A few months ago, I participated in the 'Dancing with Distraction' acrostic poem challenge here on Vocal. One of my submissions, "The Snapper and My Confidence," actually got Top Story, which was so very cool! Moreover, it received a lot of very kind comments.
One comment by Alfonse Battistelli included questions that made me think a bit deeper about the poem and prompted me to consider making a companion piece to the poem to give the speaker more closure. Alfonse is a great poet here on Vocal, so check him out!
Like I mentioned in my reply to his comment, I decided to go with the word 'Attention' for the new acrostic. The following is my working draft.
Am I changed? Have I, like you for me,
Transformed beastly in your thoughts, if you
Think of me? Am I - was I -
Ever a predator? I don't need
Nor want to consume you, your self-worth.
Tamed, am I? Or a harvestman?
Insect-like, bothersome, venom-mouthed
Only with jaws shut?
No. I am only myself, growing even still.
So, I really like the idea of the harvestman - mostly called Granddaddy longlegs where I'm from - being the creature in this poem. The long legs imply a certain expansive idea, as if the impact of the speaker on the addressee's thoughts is far-reaching. The small body of the harvestman also gives the idea that whatever impact the 'legs' have on the addressee, they are a bit different from the source, far-removed contrasting far-reaching.
One problem arrives in the seventh line. When I wrote this draft, I thought that granddaddy longlegs were venomous. Then, I did some research.
According to Ashley Hamer's article "Are Daddy Longlegs really the most venomous spiders in the world?", harvestmen are not "venom-mouthed" at all, unlike what my poem depicts. Instead, the article clarifies that they are poisonous.
Would taking a route with poison perhaps work? Could I replace “venom-mouthed” with some type of poison-related diction?
The second, more drastic change I’m considering is to substitute the harvestman with another animal entirely so that the poem matches “The Snappr and My Confidence” more closely. In that poem, all the animals had some correlation to water. Dragonfly nymphs live in water before they are flying creatures, and alligator snapping turtles hunt underwater. Would a water strider perhaps be more appropriate? ‘Strider’ somehow gives me a confident connotation. Maybe that comes from the phrase “taking it in stride” or something. So, it’d work in checking the water and confidence boxes.
However, the subtitle is “Still Lurking.” If the water strider is used, the snapper would still be lurking in the water. But then the the speaker may be like the strider and stay above the thoughts that could sink the speaker’s confidence.
Or is there another creature that could work even better? Something that is omnivorous or a herbivore may be best to solidify the idea that the speaker is not out to prey upon the addressee as the addresse might upon the speaker.
The final point I might change is the final line. In some ways, I do like it. It works for the poem, showing the separation between the speaker and addressee but it feels a bit on the nose. The message feels too said rather than shown to me.
Is there a tactic you suggest for revamping the final line? Should it continue the animal-related figurative language? Could that possibly make it feel a bit fresher?
Or are there other parts of the poem that you think could be strengthened? If so, which parts? Please let me know!
About the Creator
Hello! I'm mostly a writer of fiction and poetry that tend to involve nature, family, and the idea of growth at the moment. Otherwise, I'm a reader, crafter, and full-time procrastinator!