Author Topic: The Lilter's Voice  (Read 1466 times)

Offline Lena Brennan

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The Lilter's Voice
« on: October 07, 2016, 06:45:41 AM »
I was asked to write a narrative for a Shadow Theatre performance being presented for Halloween.  I decided it needed a poem, and this is what I came up with.  I would really appreciate some feedback, please:

The Lilter’s Voice
‘Twas a stormy night in the little town
And the wind was howling up and down.
The rain pulsed hard against the ground
And, in the street, not a soul was found.
Most were safely home by the fire,
Not wanting to venture out in the mire,
But some had braved the wind and rain
And could be seen through the window pane
Of the bar, where they were drinking
And, in the corner, a singer lilting.
But outside all the while
Was a figure, dark and vile,
Lurking beneath the dripping eaves,
With pointed hat and flapping sleeves.
It crept along the sodden road,
Its face so gnarled, its back so bowed,
‘Til it reached the door of the cheery bar
And pushed it quietly ajar.
Then, once inside, it raised a finger
Chanting and cackling at the lilting singer
Who clutched his throat with a strangled gasp
As his voice became a wilting rasp.
Away from the village the lilter stumbled
Through the forest where wild things rumbled.
Past the graveyard where spirits floated
And behind him the old hag gloated.
There by the well an apparition ascended
And stayed for a while above him, suspended.
“What have you lost?”  Its voice was a hack.
“I’ve lost my lilt, and I need it back.”
“The only way to break this spell
Is to cast your soul into my well.”
It pointed the way to a house on the hill,
And the lilter staggered on until
He reached a tree where bodies dangled
On every branch a soul had strangled.
With panting gasps he stumbled on
Until, at last, he came upon
A heavy door on which he rapped
Til it creaked open, and he was trapped!
He tried to run, but was not able
For they lashed him tight onto a table.
They cut and sewed and sawed and scraped
Til, finally, his new voice was shaped.
The device had a key that he eagerly wound
But it produced a metallic sound!
Back to the bar the lilter stumbled
While, with the key, he desperately fumbled.
But even after his every endeavour,
His lilting voice had changed forever.


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Re: The Lilter's Voice
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2016, 07:37:24 AM »

I am completely enthralled by this most extraordinary poem, you truly have a gift. Just when I was losing hope, due to rhymeless and mind-numbing contemporary poetry, I log on this morning and Blam! This tingle inducing work brings that hope back again. This piece has all the strength of Hercules, yet it only has to use thumb and forefinger, with the lightest touch, to gently tug one forward by their shirt sleeve. Not that I needed to be tugged along one bit.

The rhythm is perfect and jogs along well without any oak trees across it's path. I can honestly say that I haven't loved a poem this much since, Frost and Poe. The story is clear and quite a thrill, I would give that old crone of a witch anything she wanted, to be able to write like this  ;)


Beware: I noticed there tends to be a bias against rhyme around here or anything not flat, negative or plain t.m.i

Offline Lena Brennan

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Re: The Lilter's Voice
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2016, 11:32:07 AM »
Thank you for your exuberant comments on my poem, Gavin.  Frost?  Poe?  Me?!  You're very kind.

Offline duck

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Re: The Lilter's Voice
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2016, 06:56:54 AM »
I am not sure who the audience is for the poem but I have afeeling they will like it.
It has all the 'right' words and a pleasant enough story that competently told. It has good and bad rhymes, in fact all those usual pluses and minuses abou rhymes. They can sound pleasant and they sometimes sound like children's la la music. They often sacrifice content and sense to sound. As to the meter I am no expert.

It is true on balance that contributors here tend away from thyme and some are radically against it and some are radically for here going so far as to claim poetry must rhyme to be poetry. Both views are fundamentalist and therefore dangerous (for poetry not life) nonsense. We have had so much discussion here on this sie about this topic i is such a boring waste. Don't get involved would be my advice.

The main question is whether a poem is any good and on which criteria to whom.

I would also beware hyperbole too. This is an ok poem that serves its purpose. It is fantasy so logic is prety minimal. The audience is probably middle class so the halloween 'horror' is pretty bland and just when the curse should reach its climax the language becomes flattest. The kind of halloween that eats toasted marshmallows.
Therefore to compare this to two of America's great poets is a tad reckless. I would do what you seem to have done and smile, say thank you and move on. If you were to believe such a comparison I woud worry for your soul.

I have no idea wha t.m.i is and Gavin is entitled to his view based on relatively litle experience but poems and comments here cover all the spectrums you could possibly imagine including flat, negative but certainly not only. Find your own feet and take out what you can and want. You even allowed to rhyme even if not everyone likes it.


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Re: The Lilter's Voice
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2016, 07:40:49 AM »
I am only commenting here again to for apologize for being a troll and to clear up any misunderstandings. It was not my intention to make inappropriate comparions. I only meant that, I personally, haven't enjoyed a poem, this much, since a few I read by previously mentioned authors. Yeah, I don't always end up saying what I mean, it's my curse (among many).

Oh and, dave, t.m.i means,  too much information  ;D

Good luck with everything Lena!

« Last Edit: October 08, 2016, 08:30:19 AM by Gavin.Marconi »

Offline Lena Brennan

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Re: The Lilter's Voice
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2016, 08:23:43 AM »
Thanks to you both for reading my poem.  As for the audience - the Shadow Theatre will be taking place in our small village and will be viewed, hopefully, by local families.  The venue we are using is a local pub. 

Offline Gyppo

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Re: The Lilter's Voice
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2016, 09:32:21 AM »
Lena, as this is going to be a performance piece so much will depend on how it is performed on the day/night.  The fact it rhymes can help with a live performance as it will tend to romp along despite any possible stutters or blips.

There are a few places where I would want to add or remove a word to make it flow more easily off the tongue, but that is with my voice and my natural speech patterns.  It may flow perfectly well for you if you are the one reading it.

To use that old theatrical truth, "It'll be alright on the night."

My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at

Offline smsmsm

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Re: The Lilter's Voice
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2016, 03:30:27 PM »
Ahh.. I feel like you are trying to hard to rhyme. Still good writing though..