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I cut candles straight down their waxy center
just by looking into the flame. Slick peels of
honeycomb melt into my palm and blister skin.
Then the world ricochets forward.

I plummet back into my body and there's
a thick distortion in audio. A constant pulse at
the back of my eyes, tuned to the rhythm of your
heartbeat. I look for traces of you, but,
God, you're lost.

Leaves fall as paper lanterns from wooden fingers.
Spiraling upwards on the breath of cosmos, back
to Heaven, lit like the sun on a marvelous azure
backdrop. I needed your wisdom, but all is gone.
Christ, you're dead.

Atheists are not meant to love. Realists are not
meant for passion. Idealists are the dreamers
of their own demise; only they can make it
happen.

A man once told me that the astute make terrible
lovers, but I'll fight that to the bitter end. Maybe
the irrational are so hopeful in their wafts of
hallucination they cannot come to mindful conclusions
of their forsaken love.

There's a poet under my skin, itching to get out
again. But he's wrapped so tightly in misery and
grief, he can't pull his fingers close enough to the
flesh tomb that surrounds him.

But a poet is no poet, if only one emotion is felt.
Likewise, no poet if only emotion felt. No poet, if
stone words fall on glass houses and lifeless birds fly.

Here I am, No Poet, dwelling on lucidity and broken
execution, failed thoughts and sorrow. Yes, I am
No Poet, and God, we're done.
It's been a while... I apologize.

1. Any grammatical errors?
2. The piece has a very abrupt transition. Does it work together, or should this piece be separated into two separate pieces?
3. I'm not sure where else to go from this, how to diverge into something more, or if I even should. Any suggestions?
4. Any comments in general?

A critique would be GREATLY appreciated. I feel like I've forgotten how to write, and it's very depressing to myself.

Please, please, please, help me improve and get back on track. :heart:


For #theWrittenRevolution
[link]


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EDIT

I just logged on randomly to find I recieved a Daily Deviation!
Words simply cannot express the amount of gratitude I have for ^NicSwaner for featuring me.

My heart has been greatly lifted since this poem was first written...

For all the Atheists, as I am, I mean no offense.
Have you ever thought to yourself, "Maybe I'm just not meant for love?"


Seriously gracious to all of those who have helped me. I love you all, and thank you for your comments!!! :heart:
Add a Comment:
 

Daily Deviation

Given 2013-02-09
Lament of an Atheist by ~alexiscaitlinking could be told no other way. ( Featured by Nichrysalis )
:iconjackiestarsister:
JackieStarSister Featured By Owner May 20, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Wow. This is one of the best poems I've read (at least on DeviantArt) in a long time! Thanks for sharing this.
Reply
:iconprideofpanem:
PrideofPanem Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2013  Student General Artist
Fantastic job! And congratulations on the DD!
Reply
:iconrabbittheory:
rabbittheory Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
This is a brilliant poem!!

I am a Christian, but I can relate to certain elements in this poem that we all face in our lives. Both theists and atheists experience, to some extent, a same inner struggle I am sure, and it's our circumstances and experiences in life that help shape what decisions we make during this struggle.

I personally believe because I cannot see how beauty, love and the aesthetic could be a by-product of "survival of the fittest" (I mean if you think about it, our species would be so much stronger without artsy fartsy people, yet we are here lol). :p

I sincerely hope no one sees this as an attack on their belief system, I do not wish to offend anyone! :D

Brilliant writing and very vivid use of words, it reads like a picture :)
Congratulations!
Reply
:iconalexiscaitlinking:
alexiscaitlinking Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I'd have to disagree with your thought that our species would be stronger without the artsy-fartsy type.
If you think about it, our medical field would not have come as far without the heavy influence of DaVinci, the first man to dissect and create an "atlas" of the inner workings of the human mechanisms. He created the first helicopters, tanks and many more machinery that also has driven out technological field. Most of his inventions, although never built in his time, were recreated recently and actually DO work.
As well as men like Darwin, who created road maps for zoology, horticulture and a wide variety of other disciplines, all through view and replication on paper.

Without the affluent creativity of these people, our civilization would NOT have come as far as we have come. We would have brute strength, but we would lack the power of mind. We absolutely would not have made it this far.

On another note, I really appreciate your comment. It means a great deal to me, that you were able to take something from this. :)
Reply
:iconamidarosa:
amidarosa Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013
Wow, I'm inspired to make a painting out of this, would you mind?
Reply
:iconalexiscaitlinking:
alexiscaitlinking Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I would be honored. Please just send me a link, I'd love to see it when finished. :) :heart:
Reply
:iconzippythewildone:
zippythewildone Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I've written a lot of responses to other people's comment but haven't written a response to just the poem itself yet. That was because I wasn't sure if I understood the poem at first but now that I've had confirmation from you that I more or less get it I think I'll share more of my thoughts.

1. I always think of poetry as being a giant middle finger to grammar. The purpose of grammar is to force us into speaking as clearly as possible so that we can be understood. But poetry is about expressing a greater truth, an emotional truth and if that can be expressed clearly without proper grammar then grammar can go suck it. In short, no glaringly bad grammar issues. However I think there is one stanza that could benefit from some quotation marks. This stanza:

Atheists are not meant to love. Realists are not
meant for passion. Idealists are the dreamers
of their own demise; only they can make it
happen.

See, without quotation marks it seems like these thoughts are thoughts that the subject is having. That these are things that the subject thinks. But, if it was in quotations it might make it clearer that these are simply things that the subject has been told in the past by other people and these are not convictions that the subject holds themselves, they are simply reflecting on these words as they echo in their head.

2. I found the style or voice of each stanza to be noticeably different from one another but I think it's acceptable for two reasons: #1 They are broken up into stanzas after all and stanzas are a good way to indicate a shift of some sort. #2 They all have to do with the same subject matter.

3. I like the use of No Poet. It makes me think of the phrase "no God" and I feel that is very suitable for the subject matter. But as powerful as it was it was really only utilized in two stanzas and I found that... disappointing? Also I felt like No Poet was kind of like a straw man atheist. No Poet was the atheist as represented by people who don't understand atheism.

"There's a poet under my skin, itching to get out
again. But he's wrapped so tightly in misery and
grief, he can't pull his fingers close enough to the
flesh tomb that surrounds him."

The poet is the optimistic believer in God and No Poet is the sad atheist. But I think you could have made it clearer that No Poet actually is a poet, s/he is simply told that s/he is not a poet by others.

Of course I could be completely wrong, and then the goal would be clearer that this ^^^ isn't what you meant. I enjoyed the poem but I think it could be more clear with careful organization and development of certain concepts. It's one of those cases of, "It could be better, but really anything in the world can be improved upon so you shouldn't take that as an insult."

4. The goal of mediocre art, whatever the art form may be, is to entertain. But the goal of great art, or great poetry is to make someone think and feel. And I think the Daily Deviation and all the comments made it clear that this is a great poem!
Reply
:icona-glass-brightly:
A-Glass-Brightly Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Professional Photographer
I've been feeling that I need to write something like this for a long time. Thanks for the inspiration!
Reply
:iconalexiscaitlinking:
alexiscaitlinking Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome, happy to help!
Reply
:icona-glass-brightly:
A-Glass-Brightly Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Professional Photographer
:)
Reply
:icongreenleo94:
greenleo94 Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Congrats on the DD! :la: You totally deserve it. This is so beautiful and complex. I love it.

Weirdly, I first read this poem today on :iconglossolalias:'s Music Game Feature journal. XD
Reply
:iconobliviousdoll:
ObliviousDoll Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
For a while I disagreed with the "Atheists are not meant to love" but then I read your comments on what you meant and I can relate to that.

Feeling as though you are not meant for love is a terrible feeling, I know.
Though I'm curious to how you feel it.

If you are stating you are not meant for love from 'god' then I can't relate so much to that for I have never felt love from any 'god'..But if you mean from other humans like yourself, then I'm sorry for I know that is hurtful.
Reply
:iconweweameme:
weweameme Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013   General Artist
Question; What did you mean by 'Atheists are not meant to love'?

I'm just wondering since I'm an Atheist and I am wondering if that's saying that Atheists cannot love, or... just something else like that. It's just that that can come off as an offensive gesture to some Atheists, unless there's a different reason meaning then saying that they're unlovable in that part.
Reply
:iconsubhankar-biswas:
subhankar-biswas Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Professional General Artist
that's the tragedy of atheists. they love TOO bloody much. perhaps because they don't have a 'god' outlet to pour it out on, and so invest it all on their fellow beings.
Reply
:iconweweameme:
weweameme Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013   General Artist
Upon reading your comment, I feel the need to point out that I don't love anyone and I don't care for love. Many Atheists including my family don't love 'too' much, and actually it's good that my parents love each other a lot, too.

Maybe loving 'too' much is a stereo typical thing, it doesn't apply to all of us.

But one thing that I don't understand is that in the bible it says that you should love your fellow man a lot anyways, so that's not really 'loving too bloody much' actually, anyways.
Reply
:iconteo-hoble:
Teo-Hoble Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Oh and about the Bible... The Bible is a series of contradictions really. But I'll assume you're talking about the Decalogue. It says that you should love thy neighbor BUT not love anyone and anything more than you love God. And since the love of "God" is expressed by following his "rules", it automatically means that you are not to accept or love anyone who disobeys him, and that, btw, includes homosexuals, people of different belief systems, atheists, divorcees (because, according to the Bible, husband and wife are together forever in the eyes of god, once the marriage ritual has been done), and so on. So... apparently this "peaceful" religion pushes towards love but in truth it just gives you made-up reasons to HATE. Just look at the Westboro Baptist Church - perfect example of religious fanatics hating everyone and everything because those people are "not in accordance with God's rules".
Reply
:iconteo-hoble:
Teo-Hoble Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Student Digital Artist
You "don't love" and "don't care for love"? Wow, thanks for advertising for us atheists :lol:

Judging by that comment I assume you're very young and regard "love" as the lovey-dovey St. Valentine's cheesiness that gets marketed these days with such ardor. Which I don't necessarily blame - the word gets thrown around much too lightly. Everyone's "in love" after two days of meeting someone. But I hope you grow out of it and learn that there are MANY types of love out there and atheist or not, being capable of positive feelings such as love, compassion, empathy - is a very good thing and it's what separates a decent person from the flock of superficial "moral" arseholes.

And besides. Without a heavenly father-figure to tell us what to do, us atheists have to judge right from wrong on our own. Which means we generally pay more attention to other people, their feelings, their reactions and interests - because empathy's the only way to judge if an action would be okay or not. Our moral is unlimited by superstition and dogma; but it's also a lot more complex than the traditional "one rule for all" that religion brings to the table. How can you analyze on a case-by-case basis if you don't understand your fellow human beings? And how can you come to judge and/or hate someone once you've at least partially understood where their decisions/actions come from? Understanding leads to acceptance. But religion limits understanding because it "forbids" certain behaviors and life decisions and attempts to shut out those who choose to live by them. And thus, religion forbids the acceptance of certain individuals and pushes the believer towards HATRED of those people.

Personally, I think that being less inclined to "judge" someone by made-up rules makes atheists more inclined to love.
Reply
:iconalexiscaitlinking:
alexiscaitlinking Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
No. I never sad they were unloveable.
Have you ever been hurt so much you thought to yourself,
"Maybe I'm just not meant for love?"
Reply
:iconsubhankar-biswas:
subhankar-biswas Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Professional General Artist
absolutelyabsolutelyabsolutely. they hurt the most. because they don't have a 'faith' safety net to fall back on.
Reply
:iconalexiscaitlinking:
alexiscaitlinking Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Exactly. :)
Reply
:icongriffinsjoy:
GriffinsJoy Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
I really like this. I can imagine you speaking and I don't know you at all. It's rhythmic and dark with frustration and illustrates so well that shock of realization. Good piece.
Reply
:iconalexiscaitlinking:
alexiscaitlinking Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you so much. <3 :)

I read it to myself sometimes. And then use some self-depreciating humor to get over how sad I am.
Reply
:icongriffinsjoy:
GriffinsJoy Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
I find it encouraging to remember we are still all connected to our earth and through that we can achieve joy in our souls. The earth is indeed a beautiful place! Don't deprecate yourself! You are an incredible evolutionary achievement. :) imagine the plausible alien scientist who happens as did Darwin upon us and delights in all our Bizzarre human a activity. Gets me giggling every time!
Reply
:iconalexiscaitlinking:
alexiscaitlinking Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I always imagine future civilizations digging up ruins from peoples of our time. :)
Makes me smile.
Reply
:iconlifeuncommon:
lifeuncommon Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013
I think there's some brilliance here, good work! I especially appreciated that the poem started with candles as I associate candles with religious worship/devotion, it was a great way to draw me in, I clicked on the thumbnail immediately.

1. Grammar looks fine to me. It's set out more like prose than free verse poetry (but there's overlap and it's all in the eye of the beholder anyway)... I'm not sure that the work needs it, it's solid as it is. One way to make it a "more poetical" poem though would be to introduce the poetic technique of unusual line breaks, run-on-lines, spacing etc.

2. Hmm, not sure. I certainly wouldn't suggest making the piece much longer. You could try bisecting it, or you could try putting more of the themes from the beginning (God, religion, candles, own heartbeat, the cosmos etc) in the text of the latter part. And vice versa, by introducing the poet, grief and so on in the earlier half. It can work as one piece but needs to be more obviously joined if you intend to keep it as one piece, I suspect.

3. Well and truly enough themes for one poem, in my opinion. If anything you lean towards too much, so I don't suggest "going" anywhere else in this journey. ;)

4. Fourth stanza: Listing atheists, realists, idealists at the start of the sentences seems clinical to me and had the effect of disjointing my attention from the poetry of the rest of the poem. Could you use instead some words or phrases to show those meanings without using the words themselves? Or re-arrange the sentences so it doesn't feel like a list of "-ists", maybe by using the words realists and idealists later in the sentences, for variety.

Fifth stanza: The sentence beginning Maybe the irrational seems too long, a few too many big words and lofty concepts. The phrase "forsaken love" in particular seems to get dangerously close to the border of the trite. I'd write it something like:

The irrational are ever-hopeful in their wafts of hallucination. They cannot mindfully understand what they've forsaken. :shrug:

Sixth stanza: Ditto the phrase "misery and grief". It's approaching cliche angst poetry. Can you demonstrate misery and grief instead of naming them? Maybe:

But he's wrapped so tightly in his own self-soiled garments, he...

But he's wrapped so tightly in soot-smeared sheets, he...

Eighth stanza: In keeping with my idea of replacing typical words found in lamenting poetry with something different, what about something else for the word "sorrow"? I immediately thought:

failed thoughts and ending.

"Ending" can imply sorrow and grief, but it doesn't name them. Just an example.

Speaking of endings, good ending in the final stanza!
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:iconsleepwalkinginthesky:
SleepWalkingInTheSKY Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013
Although I'm not even sure what I believe in and I still question anything and everything, I can deeply relate to that seemingly endless searching and coming up empty handed. This feeling had been eating away at me, but I feel like you helped settle it down, even if for just a moment, with your poem, reminding me how there are others out there feeling the same way.
Reply
:iconalexiscaitlinking:
alexiscaitlinking Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
You are never truly alone...

This has been my mantra for a couple years now.
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:iconsleepwalkinginthesky:
SleepWalkingInTheSKY Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013
Thank you.
Reply
:iconalexiscaitlinking:
alexiscaitlinking Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome. If you ever need to talk, you can reach out to me. :)
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:iconsleepwalkinginthesky:
Thanks, I'll keep that in mind :)
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:iconalexiscaitlinking:
alexiscaitlinking Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
:)
Reply
:iconsorceress2000:
Sorceress2000 Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm not an atheist, but in large part it is because I can't let go.
Around the age of 12 I began doubting and questioning and getting nothing... but the thing is I never could give up on searching.
I think around 23 is when I just stopped.
I am aware that my belief comes more from a desire to believe than genuine faith. After taking so many religious studies courses and reading so many religious texts and books and... endlessly searching, I came to realize quite a few things that ... well it would be too much to get into here, but in the end I came to the conclusion that it, like many things in life, belief was a choice. And my choice is to believe in the possibility. If I'm wrong I lose nothing, if I'm right then that's great XD
But... yeah. I love this poem because it truly does so strongly speak to that struggle of searching and coming up empty. And the natural solution might seem to walk the path of Atheism, but I'm far too optimistic for that... or perhaps too much of a dreamer... no one would ever accuse me of being a realist ;p... I choose to believe because I must... because I need it. But I do identify so very well with the profound empty feeling invoked in your beautiful words.

Congratulations on your DD
Reply
:iconalexiscaitlinking:
alexiscaitlinking Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you<3
I wish I could still believe... I think it'd all be so much easier to take in if I could....
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:iconklarthsan:
KlarthSan Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Amazing.
Reply
:iconalexiscaitlinking:
alexiscaitlinking Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
<3
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:iconchameleongiant:
ChameleonGiant Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Student General Artist
in that moment U have let faith die, hollow light begins to florish . There are multiple realations to each emotion expressed here but they all burrow deeper words, huh?
so sad...
Reply
:iconalexiscaitlinking:
alexiscaitlinking Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Everything is much, much brighter now... :)
Reply
:iconchameleongiant:
ChameleonGiant Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2013  Student General Artist
That's good.
Reply
:iconalexiscaitlinking:
alexiscaitlinking Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Very :)
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:iconforestofairies:
ForestoFairies Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
seems a prayer
Reply
:iconalexiscaitlinking:
alexiscaitlinking Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Close.
Reply
:iconpenguinton:
Penguinton Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
This is a very beautiful poem and it's just plain awesome. And generally I just plain don't like poems. But the word play is so vivid it's hard to not like this poem. Since I don't read a ton of poems, cause usually I don't like them, I have no critique at all. I just think it's a really well done poem.

I'm a Christian so I don't really understand why so many Atheists are upset or offended by this piece. However if it's because the poem somehow casts a stereotype of Atheism, as some claim, I just don't see it. What I got out of it was one person journey of walking away from their faith. Which can be a hard thing to do for many people. Even if it's just changing faiths or even just changing to another denomination of the same faith, it can be hard. I really don't get that this is a testament of what ALL atheist that leave their faith go through or feel without Religion in their lives. Just that this is written from one persons personal journey and acceptance that there is no God. I don't see it saying that atheists have trouble loving, are depressed, or even that they're living meaningless lives as one person implied.
Reply
:iconalexiscaitlinking:
alexiscaitlinking Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
You are a lovely human being. I wish more humans were more accepting like you. :)
Reply
:iconazeilarose:
AzeilaRose Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I feel the same as you. I don't know why everyone needs to take everything so personally. :XD:
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:iconxjoetheninja:
xJoeTheNinja Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
You are a good Christian. Respect.
Reply
:iconalexiscaitlinking:
alexiscaitlinking Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I agree with Joe. I respect you, *Penguinton.
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:iconmau:
mau Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Professional General Artist
It's well written, and a solid poem but (IMO) comes off not as a firm belief in no deity but just as sad lack of faith. It does nothing for the strength of character of an atheist, reading as whiny instead - the kind oft associated with teenage angst.
That may have been your intent, I don't know, but if not you may want to look at the wording again.

The ancient Greeks had a saying "The gods help those who help themselves" and is seems like the narrator doesn't believe that but instead felt they were owed or entitled to divine intervention and then wronged when it wasn't magically given. (Which really, is a broad reflection of how much of today's youth seems behave in general; especially on a secular level).
Reply
:iconalexiscaitlinking:
alexiscaitlinking Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Read above or below.

Have you ever been hurt so much that you've thought to yourself,
"Maybe I'm not meant for love?"
THIS is the meaning.
Reply
:iconmau:
mau Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Professional General Artist
Of course, that feeling is unique to...no one. And it's rough, incredibly rough and dark, I grant you. But as the song goes, [i]"Everybody's got a story that can break your heart"[/i].
So? The people that let that story be their [u]only[/u] story...well that's just a damn shame.
Learn. Grow. Overcome.
Or give up. Whatever. It's all about choice. We can not control everything that happens to us, but we can control how we react.
Reply
:iconalexiscaitlinking:
alexiscaitlinking Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
For one, I'm sorry to say, although I understand and respect where you are coming from... You're reaction to the phrase is a touch apathetic.
I have overcome it, for the most part, since this poem was first written over a year ago.
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