Atrocity Exhibition

Atrocity Exhibition
by Charles Doan
As the two forced the ax through carnage
The night air smoked candlelight.
The vapid and quiet village erupted in snapping of twigs.
The villagers, hopeless and worried, rushed through the woods
Carrying farm tools.
The ax that belonged to the two left a gash occupied by streams of blood.
The witch hunt is over.

0 thoughts on “Atrocity Exhibition

  1. Mmm. Story excerpts can work as poems but i just found myself needing (or wanting) more description here or with more craft administered. ‘The two’ as main character(s) seemed an odd choice but with an added line to perhaps tell us who these ‘two’ are and why they are called ‘the two’ and why they are on a ‘witchhunt’ might help. Sometimes not filling in details can create a mysterious ‘glue’ for the reader but here it comes across as an ‘inside secret’ of the author i think.
    Line 2: “The night air smoked candlelight.” Personification of night–but ‘candlelight’ seems like a romantically calm image offsetting from the violence and action of the piece–perhaps ‘gasping kerosene’ might work better? hmm. Or “the crackling of torches burning like newly lit Hell…” (yeah, that might need work too. lol.)
    Line 3: “The vapid and quiet village erupted in snapping of twigs.”
    Again, maybe something a bit more dramatic than the ‘snapping of twigs’–plus it makes the reader wonder just what ‘the snapping of twigs’ can mean. Is it the villagers leaving the village and entering the forest? That would work but i’d preface it differently such as: “The forest erupted in the snapping of twigs as the villagers entered into the darkness of the silent trees…”…or some such.
    Lines 4 & 5: “The villagers, hopeless and worried, rushed through the woods/ Carrying farm tools.” Are these villagers on a witch-hunt? If they are, i’d say they need to be angry, bloodthirsty, and careless…or at least something other than ‘hopeless and worried’ which is uninspired and downright cowardly. It’s harder to believe that these people would brave the night and the dark woods seeking to kill something evil. ‘Carrying farm tools’ seems a bit dull for the occasion too–perhaps ‘Carrying curved scythes which had harvested wheat, but on this occasion it would bring death…” –something like that–just play with it. lol.
    Lines 6 & 7: “The ax that belonged to the two left a gash occupied by streams of blood. The witch hunt is over.” I would phrase that differently and heighten the drama as opposed to an ‘after the fact observation’–‘Streams of blood spewed from the witch (or whoever protagonist is)as the two’s axe plunged into her heart…’ And in line 7 keep the past tense which whole piece is written in: “The witch hunt was over.” (So don’t all of a sudden change from past to present tense.)
    There’s a splendid rough draft here! This is the foundation–just keep working with it and looking from the reader’s perspective a little. Great effort! thx for sharing!
    Words used in poem: Vapid: adjective
    1. lacking or having lost life, sharpness, or flavor; insipid; flat: vapid tea.
    2. without liveliness or spirit; dull or tedious: a vapid party; vapid conversation.

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