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Doors and Masks


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This is a poem I just finished for an Eng/Lit assignment. I'm interested how the grades yo all would give it compared to the grade i recieve from my teacher.

Doors and Masks

A poem by Codey

We all have hopes and all have dreams, and bolstered by youthful zeal,

we set forth to conquer the world but meet demons unfortunately real.

Demons come in many shapes and forms but the demons most unkind,

are the demons we allow to rule our lives, the demons who dwell in our mind.

If we give up, grow faint of heart, we lose hope and what we desire

will slowly dim and fade away like the light from a dieing fire.

When fear replaces hopes and dreams and moves into the fore,

we seek a place of safety, we don our masks and shut the door.

We wear these masks in public, to hide amongst the crowd,

the who that we are, to always be hidden, veiled behind a shroud.

The essence of our being, we keep boxed and safely stored,

in neat little rows on hidden shelves, behind that shielding door.

Those of this new generation, in numbers still unknown,

reap bitter crops, from the seeds, past generations have sown.

In the normal confusion of youth, they wander through a maze,

seeking the face of people like them, and answers to questions they raise.

How will they find those answers, to what life holds in store,

when the faces and the people they seek, are hidden behind that door?

The loss of family or friends, may leave us feeling sad,

but why should we mourn the loss of something we may have never had?

If our lives are based on deceit and lies, there's something we should ask.

Does thier love and friendship belong to us or belong to the man in the mask?

We'll never find the answer, to that question and many more,

unless we finally strip off our masks and step bravely through that door.

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Guest rusticmonk86

I'm not one for formal poetry. (Formal anything for that matter.) So I had make myself read through it.

It's good. I understand the message. But the message seems to hop around, and I don't feel any emotion behind it. It's written concisely. So there's no room to really think about what it means, or wander through imagery. But it is concise; so you don't have to wander or wonder.

I guess it's because it's a formal style of poetry. Or because they're all complete sentences.

But it's good. I'd give you a B.

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I haven't the faintest idea how to mark, so I won't give you one -- sorry 8)

However, there are a couple of spelling mistakes which drag it down a little: dieing vs dying and thier vs their.

The second stanza talks about seeking a place of safety, donning a mask and closing the door. The imagery isn't quite right. Shouldn't it be something a long the lines of donning a mask whenever we leave the place of safety?

Overall, I thought the message and structure was great. I disagree with rusticmonk86 on the subject of emotion. It's not one to rip at the heart, but it certainly makes you reflect on the idea you're presenting. I especially liked the line:

Does thier love and friendship belong to us or belong to the man in the mask?
as it makes you think about who/why/what it is that one person sees in another.

Well done!


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thanks Graeme....I plead guilty to the spelling errors and will remember to turn on the spell checker next time. :oops:

As for the line " we don our masks and shut the door", it was meant to convey that we never really feel safe and once the mask is put on we tend to never take it off. Thats why in the last line we have to rip the mask off and not just remove it........Codey

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I'm not sure how they grade for spelling, grammar, structure, style, imagery, or emotion. I'm pretty sure some of those *can't* be graded.

I'm not a teacher, but I do proof and edit a lot.

I'm more of a "fix the problem" and "explain why if there's time" kind of guy.

Spelling: receive, dying, their;

There's a rhyme that will help, which you've probably heard:

I before E,

Except after C,

Unless spoken as A,

As in "neighbor" and "weigh."

Special cases: either, neither, whether you say EE or I for the vowel.

Grammar: no comma after bitter crops or seeds;

For the other things, you're trying to say a lot about a lot of things, all in one poem. Your teacher may say it needs a little more focus or cohesion, but that doesn't make it a bad piece of writing.

Personally, I thought the emotional impact was fine. It wasn't meant to hit you over the head, and it wasn't meant to be lacking either. I think you did fine with that.

Don't take those criticisms as saying it was bad. It's really good; you just asked for a critique, so that means pointing out things that might be improved. Figuring out how to do that and still make it work and be artful, well, that's very difficult.

I'd like to say I do understand the message behind the poem, the theme you wanted to get across. I think that comes through well.


I will offer an opinion about that last verse, the lines:

If our lives are based on deceit and lies, there's something we should ask.

Does thier love and friendship belong to us or belong to the man in the mask?

Since starting to come out, I'd offer something I'm learning. The people you care about, your friends and family, often can see and love more of the "real you" inside than you might think. If they don't understand about being gay when they find that out, well, they may just not know what to think of something they hadn't really put together and don't have experience to understand. If people reject you, even those closest to you, well, then they understood less than you thought about the real you.

Sure, you have to be a little tough, so that all the crud in life doesn't tear you into little, tiny pieces and stomp on you. (Yeah, sometimes it does.) But you don't have to build that wall so high and thick that it keeps everybody out and keeps you locked in. Take it from someone who did that enough and finally wised up that not being open wasn't true to the rest of me.

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