps and cracks,
the trips and twists and tricks,
traveling never stops
along the dusty old road.

This use of repetition 'bumps and cracks' is nice. It adds character to the piece. My suggestion is a minor edit of 'traveling', 'dusty' and 'road', along with edit length adjustments.

Yet all the bumps and cracks,
the trips, twists and tricks,
venturing never stops -
along the dusty old course.

BY removing one word on the first line, you have made a nice form for the stanza. The, by appropriately taking out the conjunction and non-needed third comma on line 2, you have grammatically correct thought. 'Venturing' is different and, in my opinion, very appropriate for the occasion. 'Course' is used to tie in the 'C' in 'cracks' and add variety to your word use.

Dark Rider doesn't stop,
until the road suddenly splits,
and two paths clear as day,
appear on the road before him.

Oh, very keen depiction. Again, edit minor in repetitive word choices and flow.

Dark Rider does not stop,
until the road suddenly splits,
and two lanes clear as day,
appear on the trail before him.

The use of 'does not stop' gives rhythm. 'Lanes' and 'days', same flair. Then 'trail' for more variety. Nice stanza. I like it.

The right, birds are cheeping,
and the sky is blue as babies breath,
the trees are golden and flowers bloom
for it simply would be a nice stroll.

Oh, so lovely on lines 1 through 3 on this one. Line 4 just seriously messes it up though. You are describing a beautiful scene and then this random thought. My suggestion would be to completely re-do the 4th line and continue the description. I can not do this because it is your piece and editing the whole line would take that away from you. I look forward to what you do with it.

The left, there are no sounds
barren trees and crunchy gravel
the sun does not shine down
for it is the path of battle.

Now, your previous stanza was fantastic with describing the scenario and surroundings. I feel as if this one leaves all of that behind for short and staccato fillings. I, personally, would like to see a lot more effort given on this part so we can have an overall better piece to read. My opinion would be to get rid of repetition words and cliches. Focus mainly on depiction (as the previous stanza did) and use your poetic ability to show us the opposite choice.

Dark Rider stares both down,
for the right is calling
but the left doesn't bother
to speak out to the traveler.

This stanza has much potential. What is stopping you from exceeding yourself and creating a transcendent ballad is, again, repetition and lack of reader-grabbing (if I may call it that). These are easily remedied with a varied use of vocabulary and inventive play.

He just couldn't, no he wouldn't
the right was too tempting
and he strolled through the sunshine
birds singing a tune to decorate the air.

Great use of 'decorate', I mus say! :clap: Also, the first line has a nice rhythm, good job. This stanza requires a grammar adjustment which will be done here;

He just couldn't, no he wouldn't
the right was too tempting
and he strolled through the sunshine;
birds singing a tune to decorate the air.

the semicolon continues your thought and allows a much thorough flow to happen.

A stroll through his journey,
not one hitch in the road
to disturb the rider and
his steady moon beam horse.

This verse same as the last - you need to work on repetition and word use.

A stroll through his journey,
not one hitch in the traverse
to disturb the horseman and
his moon-painted stallion.

The use of 'traverse' opens up the arsenal that is the English language and by changing the 'horse' to 'stallion', we have made another adjustment to the word repetition. The phrase, 'moon-painted' is just a way to describe the use with uniqueness instead of repeating what has already been said.

The path traveled on and on -
never ending with no changes,
as if it was straight and narrow
in its due course through time.

No changes here besides grammar. Very beautiful.

As Dark Rider rode on and on
he could not turn away or back
the path of strolls and ease
never let him turn away.

This copies the previous stanza with 'on and on'. That should be edited to be different, still keep the reader in suspense at the Rider's emotional stagnancy. Now, 'path' must be changed because it was used in a prior stanza.

As Dark Rider rode forward,
he could not turn away or back.
The euphoria of strolls and ease
never let him turn away.

'rode forward' to ease the repetition and 'euphoria' to state his moment as bliss and let it solidify the reader's grasp at his emotional status.

He solemn made his choice
let the prejudice guide him
for the easy path of light and love
while tempting to take,
was not the one for his journey.

The use of 'made' is the only thing that hinders me from fully enjoying this stanza. Maybe a subtle change to 'solemn made'? it gives you more length and thus helps the flow.

For with the rest of time ahead
and the long road in front
there is an easy path
that never ends until we do.

The vision of the ending is fantastic! I love it. Only issues are reuse of words, again.

For with the rest of time ahead
and the enduring road in front,
there is an easy thoroughfare
that never succumbs until we do.

The use of 'enduring' is to show the true endurance of the road and 'succumb' is just a much more fancy word to use which details a better picture of your meaning.

Wow, that was quite long. I do hope what I have done here has helped and that I have not offended you in any way with this critique. Everything said is meant to be helpful, not rude or demeaning.

For the original four levels of a critique -

Vision:

Five on the vision because it is a piece which is attempting to depict a serious subject to eh human existence.

Originality:

Unfortunately, the concept of a rider and a fork in the road is played many a times in the craft. Also, the execution is in a typical format, which does mark you down.

Technique:

The massive repetition and lack of vocabulary does make this a barren-of-technique piece. Errors with punctuation and flow adds up to. It was just not a piece that had technique, sadly.

Impact:

Your impact is high because it did hit me enough to try my hand at making it better. I want to see this augmented so it may reach others in a compelling manner. The message is terrific and with some work, it can become a fantastic piece of poetry to be loved by many.

Thank you for your time and your talents,
Tristan Cody.
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:iconneko-chan199:
Neko-Chan199 Dec 5, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
That was REALLY GOOD!! I kinda feel sorry for the rider.... But the easy path is not always the answer, I mean what would life be like if there were no problems or obstacles along the way?? I personally believe it would be very boring. But that is my opinion...:aww:
Reply
:iconoilux:
Oilux Dec 6, 2012  Student Writer
Thanks so much! And you got my point completely, the easy path isn't the one you should always take.
Reply
:iconneko-chan199:
Neko-Chan199 Dec 7, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Totally!*handshake*
Reply
:icontristancody:
TristanCody Dec 2, 2012  Student Writer
I know I just got done with my critique, but I do have to reaffirm my statement upon how much I enjoyed this piece and want to see it succeed. If I may add, use a thesaurus to help with your word choice and, if possible, try finding some nice books on poetry or of poetry to help increase the variations of your works.

Thank you so, so, so much for the experience,
Tristan Cody.
Reply
:iconoilux:
Oilux Dec 4, 2012  Student Writer
I just went and dug my old thesaurus out of my room and am heading out the door to the library to get some books on poetry.
Reply
:icontristancody:
TristanCody Dec 5, 2012  Student Writer
May I suggest picking up Sandford Lyne's, 'Writing Poetry From the Inside Out". It is a fantastic book that teaches many things, but states that his advice is suggestions from experience and not set-in-stone laws or rules. Within the book, you will see he has personal philosophies or even philosophical thoughts of his own, you may just read those and disagree if you like (I did when I read (although I am re-reading ti right now)). Which is fin, because he lets you disagree with him.

Also, if you would like a really skilled poet who is under looked, I suggest Hart Crane. Odd man, brilliant writer.
Reply
:iconoilux:
Oilux Dec 6, 2012  Student Writer
I will certainly check those out. I also picked up some of Emily Dickinson's work so that I cna study her style, and I also got some other books of poetry.
Reply
:icontristancody:
TristanCody Dec 6, 2012  Student Writer
Dickinson had this way of taking simple words and tearing them out to their fullest potential. Best of luck with the reading!
Reply
:iconoilux:
Oilux Dec 11, 2012  Student Writer
That's why she's one of my favorites. And thank you!
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