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Literature by humaniety

Poetry by HollyRoseFowlCasson

Pure Excellence by Aerode

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Submitted on
December 13, 2013


169 (who?)
On page 159 of my biology textbook, it reads,
“...cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells”
as though that could explain everything,
and I thought it did for a time.

But my textbook never warned me
that his skin would pale
to a point where I could see
the blue freight trains
carrying eighteen pills
throughout his frail body.

My textbook never warned me
that his watery irises would freeze over,
that he would hurl insults like knives,
and that he would clench his jaw
as tightly as his fist clenched his wine glass
because the only person to blame is himself,
and he can’t swallow that as easily
as he can the olives in his martinis.

And my textbook never warned me
that it would be this difficult to breathe
because of my acute awareness
that his breaths are limited,
and that there would be nothing I could do
but soldier on searching for that silver lining
clinging to these foreboding thunderheads.

Just sent the e-mail to enter this in a contest for a $300 scholarship! The prompt was: "Descriptive Poem/Journal entry 500 word limit expressing challenges faced such as internal struggle, loss, strife, grief. After exactly eight drafts, I have made it as perfect as it can be. Of course, with the help of English teachers and some friends of mine who edited it and gave me some feedback. I would still love some feedback on this because I can always get better!

(And for those concerned, my grandfather is not dead, and he is slowly recovering from a liver transplant. This is merely a reflection on the emotions and the pain my family and I were going through. We are all okay!)

Word Count: 165

:new: Daily Literature Deviation for December 22, 2013! Thank you!

:new: Changed the last lines based on some feedback I've been getting!
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This poem was beautiful. I really adored the comparison between what a textbook can tell you about a life-threatening disease versus actually seeing first-hand what the disease can do to someone.

I will say that part of the third stanza threw me off a little bit.

"...that he would hurl insults like knives..." makes me wonder what exactly provokes the insulting. Perhaps it was his bitterness from suffering that made him sound so cold, but perhaps that could be explained just a little bit more...


"as tightly as his fist clenched his wine glass..." and, "as he can the olives in his martinis..."

Does this mean he drinks often? However, I adored the line before this one: "and he can't swallow that as he can the olives in his martinis."

I suppose that it could have been a little better implied that he drank a lot or enjoyed drinking...but I don't know. It doesn't take anything away from the poem, but I rather feel it could add more to the already vivid imagery and back-story in this piece.

The description of the man was gorgeous. "Blue freight trains," is a genius comparison to just, "veins." Very nice similes, metaphors, and descriptions you have going on here.

It was a powerful poem, filled with much emotion, and I really loved the imagery. Perhaps one or two more things could have been added to, but ah, it's still wonderful.

Overall, I really enjoyed this. Well done! :D

What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
19 out of 19 deviants thought this was fair.

I love the feeling of the piece, and the emotions that the words carry.
My sister recently finish a round of therapy for cancer, and so I know the feelings of fear, even when you're sure (as sure as you can be,) that they're okay.
Just a small problem, and it's a personal taste. I wish this had a better flow to it. (I like poems flow-ier. But I can see how choppiness adds to the raw feelings of it all.
I must ask though, did you he get a liver transplant because of cancer? (Just wondering, as it kind of confuses me.)
I'm rating the originality lower because cancer seems to be a relatively popular subject lately. (People have told me I'm quite lenient with ratings. I see no reason to be harsh.)
Tl:dr this is a brilliant piece! I find it hardest to write things that are nonfiction and close to me.
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
7 out of 7 deviants thought this was fair.

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skytchek Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014
I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT.catching love 
I can really tell that you worked hard on it, and this came out amazing.
Just ammmaaazing.
I'd really love it if you looked at my work.
You  might be busy,
but it would mean the world to me.
thank youuuu!:happy: 
saltwaterlungs Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you! :hug: :heart:

I'll go check it out :)
IndependentSoul97 Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2014
Beautiful work!  The middle two stanzas were my favorite.  I love your word choice :)  Did you win the scholarship?
saltwaterlungs Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you! :hug:

Haha, that's a funny story, actually. The scholarship wasn't offered through a real scholarship program; it was offered through a woman who wanted to offer money because of her son or something. She seemed excited to set up a meet-up with the winners at a local Starbucks, but my school wasn't being compliant with the whole idea of me going off-capus with a random lady. I emailed her a countless number of time about the results, but she seems to have disappeared off the face of the Earth. :shrug: A disappointment for sure, but I wrote a really awesome poem because of her!
IndependentSoul97 Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2014
That's a shame that she never followed up :(  but you're right!  You did write a really awesome poem :D
JetScreamer Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
This is absolutely gorgeous and heart breaking... 
saltwaterlungs Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks so much :huggle:
JetScreamer Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome! <3
RianNoodlton Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2014
This is..amazing. I just finished biology in school, so it's just...sad.
saltwaterlungs Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I finished my course too, and it was terrible. I'm glad you enjoyed my poem!
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